It’s a common refrain, particularly in the South Sounder corridor, to complain to Sound Transit about parking availability in general, oppose any parking fees that might make more efficient use of those spaces, and sometimes demand special privileges for city residents at the regionally funded facility. Rather than complain, the City of Auburn is doing something about it: they’ve gained use of some downtown lots, are charging for permits, and limiting those permits to Auburn residents and downtown businesses.
At Lot #1, closest to the station, permits will cost $70 per month. The other three lots will cost between $30 and $45 per month, and customers at these three lots can earn lower-cost permits if they fall under one of several protected classes. At all four lots, full-rate payers are also eligible for 10% and 15% discounts for 6- and 12-month permit purchases, respectively.
Permits are only required until 6pm, Monday-Friday. They are only available to residents with a verified Auburn address and businesses that have a current Auburn license and fall in the “Downtown Urban Center” zone.
I applaud Auburn for taking the initiative to increase parking availability and allow more of their residents to access Sounder, one of the highest-quality transit lines in the region. There’s no reason Sound Transit has to shoulder the access burden itself. In places where ST is already subsidizing uneconomic service (hello, Edmonds and Mukilteo), the least the cities could do is fund access improvements to make the service a little more productive.