MLT Park and Ride HDR

Over the last few years, Sound Transit has eased the region into the idea of paying for scarce parking spots at Transit Centers. Before the pandemic, it was possible to guarantee yourself a spot by paying a monthly fee, less if a carpool or a low-income driver. ST had issued 1,100 permits at 14 facilities, according to ST Deputy Director Alex Krieg’s briefing at this month’s Executive Committee (see 1:30:00). ST froze the program as utilization cratered over the past year.

The main purpose, of course, is to manage demand. Before permits, spaces were strictly rationed based on willingness to show up early. Permits allow the agency to apply other criteria, as well as discouraging parking by riders with other easy alternatives. If free, why not drive 5 blocks and take up a spot, instead of walking?

The ST3 financial plan also expects a $37m parking profit to help fund the system, far less than the cost of building parking in that program.

With a major suburban expansion with lots of parking, about to open, Sound Transit is going to double down on demand management. Although the board has already approved the general direction, this summer staff will present a formal resolution to find a new vendor, introduce a daily fee option, and charge for up to 100% of the stalls in lots that meet the criteria (a Link station, or any lot with more than 90% utilization). The target is to be ready for the opening of East Link in late 2022 or early 2023.

58 Replies to “Sound Transit to expand paid parking”

  1. What can be done to differentiate vehicles already being assessed a tax to ST from those that don’t?

    1. Doesn’t ST have a registry of license plates that have paid a tax to ST. Cars that aren’t in the registry could be charged higher rates for parking. I know that system is open to manipulation, but how many people do we know who have their cars registered at their cabins in Whatcom or Jefferson county just to avoid paying ST car fees and taxes?

      1. Lower rates would give incentive to expand the district in places like Maple Valley and Covington.

        On the other hand, back credit could be better for raising revenue. It could work like casino free play — you get back the amount already paid to ST as “free parking” and when that gets to zero, you start paying what everyone else does.

  2. We also need better feeder buses. In particular:
    1) Schedules that are timed to match the train, with minimal waiting.
    2) Buses that take direct routes down major arterials and don’t do unnecessary zigzags.
    3) Buses that have a decent span of service. For instance, a last feeder bus leaving at 6 PM means you have to be walking out the office door no later than 5:30 in order to be sure of making it. Lots of people work later than that.

    1. Yeah, I agree. I’ve suggested that they use the money raised to improve feeder service.

      But in general I expect feeder service to be good enough. For example, with East Link they will have people wanting to park at South Bellevue. If they can’t park there, they can park at Eastgate (likely for free). Both lots are huge, but South Bellevue gives you the one-seat ride to downtown. So express service along I-90 better be good — and most likely it will. If you in Issaquah, it is likely that you’ll have other park and ride options. Some will just park on the street to catch a bus, and of course, some will walk to the bus stop. What is true of the feeder service is true of the old express buses to downtown. Somehow the buses were good enough to make parking at the huge Eastgate lot a challenge — I expect the shuttle service to be at least as good.

      The same is true for some place like Mercer Island. The 204 should run a lot more often during rush hour, and regularly the rest of the day (and night). At worst people should park close to a bus stop, instead of all trying to park in the main lot close to station. I could see some of the Issaquah buses being combined with the Mercer Island route. During morning peak I could see an express from Issaquah first serving the station, then deadheading up the hill (to 68th) then picking up riders on the way back back to the station. During the rest of the day (and a few times during peak) the bus would be in service the whole time (providing rides both directions).

      1. Having excess parking revenue be reinvesting into the station access fund would be great. Bus hours will burn through $37M pretty quickly, but that’s a nice pot of cash to work through a steady diet of small improvements in bike/ped infrastructure.

      2. Pre-pandemic eastside commuters already drove to park and rides served by the 550 — bypassing closer park and rides that served the 554 or other express buses — because the 550 accessed the transit tunnel. It would be unrealistic to assume eastside commuters won’t do the same with East Link. Just like pre-pandemic and pre-East Link, capacity at the park and rides serving East Link might mean an early start to get a spot, and ST was planning on implementing a reservation system and may charge more for spots at stations serving East Link (which is great for the wealthier).

