Sound Transit recently released an addendum to their design and environmental analysis for S. 200th St. station. It updates a 2005 document. The map above nicely summarizes the changes. In ST agency-speak this segment is “South Link” while the other two (potential) stops beyond this — Highline Community College and Redondo/Star Lake — are the  “South Corridor.” Key changes to the plan:

  • Increasing the number of parking spaces from 630 to 1,100. This change is driven by a parking study that SeaTac law requires. There are three different configurations (1 garage, 2 garages, or garage plus lot) that might reach this total. The garage would have ground-floor retail/commercial in accordance with SeaTac law.
  • Add a pocket track just south of the station, which would allow ST to park an additional train at the terminus.
  • Shift the guideway to keep speeds at 55mph and improve safety at some intersections.
  • Changes to the planned road revisions, including better bike/ped/bus facilities on S. 200th st.
  • Move the station 40 feet to the west to avoid power and gas lines.

I’ve emailed Sound Transit to ask what the cost impact is.

64 Replies to “Sound Transit Releases S. 200th St. Station Update”

  1. Here’s a radical thought: How much would Sound Transit save if they outsourced the parking lot function to a private entity. Cap the parking fee at $3 and ask a private vendor to bid on what they’d charge to provide parking?

    Frankly, I’m getting really tired of Sound Transit pouring money into free parking without a defined plan to start charging for it.

    1. Ironic, isn’t it, that more parking (structures) are part of an environmental standard/requirement. 1,100 spots (for free?!) are an improper use of land in a spot that is already drowning in parking lagoons and that would have a chance to turn that around. If people need parking let them build it on their dime.

      1. Look at the bright side: With that much parking, Metro/ST could shut down Starlake P&R and Kent/Des-Moines P&R, and allow the 574 to have a much shorter trip between Federal Way and Link.

      2. Except that the 574 isn’t the only route that serves those two lots, and not all routes that serve those lots go downtown. Besides, I-5 on a bad day is faster than Link from 200th on a good day.

      3. The 574’s intent is to connect points south to LINK, mostly for the benefit of the airport employees (which i dont think was the origonal intention, but in the post 9/11 world thats how it worked out). I’m still strugging why people here want to trunicate routes at the first possible LINK light rail station, especally when its not a natural point of connection. Especally for commuter routes, who’s riders are usually somewhat adverse to transferring. it would be one thing if LINK stopped at FWTC, or airport employees had to take a shuttle bus in from sea-tac or TIB. But to take the 574 out of its path and force it to mesh with LINK at 200th so close to the airport is stupidity. Although it will be intresting to see if any of the Rental Car shuttles serve TIB for employee connections, since they are so close. Also, i agree with the commenter about charging for parking. a modest two or three dollar a day fee for new facilitys, that offer structured parking and 24/7 security along with amenities is quite reasonable.

      4. it will be intresting to see if any of the Rental Car shuttles serve TIB for employee connections, since they are so close.

        The rental car companies and their customers are paying for a lot of the cost for the RCF. I doubt the RCF shuttles will do anything but circulate through the airport drive and the RCF.
        But it’s possible that the employee shuttles could add the RCF to its route.

        But to take the 574 out of its path and force it to mesh with LINK at 200th so close to the airport is stupidity.

        Actually that routing isn’t terrible. You’d have to modify the stops at Kent/Des Moines, but if it continued via Military to 200th it could probably get you to the airport faster than its current routing–assuming there is NO time lost transferring. 574 continues up to 188th and makes a few stops on its way to SeaTac. Between I-5 and International Blvd, 188th is longer than 200th. But the difference in time between the 574’s arrival and Link’s departure would probably wash out any savings.

      5. I’m not suggesting that the 574 terminate at 200th. I assume it will serve it, on its way to the south terminal stop, and that the 180 will be amped up to serve 188th more.

        I’m also only suggesting that the 574 cease to serve those smaller park&rides if those P&Rs are mothballed.

      6. I don’t think Star Lake or Kent/Des Moines are going away. Routes 193, 197 and certain routings of 177 get a fair amount of riders from each (and there’s another downtown Seattle route that serves them. Can never keep them all straight).

