King County approves park and ride permits

Ten park and rides will now offer monthly permit parking ranging in price from $60 to $120.

Ten park and ride lots in King County will have paid permit sections beginning this fall with prices for a monthly permit ranging from $60 to $120.

The program was approved by the King County Council on July 24 in a 5-3 vote. Parking permit areas will be established in 10 of the county’s 22 park and rides which are regularly more than 90 percent full on weekdays. Up to 50 percent of the spaces in the 10 park and rides could be set aside for permit parking.

The park and rides which will have a $90 a month permit include Bear Creek, Bothell, Kenmore, Redmond, South Kirkland, Aurora Village Transit Center and the Tukwila park and ride. The facilities at Issaquah Highlands and Shoreline will have fees of $60 a month and the Northgate Transit Center will have $120 a month permits.

Carpool parking permits will be free for groups with two or more travelers and those who are a part of the reduced-fair ORCA LIFT program will have a flat monthly rate of $20 at any of the park and rides. Permit-holders will have access to permit parking areas weekdays between 4 a.m. and 10 a.m., after which the spots become available for anyone. The permits do not apply on weekends. Permits for all lots will go on sale this fall. Enforcement will be handled by Republic Parking Northwest.

In order to buy a permit, commuters must show they use the park and ride at least 12 times a month. County documents show the permits are expected to produce more than $523,000 in net revenue this biennium and about $1.28 million in net revenue for the 2021-2022 county budget.

Sound Transit implemented carpool parking permits at nine of its facilities in 2016 and Metro offered carpool permits at 15 of its parking facilities in 2017. Nearly all of the 10 park and rides are at or within a few percentage points of capacity daily, which the county ordinance said forces people to arrive earlier and earlier. Travelers with less flexibility around arrival time are often excluded from park and rides and end up driving instead, the ordinance said.