That’s the question Sound Transit and Puyallup are asking themselves. The Puyallup station has 680 spots between four lots near there, but the spots are nearly always full. The News Tribune likes the idea of having the drivers park at satellite lots and take buses to the train station.
One remedy would be a healthy-sized parking garage at the station. A garage would have been built had voters approved the Roads and Transit package last November; now the project awaits possible approval of a scaled-down package.
Sound Transit has already been pursuing a more elegant solution: satellite parking, a decentralized form of park-and-ride. The idea is to let workers park their cars outside the core and take a bus to the station. The bus gets the commuters to the train quickly and on time. There’s already a satellite parking center on South Hill and another in Bonney Lake (which takes people to Sumner Station).
Assuming the bus connection is fast and reliable, this works for everyone. Downtowns don’t get buried in parked cars, and commuters can leave their cars closer to home and not panic about finding a spot near the station before the train leaves.
If satellite parking lots are extended to the suburbs, train service will become more accessible and the reach of mass transit will be extended.
As one of the first small cities to get big-time transit service, Puyallup is a laboratory for other Puget Sound communities. Its parking solutions are probably going to be the region’s parking solutions.
The idea is interesting, to put the parking lots closer to peoples homes and run shuttles. However, the transfer might not be appetizing to all riders, and it could turn some riders off of Sounder. The whole problem makes me think about an idea Martin had at our last meet-up: charge a small amount for parking each day at the main lots, and let the people who don’t mind as much park in the shuttles. I imagine you’d see more carpools, more people walking, and more people biking. The parking money could go to possibly getting more parking, installing bike lockers, operating the shuttles, or really anything. The article also mentions people driving from Sumner to park in Puyallup to avoid crowding, these people might decide to stay in Sumner and park there. As long as Puyallup is a laboratory, we should really try something different.
What do you think? Would you pay for a park-and-ride to avoid crowding? Anyone here bike to a park-and-ride?