King County Metro approves paid parking permits

On July 24, the Metropolitan King County Council voted 5-3 to begin selling parking permits that set aside spaces at nine of the busiest park and rides in the area.

Seattle+Space+Needle%3B+local+news+graphic+to+be+used+for+local+news.+Art+by+Aditi+Jain+

n/a

Seattle Space Needle; local news graphic to be used for local news. Art by Aditi Jain

Gloria Shen, Reporter

On July 24, the Metropolitan King County Council voted 5-3 to begin selling parking permits that set aside spaces at nine of the busiest park and rides in the area. The permits, which began selling early Nov., went into effect on Dec. 2 of last year. 

Permit prices vary significantly, depending on the park and ride location and whether applicants qualify for ORCA LIFT, a program that allows low income riders to pay a reduced or free bus fare. 

For regular riders, the permits cost $60 a month at the Issaquah Highlands and Shoreline locations and $90 for the seven other park and rides that have permit parking. For ORCA LIFT participants, permits will $20. Carpoolers, however, can apply for the permits at no cost. To be eligible for the permits, community members have to take a bus from a participating park and ride at least twelve times a month. 

In this next year from Jan. to Dec., the permits are expected to bring in $500,000, which has created controversy with riders and workers who feel that the price is too high to pay for a guaranteed spot. Rushlenne Pascual, a King County resident and a regular rider at Tukwila Park and Ride, says that the price is too high to pay. 

“Ninety dollars is a lot. At seven to seven thirty AM, I have no problem finding a spot,” Pascual said. 

Additionally, there is a debate among King County councilmembers about whether parking permits are a better solution than creating more parking for riders. Councilmember Reagan Dunn, who initially opposed the program, finally supported it after amending it to direct a portion of the profit to parking expansion. 

“It looks better to the public if we are saying that some of the money that’s being used for spaces is going into a fund… to expand our park and ride infrastructure,” Dunn said.