Via John Niles, a map of vehicle registrations of cars parked in the Tukwila/International Blvd lot:

Sound Transit confirmed that it took this data on a single day — January 10th — sometime between 9am and 3pm.

I find the distribution of this somewhat surprising. Beyond the outliers (Mercer Island?) that are presumably using this as airport parking, it’s revealing to see the large numbers coming over from Renton and Kent, site of Sounder service that is in many ways superior. Is this an artifact of parking shortages at Sounder, or of the advantages of Link over Sounder in terms of span of service, frequency, and destinations?

64 Replies to “TIB Parking Map”

    1. Have you seen that area? Hardly a pleasant walk. And it ends with a walk through a large parking lot.

      1. After apartment shopping in the area, I concur that a walk from south of the freeway is horrible – it’s nearly a quarter mile just to get across.

        But the 3 customers coming from within 1/4 mile of the station, just north of the freeway, really make me laugh.

    2. So a 10 minute walk from the proposed Vision Line 114th Ave Station is too far, but a 15 minute walk from a person’s house to TIB Station is reasonable?

      Also, why would ST collect such limited data that would only raise more questions than answers? They should have also done a survey.

      It could also be that airport workers use the lot, preferring a train to their own employee parking lot shuttle bus.

      1. Use your planning knowledge, Sam. They’re working near TIBS, and using the lot so that customers can use their parking.

    3. Station boardings in Sep/10 were 1358 NB (84%), 258 SB, for a total of 1616.
      Looks like autos account for something under half of all the riders there. With so little walkshed, bus transfers are about the same as auto access.

  1. Metro does these surveys at times for their P&Rs and find a significant number of vehicles seem to not belong. Conjecture is that cars are sold all the time, registrations vary for kids off to school, dad has a new job, somebody is just meeting someone else, etc, etc.
    So all the hits that don’t make sense probably are not using the light rail station to catch a train – or maybe they are.

  2. Recall that these are based on vehicle registrations. Not everyone updates their registrations the day they move, that may explain a few of the further out ones. Also interesting to note to the 63 or so vehicles using the system that do not pay into the ST tax pot.

    Kind of interesting to see folks that live very close are driving and parking. I thought I was lazy driving to my nearby park and ride all of 1.5 miles away on rainy/cold days, some of those folks using the park and ride practically live within an area where they can probably see the station.

    1. interesting to note to the 63 or so vehicles using the system that do not pay into the ST tax pot.

      A lot of people that live inside the area register their vehicle elsewhere to avoid paying higher taxes and having to get emission tests. It’s also cheaper to insure your car if it’s registered in a rural area than in Seattle.

      1. I’ll take this oppportunity to remind folks that this is a very DUMB thing to do. If you have an accident, and the insurance company discovers you’ve been lying, they have grounds to deny your claim.

      2. When I was young and in college our agent advised us to do just this. Paying for insurance in Seattle would have been significantly more than a parents address which is perfectly legit to use. “Hey, it’s where I get my mail because I move around a lot and bills get lost otherwise.” Yes, your insurance company could deny a claim but it’s highly unlikely. Unless you are making fraudulent or excessive claims they really don’t want to lose a customer.

      3. [Bernie] Last time you claimed this, I ran through a large handful of insurance companies and compared rates between Seattle, a far suburb, and a rural area without any rate differences.

        Not that I don’t believe you – it could certainly happen. But it doesn’t seem to be a large phenomenon.

    2. Lets look at ST tax structure with your above statement
      interesting to note to the 63 or so vehicles using the system that do not pay into the ST tax pot.
      There are 4 seperate tax streams that feed ST
      1. 0.9% sales tax
      2. 0.4% MVET
      3. $2.50 Employee tax
      4. 2.172% car rental tax
      If someone has a car that is registered outside of ST boundries #2 will not apply
      For most of us #4 will not apply (not sure how car sharing services work with reguards to this)
      for #3 it depends why they were parked at Tibs, if they were going to work, then it probably applies, if they were park&Fly or going shoping then it would not apply.
      For #1 lets assume that the person lives at the location taht they have their car registered. the question that you then need to ask is Where do they shop? IF they do any shoping within the ST boundry then they are contributing to some portion of the Sales Tax to the pot.

      The accusation that someone who lives outside of the ST boundry pays nothing to ST and that they are getting something for nothing if they use ST is False and Inflamitory, and we need to stop propigating it.

      I live outside of ST boundries, over half of my taxable spending is done within the ST boundries, My employer is within ST Boundries, so payroll taxes apply, For anyone to say that I am freeloading on people within the ST boundries, and that I do not pay taxes to support ST is patently false, and insulting.

