Write a story about parking in Seattle and you open the floodgates for readers who tell of endless circling, faulty meters, thieving kiosks, and bitch about a city government planning

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Parking Extortion

And other reasons not to visit Seattle.

Write a story about parking in Seattle and you open the floodgates for readers who tell of endless circling, faulty meters, thieving kiosks, and bitch about a city government planning to extend this mistery 24/7 (to regulate parking round the clock, you see, not to rake in millions more in revenue). Among the recent e-mailers was Chuck Reichert, who lives in Bellevue and sings with the St. James Cathedral choir on First Hill, where he notes the city has recently installed an array of "dreaded" kiosk pay stations. Says Reichert:

The meters were activated in the Fall, 2006 and the fun began.  Frye Museum and Puget Sound Blood Center have off-street parking and O'Dea High School does, too.  The cathedral has limited off-street parking and you could pay to park in the Cabrini Medical Center lot on Monday through Saturday.  The garage is free on Sundays.  Last Saturday two priests were ordained at the cathedral.  This is an annual event that fills the church with the families of those being ordained, 140 or so priests, about 100 musicians and many parishioners, and creates parking chaos.  The ceremony is about 2-1/2 hours long.  The meters are only good for two hours.  You can be as sure as daffodils are yellow that parking enforcement showed up exactly two hours after the service started.  The lady was still writing tickets when we came out at the end of the service.  For the visitors, this was a cruel joke.

Adds Reichert, about the densely packed commercial and residential hill: "I would hate to live there if I didn't have a dedicated parking spot. Now they are talking about 24-hour paid on-street parking. Won't that make life interesting? Well, if the mayor and city council in Seattle think my friends and I from the Eastside are going to bus down for an evening at Elysian Brewing or any of those other good places, they are mistaken.  I can just as easily spend my money on the Eastside and not have to pay the extortion."

 
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