Sound Transit has up to nine trains a day that go through Sumner to all points north, where they stop at King Street Station in Seattle. Sumner officials say the demand on ridership is putting strain on parking capacity in Sumner’s downtown shopping area.
“You can park at the station if you take the first train and maybe find a few spots at the second train, and after that, there is no parking,” said Dave Enslow, the mayor of Sumner who also sits on Sound Transit’s board of directors.
Within the Sumner station, there are 375 Sound Transit-owned public parking stalls. The City of Sumner recently opened the back lot of the Red Apple market to 50 stalls. Parking also is available at the Bonney Lake Park & Ride, where there are about 400 stalls. Sound Transit bus route 596 serves the park and ride.
“You can park in Sumner, but it’s risky,” Enslow said. “The challenge is, Sumner doesn’t want to be buried in parking, but a lot of people want to get to work.”
Sound Transit representatives reviewed their Station Access Study on Oct. 21 in front of the Sumner City Council. The study commits $37.8 million in 2012 dollars to initial access improvement options. A concurrent study, $52.4 million in 2012 dollars, is taking place on the Puyallup station.
Kimberly Reason, a spokesperson for Sound Transit, said the agency will continue to work with Sumner and conduct additional outreach to gather feedback in order to develop a package of options for further public discussion and input at an open house early next year.
Improvement options from the open house will be evaluated and presented during a second open house next spring, Reason said.
“In the summer of 2014, the Sound Transit Board will be asked to identify a package or packages of options to take into environmental review,” she said.
Access improvement options could include pedestrian or bicycle access, transit and shuttle access, as well as parking.
Enslow said there is eight-hour, four-hour and three-hour parking downtown. There also is off-street parking in several locations that belongs to the city. There is no reserve parking, he said.
“We try to manage it so it accommodates the merchants as well as customers,” Enslow said. “As a community, we need to be talking about what’s the right thing to do. We need to be respectable of the fact that people need to get to work, but we don’t want to mess up Sumner. There is a win-win in this deal. I think it happens with public input.”