      Lor Scara

    3. Where do you get 63? I only see about 10 outside the ST district. The yellow areas are just within city limits. Most of the white areas are within ST taxing district.

  3. It many way this doesn’t surprise me. That area is just horrible. But I don’t know why people are driving up the hill. It’s one of the few places that actually isn’t a pedestrian nightmare–entirely. As for Kentians, I get why they come up here. I think it’s for four principal reasons: a) span of service and frequency as you said, b) Sounder service is limited, c) the 150 is a horrible service and the express buses are effectively the same as Sounder service, d) ORCA/PugetPass holders are likely to avail of free parking and ride the Link to the airport.

    To explain further, I don’t know anyone how has ridden the 150 and not had #150problems. Everyone who is a regular has dozens of stories of security issues and poor rider behaviour, I certainly do and Zach has even managed to top. The route is long and a terrible milkrun. Many suburban transit users naturally will avoid this type of service. Whenever I P&R with my father for instance, he will only ride an ST to Seattle whether that is Sounder, Link, or the 550/554. I can’t blame him or many others for that. That said, for all my #150problems, I appreciate it.

    As to the other Metro express services, my experiences have always been that they’re awfully late in Seattle–that’s never been a problem for me specifically as they were “on-time” for me–but regular riders should be pissed. These services also simply duplicate Sounder in most instances.

    I’ve done Link from TIBS to the airport twice. Since I already have a PugetPass it costs me nothing to P&R to the airport instead of parking at the aiport for 30 to 60 minutes. I know people are doing this. It just makes sense if it’s a short trip to meet people in a group or drop-off and say your goodbyes. Probably even individuals who work there are using the P&R? (I don’t know if they get permit parking closer or at Seatac.)

    One of the more interesting ways to Link from Kent/Auburn is the 180. Plenty of people do this all the time. Honestly, to Seattle it is *slightly* faster than the 150 and would be great if the hours of operation were extended and frequency is upped. I hear that may be happening?

    One thing that I don’t get is people 8 blocks or less from a RapidRide stop, particularly south of 180th. Why bother driving?

    1. The 180 though is as much of “milk run” as the 150 in some ways.

      Taking the 180 to the LINK to get to Seattle would seem to take as long if not longer.

      What we really need is all day express service for Kent Station in both North-South and East-West.

      That means a fast SeaTac Airport Express and a Seattle Express bus.

      1. Why not roll those “express bus” hours into an express bus between Kent Station and 200th St Station? (or continue on to East Hill)

        For those not living in the flood plain, what about a frequent one-seat ride to Henderson Station?

      2. I really like that idea! Kills two birds with one stone…however, I would want it to run all hours…this would make LINK a viable late night option for getting in and out of the city.

        (In a perfect world, Sounder would run all day and night, but for various reasons that won’t happen).

      3. I’ve suggested this before and I’ll do it again. Add a 594 stop in Federal Way. Then, replace the 578’s stop in Federal Way with a stop in Kent and replace the 577 with turnback trips on the 578 that end in Kent. Then, eliminate all stops on the 574 between Tacoma and the airport, since the 578 is already providing service from Tacoma to Federal Way.

        We now have all-day quality service from Kent to Seattle at no additional cost.

    2. The route 150 is a “long and a terrible milkrun.” If the route 150 takes 1 hour to go 12 miles, and East Link will take 40 minutes to go 8 miles, then we must also classify it as a long and terrible milk run, correct?

      1. East Link is crossing a large body of water, and so people will allow extra time for that…. ’cause it’s not like ferries are fast, and neither is driving across congested bridges.

      2. Slobodan Milosevic is a brutal dictator. If Slobodan Milosevic’s first name begins with S, and Sam’s first name begins with S, then we must also classify him as a brutal dictator, correct?

      3. About half of the 150’s 12 miles is on the freeway. The milk run is 50’ish minutes to go the remaining 6 miles, an average of just 8 miles per hour.

      4. where do you get 12 miles from? i live near the south boundary and i know its about 17 miles to westlake. and when i say near i mean within 1/4 mile.

    3. 180=> link does take longer than the 150. the reason is the 180 only has 30 minute headway and the 150 has 15 minute headways. Also the 150 takes 55 minutes to westlake whereas the 180 takes 20 minutes to seatac plus another 38 minutes for the link plus transfer time (walk from stop to train plus up to ten minutes).

      1. The 180 is actually pretty close to an express between Kent Station and Link because few people get on/off at the office parks or on Orilla Road off peak. But it still takes twenty minutes and I don’t see how to make it faster, and I can’t see Metro raising it to 5- or 10-minute headways that it would need to really be a Link extension. Even with that, it would still be slower than the 150. So there’s not much hope.

