Eastgate Park & Ride (ECTran71/wikimedia)

King County Council will vote on a Park and Ride permit program next week.

by HESTER SEREBRIN, VICKY CLARKE, ALEX BRENNAN, and TIM GOULD

In Seattle, many of us are privileged with easy access to great bus service at any time of day. But the regional reality is pretty different for most folks. Until we are able to fund and build out King County Metro’s long-range plan, which will connect many more neighborhoods to frequent, high-capacity transit via a short walk or bike ride, lots of residents have to rely on driving to a Park and Ride as part of their daily trip. 

With increased growth and demand in our region, many of these lots are filling up fast, creating crowding on earlier transit trips, and leaving little to no parking for workers without the flexibility in their schedules to race for one of the limited spaces early each morning. Rather than building more parking lots, parking permits can help manage available space at Park and Rides, encourage carpooling, and create reliability for those who need it.

Next Tuesday, July 16, the King County Council Mobility and Environment committee will vote on a parking permit resolution to offer reserved solo driver parking permits for King County Park and Ride facilities. Join TCC and partners on July 16 at 1:30 pm to testify and show your support for smarter parking management. 

This Park and Ride resolution is similar to the policy the Sound Transit Board of Directors approved last year; applications for solo driver permits, including discounted permits for ORCA LIFT riders, are now available for Sound Transit Park and Ride facilities in Northgate, Auburn, Puyallup, Edmonds, and Mukilteo. 

Why Park and Ride Permits?

Park and Ride lots are convenient transfer areas that make transit more accessible for people who do not live near a bus or light rail route. Until we have a more robust transit network, Park and Rides are one tool to relieve congestion and promote the use of public transportation. All riders and taxpayers pay hidden costs for expensive parking infrastructure, and building more parking will only occupy land that can be used to build housing near high-frequency transit. Parking permits can help manage parking demand and curb the need to build endless parking lots. Without parking fees, parking costs impact all users, including those arriving by foot, bike, or bus, while only benefiting those who drive.

King County’s Park and Ride Proposal

To ensure equitable and reliable access to Park and Rides and efficient use of current parking, King County’s policy will:

  • Set an ORCA LIFT parking permit rate for low-income riders to help manage parking demand without pricing out those most reliant on transit. Use a targeted outreach effort for communities of color, those with low income, and those with limited English proficiency to access the new program.
  • Build a demand-based price setting for full-price permits. The proposed rates range from only $2-4 a day, which is less than 50 cents an hour for a 10-hour day. 
  • Allow 50 percent of the stalls to remain permit free for those who cannot afford to pay or choose not to pay.
  • Continue to offer free permits to carpoolers (HOVs).

Together, several partner organizations wrote a letter to King County Council in support of the Park and Ride solo driver permit program.

In addition to funding the maintenance of the parking program, we advocate for the revenue from the program to be directed to multimodal access improvements that will help maintain and improve safe access to transit for those who have the option to take more sustainable and efficient modes to the stations, reducing demand on the limited parking. This contributes to our overall policy goals of equity, sustainability, and affordability.

Parking management policies are a useful step to provide reliable and predictable transportation access, especially for those who need it most. Let’s get this Park and Ride policy passed through the King County Council Mobility and Environment Committee next Tuesday, July 16.

Check out our Park and Ride policy framework one pager here.

Hester Serebrin is the Policy Director of Transportation Choices Coalition. Vicky Clarke is Policy Director of Cascade Bicycle Club. Alex Brennan is Acting Executive Director of Capitol Hill EcoDistrict, an initiative of Capitol Hill Housing. Tim Gould is Transportation & Land Use Chair of the Sierra Club, Washington Chapter.

72 Replies to “Permits will make park and rides more reliable and accessible”

  1. Here’s the rub. The region is growing and housing prices are pushing more folks into the suburbs. Those of us with vehicles already pay a lot of money thanks to the various ST taxes. Express buses offer a great way to get to our jobs. To multi-trip or carpool would add to an already long commute into the city.

