King County Metro is now selling single occupant vehicle (SOV) parking permits for nine park-and-ride lots, which will go into effect on Dec. 2. Ranging from $20 to $90 per month, SOV parking permits will allow greater access to transit for people who work nontraditional hours or cannot get to park-and-rides before they fill up in the morning. At least 50% of stalls per lot will remain free and available on a first-come, first-served basis.
Today, King County Metro will begin selling single occupant vehicle parking permits for nine park-and-ride lots, which will go into effect on Dec. 2. The lots selected for this program are owned and operated by Metro and at least 90% full on most weekdays. Single occupant vehicle (SOV) parking permits will provide greater access to transit for people who travel or work during nontraditional commute times, or who do not have the option to get to park-and-rides before they fill up, which can be as early as 7 a.m.
As the region grows, Metro is responding to increased demand by employing a range of strategies to both manage and expand parking supply. New parking lots can cost up to $100,000 per parking space, and can easily take five or more years to plan, design and construct. Permit parking is one way Metro can more efficiently leverage the parking it already has, while offering customers more immediate relief. In tandem to this, Metro encourages carpooling by offering free parking permits to people who carpool to 14 of its lots, including the nine lots at which SOV parking permits are now available. Additionally, Metro has ongoing efforts underway to make it easier to bike, walk, and share rides to transit.
Parking permits are not required for commuters to park at the participating park-and-rides. The unmarked parking stalls remain as first-come, first-served. The number of permitted stalls available for both solo driver and carpool permit holders will be capped at 50% of the total stalls. Metro will designate only the spaces needed to accommodate permit holders, and the number of reserved stalls will be regularly adjusted to reflect usage by permit holders. If demand for permits is limited, only a small number of parking spaces will be designated for permit parking. Should demand for permits exceed the number available, a waiting list system will be in place, prioritizing ORCA Lift and carpool applicants.
Permit parking prices for solo drivers range from $60 to $90 per month. A discounted permit fee of $20 is available for customers who qualify for the ORCA LIFT low-income reduced transit fare and 10% of passes will be set aside for ORCA Lift participants.
All “Permit Parking Only” spaces will be reserved Monday through Friday from 4 a.m. to 10 a.m. When SOV permits go into effect on Dec. 2, the existing carpool permit parking hours will also extend from the current end time of 8:30 a.m. to 10 a.m. On weekends and after 10 a.m. on weekdays, all stalls will be available for general transit parking at no charge.
In February 2017, Metro began offering free carpool parking permits at 15 park-and-ride lots. Carpool permit holders have reported reduced stress and increased certainty as the biggest benefits of the program, with 87 active permits as of September 2019. Carpooling to a park-and-ride lot isn’t an option for all travelers, however, and Metro received customer feedback suggesting a desire for solo driver permit option.
The SOV parking program will seek to meet the following goals adopted by the King County Council:
Spread peak-of-peak demand for transit
Encourage use of transit
Increase ridership in the region
Improve access to transit parking for low-income populations, communities of color, immigrants and refugees, limited English-speaking populations, transit-dependent populations, individuals who work nontraditional schedules or during off-peak travel periods and other transit riders
Increase use of carpooling
Cover program costs
How it Works
To apply for a permit, customers can visit the application portal at www.rpnw.com/locations/transit-riders.
Applications must be received by the 20th of the month for a permit to be in effect the start of the next calendar month.
In order to maintain eligibility, customers must drive to a participating park-and-ride to catch transit, join a carpool or join a vanpool at least 12 days per month (an average of 3 days per week).
Unauthorized parkers will be issued $20 citations for the first three violations. A fourth violation will result in towing and impound. Unpaid citations will result in a $25 late fee.
Metro’s permit parking policies and procedures differ slightly from Sound Transit’s permit parking program. For FAQ, visit www.kingcounty.gov/metro/permitparking
To learn more about Metro’s permit parking program, visit the webpage: www.kingcounty.gov/metro/permitparking