    4. Stephen, the reinvestment into the 180 in June only mentions more night runs to Burien, with 30-minute headway.

  4. People are voting with their pedals against the 124, 129, 131, 132, 134, and 156 (soon-to-be 156 east).

    Unfortunately, they aren’t showing up at fora to demand that service hours be shifted to faster, more frequent trunk routes.

    Some may also feel their cars are safer in a well-watched lot than in their own driveways and apartment lots. Just a thought.

    1. The dots do show a market for the new 156 east, and in particular the route that goes down 188th, close to that big blotch in Normandy Park.

      Or maybe that is where the car thief in Normandy Park hides his stash.

    2. “Unfortunately, they aren’t showing up at fora to demand that service hours be shifted to faster, more frequent trunk routes.”

      How do you sell them to advocate for that, though?

  5. Can they match ORCA passes to driver addresses and figure out where the riders are going — airport or downtown.

    Parking is ample at Kent Station (and free).

    One problem is they may not even know about Longacres station which is fairly removed.

  6. My parents live in Kent, and love taking the Sounder when they can, but for what they go into Seattle for ( entertainment ) Sounder doesn’t work. Service stops way to early. So they would like to go to tukwila but there isn’t enough parking, so they wind up driving into Seattle. They want to use rail transit, but just find it too much a hassle most of the time

    1. I’m a loyal sounder rider for it’s primary purpose – commuting. It’s a shame that such a large chunk of infrastructure goes unused 75% of weekdays and almost all the time on weekends. It’s not like people don’t know about the sounder – I get on full trains southbound in the afternoon all the time – but there’s no service (outside of special sports trains) for anyone other than commuters. This, in my mind, is one of the glaring holes in our transit system.

  7. While I generally support getting ST to start charging at their lots, I think converting this lot to TOD would be a much better investment. Once 200th St Station opens, sell this lot and dedicate the proceeds to accelerating Link construction to Federal Way.

    1. If TIBS had true market-based parking, we would be charging $10-15 per day, without the 24 hour time limit, just like all the other airport parking lots do next door do. We would also, of course, have an on-demand shuttle bus to the parking lot for the late-night period when the train isn’t running. Of course, if we did this, the lot would completely fill up with people heading to the airport to fly out of town and people headed downtown would be priced out, since their willingness to pay is less than that of people going to the airport.

      However, since we have made a value judgement that people commuting downtown are worthy of subsidized parking, we make it free and set a 24 hour time limit to prevent people from using it for out of town trips.

      1. Of course, if we did this, the lot would completely fill up with people heading to the airport to fly out of town and people headed downtown would be priced out, since their willingness to pay is less than that of people going to the airport.

        We don’t actually know that. $10/day is about $220/month for work days only, which is cheaper than a monthly parking spot downtown.

      2. If ST was to enter the airport parking shuttle market, they’d want to actually enter it properly. They’d want their shuttle to go right to the terminal, and if they were charging enough to make money they’d want to build a big-ass garage, so they could make more money. Then they could decomission all the trains and buses, because they don’t make any money on those and change their name to SoundParking.

        Oh, sorry, I forgot. There’s a difference between public agencies and private businesses. Private businesses (along with the Port) do a fine job of providing airport parking, so there’s no need for the public sector to get involved. ST is building a train system that will provide Tukwilites access to many important locations in the region, which private businesses are not doing.

        More walkable development near the train station would certainly be be a good thing. I’d also include some paid, time-limited parking — this is a regional system, and this gives a bigger portion of the people that pay for this system the ability to use it.

  8. The first thing that jumped out at me were the people driving from within walking distance. That’s been well covered by other commenters.

    The second thing jumping out at me was the people driving to the P&R rather than taking frequent bus routes that stop literally right in front of their homes. I’m speaking primarily of the clusters where the 120 runs through Burien (check out that cluster of dots on the massive Heights apartment complex, which is served by two #120 stops, one at each entrance to the complex), and also all the dots along RRA.

    The people driving to Link rather than ride the 120 could be simply written off as an artifact of the route’s unfortunate southern terminus, depriving it of a direct Link connection, and then people’s understandable unwillingness of riding a milk run all the way from Burien to Downtown. But the people choosing to drive to TIB rather than ride RRA can only be explained as obvious mode preference. People would rather ride trains than buses, even if the bus is fast, frequent, and free (with Orca transfer).

    IMO, solid evidence right there that BRT is not a substitute for rail.

