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Tri-Met seeks solutions to parking space shortage

Several transit agencies, including Tri-County Metropolitan Transportation District of Oregon (Tri-Met), saw dramatic ridership growth this summer. But with a nationwide increase in ridership comes a decrease in available commuter station parking spaces.

Seeking community input for a solution, Tri-Met formed a 14-member Park & Ride Advisory Committee, representing businesses, neighborhoods, local jurisdictions and others with expertise in parking concerns. On Sept. 14, the committee released its report to Tri-Met’s board.

Tri-Met owns and operates 21 lots with 8,320 spaces; 6,719 of which are located along the MAX light-rail line. Another 40 lots with 2,206 spaces are shared-use areas, which the community offers for free.

Currently, 67 percent of the park-and-ride lots are filled to capacity, although only seven percent of Tri-Met bus riders and 18 percent of MAX riders park there. With Tri-Met’s Airport MAX extension due to open next year, officials expect parking spaces demand to increase.

The committee recommended a 24-hour parking limit, which would decrease airport-patron use. It also suggested providing riders alternate space availability information, and seeking additional shared-use partnerships with area businesses.

Other suggestions included reserving spaces for carpooling and charging people to park in more popular lots — but only after other options have been fully explored.

Tri-Met General Manager Fred Hansen agreed to implement the 24-hour parking limit immediately and said in a prepared statement that he would direct his staff to review the remainder of the report. And he anticipates producing a formal plan by spring 2001.

Contact Progressive Railroading editorial staff.

More News from 9/18/2000