Why is the City conducting a Town Center parking study?

    The City is interested in addressing concerns related to Town Center parking, including the perception that there is not enough parking or the right type of parking supply available to meet the needs of Town Center visitors. As we prepare for the opening of the Link Light Rail station in 2023, we also want to ensure that our permit parking program is adequate and provides Island residents priority access to public transportation. The City Council approved the Town Center Parking Study for the 2021/2022 City Work Plan to explore these/other issues and to receive recommendations for future improvements.

    How is this parking study different from previous studies?

    Three studies of specific elements of parking in and adjacent to Town Center have been conducted in the last 15 years:

    • A 2008 study by KPG analyzed on-street parking inventory and demand;
    • A 2015 study by BP Squared identified potential sites to add commuter parking in response to the closing of the Bellevue Way park-and-ride (in connection with Sound Transit’s East Link Extension); and
    • A 2016 study by BERK Consulting analyzed on-street and off-street parking inventory and demand (in connection to 2016 Town Center Vision update).

    The 2021/2022 study not only builds on previous projects by analyzing parking supply, usage, regulations, and regulations but also expands on those studies to explore wayfinding, activation, and other areas related to supporting local businesses.

    Additionally, beginning in 2022, the City plans to undertake an effort to create an Economic Development Element for its upcoming Comprehensive Plan Update. The 2021/2022 Town Center Parking Study, combined with other related studies and planning projects, will inform that future planning effort to address long-term economic recovery, development, and vitality on Mercer Island.

    Who is conducting the Town Center parking study?

    The City is in the process of selecting a consultant to lead this study in collaboration with staff from the Community Planning & Development, Public Works, and Police departments.

    How much will the study cost, and who pays for it?

    The City Council approved a budget request of $80,000 to conduct this study: $40,000 from the General Fund and $40,000 from the Sound Transit Mitigation dollars. Staff will negotiate the final project scope and fee as part of the consultant selection.

    Will businesses and residents participate in the parking study? How can we get involved?

    The success of this study relies on input from you! We will provide a variety of opportunities for residents, local business owners, and other Town Center visitors/stakeholders to participate in the process and anticipate that most of the public input process will occur in 2022. Follow along here on Let's Talk for more specifics about ways to share your thoughts.

    When will the parking study happen?

    The City is in the process of selecting a consultant to lead this project. We aim to award the consultant contract and kick off the project in the last quarter of 2021, and we anticipate the study will wrap up in 2022. Follow the project timeline here on Let's Talk, where we will post updates and milestones as the project evolves.

    What outcomes are expected from the parking study?

    The final report delivered by the consultant will include an updated inventory of on-street and off-street parking, an analysis of current and future demand for parking, policy recommendations, and other strategies or recommendations for improving Town Center parking. Once the study is complete, staff will determine how best to move forward with recommendations through annual code updates, the capital improvement program, and/or other City work plans.