U-Park takes over ferry lot

Island ferry commuters will see a change at the ferry terminal this month. The city-managed parking that lot many park-and-riders use has been transferred to another party.

The city had previously managed the parking lot located immediately beside the ferry terminal in exchange for 40 percent of its revenues, but opted not to renew the contract with Washington State Ferries last year. Management of the lot involved collecting fees, maintenance, landscaping, security, enforcement and  signage among other miscellaneous duties.

“Our analysis of the cost of performing these functions indicated that we were not benefiting financially, as compared to collecting parking tax from a private operator,” said City Manager Brenda Bauer. “Additionally, managing a parking lot that we do not own is not a core function of the city.”

The lot pulled staff away from other essential services, which also factored into the city’s decision to give up the lot, Bauer said.

Washington State Ferries vetted a number of parking management companies before awarding a contract to Thrifty Park Inc., though drivers may recognize them as U-Park System who operate various lots located throughout Seattle and Tacoma. U-Park System took over operations of the lot January 1.

The city will remain enforcing disabled parking restrictions which is required by state law.


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