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Proposed Dome Station commuter parking permit set for public hearing

A public hearing is planned for Monday, March 11, on plans to offer reserved parking spots during morning commute hours for a percentage of the spaces available at Tacoma Dome Station’s two garages.
A public hearing is planned for Monday, March 11, on plans to offer reserved parking spots during morning commute hours for a percentage of the spaces available at Tacoma Dome Station’s two garages. Staff file, 2016

If you park at the Tacoma Dome Station, you might want to attend the next Pierce Transit board meeting or check out an online feedback site for a proposed parking permit plan.

As reported last month, a proposal to set aside a certain number of reserved parking stalls at the two Pierce Transit-owned garages is set for a hearing before the agency’s board. There would be a fee to reserve the spots.

Currently, parking at the garage is free for all spots.

Pierce Transit says the garages are 94 percent filled by 7 a.m. on weekdays, with the bulk of those spots taken by mass transit riders. The garages are served by Pierce Transit local routes, Intercity Transit routes, Sound Transit express buses, Link light rail into downtown Tacoma, Sounder South commuter train, as well as Amtrak and Greyhound.

Under the proposal, permits would be optional. The plan would start by reserving 150 spots for single-occupancy vehicles and 50 for carpoolers or Vanpool vans, totaling less than 10 percent of the 2,400 parking slots available.

More reserved spots eventually could be set aside or rates adjusted based on demand.

Permit holders would need to show proof of at least 12 verified transit trips per month via bus, vanpool or Sounder train. Carpooling permit holders would need at least two passengers meeting that same requirement. Pricing for the permit would depend on participants’ ORCA or ORCA LIFT status.

Revenue would go toward the program’s cost and to help maintain the Tacoma Dome Station. The goal also is to “give people more certainty and flexibility in finding a parking spot, thus making transit trips more appealing,” Rebecca Japhet, Pierce Transit’s communications manager, told The News Tribune in February. “It would also improve transit operations by more evenly spreading out demand for space on transit trips throughout the morning rush hour, rather than having everyone arrive together at an early hour to get a spot.”

Those without a permit could still park in a reserved spot, if it is available, for free after 8 a.m. on weekdays and all day on weekends (excluding special events). Those without permits also could park in one of the free spots as they do now.

Feedback is still being accepted online at PierceTransit.org/permit-parking. The site also offers more details on the proposal.

An October survey seeking commuters’ thoughts on the proposal received close to 700 responses.

If the parking permit plan gets board approval, it could be adopted at its April 8 meeting and begin at the garages in June.

At the same meeting, the board will host a public hearing regarding where bus rapid transit stations should be located. That $150 million project will bring new stations along with bus lanes to Pacific Avenue. That hearing also will gather input on transit lane configurations. More information on the bus rapid transit plan is at https://www.piercetransit.org/brt/.

PUBLIC HEARING

When: Monday, March 11, during the board’s regular board meeting, which starts at 4 p.m.

Where: Pierce Transit Training Center, 3720 96th St. SW, Lakewood. The meeting is on the first floor.

Assistance: Registered SHUTTLE customers can obtain transportation to and from the hearing by calling (253) 581-8000, option 2, at least one day in advance.

Information: https://www.piercetransit.org/board-meetings/

Debbie Cockrell has been with The News Tribune since 2009. She reports on business and development, local and regional issues.


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