Pay to use Park & Ride lots? Sound Transit to test paying for parking

In an effort to better manage parking at its regional Park & Ride lots, Sound Transit will begin a pilot program to test charging for parking at its lots next year. The agency currently manages more than 13,000 parking spaces throughout the region.

Despite that big number, hundreds of commuters find parking facilities full each morning. As the regional transit system expands to meet regional population and employment growth, Sound Transit expects the demand for park-and-ride spaces to be even greater.

On July 18, the Sound Transit Board approved a 2014 pilot program to test ways to allocate parking.

Elements of the pilot program include an option for customers to buy parking permits at some of the most crowded facilities. Potential sites for the study include Issaquah Transit Center, Mukilteo Station, Sumner Station and Tukwila International Boulevard Station.

At those facilities, 20 percent of parking spaces will be reserved for permit holders only, providing riders with increased certainty of available parking when they need it. Permits will cost $33 per quarter for solo drivers and $5 per quarter for carpools.

According to Metro, features of the pilot program will also include improved rideshare management, monitoring real-time parking availability, and program evaluation.

Metro plans to communicate with riders before and during the pilot program planned to start next year.

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