About this blog

My name is Bill Hirt and I'm a candidate to be a Representative from the 48th district in the Washington State legislature. My candidacy stems from concern the legislature is not properly overseeing the WSDOT and Sound Transit East Link light rail program. I believe East Link will be a disaster for the entire eastside. ST will spend 5-6 billion on a transportation project that will increase, not decrease cross-lake congestion, violates federal environmental laws, devastates a beautiful part of residential Bellevue, creates havoc in Bellevue's central business district, and does absolutely nothing to alleviate congestion on 1-90 and 405. The only winners with East Link are the Associated Builders and Contractors of Western Washington and their labor unions.

This blog is an attempt to get more public awareness of these concerns. Many of the articles are from 3 years of failed efforts to persuade the Bellevue City Council, King County Council, east side legislators, media, and other organizations to stop this debacle. I have no illusions about being elected. My hope is voters from throughout the east side will read of my candidacy and visit this Web site. If they don't find them persuasive I know at least I tried.

Sunday, July 31, 2016

Paying for "Pay to Park"

The “Pay to Park” concept is based on finding those willing to pay $250 monthly or $3000 annually for an assigned parking space.  Those who currently drive or car pool will have to leave their car someplace.  They may pay or their employer may provide them with parking. 

If the commuter pays the parking, the fees near where they “work” will likely be far higher than $250 a month near where they “live”.   Thus not only will pay to park reduce the commuters’ parking costs it saves wear and tear on their car, and the stress of driving.  (When I commuted by bus I enjoyed reading the paper on the way to work and a little “snooze” on the way home.)  

If the employer provides the parking, their costs for doing so in Seattle, Bellevue, or Overlake are also likely far higher.  Thus many employers would welcome the chance to pay for assigned parking spaces for employees near where they live.  Their employees would welcome the opportunity to avoid the costs not only of parking but also of commuting.

All the major employers in the area need to be surveyed to determine their willingness to pay.   All their employees need to be surveyed as to whether and where they would like to leave their car and when and where they would like to go.  Also whether commuters if asked to pay would do so.

My guess is Sound Transit could easily find thousands of commuters or their employers willing to pay the $3000 annually for 100,000 parking spaces over the next 5 years.  The $300 Million would fully pay for 30 million miles of bus service with the capacity to increase transit ridership by 500,000 a day.  Again after the initial 5 years they could continue to do so for as long as it takes to meet commuter demands.  (And they could do it without spending a dime on light rail extensions.)

By comparison Sound Transit’s 2016 budget for Express Bus Service anticipated roughly 12 million miles of revenue service with ~$36 million in fare box revenue providing only 28% of operating costs.   With "Pay to Park" the ones playing for transit are the commuters who use it.  With ST3 most of the transit costs are paid by those who rarely if ever use it.  

Rejecting ST3 may force them to seriously consider "Pay to Park", a far better option than allowing them to spend $54 billion and 25 years on "Prop 1 and beyond" light rail extensions.

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