        The Mercer Island Park and Ride is not increasing in number of stalls. S. Bellevue goes to 1500 stalls. Quite frankly I don’t see how that area will be able to handle 1500 cars during peak hours, which is the likely number of cars under the bus truncation system.

        I would rather deal with the traffic at S. Bellevue if taking East Link to Seattle or Redmond than park at Eastgate to catch a feeder bus to S. Bellevue. If commuters do descend on the S. Bellevue park and ride from all areas of east King Co. I think Bellevue will require ST to revisit the bus truncation system. Otherwise that area will be overwhelmed, and pre-pandemic 112th, SE 8th, and 405 with a 500 stall park and ride were total gridlock during peak times, worse than anything in Seattle.

        The irony is much of East Link’s infrastructure is based upon ridership estimates (43,000 to 52,000 by 2026) that look to be twice actual ridership post pandemic, especially during peak hour commutes.

        Current lease demand in downtown Seattle is plummeting. If ridership on East Link is closer to 15,000 or 20,000 riders/day with a big reduction during peak commute hours East Link might not reach 40% farebox recovery, or even close to that, but it will cause a lot fewer problems endemic in installing a fixed rail system in an area that is so car centric, and has no plans on changing. The reality is if East Link is 50,000 riders per day with the majority during the peak hour commute the first/mile access on the eastside will never be adequate, car or bus.

      3. Daniel, the 1500 spaces won’t fill up in an hour. Probably the highest hour will be about 600-700 cars. The biggest traffic challenge will probably be when cars leave the garage — not only in the late afternoon but also after sporting events.

      4. Daniel, there are no stoplights between I-90 and the entrances to the station. There is a single lane westbound off-ramp leading into two northbound lanes. The traffic from the west toward downtown Bellevue will be significantly decreased by diversion to the train — office workers ARE mode-conscious. And anyway it is not the major contributor to northbound traffic on Bellevue Way in the morning. Westbound exits are more frequent.

        How is it going to get jammed up?

        I grant that getting out of the garage may be a fluster-cluck in the evening.

      5. And Ipsy facto, “last mile access on the Eastside will … be adequate” for Link to reach 50,000 riders a day or it won’t reach 50,000 riders a day, regardless of potential demand.

        Chicken. Egg.

      6. Bus hours will burn through $37M pretty quickly

        That is annual, so the service would be annual. To put things in perspective, the old Seattle levy for Metro was $56 million last year, and is now expected to bring in $42 million a year. The improvements in Seattle were felt almost immediately, and ridership soared. This for a very big city with lots of buses everywhere, and Link still largely focused on getting suburban riders to the city (still no service to the U-District).

        Shuttle service in contrast is a very minor part of our system, and could be improved dramatically with this kind of money. It just isn’t that expensive to operate, either. The Mercer Island 204 takes about 15 minutes to run, end to end (meaning it could do the loop in a half hour). From the Issaquah Highland Park and Ride to Mercer Island takes about 20 minutes via the 218. The 554 “detours” to central Issaquah, and it takes about a half hour.

        It isn’t like this is starting from scratch, either. The 554 runs every 15 to 20 minutes, all day long. You add the savings from truncation (which are substantial) and the money from the park and ride, and you could have very good shuttle service.

      7. Huh – good perspective, Ross. I guess I had annual bus costs in my head off by an order of magnitude.

        And it’s not just the existing express routes that are good feeders. For example, in a few years the 165 between Burien and KDM transforms from a suburban local route to an interesting ST feeder route when it has Stride and Link stations as anchors. I’d rather KCM improved that route on its own, but I could see a future in which ST invests some ‘excess’ parking revenue from the KDM and Angel Lake garages to boost that route.

        Daniel is right that for large garages the peak outflow may interfere with bus operations; 147th is another garage that requires good design to avoid impacting Stride. But for Bellevue Way, the problem is I90 in general, not a single garage – the queuing on Bellevue Way extends well north of the junction with 112th during a typical rush hours – so ST will need to ensure good bus priority. This afternoon congestion is a key reason why Mercer Island is a superior bus intercept, in particular the peak only expresses.

