Seattle pilot will let buildings rent parking spaces as park-and-rides

Though it’s made rapid progress in shifting commuters away from driving alone to work, Seattle is still looking to address ongoing congestion within the Puget Sound region. Now, the King County Metro is planning to launch a pilot to attract commuters to light rail and buses by allowing nearby buildings to rent their empty parking spaces to commuters.

The Washington Business Journal writes that the pilot will be open to residential and multi-use buildings, though pricing details are yet to be determined:

Participating property owners need to offer at least 20 spaces in garages or surface lots that have safe pedestrian connections and adequate lighting.

Focus group participants indicated a willingness to pay $44 to $110 per month for a guaranteed park-and-ride parking space. King County Metro will market the program and Diamond Parking will let customers find, reserve and access the parking spaces.

With the area’s light rail system expanding (one new station opened last month, and two in March), Seattle transit is well-poised to appeal to those who typically drive through areas that previously had little or no light rail access.

By renting out existing, unused parking spaces in residential building garages, King County Metro could accomplish a tricky aspect of park-and-rides: expand the availability and allure of spaces near transit centers and stations, but also not harm the livability, walkability and value of the neighborhoods near stops. The pilot would make a productive use of spaces in buildings that would otherwise be sitting unused and empty throughout the day.

When it starts in early 2017, the program will be an interesting test in appealing to drive-alone commuters.

Photo: A Sound Transit Link light rail train (Joe A. Kunzler, Flickr, Creative Commons).

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