        Besides, Metro is holding on to the 320th P&R with only one route serving it: 177.

    2. Paid parking is a huge business near the airport.
      Seems like a no-brainer to fill up the lot with ‘freebie parkers’, and hop a link train to the airport.
      I’m surprised they aren’t jumping up and down over this. Plus, it will be hard for commuters to find a spot if it fills up too quickly with Seatac flyers.

      1. Tukwila/International Blvd station is closer to the airport, has a parking lot, and is currently open for business. So why aren’t people doing it now? Because Sound Transit has, and enforces, a 24-hour limit on parking at all of their properties.

      2. At 12:15 last Saturday night there were probably 40-50 cars in the TIBS parking lot. I doubt many were legit P&R users simply because with each train or bus that came in almost no cars left the lot. They could have been area employees looking for free parking or they could have been travelers thinking they could use the P&R as off-airport parking.

        Hopefully ST is being heavy handed about enforcing the 24 hour rule in their P&R lots near the airport.

    3. The second garage/surface lot is on what is currently privately owned land (SeaTac Park, one of the many drive, park, take-a-shuttle-to-the-airport establishments). The document does not state that ST would purchase or lease the land.

    4. For the prospect of only ever receiving $3/per space per day I seriously doubt any private entity would bid on it without a guaranteed huge subsidy that would only grow larger and larger over time to cover private entities required profits. So, what savings would Sound Transit accrue other than possibly a short term savings against their bond authority? Their longer term operating cost would take a hit though. Conversely, if the build and operate it themselves (or at least contract out the operation) they will have an asset with a cash flow.

      1. Oh, I think private entities would be interested. We are talking about $100,000 a month in revenue. That’s better than a lot of fast food restaurants, and with lower overhead.

        I don’t see what benefit there is to contracting out operation, though. Apart from trying to keep ST out of the paid-parking business.

      2. The idea is that for $3 per day + an undetermined fee, it may be cheaper for ST to have a private entity build a lot connected to Link rather than building it themselves. ST can set the requirements as part of the RFP – Emergency call stations, security, ADA, “free” access during off-peak times, etc… If ST can do it cheaper, great, but it is a distraction from their core mission.

        Ultimately, I’d prefer that ST, Metro, PT, and CT focus on their core mission, which is delivering transit services. Providing parking will inevitably be a part of that in many locations, but when you’re competing with paid parking that is at least $9 per day at the airport, does it seriously need to be “free”? I’m not suggesting all lots have to be revenue neutral and that subsidized parking near transit facilities is inherently evil. I’m merely encouraging ST to look at other approaches to give people access to transit rather than doubling down on the ultimately ruinous model of “free” parking.

  2. I do like parking option 3 the best – the one with the parking split between a garage AND a surface lot. The surface lot would be easier to redevelop in the future.

    The future extension of Sound Transit’s light rail service south of the S. 200th Street Station will decrease demand for parking at the project site at the time the operations commence to the south; as a result, designated use of this parking area by Sound Transit patrons may be temporary in nature, ceasing once light rail service is extended farther south.

    Assuming no future shifts in SeaTac parking requirements, this is the best option. We get the parking to handle the extra demand while it’s the terminus, and a cheap way to cut it back once that demand is gone.

  3. This move is breathtaking…a real sea change!

    The acknowledgement that cars can be integrated into the “transit” systems.

    I know what the response will be from many of you…but in reality, having seen how it works on Long Island just this week, I wish you would all dust off your mindsets and try to re-orient towards what that customers really want and need.

    If I can get a car to do a 5 mile jaunt to a parking garage, then contribute to rail transit to a key destination, rather than having it hop on I-5, haven’t we made a better compromise?

    1. For once, John is correct. One consequence of mid-20th century suburban flight has been that transit needs in the sprawl surrounding even our oldest cities have been best satisfied by the ability to “park and ride.”

      Most of the LIRR, SEPTA, or MBTA commuter lines were built to serve compact, distinct towns and villages, and in the best cases they still do (giving them bi-directional worth, a usefulness to daytrippers from the city that randomly-sited P&Rs and 99% of Metro suburban bus service cannot).