      8. And it’s not just the existing express routes that are good feeders… I could see a future in which ST invests some ‘excess’ parking revenue from the KDM and Angel Lake garages to boost the 165.

        Don’t forget the Kent Sounder Station too. That is an interesting route, in that it will intersect a STride, Sounder and Link station.

        I agree — I think it makes a lot of sense for Metro and ST to cooperate when it comes to routes. For example, I could see some of the Northgate Park and Ride money going into creating and running the 61, a borderline route. This makes more sense than creating an ST route, and then having Metro run it. Just a bit of money dedicated to that area would make all the difference.

        large garages the peak outflow may interfere with bus operations

        I doubt it. While the buses spread out downtown, the ratio is much worse. There were (and are) a whole bunch of buses downtown.

        If it was to be a problem, it would be on I-5 from the north. A fair number of those buses could feed into Northgate. But as it turns out, many aren’t. As it is, it is a big transit center, and could handle it either way, as long as you add the proper bus lanes (from the freeway to the transit center).

        Once Link goes further north, it becomes less of an issue. 147th, for example, will mainly handle SR 522 traffic. This is big, as the combined 522 and 312 used to come every 3 minutes. But that is only every 3 minutes, and that included Lake City (where a big chunk of the riders came from). Throw in a few other buses from the north and northeast, and it still doesn’t add it to that many buses. Probably an average of a bus every couple minutes during peak. Nothing like the old bus tunnel, back in the day, for example.

        Most service just gets spread out, along the spine.

        Lynnwood becomes the big focal point, except there just won’t be that many buses per hour descending there. A lot of routes, just not that many buses. A bus like the 522/312 runs often because it is full of people. You don’t have that from Snohomish County. The buses could run more often, but mainly that would be shoring up midday service (which doesn’t even exist for many of those areas) and making them more frequent (e. g. every 15 minutes instead of 30). Besides, Lynnwood, like Northgate, is well equipped to handle what is thrown at them.

    2. Agreed. This is why it takes so long to get from Bothell to Redmond via bus. 931 should be split inti a bunch of different routes that can serve people living in the areas it zig zags arond to better.

  3. The purpose of paid parking spots at transit centers was never about demand management. It was always about money. That’s why the program is expanding now. As demand has dropped and supply is about to rise with a new transit center, ST wants that 37 million in profit. Plain and simple.

    I have no problem with paid parking at transit centers, so long as that status is mentioned up front. I find the current system of using transit dollars to build free parking and then charging for it to be double dipping the taxpayer in the most disingenuous way. I prefer honesty and clarity from my transit agencies, not these kinds of shenanigans. Let people know up front when they vote that they are voting for pay parking. Don’t slip it in years later with a laughable excuse like “managing demand”.

    1. Wether it’s about demand management or money doesn’t really make a difference. Those park and rides will probably never make a profit even at they rate they’re charging because they’re extremely expensive. I don’t know why someone feels entitled to a 6×12 foot space of free land to use 10 hours a day that we all have to pay for.

    2. ” I find the current system of using transit dollars to build free parking and then charging for it to be double dipping the taxpayer in the most disingenuous way.” How is that any different than charging fares on transit or tolls on a road? Or charging for street parking on roads that have “already been paid for.”

      The revenues from paid parking have been in the ST3 financial plan since the beginning. This effort isn’t new. The pandemic delayed, not accelerated, the rollout.

      If it was about revenues, there wouldn’t be a requirement that parking that is <90% utilized will be free.

      1. Paid parking at the eastside park and rides was a dud. First, the two most popular park and rides are Mercer Island and S. Bellevue because they serve the 550 (at least when the 550 accessed the transit tunnel), and second because at $120/month it was too expensive for those who really need to use transit when combined with bus fare, or made driving to work and parking close enough in cost to avoid the hassle of transit for those who could afford it.

        The main consideration for charging for park and rides was a reserved space without having to arrive before 7 am, hardly “equitable”. If working from home relieves the pressure on park and rides charging to use a park and ride won’t be successful (hence the 90% occupancy threshold to charge), unless the goal is to encourage commuters to use free bus feeder park and rides rather than driving directly to park and rides that serve East Link, again a nice benefit to the more wealthy, which even on the eastside is not the goal of transit, although ST and rail have nothing to do with equity, but ironically rely on a bus system for first/last mile access that is becoming totally based on “equity”.

