Sound Transit is considering charging drivers to park in some of its park-and-ride lots as a way to deter drivers who don’t use the transit system or who want to park overnight
The Seattle Times reports that while there is no specific plan, Sound Transit may charge $2 to $4 for parking daily. If a fee was adopted, it would not go into effect until next year.
Riders of Sound Transit buses, Light Rail and the Sounder commuter train often show up to find all the parking spaces are gone. If you have to catch the Light Rail in Tukwila, all the 600 spaces are usually taken by 8:30 a.m.
In Kent, the five-level parking garage at Kent Station is often full by 8:30 a.m. The structure serves a dual purpose as parking for commuters and for shoppers and moviegoers at the Kent Station shopping center.
"We need the extra space. I come here sometimes to go round and round and round and I have to end up driving downtown. Not a good idea that people are parking here that shouldn't be parking here,” said commuter Rick Kline.
Sound Transit says it’s also looking into ways that a rider could use their ORCA Card to pay to park and then count that toward their transit trip fare.
Ridership is up 10 percent, so Sound Transit has to balance charging a fee to open up parking spaces without scaring off riders.
The Times reports Sound Transit believes it can afford new parking garages in Sumner and Puyallup, as well as additional spaces in Tacoma, Mukilteo and Tukwila. But additions to the Kent and Auburn parking garages will be delayed due to lower sales tax revenue.