"Issaquah Transit Center" by majinandoru

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).

27 Replies to “More Sound Transit Parking Enforcement”

  1. “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.”

    Exactly. When I was still living in Northern VA this is the way the metro and some commuter rail lots where. Yeah If you’re taking the train in from 30 miles away you probably don’t pay to park. If you’re hopping on the metro at the Springfield Metro, just outside the beltway, you pay for that more valuable parking spot. Guess what? People pay because riding in even from there is far preferable to fighting into DC.

  2. Unless I overlooked it, missing from the mix of common infractions (ST should also enforce) is people who park at the P&R’s and Transit center parking lots, who don’t take a train or bus, but work nearby. In other words, the P&R’s parking lot is more convenient for them than their own company’s parking lot.

    1. While that still may be a violation, it is extremely difficult to prove. The citing officer would have to prove beyond a reasonable doubt (or by preponderance of evidence–I’m not sure which they’re subjected to) that the violator did not use a transit agency’s services.

  3. How about using an ORCA card? Put an optional parking charge on the monthly pass. Also, many south-end LINK passengers have been telling me they appreciate being able to park free at Tukwila so they can take the kids downtown for a treat. I don’t think most of them would mind paying something for parking, in return for a convenient and enjoyable trip.

    Also, how about an ORCA option featuring:

    1. A day’s parking.

    2. An all-day family pass good on LINK and all buses. If the interagency complications are too bad, let the pass at least be good on LINK and ST Express buses.

    If family trips could start at Auburn, Kent, Tacoma Freighthouse Square, Everett, Lynnwood, or Ash Way, a huge number of LINK passengers wouldn’t need cars at all.

    Mark Dublin

    1. Tukwkila station is how many miles from the airport?

      If you need to drive, use one of the private pay lots. Prices start around $10/day.

  4. Enforcement signs have already been posted at Issy TC.

    I live outside the walkshed (as defined by Sherwin) of the bus stop closest to my apartment served by an ST route (0.8 miles from the 554 stop at Issaquah City Hall). It has always been tremendously convenient for me to drive the 2.5 miles to Issy TC, take a two-seat ride to the airport for out-of-town travel, and leave my vehicle at the underutilized parking garage while gone. I’ve done this innumerable times over the last four and a half years without a problem or a citation.

    Now I find myself having to arrange other means of simply getting to the public transit that I’d like to utilize to get to the airport. The 15-minute walk isn’t such a big deal except when it’s raining (who likes starting off a long trip with wet luggage?) or my bad legs are acting up. I can’t always expect the few local friends I have to be available, and while calling a cab for a less-than-one-mile ride seems like a waste of resources, that appears to be my only choice if I can’t make the walk. (Not even DART is available: I’m a half-mile outside the 927’s service area.)

    Mostly, though, I’m just irked and felt like publicly kvetching about an option that allows me to make convenient use of public transit for long-distance travel, without negatively impacting the functionality of the garage nearest to my residence, is being eliminated.

    1. How long are you gone for? When you come up Newport, instead of continuing west to the transit center, turn on 12th and park in one of the neighborhoods and hoof it from there? The 72 hour rule would prevent you from getting towed for at least that long.

      At least you don’t have to hoof it all 2 miles to the TC.

    2. Perhaps there could be an area set aside for long-term parking for riders like yourself – it should not be free, however — perhaps operated by an independent contractor who would also be responsible keeping an eye on the cars parked there.

  5. I’d just like to throw in some of the legal background to parking enforcement on transit property.

    There are some violations that are criminal offenses, like driving under the influence, or eluding a police vehicle, which are subject to the standard of “beyond a reasonable doubt” (probable cause).

    There are also some violations, which are further divided into traffic or non-traffic violations. Traffic violations are like speeding or following too close, while non-traffic violations are like parking within fire lanes, obstructing mailboxes, etc. Both of these are subject to the standard of “more likely than not” (preponderance of the evidence).

    All the violations Sound Transit’s gearing up to enforce are non-moving violations, which are subject to preponderance of the evidence, and punishable by a $66 fine.

    Just thought I’d throw this in, as basis for further debate. :)

    1. If it wasn’t for the part where they’re towing vehicles, that fine would be cheaper than parking at/near the airport for a week.

      1. It’s possible to assess multiple counts, because they’re separate violations. So, if someone parks their car in a fire lane, for more than 24 hours, they can be fined for the two violations, totaling $132.

        However, if someone parked their car for 48 hours in a spot, they couldn’t be ticketed twice, because the violations is 24+ hours, not 24-47 hours. Hypothetically, you could park in a space for a whole month, and only be fined $66.

      2. Only cheaper until they impound, and then you pay towing+storage to the impounder.

  6. In Denver, they charge for parking more than 24 hours. They also charge non-residents to use the park and rides.

    1. I’m not sure if it still exists but the best deal used to be to park at Stapleton (after it was closed) and take the bus to the airport. Parking was free (and close to downtown) and the bus was about $5 or so. It was a wonderful option.

  7. Two thoughts:
    1. BART in San Francisco (which is more or less commuter rail) charges for parking within their lots.
    2. We should encourage a number of users to use P&Rs to park in the lot for trips for the airport, but they should have to pay for this privilege. This can be tracked either by license plate, or a parking permit placed on the dash. It encourages people to use transit to the airport, and reduces VMTs..

  8. I think if most people knew that they could have parked here for free (and can continue to, if less than a day), they’d be using this instead of pay lots. I’ve taken many taxis to the airport when I’m in a hurry (takes me ~30 min just to get to LINK), so this would have saved me about $90 a trip.

    Of course if more people knew about this there would never be a space free. Charge, and charge more until you get some free spaces.

  9. What is that building that looks like a light rail station? This is at the Issaquah P&R now?

  10. Does anyone know what the regulations are the for Longacres/Tukwila Sounder/Amtrak lot?

    I was seriously thinking about taking Cascades down to Portland for New Years Eve day, but for the time I wanted to go (mid Afternoon) all the connecting routes to the station ( from Kent ) were not very efficient…taking hours by bus or long waits to connect in Tacoma.

    I could have driven to the Tukwila (Amtrak) station and parked there, but I could not find any guidance as to how long a car could stay there. I would have been returning in 3 days.

    1. Boeing owns the land the parking lot is on; BNSF owns the land the station is on. I imagine ST leases space for both.

      Aren’t there signs in the lot?

      1. I’ve never actually been to the lot, I only see it as I travel from Kent to Seattle on Sounder.

        And none of the websites were particularly illuminating.

        If I could park for several days there, no cost, I would definitely take the Cascades to Portland at that time (I drove instead).

        Sounder has connectivity of course to Tacoma, but only two early trains and then the rush hour trains.

        That’s more an argument for why Sounder should run all day long…and into the night.

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