      2. I think the ‘dud’ was a result of a short trial period on existing garages. When the pilot was launched most of the people currently using the P&R don’t have a need for the permit because, by definition, they are already people who wake up early enough to get reliably get a spot. A permit appeals to someone who desires a parking spot but isn’t able to consistently obtain one. That’s a very niche market at first and requires time to grow.

        This is why it’s important to launch permit parking alongside new garage openings. If the garage opens for a year and then ST launches a permit program, P&R users will have already self selected into drivers who arrive early.

        The system is designed so that if there is indeed more parking spaces than demand, there will be no permit. It may take some time to find the right price point for various garages, but I’m deeply skeptical any Link garage will be have excess demand post-pandemic.

        “without having to arrive before 7 am, hardly “equitable”. ” – a common argument is 7am is too early for working parents, so the permit program allows for parents who need to coordinate with a daycare/school schedule.

      3. AJ, people know there will be fares on transit before voting to improve it. There’s no hidden cost. Tolling is another issue entirely, and I’d prefer people know in advance when a road will be tolled and get an opportunity to vote on the project as a direct result.

    3. Al, it may take two hours to process 1500 cars at the S. Bellevue Park and Ride, but if space is tight 1500 cars will show up at 7am trying to get a spot. That is the experience was had on Mercer Island with a 453 stall park and ride. Where they will line up I don’t know.

      To Ross’ comment that he expects feeder bus service to be adequate on the Eastside, I think that could be correct post pandemic because of the park and ride capacity, working from home, less peak hour traffic congestion, and the fact frequency will likely be reduced both during peak hours and non-peak hours because of fewer riders. Buses will just come less often, but there will likely be more park and ride space.

      Where there won’t be adequate bus feeder service IMO is in the Seattle area. Metro’s declining funding and equity reallocation are going to badly hurt bus frequency, probably more during non-peak than peak hours. For unknown reasons riders — especially commuters — consider walking from doorstep to bus the first first/last mile access, but those driving to a park and ride don’t consider the drive the first first/last mile access, maybe because they figure their car will allow them to run errands and stuff after work.

      In Seattle if there is a direct one seat bus that will serve as an alternative to a bus/rail trip, not unlike driving to a park and ride, that could be popular. Where the only mode is bus to rail then frequency is going to be an issue.

      What really isn’t understood is how a transit system that is based on a hub and spoke system with Seattle the hub will adapt if Seattle is no longer the hub it was. East Link was not built to serve the Bellevue to Redmond trip, but that might be the highest ridership.

      1. Gee Daniel, I don’t know why it would take 2 hours to process 1500 cars. Almost every large garage today has walk-up vending machines to process parking payment. The days of pay from your car are pretty much gone. Most times, there are at least two walk-up machines if not more — and usually two exit lanes taking receipts that people paid.

        Only a total boob would design a new garage to not process vehicles quickly. ST does make design mistakes — but I don’t think they’re that stupid.

      2. East Link was not built to serve the Bellevue to Redmond trip

        Of course it was built to serve Bellevue to Redmond. It was built to serve just about every combination of stops. That’s why you build a mass transit line. Otherwise you would just run express buses to Seattle (like we used to do). The emergence of Bellevue and Redmond as destinations gave rise to the notion of East Link. Seattle to Bellevue, Seattle to Redmond, Redmond to Bellevue, Mercer Island to Seattle, Mercer Island to Bellevue, Mercer Island to Redmond, etc.

    4. The purpose is demand management. ST started charging decades after the P&Rs opened and filled up. It could have charged money all along but it didn’t. Second, it started with a couple pilots at a few lots, years before it expanded it to other lots. And it wasn’t simply a mandatory “Pay daily to park” system, it was a voluntary reservation system on a fraction of spaces. Why didn’t ST apply it to all spaces to maximize profits. And finally, the reservation expires at 9:30am and people can park free in it afterward if it’s still empty or the reserver leaves midday. Why would ST do that if it’s trying to maximize revenue?

