Why Is Seattle’s Sound Transit Building a 500-Space Parking Garage?

In Seattle, the Parking Garage That Transit Built: Seattle’s Sound Transit must not have read our article the other day about how little-known regulations nickel and dime transit agencies, because it’s taking on additional expense beyond those costly mandates. Network blog PubliCola reports that Sound Transit is planning a 500-space parking garage to replace 100 spaces that will be removed to make way for its new Northgate light rail stop.

The Federal Transit Agency, PubliCola reports, requires transit agencies to replace only the number of parking spaces they reduce — a bad policy in itself. But while close to 1,000 spaces will be displaced during construction of the transit station, only 100 will be permanently lost. So it doesn’t make sense to build a permanent 500-space parking garage, says City Council Member Richard Conlin: “That’s a net gain of nearly 400 spots in an area where most future developments are supposed to be pedestrian- and transit-oriented, not car-dependent.”

Welcome to Tampa, Florida. Photo: Curt Ailes, UrbanIndy

Tampa’s New Streetcar System Inspiring Envy: Forget your preconceived notions of Tampa, Florida. Did you know this is one of America’s few streetcar cities? Take a look at that photo! Since 2002, Tampa has been running Teco, a historic streetcar system. This so intrigued UrbanIndy writer Curt Ailes (a true transit nerd) that he dragged his whole family along the entire length of the system during a recent spring break trip. Ailes was impressed by many aspects of the infrastructure, but Tampa could do a better job using the system to promote sustainable lifestyles, he said.

“The biggest downfall is that Tampa seems to have taken to marketing the streetcar strictly as a tourist attraction. This is most evident in the fact that most days, service does not begin until noon; on Friday-Sunday, it starts at 11 a.m. This really restricts the streetcar from being a transportation device for daily workers in the downtown Tampa area. That being said, we did see some daytime workers using the streetcar, so at least some residents seem to be attempting to use it this way.”

Melbourne’s Central Business District Going Car-free? The Melbourne Herald Sun is reporting that a new initiative to limit the number of central-city parking spaces available to commuters may be the first step toward establishing a car-free zone downtown. Carfree USA says it’s part of the city’s strategy to increase transit and cycling.