By SIMON THWAITS
UW News Lab
Use of Seattle’s pre-paid parking program to prevent drunk driving, sometimes referred to as the “liquor sticker,” has continued to increase, said Seattle Mayor Mike McGinn at a press conference last Wednesday at Spitfire, a sports bar in Belltown.
“We launched the pre-paid parking program in April, 2011 and when we did that we had 600 purchases in that month for pre-paid parking,” said McGinn. Now the program is averaging 2,500 uses per month and has a total of more than 45,000 uses.
The program, part of McGinn’s Seattle Nightlife Initiative, allows people to pay starting at 10 p.m. for two hours of parking for the next morning. By doing so, people can ensure they get home safely by taking a cab or public transit, then pick their car up before 10 a.m. the next day. The liquor sticker is available at any parking meter in the city.
“We’ve been working really hard in the city to give you options so that if you want to go out and have a good time and enjoy yourself, you don’t need to drive home,” said McGinn.
“We’re super thrilled about how well it’s been used, how well it’s been received,” said Jerry Everard, the owner of Spitfire.
Mike Nolan, captain of the Seattle Police Department, also spoke in praise of the program.
“This sticker program not only is an educational outreach, it’s a proactive prevention that is where ultimately we want to be,” he said. “It encourages people not to get behind the wheel of any kind of a vehicle when they’re impaired.”
The event also served as a warning to people not to drink and drive during the St. Patrick’s Day holiday weekend. McGinn said that there will be additional DUI patrols over the weekend.
“People love having a good time on St. Patrick’s Day,” he said. “We really care about people driving while impaired. We don’t want them to do it.”
More information about McGinn’s Nightlife Initiative and safe ways to get home this holiday weekend can be found at seattle.gov/mayor/nightlife
(SIMON THWAITS is a student in the University of Washington Department of Communication News Laboratory.)