Light Rail Interim Parking

Project Outcomes

In 2011, City Council amended the Land Use Code to allow commuter parking near light rail stations for up to three years. The City allowed this temporary use on existing parky lots in the Mt. Baker, Columbia City, Othello, and Rainier Beach neighborhoods where commuter parking was not allowed. Portions of the North Beacon Hill light rail station were also eligible for temporary parking. In addition:

  • Property owners were allowed to make parking available to rail commuters and employees and customers of nearby businesses.
  • Light rail commuter and business-related parking were allowed on lots owned by institutions outside the station areas, but within walking distance of the light rail stations.
  • Property owners were not allowed to demolish buildings on their site to create a parking lot.
  • Property owners could generally create no more than 40 parking spaces not related to their business.

This legislation was adopted on a temporary basis and the last day to apply for a permit for interim light rail parking was December 31, 2012.

Key Milestones

Project Purpose

The project helped address safety issues, improve neighborhood appearances, and increase light rail ridership.

Due to the 2007-2008 economic recession, development slowed down even in areas near the Link light rail system. There were limited prospects for new development in the near-term. Empty (underused) property and parking lots near light rail stations such as in Mt. Baker, Columbia City, Othello, and Rainier Beach posed potential safety hazards and created unsightly conditions.

In addition, the City hoped that allowing temporary additional parking in these Southeast Seattle neighborhoods could help boost light rail ridership.