      Nevertheless, the value of their parking lots to inbound “commuters” (meaning all who make trips into the city, not just for work but for all sorts of engagements) cannot be overstated. Until the suburbs are radically reorganized, parking-and-riding will remain a necessary evil even in metropolitan areas much bigger and with many more recognizable points of density than we have.

      The service needs of city and boony are different. Metro never seems to quite get this. Sound Transit (more or less) does.

      1. Precisely, Tim.

        But Metro’s suburban and urban missions should also be different. Based on the way they run their labyrinthine route systems, providing neither frequent, straight, connection-enabling urban service nor efficient, intuitive point-to-point suburban service — but rather running in both environments the same half-assed in-between form of service in that is ideal for neither — they clearly don’t get that.

        (ST’s rail and express-bus missions are also different from one another, which they seem to get. Sure, I think they could do a better job on the city segments, from a architecture-and-walkshed standpoint, but they at least get the concept.)

      2. Cool. I’ll let you tell all those taxpayers that we’re cutting their routes in order to spend the money on trunk lines they don’t use.

        I personally am not saying that’s a bad plan, but people get a bit irked when they’re required to pay for something they don’t* use.

        *”won’t” or “refuse to” would also fit here

      3. I’d take the opportunity to remind them of 40/40/20, and all the money that Seattleites spent on routes that NOBODY used.

      4. Ah, but I in this case I never even advocated for service redistribution between subareas.*

        All I said was that, given the wildly different needs and development patterns within each subarea, Metro should be patterning service to provide the best use of the funds dedicated to each area.

        In the city, that would mean high-frequency, gridded trunks. In the ‘burbs, that probably means pulse-timed point-to-points. Their “all-purpose” compromise takes the form of winding, infrequent milk runs in both environments, which aren’t really great for either.

        *(Yes, I know that I have advocated this many other times. But for the sake of discussing service form rather than service quantity, I did not do so here.)

      5. Appropriate levels of parking are important. For instance, the Amtrak station at Syracuse, NY has woefully low levels of long-term parking (20 spaces?) compared to the demand (more than that, just from people driving 40 miles or more to get there).

        The real questions are (1) the demand, (2) parking lot consolidation, and finally (3) the price. Enormous unpatrolled parking lots are adjacent to the Amtrak station at Syracuse, NY but can’t be safely used for long-term parking because, well, you know.
        Enormous patrolled lots are across the street but are reserved for a private business. Et cetera. *Failure of coordination*.

        If Sound Transit is going to get into the parking garage business, they need to (a) set prices at prevailing market rates for the neighborhood and (b) make the garage available as a general-purpose garage for the neighborhood. The question is, is this being done, or is Sound Transit underpricing parking while causing neighboring businesses to overbuild parking? I don’t know. Do you?

    2. The difference, John, is that you continue to believe that communities based on 5 mile drives to a “free” parking garage are sustainable and would likely advocate building more. I suspect the majority here look at park & rides as a transition technology and, frankly, a necessary evil for the foreseeable future.

      You and I do agree on using bikes more in suburbia though. At least I think we do.

      1. The problem for the suburbs is that even a 2 mile trip from a sparse neighborhood can be impossible to engineer for fixed line mass transit…especially if transportation of goods is involved like heavy luggage.

        We do disagree. I see nothing wrong with leaving the last few miles to independently guided motor vehicles (as well as buses, shuttles, light rail and bicycles). What would benefit us all is more and cheaper taxis in the whole region.

        Ultimately we may have Google cars by as soon as the end of this decade…ones that can patrol the station, pick up people and drop them off wherever they want…

      2. Actually, I think that all of us agree that, for the last mile into suburbia, most transit doesn’t pencil out. The difference is that I think we should be trying to build *fewer* communities that have such low density that you need cars.

        To put it another way: Your observation about suburban transit is completely correct. But I think the lesson to be drawn from that is that suburbs simply aren’t paying their way.

  4. Why is there even a S200th St station? I would assume a long term goal of rail is to provide efficient service between Seattle and Tacoma, and if there are more stations than absolutely necessary, the trip will be slowed down. S200th St doesn’t look like it has much potential for ridership within 1/4 to 1/2 mile, so you’re essentially just picking up people driving, who can just as well drive to some other station with parking. I would prefer to see stations only where there is a strong potential for people who are only going to walk (Downtown federal way, for example) since you can’t pick them up any other way.

