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King County Council approves paid parking permits at Park & Rides

The King County Council approved a plan to bring paid parking permits to 10 of Metro's popular Park & Rides lots.

KIRKLAND, Wash. — The King County Council approved a plan to bring paid parking permits to 10 of Metro's popular Park & Ride lots.

The permit would reserve a space for single-occupancy vehicles from 4 a.m. to 10 a.m., Monday through Friday.  

The council approved the plan with a 5-3 vote on Wednesday. 

King County Councilmember Claudia Balducci voted in favor of the permits. “The purpose of this program is to provide more options to more people,” she said during Wednesday's vote. 

Councilmember Kathy Lambert was against the plan and said the legislation will have the most impact on middle-income earners. 

Participants in the ORCA LIFT reduced fare program can qualify for discounted parking permits.  

Daniel Rowe, supervisor of research and innovation at King County Metro, said the program was born out of high parking demand at county Park & Rides. "That demand has gotten so high that our park and rides are filling very early in the morning, which frustrates a lot of customers," he said. 

"We are not going to permit any more than 50% of the lot, and we are likely going to do much less than that," Rowe said.

The exact number of spots will be determined by demand. 

The 10 lots up for permit parking are Northgate, Aurora Village, Bear Creek, Bothell, Kenmore, Redmond, South Kirkland, Tukwila, Issaquah Highlands, and Shoreline.

If you carpool, a permit costs nothing. However, single-occupant vehicles will pay prices ranging from $60 to $120 a month, depending on the location.

Metro said low income customers who qualify for ORCA LIFT will pay $20 a month for a single-occupancy vehicle permit.

"The goal of this program is really not to generate revenue. It is really to provide more equitable access to our system and to provide efficient management of our assets," said Rowe.

The parking permit program is estimated to bring in a net revenue of $523,449 the first year and $1.2 million the year after that. King County Metro said that money would, in part, be used to look at new technologies to make it easier and more convenient to access parking.

The new rules could roll out this fall, according to King County Metro.