    To ask those folks who already pay for the system through annual vehicle fees and paid fares to now pay to park is triple dipping. Yes, it’s $2. But over time, this will increase just like other “fees” in this region (think SR 520 tolls). Where would these fees go? To fund some six-figure bureaucrat salary? To go to one of the “left-leaning” transit advocacy groups to push their agenda? Would it fund improved/expanded parking as suburbs with existing P&R grow and densify? What about funding turn arounds for passenger drop off (ie Kiss and Ride/TNCs)? Will Transit users simply flood other free lots or nearby on-street parking if fees are applied? Simply saying that an agency should charge without any formalized plan on how to use the money does not fly with me.

    1. Free parking is a huge subsidy for you that other riders don’t get. Slightly reducing the amount of this subsidy does not constitute triple dipping. It also doesn’t matter what they do with the revenue. They could literally set all the money on fire and this would still be a good idea. It’s about using market mechanisms to allocate scarce resources, not about raising revenue.

      1. Wow, what a useful comment. I mostly agree with you but let go of the self-righteousness. We all get government subsidies, including you.

      2. Nowhere did I imply that other riders aren’t getting a subsidy. Yes, all riders are getting some sort of subsidy, but park-and-riders get the most, and even with the fee they’ll still be getting more bennies in pure dollar terms than people who don’t or can’t use park and rides.

      3. It’s a public benefit paid for by the public. It’s not a subsidy. Just like we don’t call bike lanes, libraries, or parks a free subsidy. “But Sam, only park and ride users benefit from the park and ride!” And only bicyclists benefit from bike lanes.

      4. Park and ride lots are no more a public benefit than the mortgage interest deduction is a public benefit. You need to own a car in order to use it. Anyone can use a park or library.

        Everyone benefits from the traffic calming effects of bike lanes, and reducing the incidence of traffic injuries is a public health benefit.

      5. And everyone benefits when car drivers park their cars and takes mass transit. A parked car is the ultimate traffic calming.

      6. Sure, if parking lots appeared fully formed out of nowhere and also didn’t take up any space. Otherwise you have to ask whether or not a parking lot is the highest and best use of taxpayer dollars and publicly owned land.

      7. Let’s remember one more thing in all of this. Car owners/drivers are Sound Transit’s benefactor. They are funding our current and future transit system. Bike riders don’t fund even one minute of ST’s operation. So when speaking about P&R garage users, let’s speak about them with a little reverence and appreciation.

      8. Let’s not give car owners too much “reverence”. MVET taxes make up about 10% of Sound Transit’s budget, whereas sales and use taxes account for about half.

      9. Let’s remember one more thing in all of this. Car owners/drivers are Sound Transit’s benefactor. They are funding our current and future transit system. Bike riders don’t fund even one minute of ST’s operation. So when speaking about P&R garage users, let’s speak about them with a little reverence and appreciation.

        Even if your statement was true, which it’s not as ColumbiaChris pointed out, a parking stall costs close to $100,000 per stall, currently that $100,000 is 100% subsidized.

        Let’s say your typical ST Express rider is subsidized $10 on top of the $3.75 fare. That $100,000 parking stall could subside one rider for 10,000 trips or about 20 years(!) of commuting, assuming 500 one way trips per calendar year.

        So yeah, it’s about time for SOV drivers to start paying into the system.

    2. Comments using terms like “left-leaning” do nothing to advance a discussion. You may have valid points but your language will discourage others to respond.

    3. So, what solution do you propose instead? Just let the lot fill up at 6:30 AM and do nothing? Or, are you saying that Metro should just keep buying up the adjacent lands to build bigger and bigger parking garages – and cut bus service to pay for it.

      You can’t have something for nothing.

    4. Not every area even has available park-and-ride. Link in SE Seattle is a good example. Having one at a modest cost is better than having nothing.

    5. I tend to agree that it’s worth asking what that money would be used for, this is fair and sensible. But I lost you at the whole “left leaning” part. National partisan politics really should have not part in the discussion. Please stop politicizing basic urban infrastructure.

    6. How would funds from King County go to a “left-leaning transit advocacy group to push their agenda”? What possible pathway is there for revenue from parking to go to a 501c4 organization? Do you have any evidence of this type of thing happening in the past?

