Katy-area Park and Ride faces parking shortage

Friday, May 22, 2015
Katy-area Park and Ride faces parking shortage
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The Park and Ride lot off Grand Parkway is losing hundreds of parking spots, forcing drivers to enter a lottery to get a permit

HOUSTON (KTRK) -- This week, Harris County Toll Road Authority announced they'd be increasing the tolls on the Katy Freeway Managed Lanes. Then, Metro announced that the Grand Parkway Park and Ride would no longer be able to serve the large number of commuters parking at that location, and starting June 8, only those who win a lottery for a permit at the Grand Parkway location would be able use the transportation there.

Sheila Hudman's been a faithful Park and Ride user at the Grand Parkway location for more than four years.

"I pay $4.50 each way, which is a lot less than paying for gas, parking, tollways, wear and tear on my car," says Hudman.

She is among 1,188 daily riders using the Grand Parkway location, as of April 2015, but there are only 423 parking spots at the space Metro leases off the Katy Freeway, and the landlord approached Metro.

"We were told that there was an overage in the lots, and we were not allowed to exceed the spaces that were contracted for, and anything over that would be booted or towed," says Metro Media Manager Margaret O'Brien-Molina.

When Metro received the notice, they knew they had a to act fast and came up with the lottery system. The left letters on the bus seats this week. The lottery will give 423 commuters parking permits to park. Folks have to apply online by Tuesday, May 26, and they must include their Q-number which tracks how often they use the service.

"The lottery is a way of identifying who our customers are. Who our paying customers are in a weekly basis - they have the most to lose by us moving or not having a space there," adds O'Brien-Molina.

Hudman won't learn if she has a space until June 5, and the permit policy at the Grand Parkway Park and Ride goes into effect June 8.

Until then, Hudman has to wait.

"It's very frustrating. I don't know come June how I'm going to get to work," she says.

Metro says this is a temporary solution that they had to act on immediately. Their real estate department is looking for more adequate property. This will go to the board in June. In the meantime, alternatives for the Grand Parkway Park & Ride folks include using the Kingsland or Addicks locations and trying van-pooling.