Cyclists Will Pay to Park at Seattle’s New Light Rail Stations. Will Drivers?

Right now, the Seattle region is hashing out how to spend $50 billion to expand transit. The project list, known as ST3, is tilted heavily toward the suburbs, not the urban core where ridership would be higher.

Parking at Sound Transit's Tukwila International Blvd Station. Photo: Oran Viriyincy
Parking at Sound Transit’s Tukwila International Blvd Station. Photo: Oran Viriyincy

Included with all those suburban stations will be thousands of new parking stalls, which each cost tens of thousands of dollars to build. Interestingly, Josh Feit at PubliCola reports that Sound Transit hasn’t decided yet whether to charge for car parking at stations, but it has already indicated that bike parking won’t be free:

As the debate over parking for cars at light rail stations gets underway — should people have to pay for parking (activists from the Transit Access Stakeholders group think so) — ST is already setting a precedent for bike parking. Bikers have to pay.

Sound Transit debuted a new bike storage cage at its Beacon Hill station last month where bikers pay $4.10 a month for access. ST says they will replicate the bike storage model at more stations going forward.

With the ST3 plan considering at least 8,330 new parking spaces for cars at about $70,000 a stall, the debate should include another stat: Federal Highway Administration estimates put the cost of building new bike racks at about $50 per bike and more elaborate storage, like cages, costing about $1,500 per bike.

At least if bike parking has a price, there’s no excuse to provide free parking for cars.

Elsewhere on the Network today: Mobility Lab posts a new video explaining the concept of transportation demand management. Columbus Underground announces the opening of the city’s new airport bus service. And Broken Sidewalk details what the city of Louisville is doing to make biking to the Kentucky Derby convenient.

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