How Much Parking Near Transit Is Too Much Parking Near Transit?

Faced with the expensive costs of adding park and ride facilities along its expanding transit system, transportation planners in the Seattle region wonder if it's money well spent.
April 15, 2018, 10am PDT | James Brasuell | @CasualBrasuell
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Lizz Giordano reports from the Puget Sound region, where commuters, transit agencies, and elected officials are caught in a dilemma about how much parking access to provide around light rail, train, and bus lines. "Some of the discussion also revolves around questions about land use and whether to focus more attention on creating density around transit centers, rather than forcing the public to pay for parking spots," according to Giordano.

Giordano's selects the Mountlake Terrace park and ride as a case study of the dilemma of parking capacity. "A 2009 rebuild nearly tripled the parking capacity at the park and ride, which is owned by Snohomish County’s Community Transit," according to Giordano. "But now, the garage is again bursting at the seams."

The cost of providing parking is soaring—the under-construction Kent parking and ride facility will spend $100,000 on each stall. Critics call that an expensive subsidy for only about a third of transit users in the region. Some cities have begun looking for other first-last mile solutions—Seattle, for instance discourages new parking facilities near facilities. But still, Sound Transit 3 will add 10,000 new parking spaces, estimated to cost nearly $700 million.

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Published on Thursday, March 29, 2018 in Crosscut
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