    7. To ask those folks who already pay for the system through annual vehicle fees and paid fares to now pay to park is triple dipping.

      So what? Parking is a different service. It is like going to the movies — I don’t get the popcorn for free. Why should we all pay for your free parking, when most of the people who ride transit don’t drive to the stop?

      Put it another way — lots of people take a bus, then the train. I’m sure they would much rather be picked up by a cab, and dropped off at the station. Should we pay for that as well?

      Suburban transit (of various sorts) costs *more* than urban transit. So already there is a big subsidy. I’m sorry you don’t have great transit in your neighborhood, but the situation won’t get better as long as folks drive to the station (and demand free parking). Park and Ride lots like the one shown on the picture are extremely expensive to build. We are way better off creating good connecting bus service. But we built those park and ride lots anyway. You should feel lucky that we have them, because in most cases, they are a terrible value.

      But now it will cost money to use them. Where will the money go? I don’t know, but I’m guess the same place as where the regular fares go — into the system. It helps offset the costs of running the buses and trains. This in turn helps add more service to places like your neighborhood — so that you won’t have to drive to the park and ride.

      1. To add to this, car drivers are not even paying for the basic road system we have, let alone their entire use of the transit system. If we had a sensible road network that was actually paid for by user fees (gas, tolls, taxes, fees), I would kind of get where OP is coming from, but the fact that roads at every level have not been solely paid for by gas taxes and other car fees for decades (if ever) makes this a difficult position to take.

      2. Stu. Please spare me the lecture on roadway funding. As a car owner, I’m paying a lot of money to drive. …and there is little incentive to abandon it.

        For years, the transit providers are not listening to those not willing or able to live in massive apartment blocks close to town. Those of us in suburbia demand better parking alternatives. Multi-tripping is not an option. Connections are in reliable. Living near Link is and will be costly. Look at the rents near some of the current Link stations. …and where does that permit money go? You side stepped my question.

        When we want to talk about parking permits, my fears were realized in a recent SF Chronicle article concerning massive demand for parking in suburban lots and a black market for parking permits. It’s a disaster.

      3. Seattle voted to tax itself more for more bus service. If the suburbs want bigger P&Rs or more feeder buses, they can put a levy on the next local ballot to pay for it.

      4. Stu. Please spare me the lecture on roadway funding. As a car owner, I’m paying a lot of money to drive. …and there is little incentive to abandon it.

        In Washington State, car drivers, through car-related fees, tolls or taxes, pay for about 53% of state funded roads, the rest coming out of the general fund. So you might be paying a lot to drive, but if you were to be paying 100% of your way, you might consider some alternate.

        So you don’t want to be lectured to, but you clearly need to be.

      5. “For years, the transit providers are not listening to those not willing or able to live in massive apartment blocks close to town. Those of us in suburbia demand better parking alternatives.”

        Both groups have been underserved in different ways. In a fully urban cities like New York or London, 70% of people don’t have cars and many consider them more of a burden than an asset. In fully suburban environment, cars are the only mode supported and when you put 200,000 or a million of cars together you get gigantic traffic and asphalt-dedicated land and environmental externalities. Pugetopolis is trying to do a mixture of both and not very well: it doesn’t provide enough transit to get 50% out of their cars, either in central Seattle or outside it. (Only commutes to downtown have gone down to 30% driving.) Suburbanites don’t have enough P&Rs and feeders to fully serve them either.

        But, it’s the suburbanites themselves and a large part of the voter base that have caused this. King County voted down the last few Metro measures that would have increased suburban transit. Seattle was the only one to fund additional local transit on any significant scale. A large percent of the population resists expanding the areas with apartments and missing-middle housing that would give people a choice between the two extremes and narrow the price premium.

        We could build more Capitol Hills and Fremonts in the Eastside and South King County and Snohomish County so that people could have the same convenience even if not the cultural prestige of living in the original. Why won’t Renton or Kent or Des Moines build a Ballard in their downtowns or in the Highlands or East Hill or 99, so that people don’t have to live in Seattle or downtown Bellevue to have urban conveniences? (Three mixed-use buildings in a row isn’t enough. You need a 2-D area with a significant number of units and a variety of walkable businesses that meet most of people’s needs.)

