King County and Sound Transit dedicate new 500-stall Burien Park-and-Ride Garage

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Five-floor garage offers commuters more travel choices during viaduct construction

King County Metro Transit and Sound Transit were joined by partners and elected officials today as King County Executive Dow Constantine led the dedication of a new parking garage at the Burien Park-and-Ride, completed two months ahead of schedule as the second phase of a major transit hub in downtown Burien.

"We are creating a sustainable transportation hub in downtown Burien faster than anyone imagined, and completion of this garage couldn't be timelier with construction on the Highway 99 corridor ramping up," said Executive Constantine. "With more service on Route 120 to downtown Seattle starting Oct. 1 as part of viaduct mitigation, and RapidRide from Burien to Renton coming in two years, local residents will have more travel options and more convenient choices - just when they need them most."

The Burien Park-and-Ride garage opened to the public last Saturday. It features more than 500 parking stalls - including 10 electric vehicle charging stations equipped with pay meters and credit card readers. It is located adjacent to King County Metro Transit's Burien Transit Center, which is the future terminus for RapidRide Line F connecting Burien, Tukwila and Renton. It is also the first major Sound Transit 2 (ST2) capital project to open for service. The ST2 ballot measure was approved by voters in 2008.

Yesterday, the Washington State Department of Transportation announced a nine-day closure of the Alaskan Way Viaduct set to begin October 21. And even when the viaduct reopens with a new south-end detour, construction and traffic disruptions in the SODO area are expected to last beyond 2015.

Starting Oct. 1, Metro will be adding service on the Rt. 120 between the Burien Transit Center and downtown Seattle as part of the state-funded viaduct construction mitigation program. There will be three new morning trips, and five more in the afternoon.

"The completion of this garage significantly expands parking capacity for residents of Burien and the surrounding areas, making it easier for people to ride Metro and Sound Transit buses," said Sound Transit Board and King County Councilmember Joe McDermott. "I'm proud that the Burien area is the first in line to benefit from the investments in new transit facilities that voters approved in 2008 as part of Sound Transit 2."

The regional transit agency funded the new park-and-ride as a way to improve regional transit connections for South County and other residents.

"Sound Transit's $14.7 million contribution to the Burien Transit Center's parking expansion represents a key transit investment in the South King subarea," said Sound Transit Board Chair and Snohomish County Executive Aaron Reardon. "As the first capital structure completed under the voter-approved ST2 program, the new garage and parking lot offer additional capacity for south county transit users, and support economic growth for Burien's revitalized downtown by creating more opportunities for transit-oriented development."

The garage is the second of three key components in Burien's downtown transit improvements. In 2009, Metro opened the Burien Transit Center, located east of the new park-and-ride. It is currently served by Metro routes 120, 121, 122, 123, 131, 132, 133, 134, 139, 140, 180, and ST Express 560. Metro's RapidRide F is scheduled to begin service in 2013.

The final project in that location is the future Transit Oriented Development (TOD) mixed-use housing to be built south of the parking garage.

"I was an early supporter of the ST2 package that funded the construction of this garage," said Metropolitan King County Council and Sound Transit Board member Julia Patterson. "We knew we needed better transportation connections in Burien. Today, we have those improvements, and they only get better as each new part of the overall project comes online."

The garage was constructed on the site on the former Burien Park-and-Ride lot, which was originally opened in 1978. To build the new garage, Metro and Sound Transit partnered with private developer, Alliance Wasatch I, LLC. The garage was constructed by Charles Pankow Builders, Ltd.

The new park-and-ride has a total of 504 parking stalls both inside the five-floor garage and in the surface lot immediately to the north, an increase of 110 stalls over the former park-and-ride. In the new outside lot, there are accessible parking stalls, some large enough for vans, and also kiss-and-ride drop-off spots with a five-minute parking limit.

Emergency alarm buttons and security cameras are located in each corner of every floor in the garage. Bike racks are located between the surface parking area and the transit center.

Funding for the $20.8 million garage includes: $14.7 million from Sound Transit; $ 5.9 million from the Federal Transit Administration; and $200,000 from Metro. The garage will be owned and operated by Metro.

"Two years ago, the new transit center got us off to a great start by increasing our investment in transportation infrastructure in the Burien area," said Congressman Jim McDermott. "Construction of both the transit center and this new garage put a lot of people to work, and these facilities will now make it easier for people to commute around from the Burien area in a way that is better for the environment."

The Burien Transit Center parking expansion also represents an innovative public-private partnership between King County, Sound Transit, and Alliance to fund the design and construction of the garage. The county has entered into a lease/lease-back contract with Alliance to finance the project with private equity funds and a construction loan from Wells Fargo Bank. Alliance financed and constructed the project, and the county will now purchase the garage for a fixed, pre-determined price using the Sound Transit funding.

"The City of Burien is very pleased with the new garage," said Mayor Joan McGilton. "Our old park-and-ride had become too small, and this nice new facility should serve our community well. We see this project as another big step forward in our continuing effort to develop downtown Burien into a vibrant place to live, work and play. We appreciate the efforts of King County Metro, Sound Transit and the other partners, to help turn our dream of a transit-friendly downtown into reality."