A new pilot program in Seattle could make it easier for some commuters to trade in their cars for the bus or light rail. The Puget Sound Business Journal reports that the partnership between King County Metro Transit and Diamond Parking will allow people and business to rent out parking spaces near frequent transit services and park-and-rides.
Participating building owners and property managers need to offer at least 20 spaces attached to multi-family or mixed-use residential developments to be eligible for the program. Parking spaces must also have safe pedestrian connections within a quarter-mile of a frequent transit service. King County Metro will market the program, and Diamond Parking will manage the logistics.
Price details haven’t been released yet, but a recent survey by Metro found that daily park-and-ride users said they would pay about $44 to $110 per month for a guaranteed parking space near their transit stop.
Traffic is a growing concern in Seattle. The city has the fifth-worst traffic in the country, and during top evening commuting hours nearly three-fourths of roads are congested. Yet half of Seattle residents still drive to work. Metro is hoping making more parking available near transit centers can help change that by motivating more people to use public transit and decrease the number of cars on the road, particularly downtown.
Expanded light rail service is also playing a role in efforts to alleviate congestion. Seattle celebrated the opening of two new light rail stations in March, in the dense Capitol Hill neighborhood and at the University of Washington’s Husky Stadium. In November, voters will also weigh in on a $53.4 billion measure to expand light rail further across the region.
The parking pilot program will begin early next year.
Kelsey E. Thomas is a writer and editor based in the most upper-left corner of the country. She writes about urban policy, equitable development and the outdoors (but also about nearly everything else) with a focus on solutions-oriented journalism. She is a former associate editor and current contributing editor at Next City.