    1. Somewhat agree about your last point but hasn’t A line also been a resounding success thus far also? Granted, that success is partially thanks to the terminus being a Link Station. However, that’s kind of the point of any main trunk route.

      1. A Line has been successful. For a bus route. This map shows that buses/BRT is just not good enough for a trunk line, though, because people are still shunning it in favor of a P&R at the rail station.

    2. They aren’t choosing to ride a train over taking a bus when they drive to TIB. They’re choosing to drive rather than take the bus. Depending on the schedule of their connecting bus and what their hours are like, this could save them a lot of time, independent of mode. I don’t doubt that people prefer trains to buses, all things equal, but I think they really don’t like transfers.

    3. It’s easy for transit nerds on STB to pose the question of why drive to the P&R when you can walk or take a frequent bus. But most people don’t think that way. Rather, the question most people ask is why bother doing anything else when you can drive and parking is free? 99% of the people living out in Tukwila have the ingrained habit that every trip out of the house begins with stepping into the car. Even if the bus ran every 5 seconds, there would still be no reason to break that habit. Only a price on parking or expected difficulty of finding a space can do that.

      Furthermore, even though bus->train transfers are free with an Orca card, it is important to understand that a lot of people don’t have one because if you only use transit occasionally, obtaining one is more hassle than it’s worth, plus you have to pay that $5 fee.

      When you don’t have an Orca card, the bus->train transfer is not free. Off-peak, you’re talking about a fare of $2.25 each way, or $4.50 for the round trip. If you forgot to bring quarters and have to round the fare each way up to the nearest dollar, the cost of the round-trip bus fare now goes up to $6. And if you have two people traveling together, none of which have Orca cards, the marginal cost of riding the bus is now $9 (or $12 if you don’t have quarters on you). By the time you pay $9 for the bus, plus another $10 for the train for the round trip ($19 total), you may as well just drive all the way downtown and pay $2 of gas plus $10-15 on parking.

      Yes, it’s easy for us STB-bloggers to say these people should just get Orca cards. But if you put yourself in a the shoes of a suburban transit-neophyte, it’s simpler to just drive to TIBS, search for parking, then drive all the way downtown if the parking is full.

      1. Why try to find where ORCA cards are available when you’re already standing at a machine whose sole advertised purpose is to sell you a train ticket?

        While you are waiting in line at the TVM, tweet your county councilmember and ask why ORCA cards are not more generally available, since you’ve never seen the secret locations where they sell them?

        (Can anyone tell me where to find the movie “Clerks”?)

      2. Suggested new prompt during the ticket-buying transaction:

        Would you like to put that ticket on an ORCA card for only $5 more?
        I’ll throw in a free bus transfer for the value of the ticket.

        (Yes) (No) (Tell me more)

      3. (brent: ot, but magnet:?xt=urn:btih:85c0b934d2126b6bf866e1b7056d39ed45d16cb4&dn=Clerks& )

    4. I’d be people are driving to the Link, which has a good rider experience, to avoid the poor rider experience on the bus. Link stations have short wait, shelter, and gets riders to their destinations quickly. Riding the bus with 20+ minute headways is inconvenient if you can just drive and be on a train in under 10 from when you arrive at the station.

  9. What I find fascinating is how many live practically next door to SeaTac Station, but drive to TIBS to catch the train.

  10. I understand the reasons for driving to TIBS from Kent. For my family, when we want to take a trip downtown, it’s as simple a reason as being able to bring a stroller on the train uncollapsed. Couldn’t do that on the 150 (nor was there room).

    1. To date, I’ve ridden the 150 exactly twice. There are a lot of homeless people on that bus and lot of mentally unstable people on that bus. My very first trip on the 150, the driver had to hold up the bus at Southcenter because a passenger was having a seizure.

      I cannot blame anyone who needs to return from downtown after the last Sounder trip from driving to TIBS as an alternative to this.

      1. This is an important, but altogether different problem. Homeless/unstable people have every right to ride the bus as long as they pay their fare and follow the rules.

        It’s a loaded question to ask “what can we do to make people feel safer on buses”; instead, we should be asking, “how can we better serve vulnerable populations”, which is a question that extends far beyond questions of transit service.

  11. Do we know that the vehicles are registered to individuals and not businesses?

    Two possible scenarios: employee with company car lives near Link, commutes to TIBS and drives to work;
    employee with company car uses it at business during day, but if he needs to go either to downtown or the airport, drops car at TIBS rather than driving downtown or paying for airport parking.

    No idea if either is true, but some pattern relating to business-owned vehicles could explain some of the plates down along International Blvd.

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