    Besides, Rapid Ride A already provides fast, frequent service to this corridor and terminates at a light rail station, so light rail is essentially duplicating that service here. Wouldn’t it be better to have riders in the proximity of S200th street take RapidRide A, and transfer to link at TIBS, rather than forcing all of the riders from points south to add an additional few minutes to their trip for a location that doesn’t really serve much unique audience?

    1. I support the S 200th station, though I can’t see a need for the line to ever extend beyond it.

      S 200th is just far enough beyond the airport to preempt the airport/518/5/405 traffic snarls that make the current two stations anathema to commuters from wider South King and Pierce counties.

      Unlike the two existing stations, it is to be situated a mere 1/2 mile from I-5, offering the opportunity to replace many, many one-seat rides from the south with Link, with frequency offsetting the time penalty and none of the perceived “backtracking” distance penalty that commuters loathe.\

      Boston’s fight against urban highways in the ’60s and ’70s led to this phenomenally successful situation, in which route 2 from the west/northwest dead-ends at a gigantic garage above a subway line. At all times of day (not just rush hour) most anyone in their right mind switches to transit at this point. Cheaper parking and no traffic hassles sell themselves. (It’s not perfectly analogous, being closer to the center city and with much more frequent service, but the principle holds.)

      “…rather than forcing all of the riders from points south to add an additional few minutes…”

      I presume that buses along International Blvd proper would continue to the airport and the current TIBs bus hub, so no transfer is forced. But for anyone who needs the train, not having to deal with airport traffic, crossing 518, and negotiating the abyssal TIBs access layout could easily offer 10 minutes savings!

      1. I can’t see a need for the line to ever extend beyond it.

        Then we might as well reduce frequencies on all those routes that are as frequent as Link and serve points south of Link.

        replace many, many one-seat rides from the south with Link, with frequency offsetting the time penalty

        Yeah, good luck with that. Link from downtown to the airport is slower than downtown to Federal Way via I-5 on a moderately bad day. With combined headways sitting at around 8 minutes, it’s going to be hard to convince them that a “200th shuttle” that comes every 2-4 minutes will be worth extending their trip by 10-15 minutes. Just ballparking those numbers.

      2. “Then we might as well reduce frequencies on all those routes that are as frequent as Link and serve points south of Link.”

        There is no route as frequent as Link, whether south it or not. The closest are the 71/72/73 combined and the 15/18. The 7 and 36 match it mid-day and almost at peak. RapidRide A is less than any of these. The Seattle-Federal Way buses match it only peak hours. And all of these routes drop to 15 or 30 minutes evenings and weekends. Link is the only thing that comes every ten minutes until 10 pm seven days a week.

      3. “Then we might as well reduce frequencies on all those routes that are as frequent as Link and serve points south of Link.”

        ???

        I’m really not sure what you’re saying here. I never said there’s no demand south of there for any sort of service. Just not enough to (in and of itself) justify further extension.

        Demand for expensive, elevated rail is far more dependent on P&R-ers and transfer-ers, no matter where you build the transfer point. So it’s hard to argue for hundreds of millions of extra dollars just to move the transfer point of few miles south.

        “…all those routes that are as frequent as Link…”

        Double ???
        Which I guess would be ??????

        Are you suggesting that the South King potential Linkshed is crawling with 10-minute all-day routes? I thought the ‘burbs were always complaining about being underserved!? Because I live in the city, and we don’t have a single route that frequent. Many of our “trunk” lines still operate at 30 most of the time. (And I know you know this.)

        “Link from downtown to the airport is slower than downtown to Federal Way via I-5 on a moderately bad day.”

        I don’t believe you. The last time I absolutely had to go to Federal Way in a car, it took well over an hour in the HOV lane!

        More importantly, are you counting time spent getting through downtown and on/off the highway. That penalty is as high as the penalty at any well-designed transfer ever would be.

