Our Parking Study

A member of our Protect Volunteer Park team conducted an informal study of the parking availability in Volunteer Park, from May 21 to July 23, 2017. The purpose of this study was to measure the parking demand in Volunteer Park on weekend afternoons during spring and summer, during the long-term closure of the Asian Art Museum (thus measuring the segment of parking demand which is independent of museum operations).

The results are summarized in the next section. For discussion and interpretation of these results, please see our article: Parking Impact of Museum Expansion.

Summary of Results
This table summarizes results for the weekend afternoon samples. When more than one sample was taken on one weekend day, they are averaged together. The full raw data is presented at the end of this page.

This table shows that the sampled times had an average of 22.65 available parking spaces (82% occupancy). The median was 15.25 available parking spaces (88% occupancy).

Table 1 Parking Occupancy on Weekend Afternoons
Daily Average Date Free Spaces % Occupied
Sun, May 21, 2017 0 100%
Sat, June 3, 2017 0 100%
Sat, June 10, 2017 6 95%
Sat, June 17, 2017 40 69%
Sat, June 24, 2017 51 60%
Sun, June 25, 2017 52 59%
Sat, July 15, 2017 9 93%
Sun, July 16, 2017 4.5 96%
Sat, July 22, 2017 21.5 83%
Sun, July 23, 2017 42.5 67%
Mean 22.65 82%
Median 15.25 88%

Comparing Different Times in the Same Day

There were three days in the study when multiple samples were taken on the same day. Beginning July 16, we took some samples around 2:00 PM in addition to the 4:30 samples. The reason was that we noticed that the traffic study provided by Seattle Art Museum assumed that the museum creates no parking demand after 4:00 PM, an oddity since the museum hours were assumed to end at 5:00 PM. But it seemed relevant to sample earlier in the day around the time of predicted peak museum demand.

Table 2 Comparing Same-Day Samples at Different Times
Time #1 % Occupancy #1 Time #2 % Occupancy #2 Occupancy Increase #1 to #2
Sun, July 16, 2017 02:04 PM 96% 12:00 AM 97% 1%
Sat, July 22, 2017 02:23 PM 78% 04:44 PM 88% 10%
Sun, July 23, 2017 02:21 PM 76% 04:43 PM 57% -18%

Study Description

This is an informal study of the parking utilization in Volunteer Park, on weekend afternoons in spring and summer. The study ran from May 21 to July 23, 2017.

Samples were taken as time permitted, targeting weekend afternoons near 2:00 PM or 4:30 PM. All samples taken were recorded. For any given day, the decision whether to take a sample was made prior to any observation of the parking occupancy.

For each sample, a PVP team member (always the same person) traversed the parking areas within Volunteer Park. The parking areas were photographed with an emphasis on photographing available parking spaces. The photographs were then examined and the number of available parking spaces counted within each zone. The following were not included in the totals:

  • Parking spaces reserved for people with disabilities.
  • Parking spaces available in the lower loop road, if it has been opened to cars. (It is normally closed but is opened for certain large events.)
  • Parking spaces on neighborhood streets outside the Volunteer Park boundary.

The following table lists the zones with the parking capacity of each zone, determined by observation of the number of cars parked in the zone on a day when there are no parking spaces available in the zone.

Table 3 Definition of Zones
Name Capacity Description
WT-NW 6 NW of water tower
WT-SW 6 SW of water tower
WT-E 13 East of water tower
VPR-S-E 6 Volunteer Park Road south of museum, east side
VPR-S-W 6 Volunteer Park Road south of museum, west side
CL-S-E 8 Central lot south of museum, east side.
CL-S-W 11 Central lot south of museum, west side
CL-N-E 10 Central lot north of museum, east side
CL-N-W 10 Central lot north of museum, west side
VPR-N-E 5 Volunteer Park Road north of museum, east side
VPR-N-W 6 Volunteer Park Road north of museum, west side
CON-N 3 Conservatory lot, north side.
CON-SW 3 Conservatory lot, southwest side
HIGH-CON 2 E. Highland St. In front of conservatory
HIGH-E 32 E. Highland St. East of conservatory
 Total 127

The data collected is presented in the following table.

Table 4 Raw Data
Date Time Total Free Spaces VPT Calendar Events Weather Notes WT-NW WT-SW WT-E VPR-S-E VPR-S-W CL-S-E CL-S-W CL-N-E CL-N-W VPR-N-E VPR-N-W CON-N CON-SW HIGH-CON HIGH-E
Sun, May 21, 2017 04:29 PM 0 none Sunny, 78.1 F 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0
Sat, June 3, 2017 03:15 PM 0 Free First Saturday at conservatory. Overcast, 66.2 F Parke Diem festival with music and food trucks. 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0
Wed, June 7, 2017 04:21 PM 62 none Partly Cloudy, 81.4 F 6 2 10 0 0 5 0 4 4 7 3 3 2 1 15
Sat, June 10, 2017 04:25 PM 6 Volunteer Park Pride Sunny 68.1 F The lower loop road is open for parking. Volunteer Park Road is posted no parking. Available parking spaces on the lower loop road were not counted. 0 0 1 0 0 0 1 0 1 0 0 0 0 1 2
Sat, June 17, 2017 04:37 PM 40 none Light drizzle, 61.3 F Party in Victorian dress going on. 3 4 8 3 1 2 5 2 2 0 0 0 0 1 9
Sat, June 24, 2017 04:43 PM 51 none Sunny, 85.4 F Wedding. Wading pool opened today for the season. 3 3 1 2 4 6 2 4 4 10 8 0 0 2 2
Sun, June 25, 2017 04:41 PM 52 Art show by Derek Erdman – “Graveyard” Sunny, 92.9 F 4 5 12 3 2 6 4 1 5 4 4 0 0 0 2
Sat, July 15, 2017 04:41 PM 9 Seattle Outdoor Theater Festival Partly Cloudy, 76.9 F Lower loop road open for parking. 2 1 0 0 0 0 2 0 0 1 0 0 0 2 1
Sun, July 16, 2017 02:04 PM 5 Seattle Outdoor Theater Festival, Dargarth: Battle Day Sunny, 74.2 F Lower loop road open for parking. 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 1 0 0 2 2
Sun, July 16, 2017 04:37 PM 4 Seattle Outdoor Theater Festival, Hear the People (Folk) Sing & Picnic Sunny, 74 F Lower loop road open for parking. 0 0 1 0 1 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 2 0
Sat, July 22, 2017 02:23 PM 28 Ratchet Speed Dating Sunny, 81.5 F 0 6 10 1 0 0 0 1 0 1 1 1 0 2 5
Sat, July 22, 2017 04:44 PM 15 Sunny, 82.8 F 1 3 1 0 0 1 2 2 2 0 0 0 0 2 1
Sun, July 23, 2017 02:21 PM 31 Seattle Peace Concert Sunny, 71.5 F 2 3 4 1 3 1 1 2 1 5 3 0 1 2 2
Sun, July 23, 2017 04:43 PM 54 Seattle Peace Concert Sunny, 75.2 F 6 4 6 5 5 6 2 6 4 2 4 1 0 1 2