McGinn's Morning-Afters

A great idea from the mayor that could be greater.

Last week, the mayor's office announced that would-be drunk drivers would be able to purchase stickers from pay stations around the city that would enable them to hitch a safe ride home without their vehicle getting ticketed in their absence. Why someone didn't set this in motion sooner is anyone's guess; either way, it's a fantastic idea, and Mayor McGinn deserves nothing but praise for seeing it through to implementation. But one part of the announcement left us scratching our heads: While the stickers are available everywhere, additional stickers informing drivers of their availability are currently posted only on Capitol Hill, when it would make a ton more sense to debut them downtown. In explaining the city's selection of Capitol Hill and Pike-Pine (which is part of Capitol Hill) to launch the blue-and-yellow informational stickers, SDOT's Rick Sheridan says: "With the active nightlife found in those neighborhoods, we felt they were great locations to highlight the program first." The Hill's nightlife scene undoubtedly ranks among the city's most active. But with the program clearly intended to curtail drunken driving, it's hardly a "great location to highlight the program first." While parking on the Hill is a pain in the ass, there are, unlike downtown drinking districts like Belltown and Pioneer Square, plenty of non-metered parking options on residential streets. What's more, the Hill's residential density also means that more bar patrons walk or utilize alternative modes of transportation to get to their favorite watering holes. Consulting a list of the city's top 12 DUI-originating drinking establishments reveals that fully half are in Belltown and Pioneer Square, while zero are on Capitol Hill. So the sooner the city can expand its outreach to areas where it will make more of a difference, the better.

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