NORTH TEXAS (CBSDFW.COM) - A DART committee is urging the full DART board to expand its pay parking lots. DART is into the first year of a pilot program to ease congestion at its most-used lots...now a committee thinks it's successful enough that DART should expand it further.
It would effect hundreds of drivers, as it does Chantell Schlau. "It makes it kind of difficult to make a decision whether to use the gas money to drive to a further station." Schlau is an El Centro student but lives in McKinney. McKinney is not a DART member city, so as a non-resident she has to pay to park at the Parker Station. She could driver further south to the George Bush station where all spaces are free, but chooses not to. "For now I just pay for the convenience and the time because I have a 40-minute DART ride so I'd rather just get on the train and go instead of fighting the traffic."
Parker Road is one of four stations where so many non-residents parked they were crowding out residents of cities that have paid into DART for decades. The other three are the Northwest Plano lot, Frankford Road in Carrollton, and Beltline and State Highway 114 in Irving.
DART is a year into an experiment where residents get a sticker to park for free while non-residents pay two-dollars a day----or for extremely close-in parking they could pay as much as 60-dollars a month more. Carolyn Russell pays for non-resident parking, but doesn't think it's a value. "Not really, I'm not even here long enough, I don't think, to pay for it.. I only use it twice a week, if that." Tuesday a DART planning committee got a one-year update telling it the policy had eased pressure at the four pay parking stations, but has added to it at the next four further south, which are free.
It's especially true at the George Bush stop in Plano and at Trinity Mills in Carrollton. "So people have shifted, used their feet, and moved to a location where they don't have to pay," DART VP of planning told the committee. But there's also money to consider. DART has lost some passengers who refuse to pay for parking and drive instead. And the private parking company running the programs has lost 100-thousand dollars so far. But the committee recommended the full DART board expand the pay-for-parking idea in Plano and Carrollton.
"So you'd be looking to possibly expanding the Green Line to Trinity Mills and then on the Red Line to George Bush," DART spokesman Morgan Lyons told CBS 11 News. But nothing is written in stone---right now it's a recommendation to the full DART board. It meets in April. If it goes along with the idea, it'll be May or June before the expanded pay parking goes into effect.
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