        The revenue from $1-2 parking fees will barely cover costs, so there won’t be a windfall for corrupt transit executives to distribute.

  2. Why is it better to accommodate one part of society (permit holders and surge-price payers) over another (early risers). This seems arbitrary. A monthly pass benefits society by guaranteeing people will make most of their trips on transit, and the number of passes is unlimited for everyone who wants one. But parking permits are limited by the number of spaces in the lot, and their net effect is not making more people use the P&R (because it can’t fit anymore), but simply changing which people use it. How does that benefit society, beyond the permit revenue which is probably minimal after costs?

    The ulitmate answer is more feeder buses so that people don’t have to drive to the P&R. Jarrett Walker has shown some evidence that even lightly-used coverage routes still get ten riders per hour on average, which makes them more cost-effective than any other solution. (On-demand taxis get 1-2 per hour, while personal cars although not directly comparable get zero for the hours they’re parked in the P&R).

    1. Did you miss the part where it said carpools get free permits? So the net effect is, in fact, to allow more people to use the P&R by encouraging carpooling.

    2. It also encourages people who *can* ride the existing feeder buses to do so, saving a parking space at the lot for those that can’t.

      Without incentive, even people who have easy alternatives will drive anyway, if nothing else, just to save 5 minutes of walking and/or waiting for another bus. Without incentive, even people who live within walking distance of the park and ride, who don’t need a feeder bus, will still drive, simply because they’re lazy, and it shortens their commute by a couple minutes.

      1. What you call an “incentive” is actually a stick. This fee is a stick to get people to change behavior. And it’ll work. But let’s not kid ourselves by calling it an incentive.

        I’d be more interested in trying out a program that took a handful of parking spaces (to begin with) and reserved them for *a* registered carpool group — similar to TripPool, but without the provided vehicle. Or do VanPools to P&R’s with reserved spots right up front. Along with guaranteed ride home, that’s a decent package of incentives for carpooling. And it generates more trips per parking spot.

      2. “It also encourages people who *can* ride the existing feeder buses to do so, saving a parking space at the lot for those that can’t.”

        Feeder buses are not a solution unless both express routes and the feeder buses are running at at least 15 minute frequencies, if not better. When your option is to either drive 10 minutes to the P&R or spend over 30 minutes getting there by bus (5 minutes walk to bus, 5 minutes wait for bus, 10 minutes on bus, 15 minutes wait for next bus), most people will just drive.

      3. Some of the feeder buses at Eastgate are already running every 15 or better peak hours – especially for those with the luxury to choose from multiple routes. For instance, some neighborhoods have the combination of the 245 and 271, which are both frequent.

        But, the point being, as long as parking is free, even those people need not bother with the feeder bus. No matter how often the bus comes, there is always some nonzero wait, so driving will always be faster (unless the parking is full). The same people who say they won’t ride a feeder that comes every 20 minutes, when the feeder improves to every 10 minutes, they’ll say they need a bus every 5 minutes, and one that makes fewer stops. When the truth is that, with carrots alone, nothing short of a taxi that’s waiting for them at their driveway will do the trick (and even that may not, they’ll find something else to whine about).

      4. “Feeder buses are not a solution unless both express routes and the feeder buses are running at at least 15 minute frequencies, if not better.”

        So run them every 15 minutes. Metro’s goal for coverage routes is 30 minutes, and most of them are there already at least weekdays, and that may be frequent enough, we can look at that more closely in certain cases. If the route has only one primary stop at the P&R (as opposed to a second primary stop somewhere else), then it may be possible to coordinate then so the wait is 10 minutes or less even if the bus runs every 30 minutes.

        “When your option is to either drive 10 minutes to the P&R or spend over 30 minutes getting there by bus (5 minutes walk to bus, 5 minutes wait for bus, 10 minutes on bus, 15 minutes wait for next bus), most people will just drive.”