        “Combined [Federal Way] headways sitting at around 8 minutes…”

        Okay, now you’re just making stuff up to disagree with me. When? For 90 minutes before 8 AM? Sorry, but no solely rush-hour based argument ever justifies hundreds of millions in rail construction.

      4. Routes 175, 177, 179, 577 and 578 have a combined peak frequency that averages six minutes. Last I checked, six was less than 7.5

        I don’t believe you. The last time I absolutely had to go to Federal Way in a car, it took well over an hour in the HOV lane!

        Where’d you start? Northgate?
        2nd & Jackson to FWTC: 31 minutes. The northbound routing is different. It’s faster to University Street, slower to Jackson.
        And go check out the SIP for the on time performance of routes 577 and 8. Note that the SIP doesn’t count all the times the routes are early to the “estimated” timepoints (and yes, those routes DO arrive early. Sometimes they arrive late, and most often they arrive on time). Rail doesn’t hit timepoints early and doesn’t have estimated timepoints.

        More importantly, are you counting time spent getting through downtown and on/off the highway.

        Rail has to do that too. And for some time, Link will have to fight buses through downtown. BTW, it takes 2-3 minutes from the time the bus pulls on to the 317th ramp to the time it opens its doors at the Federal Way TC.

        [There’s] Just not enough [demand] to (in and of itself) justify further extension [past 200th].

        Doesn’t really matter anyways, since the voters already voted for it. And thanks to subarea equity, you won’t be paying for it.

      5. Sub-area equity applies to taxes collected. It resoundingly does not apply to my $81- or $90-per-month pass, which grossly subsidizes pretty much anything that happens outside the urban zone.

      6. “Where’d you start? Northgate?”

        From the Mercer on-ramp. It was raining. The most hilarious thing about Seattle drivers is that they can’t seem to drive in the rain.

      7. “Routes 175, 177, 179, 577 and 578 have a combined peak frequency that averages six minutes. Last I checked, six was less than 7.5”

        PEAK frequency. I don’t care about peak. We can leave all the peak buses as-is. The major contribution of Link and RapidRide A is frequent service off-peak which never existed before, and which allows people to do more of their non-work trips on transit.

      8. The 175 only serves Kent-Des Moines P&R. The 179 only serves Federal Way TC before heading west. The 177 only serves 320th St P&R. So, only the 179 is part of the FWTC trunk.

      9. The major contribution of Link and RapidRide A is frequent service off-peak which never existed before

        A thousand times yes. If the capacity of a rail line is only needed during peak, then that line is not worth the money. We build rail where there is, or will be, all-day demand. That means Capitol Hill, the U-District, and Northgate. That means Rainier Valley (until recently, the 7 was the most frequent route in the system) and the airport. That *might* mean DT Bellevue, though to be honest, I’m not yet sold.

        Thus, the best way to analyze a rail line is through its off-peak performance and utility. If that’s good, then the peak will almost take care of itself.

    2. I’m sure that the folks at Alaska Airlines / Horizon Air HQs would appreciate it … and it would provide a P&R location that is not mixed into the airport itself … which might be of benefit to many people in Federal Way / Des Moines who would rather not drive to Seattle on I5 …

      Of course the best thing would be to end the tourist confusion as to which train to board at the airport station.

      1. I’m sure that the folks at Alaska Airlines / Horizon Air HQs would appreciate it

        That’s wonderful. We’re building a multimillion dollar station to serve a building with 100-some employees.

    3. It’s too late to argue that the station should be dropped or moved. People voted for ST2 believing they were voting for stations near 200th, 240th, and 272nd. The “purpose” of the station seems to be the P&R since there’s nothing else around there.

      Link is already screwed as an express to Federal Way and Tacoma. It arrives at TIB just when the 578 is pulling into Federal Way, and it would get to Tacoma maybe 10 minutes after the 574. Link as an express to Lynnwood and Everett looks feasable; not so much for Tacoma and Redmond.

      So the main beneficiaries of south Link are those going to/from south King County, either to Seattle or potentially to Tacoma. Secondarily, it could serve as an off-peak replacement to the 574/577/578/594, if ST is willing to truncate those routes and tell people they’ll just have to deal with a longer travel time. The tradeoff would be much greater frequency and extended hours, which is a good bargain.