  4. Add an ORCA reader that is dedicated to parking. Park your car, tap the parking Orca reader. When you return tap off the parking Orca reader if the cost is time based. (or only tap once if it’s a daily parking charge for any amount of time)

    simple?

    Obviously you would have to register your license plate to the Orca card so that license plate recognition could be used to determine that you are parked legitimately.

    1. I could also see a kiosk where you put in your stall number. But it would be handy for drivers to register their car with the ORCA card (then it would be a simply tap).

    2. I believe the HOV permit are linked to an Orca card (or cards) and there is a minimum volume of monthly trips needed to remain qualified for the discount. It could make sense to require daily parking to be paid via ORCA, assuming there is an Orca machine at the parking spot (would be true for all Link stations)

      Once ORCA new gen is rolled out, that should unlock nice things like paying for parking with your phone.

    3. I don’t think park and ride charges will be done onsite. That would be a nightmare trying to have 1500 drivers line up to pay before getting in their car, put their ticket in the machine (hopefully you don’t have an idiot in front of you who can’t figure it out), wait for the gate to open, and exit. Fine for the Polyclinic (which can be frustrating midday with elderly drivers) but not a 1500 stall park and ride with peak hour use.

      My guess is paid parking will be monthly like pre-pandemic, no machines, although it was not popular on Mercer Island. Too expensive (the same price as driving and parking downtown when bus fare was included), and only half of the stalls were reserved for paid customers, and the reservation expired at 9 am even though you paid for the month because the goal was to allow commuters to drop their kids off at school and still get a parking spot. To charge all drivers to use the park and ride would be unfair to less affluent drivers. Basically you were paying for an extra two hours of sleep in the morning.

      You do understand any parking revenue collected in a subarea has to be spent in that subarea. Don’t expect eastside park and ride revenue to suddenly create better frequency for Seattle Metro buses.

      IMO charging for park and rides is unfair, although a reservation system makes sense. Commuters like me already drive and park at work; to then gouge those who really need to take transit so they can drop their kids off at school and still get a spot, or who have no bus feeder service on the eastside, so ST can try and cover its budgeting errors, is a mistake IMO. I know ST cares little about equity, but someone should. Not everyone on the eastside is rich, and those who are don’t take transit, and now with working from home neither will the less rich. Good for them.

      Nothing creates more equity among commuters than working from home.

      asdf2 is right, on the eastside customers like my wife expect free parking, but she is the customer they desire. It is their land, so I figure they know what they are doing. I can say that on the whole, eastside women don’t have the same intrinsic hatred of cars that some on this site have, and like to park above ground and close to the store or mall, for safety and because they often have kids or leave with 10 bags of groceries. I doubt Costco’s main concern is bus stops when locating a new store.

      Forget about trying to disadvantage the car is my advice. Make transit more competitive and convenient for those who use it because those who don’t are not suddenly going to, especially since we are spending tens of billions on transit, although I am not sure we are doing better with bus truncation under Metro. Some think TOD will save transit, but not if transit is much less convenient than a car. TOD units will have parking stalls too, certainly in Bellevue.

      1. Individually reserved spaces ultimately results in fewer drivers getting a space than just leaving it as a free-for-all. The reason why is that not everybody who reserves a space is going to be using it every single day, and anytime a reserved parker doesn’t show up for whatever reason, the space just sits there empty. To use the spaces efficiently, you have to overbook them, similar to how airlines overbook seats on an airplane. This is why downtown parking always costs more if you want a reserved space vs. a monthly permit to park in an unreserved area – the former prioritizes your convenience over using the space efficiently, so you have to pay for that privilege through a higher parking fee.

        Of course, even worse than individually reserved spaces is individually reserved free spaces. Without a cost, anyone who thinks they might want to ever want to park in the garage has no reason not to go ahead and reserve a space, simply because there’s no reason not to and if you don’t, others will and you’ll never have a chance to do it later. And, of course, once you have a reserved space, if there’s no cost to keeping it, you never want to give it up. Even someone who no longer works downtown and doesn’t even ride transit anymore will still have no reason not to hold onto their reserved parking space, just in case they get a new job downtown in the future and go back to riding again.

