Sound Transit prepares to open garage at site of future Northgate light rail station

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Transit riders can purchase monthly permits for reserved parking

On Nov. 19, Sound Transit will open a multi-level garage at the Northgate Transit Center and site of the future Northgate Link light rail station. Built as part of the Northgate Link Extension on schedule to open in 2021, the garage will provide 447 parking stalls for commuters making connections at one of the highest-demand transit centers in the region.

The garage provides four floors of parking for transit users. For the first time, riders using the garage will have the option of using monthly permits to park in reserved stalls from 4 to 9 a.m. weekdays on the bottom level of the garage. Permitted stalls that remain unoccupied after 9 a.m. weekdays, and on weekends and holidays, can be used by non-permitted drivers. Eventually, as more riders use the garage, up to 50 percent of the spaces designated for transit riders may be set aside for permitted parking.

Transit riders who carpool to the Northgate Transit Center can continue using their carpool parking permits. To encourage carpooling to the facility, carpool permits are now available free of charge. Solo drivers can buy permits for $120 per month. Riders who qualify for ORCA Lift will pay $40 for monthly permits. Information on eligibility for permits and how to register for permitted parking is available at soundtransit.org/permitparking.

More options for transit riders

As light rail expands service and transit-oriented development brings more people to the neighborhood, the Northgate Transit Center will become even busier than it is today. Many transit facilities are already full by early morning. To address the growing demand for parking, Sound Transit began offering parking permits to carpoolers two years ago. This summer, the agency's Board of Directors approved expanding the program to solo drivers. Permit parking assures customers who choose to use it that parking will be available during the peak morning commute period.

A push to better manage parking

In 2012, the Sound Transit Board asked staff to update the agency's parking policy and develop a pilot project to test parking management strategies. The agency implemented a pilot in 2015 to test permit parking. In 2016, the agency introduced a permit program for carpoolers as the first phase of managing parking at nine of its facilities. Expanding parking permits to solo drivers represents the next phase of this effort. 

Sound Transit operates 60 owned and leased parking facilities in King, Pierce and Snohomish counties. Each month, parking counts are conducted. The latest available data show that among facilities where the agencies are allowed by state law to manage parking through pricing options,  23 see 90 percent or greater regular weekday occupancy, and 13 of those see 100 percent or greater regular weekday occupancy.

Current Sound Transit policy provides that the agency considers parking management strategies for facilities it owns and operates at or above 90 percent occupancy for three consecutive months, and/or serves a Link light rail station.

Sound Transit plans to implement solo-driver parking permits in eligible lots next year. The following facilities under consideration for the program are:

  • Mukilteo, Edmonds, Tukwila, Kent, Auburn, Puyallup and Lakewood Sounder stations.
  • The Federal Way Transit Center, Issaquah Transit Center and Mercer Island Park-and-Ride.
  • Tukwila International Blvd and Angle Lake Link light rail stations.

More information on the implementation of permitted parking at future locations will be shared when details are finalized. Riders interested in receiving updates on the parking permit program can sign up for alerts at soundtransit.org/permitparking.