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Reminder about pre-paid overnight parking if you need to leave your car after a night out

Simon Thwaits, a journalism student at the University of Washington’s News Lab, reports on the City of Seattle’s so-called “liquor sticker” program, that encourages drivers who’ve had a few drinks, to leave their car overnight and pick it up in the morning.

Use of Seattle’s pre-paid parking program to prevent drunk driving, sometimes referred to as the “liquor sticker,” has continued to increase, Seattle Mayor Mike McGinn said 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,” McGinn said. 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,” McGinn said.

“We’re super thrilled about how well it’s been used, how well it’s been received,” Jerry Everard, the owner of Spitfire, said.

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.”

More information about the Nightlife Initiative can be found at seattle.gov/mayor/nightlife.