        This behavior is called hoarding. Sound Transit actually tried it for years with bike lockers. The result was exactly as described above. They eventually switched some of the most popular locations to bike lockers with an on-demand pay-by-use model. Now, there’s no hoarding anymore and they’re always available.

      2. The reserved parking spots all become free-to-all at 9.30am, which should then put those spaces to use. If a lot is at ~99% capacity, those spots might not be used immediately but then they are there for the small group of people using the P&R for a midday trip.

        A few times I have timed my arrival at the Eastgate P&R to be right at 9.31 so I could pull in and grab an unused permit parking spot, because I could usually count on one of them being available. I’d imagine some people will start doing that as a regular practice if permit parking becomes widespread, because you are right – in large garage, there will always be someone not using their monthly spot on a given day.

        @Daniel – there will not be a gate at any of the garages. It will be closer to the Link system, where there will be occasional inspections but otherwise on the honor system. I expect most will pay with their phone, and there will be walk-up (not drive-up) machines for a the few who don’t use the app.

  5. ” $37m parking profit” – I’m guessing that’s an annual figure?

    Also, I’m guessing that is operating profit. Is that net of the cost to run the garages (janitorial work, utilities), or just net of the cost to run the parking permit program?

    1. Probably the latter. But even if it were the former, it only looks profitable because the construction cost to actually build the garage is sunk. If ST charged enough to actually cover the cost of building the parking, no one would pay it.

  6. One issue is whether or not parking should be saved for Link riders or made available to others. For example, I could see casual carpooling at South Bellevue — as workers wanting to use the 405S HOT lanes could drive by this station to pick up a passenger to allow them to skip the toll. That passenger may come from elsewhere and park in the garage.

    BART gets around this by having parking paid inside turnstiles. Of course, Link has no turnstiles.

    1. Casual carpooling is an interesting issue. It’s tempting to say they should park elsewhere to free up parking at Link stations for link riders. But, sometimes, you get somebody riding Link in the reverse direction to get to the carpool. In some cases, the carpool (or vanpool) can make a special stop for them, but that adds time to the commute for everybody else.

  7. If ST wants to become Diamond Parking, maybe they should start paying property taxes like Diamond Parking.

  8. If charging for otherwise free parking is a good way to manage transit station parking demand, why don’t suburban malls charge for parking in December to manage demand?

    ~__^..^

    1. Some charge money to park in a premium lot, while providing free parking alongside that requires more time and effort driving around, looking for a space.

      But, the real problem is that too many people believe that free parking is a god-given right, and if you charge one penny for it, they’ll go shop somewhere else, just as a matter of principle.

      Link garages is different because it’s either pay there or pay more downtown.

    2. Sam, you may have noticed that suburban malls have steadily been losing business over the last decade to online shopping. One of the main peeves people have about shopping malls is the parking situation. Free parking isn’t the great perk it used to be.

    3. Because suburban malls are trying to attract more shoppers who would go elsewhere if they had to pay for parking. ST is trying to fairly manage a public resource that’s full. It has a public mandate to allocate the resource “fairly”, not just first-come-first-serve and to hell with everybody who can’t get there by 7am. Link’s primary transit market is walk-ons and feeder buses; the P&Rs are a secondary convenience for drivers. So it doesn’t want to attract more drivers, or subsidize them more than others. (Although they’re already getting extraordinary subsidizes given the capital cost of the P&R.)

      1. I’ll quibble a bit – P&Rs aren’t a ” secondary convenience” for drivers, they are are part of the station access toolkit. They are a niche solution that doesn’t not scale well, but a tool in the toolkit nonetheless. Charging for parking ensures that parkers are those for whom other options are not well suited, rather than parkers for whom it is most convenient.

        This is similar to a decongestion charge. The idea isn’t to eliminate drivers, but to decrease the amount of drivers so that roads are used by the small but still important fraction of drivers for whom the alternatives are not well suited.

