Recently commenters on this blog have noted that the new Park and Ride is full by 9 am and suggested tactics for solving the problem, whether City-Council-approved or guerrilla.
The reigning theory is that folks from Issaquah, Bellevue and further reaches are coming to the closest P&R to the city– namely, ours. That becomes a problem for Island residents who can’t get a spot after 9 am. Get up and get to work earlier, you lazy bums, you think? Perhaps, but last Tuesday I worked from home til 11 and then couldn’t park to take the bus to work.
From Bruce Bassett, City Council
I emailed Bruce Bassett on the City Council for his thoughts on the problem. His remarks, which he didn’t mind me publishing, are:
The history of the park and ride is long and I don’t have all the details. Here’s what I do know:
P&R was financed by Sound Transit, not by MI. And Sound Transit has a hard and fast policy that all P&Rs are open to all.
MI had the option of adding additional levels to the P&R for MI only. MI opted not to invest.
Citizen created signage saying ‘MI only’ would not be well received and would likely strain relations between the city and sound transit.
City staff and council are well aware of the problem, but good solutions are in short supply. If you have thoughts, we’ll all be listening.
I’ve cc’ed Rich Conrad in hopes that he will correct me if I’ve misspoken here.
– Bruce Bassett, City Council, via email
From Rich Conrad, City Manager
Bruce did in fact cc Rich Conrad, City Manager, who further stated:
Bruce has stated the situation correctly. Sound Transit owns and operates the Lot and they will not set aside spaces for local residents anywhere in the ST boundaries. We have tried to make the case many times that MI is a unique location since we are the last stop before entering Seattle and are well-served by an Interstate hiway that simply queues up drivers for the eastside to use the MI P&R lot. They’re not convinced or concerned.
We are working at ideas to create additional spaces in the Town Center that would be MI-only spcaes (or at least much harder to get to for people coming off the freeway). If we are lucky and successful we would get the State or ST to fund the construction and we would include it in one of the future Town Center re-development projects. It would be considered “mitigation” for closing the center roadway to cars if/when light rail is added (or worse yet, if tolling is implemented). Unfortunately, at best, these ideas would come together 6 to 8 years from now. I’m sorry I don’t have a bette near-term solution for you. Yes, it is complex….
Lobbying Sound Transit Board members to consider “dedicated spaces” might help. Our eastside reps are Mary-Alice Burleigh, Councilmember at Kirkland, Fred Butler, Councilmember at Issaquah and John Marchione, Mayor of Redmond. Last time I talked to them, they at least listened closely – but no promises.
– Rich Conrad, City Manager, via email
So there you have it. We got our Park and Ride built for free by Sound Transit, but we have to play by their rules. Which, to be fair, seem to have been open and straightforward since the P&R was planned. We probably should have built another level for residents.
Now it seems like our best option is to lobby Sound Transit. In the meantime it seems some additional parking at the Town Center is a decent option, if less convenient than the P&R itself. So thanks to the City Council for working towards that. And here is:
Who to Call to Get a Spot at the P&R
Per our City Manager, call these folks and tell them we need to get to work. I looked up their emails:
- Alice Burleigh, Councilmember at Kirkland- firstname.lastname@example.org
- Fred Butler, Councilmember at Issaquah- email@example.com
- John Marchione, Mayor of Redmond- firstname.lastname@example.org
For the record, Sound Transit has done some great work in our mass-transit-challenged metro area, and I support them. But I’ll email and ask politely for a place to park.