Commuter Parking Expansion on MI
Many residents are familiar with the long-standing capacity challenges at the Sound Transit-owned Mercer Island Park-and-Ride, which tends to be filled by approximately 7:30am on weekday mornings. Half of the daily users are from off-Island, making all-day parking difficult for Islanders wishing to use mass transit. (See 2014, 2015 and 2016 license-plate surveys; note 2016 used less exact geolocating due to new WA Dept of Licensing privacy rules).
Historically, the most requested improvement to the Town Center area was additional parking (see 2014 phone survey here). With the June 3, 2017 launch of light rail construction, pressure on the existing Park-and-Ride is even heavier. When light rail opens in 2023, the City anticipates a significant increase in transit usage and an accompanying demand for commuter parking.
What's Happening Now
NEW: With the Council's tentative approval of a $10.1million mitigation package from Sound Transit on May 31, 2017, new parking options are now once again under discussion. In the short-term, additional commuter parking will be added in --or close to-- the Town Center area for use by any commuter during the 6-year light rail construction period. In the long-term, Sound Transit has offered the City approximately half (up to $4.6million) of the cost of a new parking lot/garage, for use only by MI residents wishing to access bus transit at the Park-and-Ride, or rail at the future rail station. The City is exploring locations, and possible collaboration with private developers on a Transit-Oriented Development project (TOD).
There are no parking-focused meetings currently scheduled, but community outreach continues on light rail in general and the mitigation of construction . See the "Get Involved" section of the main light rail page.
Comments on parking are currently closed.
The City last held a public comment opportunity on parking at a January 29, 2015 open house at the MI Community and Event Center.
Potential Commuter Parking Garage Locations
|Current Parking Study Area|
Based on community rejection of a proposal to develop parking on the City's Community Center property (see below), the City commissioned an independent study of the pros and cons of other potential resident-only parking locations, within walking distance of the existing Park-and-Ride.
The study was presented to the public at an open house on January 29, 2015 at the Community Center, with over 100 Islanders in attendance. Click here to download the Jan 2015 parking study [Large document, 15Mb]
2014 Community Center Parking Proposal [Suspended]
At a November 19, 2014 open house Island residents learned more about some possible parking concepts to expand parking at the Mercer Island Community and Event Center. At the meeting, City and Sound Transit staff introduced preliminary design concepts, answered questions, and gathered input from residents about neighborhood priorities.
Due to public opposition, study of this proposed location has been suspended.
Two concepts for new parking facilities were identified: a surface lot and a parking structure. In several years' time (approx. 2020 or 2021) the new parking would have converted to resident-only, to ensure that Islanders have continued access to regional transit options serving the existing Park-and-Ride.
Click here for a City factsheet and FAQ on the Community Center Parking Proposal.
Click here for Sound Transit documentation on the Community Center Parking concepts.
Click here to view news article "Sound Transit To Help Island With Parking" (1 Jan 2014).
The City Council held a Study Session on this draft proposal at its December 1, 2014 Council Mtg.
Archived meeting video footage is available here. [Select the Dec 1 meeting, then click on the "AB 5026" Agenda Item]
For more information, contact:
Kirsten Taylor, Assistant City Manager at (206) 275-7661