New study could lead to reserved parking spots, extra fees at Park and Ride lots

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The basis of a new study suggests that bus riders pay an extra fee that guarantees they get a spot at their local Park and Ride.

KIRO 7 News reporter Jeff Dubois is live on Mercer Island at one of the Park and Rides studied for our morning newscast through 7 a.m. on-air and 8 a.m. online.

The Washington Department of Transportation found the Park and Ride fills up by 7:50 a.m., Monday through Friday.

Park and Ride lots throughout Puget Sound.
© 2017 Cox Media Group.

It’s typical; most park and rides are at capacity before the commute is even halfway through – making it hard for drivers to count on getting a parking space.

The problem relates to the 74 percent of park and ride users who drive alone to the lots and leave their cars. So, this study is exploring solutions and figure out how to get people to carpool to the park and rides.

Here are some solutions, according to the study:

  • The Park and Ride could have a portion of parking spaces for carpool use only, issuing parking permits so carpoolers can reserve specific parking spots. Those options would give commuters an incentive to carpool.
  • Another possible tactic would be to implement parking fees for people who drive alone to the park and rides.

Only 24 to 28 percent of commuters surveyed said they'd be willing to consider carpooling for either a reserved spot or to avoid paying a fee.

One of the complaints in the study is that 77 percent of those surveyed said they take transit to save money. So, paying an extra fee to park is not appealing.

Incidentally, King County Metro is starting a pilot program in the coming months to offer reserved spaces for people who carpool, to see how it could work in the future.

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