        The 5-minute walk and 10-minute bus ride are intrinsic to feeders. The 5-minute wait is your choice; others arrive 1-2 minutes early. The 15 minutes is the time we most want to cut down. Are you referring to a particular trip or a general case? It is frustrating to transfer between two 15-minute routes and have a 15-minute wait, so my focus is on getting those waits down as much as possible.

    3. It’s not arbitrary because it helps spread the load out throughout the peak periods. By being first-come first-serve, garages fill up quickly, pushing lots of people onto buses/rail early in the morning, and then provide no ridership once full. Operationally, having garages fill up over several hours helps disperse peak loads.

    1. Where does subletting permits exist in Pugetopolis? The closest I can think of is the easy-to-obtain disability permits that get used for years after the person recovers, but even there I’ve not heard of people selling them, only that they’re issued too freely. So you’re citing a problem that appears in a certain environment like New York’s taxi medallion scheme and claiming it will automatically happen everywhere under any system or population size. It’s almost like saying “those people” are always criminals.

      1. Seatac. There is a permit parking system in Seatac, put in place to prevent airport employees from parking in neighborhoods. Permits are going for four times purchase price, and the program (in the neighborhood I am describing) is less than three months old.

  3. For people that advocate “congestion pricing”, this specific proposal is doing just the opposite. Shouldn’t the time of day be a factor in this pricing scheme? Many other transit agencies apply parking charges/ permits only a few hours each weekday. It’s a much cheaper way to also enforce the charges because staff would need only a few hours a day to monitor the parking.

    This 24/7 proposal is pretty naive about daily enforcement and is anti-congestion pricing!

    1. I didn’t see that permits would be enforced 24/7, but if they are, I agree that’s bad. During off peak hours there’s plenty of free parking to go around, so permits are not necessary.

      Eastgate is also a popular meeting spot for carpools going into the mountains, usually on weekends. Sometimes, people arrive by bus to join the carpool, so having the carpool meet at a transit hub is a good thing.

    2. The proposal I’ve seen generally allow for permitted spaces to be first-come first-serve after a certain point in the morning (say, 8.30), which is effectively congestion pricing, and usually free weekends/holidays. I don’t see in the post where it says 24/7?

      1. Nowhere does it say morning peak hours only. The summary sheet also says nothing. The post does state “The proposed rates range from only $2-4 a day, “ implying that time of day is not considered.

      2. The omission of basic time of day information shows the misguided perspective of TCC, cascade Bicycle Club and the Sierra Club. They appear to be more interested in penalizing all drivers at any time of day than think about the day-to-day realities of enforcement and how lots get used.

      3. The lots where this matters fill up at 7am and empty at 5pm. Typically the permit gives you a reserved space until 9am and then it’s released for anybody to use, so it’s like an airline reservation that expires if you’re not in the boarding line when it goes in. The congestion period is pretty static, unlike a road where it expands and contracts every few minutes unpredictably. So changing it every hour is overkill. They system they have is fine, and does what it intended: allowing people to buy into a reserved space in the late AM peak.

  4. You know what we need to do. We need to build living complexes near transit that only caters to the carless. Then put huge parking garages on the lowest floor and on available surrounding area. Then car peoples can pay the tenants a fee of some sort for parking spots. This way we don’t have to build these monstrosities called park & rides, rentals become cheaper and we no longer need government bureaucracy to manage. Everybody is h a p p y!

  5. This is referring to King County, not just in Seattle where mass transit is pretty good. In Kent and other communities in King County there are few feeder buses to the main transit hubs or train stations. They often don’t run from a convenient location or a time that permits commuting into the city for work. For those people the Park and Rides are essential. Yes, I understand that Seattle is so all important and the universe rotates around it (that’s how we feel who live in the South Sound), but there are other inhabitants out there too. So you need to look at the bigger picture. Park and Rides are essential to the economy of the greater Seattle area.

    1. @KSR58 I’m not sure who you’re referring to? I don’t think anybody has said parking for fringe areas to access transit to an urban core is a bad thing.

      For me, I’m saying swap out the parking slots of a P&R with a cheaper and less obtrusive alternative.

    2. No one saying to abolish park and rides, jeez. We get that they’re important. The point is that the current system of free parking isn’t working, and a parking permit system is a way to better manage demand and encourage people to carpool so more people can use the P&R.

