They’re cracking down:
Beginning Jan. 15, parking guidelines will be emphasized for vehicles parked:
- Over 24 hours
- In emergency lanes, “no parking” and loading zones
- In ADA-designated spaces, where a vehicle is not marked by a state-issued disabled parking placard or license plate
- In more than one parking space
- In a manner blocking other vehicles and/or pedestrian pathways
Sound Transit will provide a one-week grace period for transit lot users. Between Jan. 15 and Jan. 22, warning notices will be given to vehicle owners who park outside the guidelines. Starting Sunday, Jan. 23, cars that either exceed the 24-hour limit or fail to observe other regulations may be immediately towed.
This is probably improvement on the status quo. If spending thousands of public dollars on a parking spot that delivers 2 boardings per day is a shaky investment, a spot used as airport parking for 7 days is even worse.
Still, a much more elegant solution is to simply charge for parking in high-demand lots. If it’s valuable for someone to park in a Sound Transit lot for an extended period, then so be it, but let them pay for it.
Furthermore, properly priced* paid parking generates revenue for transit agencies; encourages carpools, ped, bus, and bike access to transit centers; and provides customers with a reasonably high certainty that there will be a few spaces available at any time of day.
For example: suppose I live a half mile from a Sounder station. I’m a bit lazy, it’s raining, etc., so it’s easier to just drive. Charge me a couple of bucks to park, however, and that small incentive may tip me into walking, freeing up the spot for someone who has no attractive alternative. Instant ridership!
* Meaning, priced just high enough so that there are a few spaces available throughout the day. If fears that “no one will park there” are accurate, then you’re doing it wrong. At a lot usually filled to 60% capacity, the proper price is $0 (or to sell off some of the lot).