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Cedar Mill News
Volume 2, Issue 12


December 2004

Transit Center adds short-term parking

The Sunset Transit Center parking lot is usually filled by 7:30 or 8 am every weekday. To accommodate people who wish to travel on MAX for reasons other than full-day commuting, the TriMet board is looking at converting 12 of the spaces in the Sunset Transit Center to short-term metered parking. The spaces would cost 50 cents per hour to a maximum of five hours. The second hearing on the ordinance is scheduled for the December 15 TriMet board meeting, 9 am in their Admin building on SE 17th.

I interviewed Bruce Solberg, TriMet Public Information Officer about the ordinance and it’s background.

Why charge people $.50 per hour for something that others get for free?

By metering and putting a time limit on some spaces at our two busiest transit centers, Sunset Transit Center and Gateway Transit Center, we are making spaces available to people who want to make short-term trips throughout the day. Both these parking lots usually fill up at 7:30 a.m. each morning, leaving no space for people who want to use the MAX system later in the day. By metering these spaces, and limiting the time they can be used to five hours, we can assure some spaces remain open and that there is a turnover. This opens the system to non-commuting riders, allowing them to make non-work trips on MAX such as for medical appointments, shopping, visiting the zoo, etc.

My impression has been that the problem was caused by the short-sighted decision to build such a small lot in the first place. How did that happen?

The size of the parking lots was determined by the amount of funding available through federal sources and their formulas for ridership. Also our region’s land use policies encourage higher-density, transit-oriented development near much of the MAX line, rather than encouraging single-use parking lots. MAX ridership continues to grow and has exceeded initial projections, especially on the Westside, where it has already surpassed 2008 projections.

Additionally, we find that some commuters tend to bypass available parking, at park and ride lots closer to their homes, to go to Sunset which is closer to their destinations. Beaverton Creek Station’s parking lot is less than 50% full. In fact, the only other Westside stations with full lots are Millikan Way and Quatama/NW 205th Ave. Six other stations still have parking capacity.

Why only 12 spaces? This will hardly alleviate the problem.

Since parking at these spaces will be limited by time, they will turn over a couple and perhaps several times a day, allowing space for up to several short-term trips at each space.

What will be done to cars that fill these spaces overtime or without paying? Will there be adequate patrolling to ensure the spaces aren’t just filled up with people leaving their cars there all day?

These spaces will be monitored and fines will be issued for either non-payment or going overtime. Adding the meters is a parking management tool that will generate short-term parking, it isn’t aimed at generating revenue.



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The Cedar Mill News
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Publisher/Editor:Virginia Bruce
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