I read this in the Morning Fizz and was floored:
4. The city has issued a cease-and-desist order against the Grocery Outlet at MLK Jr. Way S. and S. Rainier Ave. for illegally operating a park-and-ride for light rail users. According to the order, issued by the Department of Planning and Development in September, park-and-rides are illegal in areas near rail stations. The violation carries a fine of up to $500 per day.
I’m hardly a tool of the auto-and-pavement lobby but this is insane. The reason to oppose park and rides is that they cost a lot of public money ($40k a space in some cases) for a not a lot of riders, and because they take up valuable space that could be used for more vibrant development. In some cases, people who park might otherwise have walked, taken the bus, or biked to the station.
Here we have private lots that aren’t costing a dime of tax money, and are in fact generating parking tax revenue; an abundance of empty gravel pits around all Rainier Valley stations, so that there’s no shortage of TOD locations; and of course, a small parking fee to limit users to those who have really bad bus transfers, live too far to walk, and are strongly disinclined to bike. It’s a perfect situation. My anecdotal experience, unfortunately, has been that the lots haven’t been all that well used, probably mostly because of the media-wide message that there’s no parking around light rail stations.
This must get fixed immediately: the cease-and-desist lifted, any fines refunded with interest, and the policy changed. We should be helping these lots get the word out, not shutting them down.
I have an email in to the Mayor’s office on what his position is on all this.
[UPDATE: This RVP comment thread indicates the lot has already gone to 4-hour max parking due to city zoning. That is beyond useless because most four-hour uses of Link occur during times when Residential Parking Zones are not in effect, so there is abundant free street parking.]