    3. Park and Rides are “essential” in Kent and other South King sound-area cities largely because you won’t tax yourselves to pay fof more peak service. And because you choose to live in cul-de-sac ridden developments without pedestrian cut-throughs. So everyone has to walk artificially far to the nearest arterial.

      The cake is baked, and you have to eat it as served. You chose the restaurant.

      1. Given they won’t use transit unless there are P&Rs available I’m all for them. Its better than the alternative. Especially given the lack of density.

      2. “You chose the restaurant.”

        Not everybody can afford dinner at the Four Seasons or Canlis. Some of us only have enough chump change for McDonalds or maybe Applebees.

        Perhaps your public school teachers, nurses, and retail industry should have a general strike, and go find jobs in underserved and much cheaper parts of the state. Because you sure as **** aren’t paying them enough to live close to transit.

  6. I’m on the fence about P&Rs in general, I get their purpose out in say the more rural or less populated centers of King. Where it can connect to either commuter rail or feeders. But once you get into the more denser parts of King I sorta shake my head as to why they are needed like Northgate for example. I think better bus service all day would help with connecting people instead of P&Rs. Like we have terrible night owl/late night/early morning service both at a local and express route levels throughout the Greater Seattle Area that should be addressed and could help with dealing with overcrowded P&Rs in the mornings. Although, looking at the map for KCM again, most of the P&Rs in the more denser parts of King generally seem to be mainly using churches, which is honestly not a bad use of parking space that generally goes wasted on weekdays.

  7. Instead of permits, why not just charge a fee for people entering between, say, 5 AM and 10 AM? Easier than permits, no need for enforcement, and people can pay only those days they need to. To make it even better:

    1. Charge $1 or $2 for ORCA card entry, or market rate for using a credit card. If you don’t use transit the same day, your orca card gets hit with the full market rate.
    2. Provide a drop-off/pick-up zone that you don’t need to pay for. Add an ORCA card vending machine there so that people can buy one to enter the P&R.
    3. By using ORCA cards, you can give special discounts to ORCA Lift or similar.

    1. I think the permit system provides a benefit to the people who pay for them with a guaranteed parking spot. That’s easier to sell then suddenly charging for something that used to be free.

    1. My thought exactly. It’s amazing how the vast majority of self identified conservatives turn into socialists when it comes to charging for parking… or tolling roads, or… pretty much anything that touches their free ride.

  8. This is an angels-on-the-head-of-a-pin argument. Park and Ride lots have absolutely no ability to meet the flood of riders coming in the next two decades. Standard suburban shuttle circulators don’t either; the built environment there is so completeky wrong that no solution short of autonomous multi-passenger shuttles will be sufficient in a time of $20/gallon gas.

    And make no mistake, THIS time really will be different. Once the pressure to reduce Carbon emissions gets great enough that both Saudi Arabia and Iran are headed to insolvency, there will be a major war in the Middle East and all of you in the ‘burbs still driving an ICE will quickly be bankrupt or walking to the closest bus stop.

    The American suburban lifestyle simply isn’t sustainable. If you had recognized the coming tsunami and transitioned to all-electric transportation, at least here in the Northwest, it might have been uncomfortable, but survivable. But Pied Pipers like The Orangeutan have led you over the cliff. Enjoy the ride.

    1. Electric cars will dominate long before gas ever reaches $20/gal.
      Just look at the adoption rate of electrics in countries like Norway where gas runs $6-7.00/gal. Bring down the price of electrics another 25% and add another 100 miles of range and its a slam dunk for countries where the price of gas is even lower. And Middle East countries are bringing online the largest solar fields in the world, not a revenue source, but definitely will keep them solvent. We’re not quite at an apocalypse yet, please don’t bring it on yet.

      Reuters: “The independent Norwegian Road Federation (NRF) said on Wednesday that electric cars rose to 31.2 percent of all sales last year, from 20.8 percent in 2017 and just 5.5 percent in 2013, while sales of petrol and diesel cars plunged.”

      1. Right now there is more than one car per adult resident in America. Less than three percent of the fleet is hybrid and a tiny percentage ZEV electric.

