The November 1st Seattle Times front page article “Parking finds its place in Sound Transit vote” exemplifies why the area’s highways will likely remain congested for far into the future. First you have Sound Transit promising ST3 will add 8,560 parking spaces between 2024 and 2041. The article also reported, "19,488 cars occupied park-and-ride facilities each weekday in Snohomish, King and Pierce Counties” with “51 facilities next to express bus or train stations that were at least 95% full”.
With the existing parking full of those already using transit, mostly on express bus routes, it’s “unclear” how Sound Transit intends to provide additional commuters with access to the light rail stations. Routing the existing bus routes to the light rail stations rather than into Seattle will provide “access” for existing commuters. However, it will do very little to reduce roadway congestion.
That requires increasing the number of transit riders. Even a light rail system whose capacity is limited by the Downtown Seattle Transit Tunnel (DSTT) requires Sound Transit add tens of thousands of parking spaces to increase transit ridership. Instead they wait until 2024 to begin spending $698 million on a measly 8560 parking spaces to provide access to a light rail system they plan to spend $54 billion on light rail extensions over the next 25 years.
Talk about “too little too late”! They ignore the reality the only way to reduce congestion is to convince more people to “ride rather than drive”. The only way to do so is spend existing Prop 1 funds, not on light rail extensions, spend it adding parking spaces near where people live with express BRT routes to near where they want to go. They can do so with a fraction of ST3 money and time dramatically reducing I-5 and I-90 corridor congestion.
Instead you have the “green and urbanist thinkers” who claim “the plan (parking) wastes money and land to subsidize car storage”. That it could be used “on more frequent service, affordable housing, or better walk, bike and bus access to stations”. Where do they “think” those who do not care to bike, live within walking distance of stations or bus routes to stations should “store” their car while they "work". The same question could be asked of the Sierra club who “supports ST3 but expects to raise questions about the parking after the election”.
Add to that the Victoria Transportation Policy Institute consultant’s claim, “Of all the ways to help people get from home to work, providing a fully subsidized park-and-ride lot is one of the most inefficient”. He didn’t deign to propose an alternative.
It’s this “advice” along with Sound Transit plans for “Prop 1 and Beyond” that makes any transportation improvements “problematic”. The area has already endured years of needless congestion and wasted funding because of Sound Transit’s failure to recognize the benefits of added parking and BRT. Their parking plan is just another example of “too little, too late!”