      1. there’s nothing else around there.

        YET. If we pick option 3, we could always build something on top of that surface lot. It’d be a really small and isolated community, but hey, it’s TOD isn’t it?

  5. The purpose of high-capacity transit is to entice people to use it rather than driving on the adjacent freeway. Ideally there would be frequent buses from the stations to all the neighborhoods but everybody says it’s too expensive to double the frequency of e.g., the 180 and extend it to match Link’s hours. and to add routes where there aren’t any or they only run peak hours. So if people can’t walk or bus to the station, their only choice is to drive to the station, or to drive all the way to downtown or wherever they’re going. It’s far better for people to drive a mile or two to the station than to drive ten or twenty miles round trip. Solving the last-mile issue is a long-term problem in south King County: it’ll start to happen over the next 10-20 years as the vacant lots and strip malls along 99 are converted to higher-density housing.

    Another fallacy: a parking garage at S 200th will not increase “sprawl”. The sprawl is already there and has been for decades. The station is an attempt to mitigate the sprawl. Two garage-stations (200th & TIB) in an unwalkable region of 700,000+ people is not excessive.

    Regarding “free” parking in south King, that also is an attempt to mitigate the sprawl and to entice people to use transit, and it has been very successful, and it has even turned transit-indifferent regions into transit advocates. ST1 and ST2 would probably never have passed if P&R’s hadn’t seeded the ground two decades earlier.

    However, it’s worthwhile to ask whether the era of “free” parking should end now. Especially given the budget shortfalls in all transit agencies. A dollar or two fee would raise a heckuv a lot of money to increase bus service in suburbia — which these drivers could then use. I wouldn’t raise it to $5 or $10 — that would make driving attractive again.

    But the issue of free P&Rs can’t be targeted at just one P&R. It’s a region-wide policy, or at least a county policy for county-owned P&Rs. So we need to pressure the county countil, Metro and ST to start thinking about charging at P&Rs in general, and to start a couple pilot projects. We should particularly remind them that it’s a use fee, not a tax, and that it could bring new revenues to budget-starved transit agencies.

    1. Well said. To be clear: I’m asking that fees be used to manage oversubscribed Park & Rides. I live close enough to South Bellevue that I rarely drive there. If I had to pay $3, I probably never would – thus saving that spot for somebody else who’s drive to the P&R is much longer or hillier than my walk to the P&R.

      Ideally the parking fees would pay for the parking facility but I realize we are a long way from that given all the “free” parking transit has to compete with out there.

      1. The Federal Way City Council threw a temper trantrum at Sound Transit demanding earlier completion of Redondo Station. ST could move that date up a little bit by charging for parking at Federal Way TC.

      2. I see no policy reasons why parking charges can’t be set differentially among lots, or even within a lot to charge a premium for the best spots.

        I also want to see an end to pull-in loop-de-loop stops in the middle of a parking lot. There are numerous examples of where on-street stops would work better, but haven’t been set up. Use some of the parking revenue to construct these on-street stops.

    2. The purpose of high-capacity transit is to entice people to use it rather than driving on the adjacent freeway.

      Not quite. The purpose of high-capacity transit is to enhance mobility. In practice, this means that some people who used to drive will switch to high-capacity transit once it’s built. But it’s wrong to think that a transit project will ever create a permanent reduction in the amount of traffic/congestion on a freeway.

      1. Why is it “wrong” to expect a permanent mode shift? Oil is only going to become more expensive over the long term. Owning and operating a car is only going to get more expensive.

  6. I don’t understand why the original terminus of south link was 272nd. There isn’t much there. 320th is where FWTC and everything is. RR A could disappear at that point too.

    1. There wasn’t enough money in ST2’s tax projection to reach 320th, so they decided to build what they could and leave the rest for later. Redmond is the same: East Link stops short of downtown Redmond. South King is also getting Sounder improvements and lots of ST Express buses, so that money wasn’t available for Link.

      Then after the financial crash, ST lowered the tax projections and said it may only have enough money to build to 200th or 240th, or finish south Link late, or implement BRT instead — it hasn’t said which it will do.