        There is not sufficient coltan and lithium production to replace all those ICE-powered cars quickly with ZEV autos. Union driven transit is too expensive for suburban collector/distributor service, and — as argued by many people here — Park-N-Ride lots are a horrid use of land around HCT stations.

        Either someone [Google] will have to perfect Robo-Collectors or we’ll have to legalize jitneys to get people in and out of cul-de-sac Hades.

      2. We got at least 1/2 century reserves of lithium, now cobalt, that’s a different story. I just read where India landed a craft on an asteroid and these things are always loaded with minerals. Add Mars and the moon and technological advancements and we should be golden for the next century. Last I read, a battery is good for 3 years, I’m sure this will be much longer in a few decades. Tesla and others continue to soak up battery tech startups. The technology isn’t what worries me, it is the politics. Unless we have category 6 hurricanes or million acre wild fires occurring in the backyards of certain powers that be we’ll never survive.

      3. When I’m elected governor I will implement the following :

        1) Plant 10 trees for every child born in the state, god knows we have the clear-cut acreage to sustain it. Just need to take over management from the feds and Weyerhaeuser.
        2) Establish a battery technologies department at the UW
        3) Establish a cellulose ethanol and bio-diesel fuels program at WSU
        4) Turn P&R’s into low income carless housing and rent out
        available parking to people who actually need to drive.

        Still working on my list, but that should be good enough for my first term.

    2. “Once the pressure to reduce Carbon emissions gets great enough that both Saudi Arabia and Iran are headed to insolvency, there will be a major war in the Middle East and all of you in the ‘burbs still driving an ICE will quickly be bankrupt or walking to the closest bus stop.”

      The long-term probability is a weakening resistance to urban density and a massive drop in SOV usage (with robotaxis not fully replacing it), but it’s hard to say how the intermediate stages will evolve or when.

      The worst-case scenario is the US will continue using high levels of fossil-fuels, the resolve to reduce carbon in other countries reverses, many the existing carbon-reduction gains prove to be illusory, we continue pumping oil until it’s scarce, and we continue burning coal (which is abundant worldwide) until we boil the planet and die off.

      There’s a book “$20 per gallon” that predicts what will happen when US gas prices reach $5, $10, $15, $20. If I remember, airlines disappear at $10 and oceanic passenger ships come back. The problem is that when gas did reach $5 in 2008 the economy crashed, demand fell, industrial use dropped significantly (making plastics and chemicals, fueling trucks and generators, etc), and the price fell to $2. There was also a financial crisis, but some have argued that the economy can’t handle expensive gas and a crash would have eventually occurred anyway even without the financial crisis. Of course, Canada and Europe have $5-10 gas due to taxes, but their transportation system and urban layout are are designed more robustly to make cheap gas less of a necessity.

      Right now carbon reduction has a 50/50 chance of reversing, if Americans continue voting for carbon deniers and Europe wavers too. China probably won’t waver because its air pollution is unacceptable and it has no domestic oil resources. So it’s hard to see in the near future an oil reduction that would push Saudi Arabia and Iran into insolvency. Before then there will probably be a mideast war for some other reason. Renewable energy is not going away and is now cost-effective, plus the US military recognizes the security risks of climate change even if the administration doesn’t, and the oil companies and Saudi Arabia are quietly pursuing post-oil alternatives for their business models.

      I don’t know what an ICE car is so I’ll assume it’s a gas-guzzling SUV. This is the most acute problem and the easiest technically to fix; it’s just public will standing in the way. We don’t need new technologies; we just need to build neighborhoods like the proven models in Vancouver, Chicago, DC, the DC suburbs, and Europe. We already have close-together houses in central Issaquah, New Urbanist clusters in the Issaquah Highlands, six-story apartments on the Bothell-Everett Highway, a Spring District being built, etc. We just need to connect the dots. Build them closer to downtown, have more missing-middle neighborhoods, add supermarkets and schools in Belltown like Vancouver has, etc. If we don’t do that and oil prices rise, and robocars prove viable only in narrow niches, and we can’t get enough renewable energy for all those electric cars, then the isolated houses and neighborhoods might find themselves cut off and unable to get to jobs, and that would have profound consequences for economy and spread poverty to new people.

