Seattle cracking down on light rail parking rules

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by JENNIFER CABALA / KING 5 News

NWCN.com

Posted on January 11, 2010 at 9:27 AM

Updated Monday, Jan 11 at 5:11 PM

SEATTLE - It's almost impossible to find parking near light rail station in Seattle, and the city is making it a lot harder. They're cracking down on property owners offering long-term parking in light rail zones.

If you want to ride light rail you now have three options: walk, ride the bus or figure out how to smuggle your car into the neighborhood. There is almost no legal long term parking in the area and the city wanted it that way.

Long before the light rail carried its first passengers, the City of Seattle decided not to provide any parking by the stations.

"We don't want the areas around the light rail stations to become acres of parking areas and parking lots," said Councilman Tom Rasmussen, Chair of the Transportation Committee.

In fact the city made it nearly impossible to get long term parking near the stations. Extended neighborhood parking requires a permit, and local companies were forbidden from offering long term parking in their lots.

KING 5 has obtained letters to at least four property owners ordering them to stop using their lots for long term parking, but people who would like to use light rail say in many cases there is no way to get to light rail without driving there.

"If you live in Renton, it's quicker to drive here park and take rail. They should have prepared for parking," said one resident.

The city recognizes it's a problem but has no intention of adding parking, saying the quality of life for people who live in the neighborhood has to outweigh the convenience to light rail users.

"We want people to enjoy living in their neighborhoods and the more those areas become places where people want to park cheaply the less they will be areas where people will want to be," said Rasmussen.

The city says they may look at allowing some businesses to long term parking, but that would first require a change to city policy. 

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