    1. I didn’t see S. Bellevue listed under eastside park and rides, and only Enatai had a full time earlier than 9 am, which if pre-pandemic is much too late. Even Mercer Island is listed as full by 9 am, which is two hours late. Rough count including the 1500 stall S. Bellevue park and ride is 10,000 eastside park and ride stalls. I am not sure if more are planned as part of ST 3.

    2. I think the ‘transit’ column indicates they are served by that agency, not operated/funded by. ST serves Eastgate but doesn’t operation the garage.

      1. Slide 13 is perhaps a full list of major ST owned facilities:
        https://www.soundtransit.org/st_sharepoint/download/sites/PRDA/FinalRecords/2018/180726%20SOV%20Parking%20Permit%20Presentation.pd
        and this list on the front page seems to verify: https://www.soundtransit.org/ride-with-us/parking

        So 14 lots. 8 Sounder lots, 3 Link lots (including Northgate), and 3 STX lots.

        I know ST owns the MI lot; I was surprised to see Issaquah and FW on this list; those might have been Sound Move projects? ST built the flyover ramp at Montlake but apparently not the garage (or paid for the garage but CT owns)

        This deck says 37 garages ‘operated’ by ST, which would include both facilities owned by other agencies and leased facilities. For example, ST runs & makes capital contributions to Tacoma Dome parking, but the garage remains owned by Pierce.
        https://www.soundtransit.org/st_sharepoint/download/sites/PRDA/FinalRecords/2017/171207%20Parking%20Permit%20Program%20Expansion%20Presentation.pdf

      2. Slide 13 is perhaps a full list of major ST owned facilities:
        https://www.soundtransit.org/st_sharepoint/download/sites/PRDA/FinalRecords/2018/180726%20SOV%20Parking%20Permit%20Presentation.pd
        and this list on the front page seems to verify: https://www.soundtransit.org/ride-with-us/parking

        Both of those seem to list the places where they have permits. My guess is the “11,800 parking spaces across 37 parking facilities” means there are a lot more that ST owns, although those 37 clearly includes sites they lease. To be eligible for the permit system, “ST has [to have] full authority to manage parking”. If that includes leased lots, I really don’t care who owns them. I just want to get an idea of the lots that would qualify for this program (assuming they had enough demand). I find it odd that South Bellevue doesn’t show up in any list, since it would likely be one of those that would have paid parking in the future.

        On a related note, I didn’t realize that King County was doing the same thing (just in a different way). A bit of a mess, really.

  9. I can’t speak for other lots, but I think there would be great enthusiasm for paid parking at Northgate, especially if they put the money into local bus service. This would be one of those win-win situations, as:

    1) The community opposed parking in the area. They wanted to see development instead.

    2) The 61 is a borderline route. It was proposed, then removed when it looked like Metro (and Seattle) wouldn’t have enough money. The situation may have changed (it may be back), but it is close, and may suffer from bad frequency (greatly reducing its effectiveness). Without, there are areas that would lose all-day service. Instead of Victory Heights getting 15 minute all day service to Northgate (to connect to the frequent 41 to get downtown) they would be encouraged to drive. They would be much better off if they charged for parking and then put the money into bus service.

    3) More people would pay if they felt like it was “going to a good cause”. This would be especially worthwhile if they simply charged per spot (like a normal pay parking lot) based on the demand.

  10. If they start doing 100% parking it will make traffic worse because more people will drive. Currently, the bus passes up north are pretty expensive. If you add in $90 per month for a parking pass I can get parking in a nice garage downtown. I would have more flexibility and wouldn’t need to stand or be crammed in a bus. There are even cheaper spots that are in street parking similar to the park n ride lots I use.

    1. The idea it to calibrate both the permit ratio and the price to ensure each garage is >90% utilization. Some highly convenient garages will likely be 100%, but I can definitely see some garages further afield never reach 100% permits because there won’t be sufficient demand. Price will also likely vary by geography.

      1. Charging for park and rides might satisfy the element that wants to rid the earth of cars, but it misses the demographic that uses park and rides, and transit.

        When the reservation system came to Mercer Island (50% of the lot at $120/month, the highest cost in the region) many thought this would solve Mercer Island’s first/last mile access issue, because of course everyone on Mercer Island is rich and would gobble up the reserved spots. Screw those who can’t afford $120/month plus round trip transit fare, that had just gone up.