      1. Mike, your last paragraph said exactly what I think will happen, albeit more specifically and gently. And I agree that it’s “public will standing in the way”, which is exactly why I will WELCOME “poverty spread[ing] to new people”. The adherents of the G[reedy] O[ld] P[arty] have had decades to reform themselves.

        Let them suffer the consequences of their hubris.

      2. “build them closer to downtown”

        By that I meant the suburban downtowns. They don’t have to all be in Seattle.

  9. There is need to have a related discussion about who owns and manages park-and-ride spaces. The transit operator management model has merits — but it also has drawbacks. Many East Coast commuter rail systems have lots that the cities own rather than operators, for example.

    I’ve argued for having cities in control of their parking management, and that includes parking lots that may be in the control of operators. “Local control” value is in tailoring pricing and enforcement to the needs not only of the lot but also surrounding on-street parking.

    Perhaps the most sinister aspect is the expectation that agency resources should go to provide and manage parking outside of the urban core — when those resources and effort could have gone to other modes.

    If a city has control of lots, they also can decide how to pay for building and managing them. It seems like a fairer way to separate out the costs of park-and-ride. As a resident of SE Seattle, I kind of resent paying for lots to be built and operated in other cities that I can’t practically use.

    1. Cities don’t want to pay for P&Rs; they want the transit agencies and transit tax measures to. Otherwise ST wouldn’t be building P&Rs. It’s because of city and public pressure that it’s building them. One way it’s justified is that the Link station is a negative environmental impact that must be mitigated, because without P&Rs people will hide-and-ride on neighborhood streets. The P&Rs are sized to bring hide-and-ride down to a minimum.

      (In Seattle it’s different because Seattle doesn’t allow new P&Rs, and the Northgate P&R users asked for bus/bike/ped access instead of an expansion — most of them come from west or east of Northgate and said they drive only because the alternatives are so minimal. ST is building a new P&R but only because it must replace the spaces it demolished during construction because those are owned by the mall and contracted to the mall tenants, so if ST doesn’t replace them the tenants would sue the mall and the mall would sue ST.)

  10. Growing up in the New Jersey suburbs, there are quite a few things we expected to pay for, mostly without controversy, that people in Washington expect for free. Most of our major highways, bridges, and tunnels are tolled. Getting into “the city”, whether Manhattan, Brooklyn, or Staten Island effectively costs money. Park and rides at suburban bus/train stations come with monthly fees and long waiting lists (but are free afternoons and weekends). It probably helps that driving into and within Manhattan is such a horrible experience, that suburbanites were more willing to pay a cost to avoid it.

    1. That’s the northeastern tradition, which unfortunately we don’t have. The tolled highways predated the Interstates and were grandfathered in. Many rail stations were built before WWII when parking expectations were different, so new stations follow the same tradition with the agency providing no parking and the city building parking if it wants it.

      The West Coast had a smaller population and was more spread out, so it ripped out its existing rail and built its cities in a car-dependent way with no commuter rail or subways, with minor exceptions like Caltrain. “Transit parking” didn’t exist until the first P&Rs were built in the 1970s, and they had to entice riders so they were funded by the transit agencies/DOTs and free. New transit stations come with the same expectation that the agency will provide parking, and until recently it was all free. The post-1960s environmental process also requires projects to disclose and mitigate their environmental impacts — a requirement for federal grants — and neighborhoods and drivers use this to force transit agencies to build P&Rs. The cities go along with it because we don’t have the tradition of mass transit stations without agency-funded parking, and they don’t want to pay for them out of their city budget, they want to pass the responsibility to the transit agency.

  11. As a reminder, the average person pays less than $250/year in gas taxes:

    Average miles driven by WA State resident: 8K+ (let’s call it 9K)
    Average fuel efficiency: 25 MPG
    Total annual gas consumption in gallons: 360
    WA state + federal fuel tax: $0.678/gallon

    Your gas tax: $244.08/year. Probably a bit less. Gas taxes don’t pay for your roads.

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