Mt Baker Parking
Diamond Parking Lot at Mt. Baker Station

Soon after Central Link opened, Martin identified a few paid parking lots near Link stations. With Sound Transit experimenting with paid parking at its own lots, I thought it might be a good time to check in on how the privately managed lots are doing.

I spoke with Joe Koontz, who runs Diamond Parking Services’ Seattle-area lots, about the lot next to Mt. Baker station, which he noted is the most popular among the several Diamond-owned lots near Link stations.

“The lot is fuller during weekdays than weekends, but there are more and more people using our lot during weekend sporting events,” Koontz told me, while declining to go into specific numbers.

As of today, all day parking at the lot still costs $4, same as when Link opened in 2009. “There are almost always stalls available,” Koontz said.

13 Replies to “Update on Paid Link Parking in Mt. Baker”

  1. That is one mighty inefficient looking parking lot. Not only isn’t it full, but it is laid out horribly.

    There must not be that much demand for parking there, because if there was they would surely lay it out better and get a few more spaces into that sea of asphalt.

    Goes to show that maybe we really don’t need parking near (in city) Link stations.

    1. Yes that is one horribly inefficient parking lot. Its also an open air parking lot.

      I personally always feel like open air parking lots are a tremendous waste of space. I would rather see parking lots turned into the bottom floor of a large new building, especially right near the stations in the south end (There was already quite a bit of development around the DTTS).

      In my experience there is very little around those stations where there should be a lot of TOD.. and not just on the land that ST bought up.

      1. Personally, I’d much prefer surface lots to any kind of structured parking, because these are place-holding investments for future TOD. At some point in the future, once TOD has started around them, the owner will be offered a large sum of cash from a developer that sees the potential of the site. Of course it’s frustrating when there’s nothing but parking lots – nobody wants to have the first building in a dead neighborhood. That’s why I value projects like Pablo Roberto Maestas, which start off an empty station site. But a parking lot or two near a station isn’t bad in the short term.

      2. @Matt

        I would just prefer more TOD now rather than later, but I do see your point about doing the TOD after the transit is actually in place to support it.

    2. If you throw private parking into the mix AND you can reasonably show there is feeder service, the I’d say, heck, why make the transit system also support parking.

      However, if a municipality, like Kent say, wants to provide free or subsidized parking at its own expense, as an adjunct to transit, then so much the better.

      What I don’t want…however…is for public money to be used to enhance the value of private real estate, but creating a system that becomes a necessity and then restricts its use unless people pay “tolls” to private entities, like parking lots and high cost nearby real estate.

      That to me is the worst of Government working hand in hand to enrich a few in the syndicate, and not for all the public.

      1. Are you saying we shouldn’t build light rail because private landowners will get rich off of it? Or just that we should eminent domain all the land around the stations and make sure no one makes too much money from it?

      2. The parking around Rainier Valley stations was already there; Link just provided a new market and a justification for charging for it. The reason the parking lots are there is that the valley has still not recovered from redlining and people’s overblown fears about getting shot, so private real estate developments are progressing slowly. The owners have to do something with the lots in the meantime, and parking lots are the cheapest and lowest-maintenance use, and can be easily removed when they’re ready to build.

      3. John,

        The “government” has spent massively more “enriching” folks like you living in suburban sprawl than it has the few “in the syndicate”.

        Once in a while you make excellent points, but I really don’t understand why you keep banging this drum. The world is not the corrupt place you imagine it to be. Yes, a bunch of late middle aged white guys with barrels of money have lots of influence on the development in the city. They make profits from their investments in new real-estate structures of various types.

        But the ones who are getting the vast subsidies you insist are being granted are the ones who are filling up the Puget Sound hinterland for the Narcissist in a McMansion crowd, NOT the people developing the city.

        Where does brand new public infrastructure — road improvements, water and sewer mains, and refuse transfer stations — have to be built? Before you answer engage your brain, not your ideologue. The obvious answer is “in the suburbs”.

        Sure, sometimes a large development in the city will require larger services than previously exist, and it is more expensive to replace systems than to build new. But most development in the city doesn’t require accelerated replacement, so on balance the subsidies are going to the Narcissist in a McMansion developers, and of course their buyers.

        Sort of puts a new meaning on the first three letter of NIMBY, doesn’t it? “Narcissist in a McMansion’s Back Yard”.

  2. Yeah, I think Matt is right about say, a three story parking garage. Once those are built, it is hard to get rid of them. Basically, it just doesn’t make financial sense to tear down a three story building unless you build something over ten stories, and in a lot of places, that isn’t allowed. I see your point, though, Charles; it still makes sense to have parking underground in the long run (assuming we have any parking).

    1. There is no way that $4 per day would generate enough revenue to pay back the $50,000 per space cost of underground parking. If prices increased to the point where an underground lot would pay for itself, parking at the station would cost almost as much as parking downtown.

    1. There is some 2-hour-except-by-permit street parking nearby that, practically speaking, provides ample Car2Go parking. Where we really need designated Car2Go spots, but will probably never get them, is the Husky Stadium lot, next to the Link station.

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