Sightline’s Jerrell Whitehead has a thorough and well-researched post up about Sound Transit’s pilot program to maximize parking spots at park-and-rides via user fees, real-time space information, and ride-sharing. If you’re at all interested in the subject you should read the whole thing, as they say.
There’s an undeniable economist’s appeal to using price as a way to rationalize demand for a scarce resource like parking, and charging money for spots is absolutely the right thing to do. Until there’s a culture of paid parking in the suburbs, however, Sound Transit’s going to face an uphill political fight with one of its core constituencies.
That said, the way this pilot was done seems to strike the right balance: charge for some spots, but not all, and give preferential treatment to carpoolers. Oh, and if ST really wants to boost ridership, it should find ways to develop more housing and offices near existing park-and-ride facilities.