Commuter parking bleeds into Kent neighborhoods, frustrates residents

Commuters in Kent hop on the Sounder train to avoid traffic, but it's increasing popularity means a shortage of parking spaces at Kent Station, and the issue is now starting to bleed into surrounding neighborhoods.

The Mill Creek neighborhood is just a few blocks away from Kent station and because of its proximity, it’s become overflow parking for commuters.

"This time of day (7:30 a.m.) there will be 12 to 14 cars parked right on the other side of the street there in addition to that new park on Clark Street going east and west, north and south," said area resident Fergus Prestbye.

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Prestbye says he understands that people need a place to park and get to work but says it's created a hectic traffic situation in an otherwise quiet neighborhood. He's even put a no-parking sign on his fence to prevent people from blocking access to his mailbox.

According to Prestbye, in the last two years he's seen commuter traffic double or triple. Still, the increase in people parking in his neighborhood hasn't bothered him too much, but it has made other residents very frustrated and they are turning to city council.

Councilmember Dennis Higgins says they are considering several options to limit over-flow parking, including the possibility of permit parking. Prestbye doesn't like the sound of that but wouldn't mind seeing some regulation.

"If they limited parking to a two-hour limit of course that would deal with a lot, but that's hard for the computers as well," said Prestbye.

Yet, while he sympathizes with commuters, he hates the potholes caused by increased traffic.

"You can see how bad the potholes in the water standing in the street is. A lot of that is largely due to the traffic, which is normally wouldn't be here," said Prestbye.

So why are people parking in his neighborhood?

We're told the Kent Station parking garage is frequently full. We drove the garage around 6:30 a.m., and there were still spots available, but it was filing up fast. By 7 a.m., people were parking on the roof, and by 7:45 a.m., the garage was almost full.

In response, Sound Transit is planning to build another parking garage, but that won't be complete for several years.

One commuter we spoke with suggested building a parking garage away from the station and using shuttles to get commuters to the station, easing up traffic around the area.

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To voice your concerns about parking at Kent Station visit the Sound Transit feedback page.