Sound Transit is urging drivers to plan ahead for the closure of two popular Park & Ride lots on the Eastside.
The 222 parking spaces at the Overlake Transit Center will close Monday morning and will stay that way for up to six years.
In addition, the 519 parking spaces at the South Bellevue Park & Ride will close May 30. That closure is expected to last about five years.
"Five years is an awfully long time for those of us right here right now, trying to go about our daily lives," said Amy Ferguson, who uses the South Bellevue Park & Ride lot.
A Sound Transit spokesperson said they know the closures will be an inconvenience to a lot of drivers, but he also hopes people will also see the long-term benefit.
"We're in a period right now where East Link rail construction is ramping up. And the good news is that in a few years we're going to be having congestion-free light rail service across Lake Washington," Sound Transit spokesperson Geoff Patrick said. "We're working to improve people's transit commutes, but during that period of construction, we recognize it can be a challenge."
During East Link construction, the South Bellevue and Overlake Transit Center Park & Ride sites will be used to stage equipment and materials to build the light rail track, stations, and parking garages.
Sound Transit says drivers who normally use those lots should prepare to use alternate parking or commute options.
"We have identified further up stream, some existing park-and-rides that have available capacity," Patrick said. "We've also leased some new spaces that people can go to."
You can view the alternate parking locations on this interactive map.
"I've looked at some of the other lots they've opened up to take the place of this one, but none of them work for my commute," Jessica McCreary said. She parks in the Overlake Park & Ride and then takes a bus to her job in downtown Seattle. "The alternate parking locations won't get me to Seattle when I need to be there. So I don't really know what I'm going to do."
Others view the Park & Ride closure as a necessary growing pain, and look forward to the day when they'll be able to catch a train from the Overlake Transit Center.
"Whatever it takes, get it done," Daniel Cohen said. "For me, I believe we have to sacrifice sometimes in order to reap the benefits of what Sound Transit is providing us."
When East Link opens in 2023, Sound Transit says Eastside commuters will be able to travel from downtown Bellevue to downtown Seattle in 20 minutes.
The future South Bellevue Station will include a 1,500-stall parking garage. The future station at the site of the Overlake Transit Center will include a 320-stall parking garage.