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500 more parking spaces needed

 

Last updated 11/23/2016 at Noon



A study has found that Mukilteo needs 500 more parking spaces on the waterfront.

There isn’t enough parking to meet demands at Lighthouse Park, as well as at the nearby train station, ferry terminal and businesses all year round.

Although the demand is for 500 more spaces, that number doesn’t necessarily mean a parking garage with that many stalls is in the city’s future.

“Some of those stalls would be used at different times, so there’s a way to share some of those spaces,” said Patricia Love, the city’s community development director.

The city led the parking feasibility study that identifies options to help meet the demand for parking along Mukilteo’s waterfront.

Possible locations for a parking garage or lot identified in the study include these: on the Tank Farm next to the ferry terminal, near Lighthouse Park in the commuter parking lot, on the lower parking lot of Rosehill Community Center, near Harbour Pointe Boulevard and the Mukilteo Speedway, and where the ferry holding lanes are now. Cost estimates for each location are not available.

Even more spaces could be added if the city allowed privately leased spots and entered shared parking agreements for various lots already established in and around Mukilteo.

Remote lots would require a shuttle to the waterfront. Lots on the Tank Farm would be temporary only. All of the new spaces would be paid parking.

“The initial study looks at what we have, what is the demand, and what opportunities there are,” Love said. “We have all these different users who want to be near the water with conflicting needs, and so we’re figuring out how we can address all of those issues.”

Mukilteo didn’t pay for the $47,500 study – Sound Transit, Port of South Whidbey and Island County footed the bill – however, the city provided staff time to manage it.

The city has nearly 700 stalls downtown and near the waterfront – or 345 spaces north of the railroad tracks and in Lighthouse Park and another 345 spots south of the tracks in Old Town and near Rosehill Community Center.

“That’s a higher number than I intuitively would have thought,” Love said.

Here is the breakdown for the demand for 500 more spaces:

Sound Transit commuters need 70 more stalls no more than a half mile from the Mukilteo train station.

As for commuters, tourists and visitors to and from Whidbey Island who want to walk on the ferry and leave their cars in Mukilteo, the demand is for 300 more spots. In addition, those spaces need to be within a half mile of the ferry terminal with a parking limit longer than four hours.

An additional 130 spaces are needed for employees to park near their place of work, as well as visitors to the beach and businesses.

“It is a need that has been in place for awhile, and will continue to grow as you’ve made investments in your shoreline and continue to want to bring people into your city,” said Helen Price Johnson, an Island County commissioner.

“There’s actually an opportunity that you’ve lost when those commuter parking stalls were taken away. I don’t think you’re fully recognizing the costs that that has made.

“The people who would have spent time frequenting your businesses, but are stuck in their cars waiting for the ferry, would be glad to park and spend money in your town and then hop onto a ferry to come over to the island.”

Now that options have been identified – there are five main ones – staff next will look at impacts to private property, existing waterfront activities, the level of permitting required, accessibility to the garage, costs, sizes and the priority or rank of each location.

“I don’t think there will be a one-size-fits-all solution,” Love said. “If you look at the summer usage down there, I don’t think we could build enough stalls around the demand – it’s just too high. We’ll have to look at different strategies.”

Love said a 300-stall parking garage would cost an estimated $300,000 to build and another $190,000 to maintain, whereas shuttles for a remote lot would cost between $75,000 to $150,000 each. Shuttle operations would cost about $125 per hour.

Sound Transit has offered to pay up to $10 million toward a parking garage or lot as long as they meet requirements for train commuters. Mukilteo would then operate and maintain it.

 

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