      RapidRide A will remain in any case. It serves all the in-between stops which Link won’t.

    2. There isn’t much of anything along Pacific Hwy south of downtown Seattle.

      And no, RapidRide A Line would not go away. Stops are much closer than just six at TIBS, SeaTac, 200th, 240th, 272nd/276th, 320th.

      1. In a similar manner that many density advocates are “salivating” at the prospect of an Aurora alignment for North corridor High Capacity Transit (post Nortgate) where high density communities can be easily built, Pacific Highway South offers a similar opportunity. However the wrinkle is that most of the jobs in south King County are in the Kent Valley so east/west transportation solutions need to be developed. Something transportation planners just never seem to grok.

  7. I wonder about the feasibility of setting up a dynamic ride-sharing system for shuttle trips from the park-and-ride to home. These are currently the most difficult to manage because for home->park and ride, you can time your trip to a bus schedule. Going the other way, you can’t because the train is going to arrive whenever it arrives.

    However, if you live within a few miles of the train station and a ride-sharing system were set up, the chances are really good that someone getting off the same train as you drove to the park-and-ride and is passing by your area on their way home. If the driver could receive a small fee, say $2-3 for a extra 5 minutes of travel time to drop someone off, this could provide drivers with an incentive to participate. This fee could even be subsidized with parking revenue. For example, if drivers who drove to and from the park-and-ride alone had to pay $3 to park, but drivers who took someone else home who rode the bus for the morning trip could receive a net $1 (free parking + $1 from the passenger). A $4 per day incentive would hopefully be enough to encourage drivers to pay the time cost of the overhead of registering for the system.

    Of course, the devil is in the details and the overhead cost of the system to match the riders and drivers and move the money around would have to be really cheap in order for this to be feasible. But, in the 21st century, with smartphones becoming more and more ubiquitous, I think this approach has a lot of potential.

    If it can work, getting two people to and from the station instead of one for each parking space means less parking around the station needs to be built. This means less construction and maintenance cost, plus the potential for more homes and businesses within walking distance of the station.

    1. 1st. Why is the guy begging for a ride home more likely to get it when it’s done online rather than just sitting at the P&R asking for a lift? Very few people want to transport strange beggars unless there is a big benefit to them, like being able to get in an HOV lane. That doesn’t apply to the last mile issue. A couple bucks isn’t worth a spontaneous 5 minute diversion in my schedule. A regularly scheduled rideshare is a different story and we have a system in place to handle that.
      2nd. How much does it cost a driver to obtain a CDL, Livery license, Insurance (or bond) covering passengers, and tax accounting services? because if you are transporting passengers for cash then you are subject to regulations that protect the safety of the consumer and ensure that you are executing the transaction in good faith, not overcharging. I know all this terrible liberal regulating just gets in the way of a beautiful libertarian ‘let people get together and work it out’ type solution, but the first time someone is raped or killed by one of these drivers, or they get in a crash, or they steal someone’s identity and run up charges on thier card – a lot of people will want to know who is minding the shop, and who came up with such a ridiculous idea that has no controls.
      Taxi’s already provide this service with professional drivers and they aren’t going to let you replace thier business without a fight.

  8. let’s follow on velo’s comment. why have structured parking at all; ST funds are scarce; they are not providing frequent bus service and cannot afford to extend Link as far south as they dream. answer: provide no parking. unless there is another use for the parking in the off peak periods (e.g., entertainment, church) the cost of strucutred parking does not seem worthwhile. if Link is not justfied for walk and bus access ridership, perhaps it should not extend further south. maybe routes 574 and 577 could be run very frequently.

  9. I suppose there is no chance opf having a super long SEATAC Airp[ort station so that travelers have an easier option of reaching the International Arrivals and Departure area. Trains could stop somewhere between the existing skybridge from the station to the terminal and the A and South Satellite terminal parking area.

    1. The Port and TSA disallowed Link from going closer to the airport, and it would put it in a bad position for continuing south. (Not that bad because it’s only a little out of the way, but it would add two potentially sharp turns.) The port *should* just install a moving walkway in the parking garage. That would address the biggest complaint, and would be less expensive than rebuilding anything or moving Link.

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