By Dennis Box-The Courier-Herald
Parking in Sumner around the Sounder train station has become controversial issue for residents, commuters and members of the City Council.
The council listened to comments about the issue during the public comment period of the Oct. 20 City Council meeting .
The council will be considering adding five additional restricted parking zones or RPZs to areas around the station.
City staff has received five petitions for RPZs from residents living on Thompson Street, Snyder Avenue, Kincaid Avenue and Elizabeth Street.
The staff has recommended approving the RPZs, which prevent commuters from parking in those areas.
Cassie Ehli said at the meeting, “I don’t think commuters are evil, but they are excruciatingly disrespectful. They block my driveway and mailboxes. They throw garbage out of their cars and they have gone so far as to put garbage into the cans on garbage day.”
David Johnson, a resident who collected one of the petitions, said a commuter made a U-turn and “nearly wiped me and my bike out.”
Dave Marcordes, also a resident in the proposed RPZ zone, said many of the home lots are small and parking is at a premium.
“The other day they were parked two deep in front of my house,” Marcordes said. “Every available parking spot is taken from 7 a.m. to 6 (p.m.). If anyone gets a visitor there is nowhere to park.”
Marcordes said the street he lives on did not have commuter-parking problems until the trains increased the number of runs.
Mayor Dave Enslow, who is a Sound Transit board member, said “ridership is increasing 30 percent each year. No commuter train is like this in the country.”
Enslow said Sound Transit is working on solutions and passing Proposition No. 1 will help.
Deputy Mayor Leroy Goff said the council has been working on solutions to the parking problem for a long time.
“If Sound Transit doesn’t pass their tax, we are going to be hard pressed to find a solution,” Goff said.
Victoria Troisi said she was a train rider and recently moved to the Sumner area.
“I am one of the evil commuters,” Troisi said. “I moved to this area from Renton and one of the reasons was the Sounder. I like the small-town feel of Sumner so I understand how people feel.”
Troisi said she takes the second train and needs to be in the parking lot 30 minutes early, at about 5:30 a.m., to get a parking spot.
Enslow said the staff was looking at contracting church parking lots for commuter use.
Councilman Steve Allsop said, “taking neighborhood churches and changing them to commuter parking lots is wrongheaded. But we have a big issue in Sumner and we are going to have to deal with it.”
Reach Dennis Box at firstname.lastname@example.org or 360-802-8209.