Follow the rules at King County Metro park & rides — or risk getting towed

SEATTLE — King County Metro said Monday it will be having extra staff monitoring the Metro park & rides with high rates of complaints and violations, such as Eastgate, Kingsgate, Redmond and Northgate, and it take action to make more room for transit customers and maintain a safe parking environment.

“There’s too many people, too many cars,” says Gary Stroutsos, who was waiting for his daughter Monday at the Northgate Transit Center Park & Ride.

“After 7:30 a.m. or 8 o’clock in the morning, it’s pretty hard to find a space,” said Dick Chase, just getting off the 41 bus from downtown Seattle.  “I don’t think it’s right for people who aren’t using them to commute on the buses to take them up.”

King County Metro says park & ride lots are intended for people if they are transferring to a bus, vanpool or carpool.

“Oftentimes our park & rides have nearby business, construction sites, apartments — and we want to make sure park and rides are being used for their intended purpose,” said Daniel Rowe, transportation supervisor for King County Metro.

Metro’s Service Quality section, which monitors transit operations and facilities, will be looking for violations such as parking for non-transit purposes, blocking fire lanes or transit operations, or parking outside designated areas. Enforcement started Monday, June 12, so drivers will be subject to two warnings – subsequent violations will result in having the vehicle towed. Rowe says they will photograph violations and keep a record of violators.

"We’ll issue a warning, the warning will be tracked and upon the third warning the vehicle will be towed,” said Rowe.

"I think that’s a good thing, if you get your car towed once, you’re not going to do it again,” said Stroutsos.

Increased enforcement is one of several Metro efforts to create more park & ride space for transit customers. Metro leases park & ride spaces on available properties near transit hubs (provided at no cost to transit riders) and launched a Carpool Parking Permit program in February that allows drivers with two or more regular transit riders (average of three days of ridership per week) to reserve spaces at any of six area park & rides.

Metro also launched a new partnership with Diamond Parking Service that connects people with new fee-based parking on commercial and residential properties near major bus routes.

Rowe says about 5% of people parked at lots are violating rules.

“Five percent may not seem like a big number, but a lot of these lots can be very large so it can be up to 100 vehicles parked for non-transit reasons,” said Rowe.

"It’s called a park and ride, not park and go shopping,” said Stroutsos.