        So the city sent out several notices telling citizens to log on as soon as the reservation site opened so Islanders got all the reserved spots (around 250).

        I signed up just to reserve a spot although I don’t commute by transit, but I was about the only Islander. Shock and surprise, those who could easily afford $120/month whether you use it or not plus the $6.50 round trip drive. Or their employers like Amazon and Microsoft have private shuttles. So I ended up cancelling my reserved spot, having never used it.

        In fact almost no one signed up, on or off Island. Why? BECAUSE THEY COULD NOT AFFORD IT. Which is the whole damn point of transit, whether in Seattle or the eastside.

        It wasn’t that the vast majority of transit riders would use the daily reserved fee plus round trip fare ($120/month/20 work days = $6/day + $6.50 round trip = $12.50/work day) to drive to work and park instead, IT WAS THEY COULD NOT AFFORD THE $12.50/day cost to park and take transit to work, and there was no feeder bus service, or it was crummy and required a massive walk (or its own park and ride). It was unfair to those transit should serve.

        The irony is these are exactly the commuters and workers who will demand to work from home. First, the cost of commuting is a major expense for them. Second, they spend the most time commuting because they have to rely on transit. Third, standing on a crowded bus for 30 or 45 minutes is a waste of life. Fourth, they bring packed lunches.

        If you are a former transit commuter on the eastside who can now work from home all you have is bad memories of transit, and if transit died you wouldn’t care because you drive for all non-peak trips.

        Sure, the partners who drive in lovely cars and park underneath the building, and write off nice lunches at restaurants, will still want to go to the office every day where everyone sucks up to them, but all the transit commuters and staff who do all the work will want to stay at home, and will demand paid parking on the days they do come into the office, just like now.

        What would be popular on the eastside is reducing the massive subsidy per fare for Metro, which is incredibly inefficient and unpleasant, and raise bus fares, and use that additional revenue to build more park and rides, because with the likely very poor frequency Metro is planning to serve light rail a park and ride serving light rail will be the best first/last mile access, and as always riders and commuters will demand more park and rides, not fewer, because feeder bus service sucks.

        What so many transit advocates don’t understand is the commuter driving to a park and ride is no wealthier than a commuter walking to a feeder bus, except the bus rider gets a 80% fare subsidy on the bus, and a free transfer on rail.

        Sound Transit’s argument is because Metro bus feeder service is so abysmal, or has been reallocated to other transit riders who are more “equitable”, and because we added a seat and transfer to most commutes by spending billions on rail that make already unbearably long commutes even more punishing, we will now charge you for parking at park and rides you already paid for through ST 2 and 3 while the wealthy drive to work and bus riders get a 80% fare subsidy and a free transfer onto rail. Sounds fair.

        Or you can stay at home and work. Which would you choose. Crummy transit will be the biggest cause post-pandemic for working from home. Not East Link, but first/mile access via paid park and ride parking or a feeder bus that just added a feeder bus and transfer to most commutes.

      2. The price will go up and down based on demand. Otherwise there is no point. Daniel explained in his epic comment that not many people were willing to pay for parking on Mercer Island. In that case, if it continues, then the cost would drop. As AJ explained, the goal is to aim for around 90% use, which I’m guessing is on the high side. Maybe some economists can pipe in. If you are trying to maximize profit, what do you typically aim for?

  11. Anyone that says this is not a revenue based decision is probably employed by ST. They take and take and constantly come up with “justifications” for these decisions. Say it like it is. We can’t change it so at least quit the fluff talk. Just admit you want more money and will get it. That is the reality of my last 20 years of ST financial growth..

    1. If you are “trying to maximize profit” you raise transit fares, and let the price go up or down based on demand, especially on the busiest routes. Also require a fare for buses and trains to be separate. And raise farebox recovery to at least 65%, the same as ferries.

      If fewer people ride transit, or can afford to, the fare price will drop. Isn’t that what you would typically shoot for if you are aiming to maximize profit?

  12. Free parking for people with a disabled parking permit. Everyone else should pay.

    Right now it seems the business is to subsidize free parking with transit fares.

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