Sound Transit may charge to park

By Any Chang - Staff Reporter

A future light rail station that will be located near High- line may charge for parking as a way to discourage students from using Sound Transit's parking garage.

Construction for Federal Way link extension –which includes the Highline station– will begin late 2019 and construction will be in full force in

Chelsea Levy, who is the government and community relations manager for Sound Tran- sit, recently spoke at Highline about the expansion plan and how it would impact students at Highline.

The Federal Way link expansion plan will bring the Light Rail an additional 7.8 miles south of Angle Lake Station. Three new stations will be built between the area. The three stations that will be added to the extension include one just across from Highline, 272nd Street Station and Federal Way Transit Center Station.

Levy said the station will also include its own parking garage.

"I probably talk more about parking than I talk about transit. We are trying to manage parking better," Levy said.

She said she hopes that the parking is not taken over by Highline students, as she recognizes that the campus has a shortage of parking.

"Access to transit parking is a critical component to the investments we make," Levy said.

She explained that the park- ing is for those who will be us- ing public transport and not for students who attend Highline, and that steps will be taken to help control who is able to park there.

They may charge for parking and require people who want to park there to have some sort of parking permit. They may also limit access to parking by requir- ing Orca cards for entry, Levy said.

Orca cards are also available at a discounted price for youth and seniors, however students can get a discount through Highline.

The station will be a five-minute walk from cam- pus, so students will still have to cross Pacific Highway South, which also poses some chal- lenges, she said.

"[Highway] 99 was primarily built for cars, not people," Levy said.

The expansion will put money into improving the crosswalks by widening them and improving lighting in the area so that students are able to be safer when crossing, she said.

The Link Light Rail, which began operating in 2003, is part of the Sound Transit transportation system which covers three counties and 51 cities. The light rail runs 20 hours a day, arrives every six minutes during peak travel times, and has an average of 77,000 people boarding during the weekday.

Each project that Sound Transit works on goes through a process, which first has to be approved by voters. After voter approval, there is a planning phase, a design phase, and finally construction.

The money that goes toward the projects comes mostly from sales tax and additional fees such as car tabs.
The link expansion is expected to be completed by 2024 and all stations will open at the same time.

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