One person’s trash is another’s…park and ride

by guest blogger Jef Lucero

New Hawks Prairie Park and Ride Lot
If you build it, carpoolers will come. With blue skies and sunshine serving as a warm and welcome backdrop, leadership from Intercity Transit, Thurston County, the city of Lacey and WSDOT convened on Jan. 25 to cut the ribbon on the new Hawks Prairie park and ride near Lacey. The facility—located just north of I-5 at Marvin Road—provides commuters with 332 parking stalls, and the view looks great from all of them.

“This project addresses a significant need and benefits the public we serve,” said former three-term legislator and current Thurston County Commissioner Sandra Romero. “This park and ride represents innovation, smart land use, public stewardship and strong partnerships.”

Created with the aid of a grant from WSDOT as part of its Regional Mobility Grant program, this project represents a bold and unique vision made possible thanks to the help of a strong, dynamic set of partners. Peppered with modest landscaping flourishes and modern amenities, it bears no resemblance to the landfill once housed at the site. Built above 25 to 60 feet of garbage and 148,000 tons of fill, the park and ride also features four electric-vehicle charging stations and 24-hour security cameras.

This park and ride isn’t just built atop a landfill: Considering the immediate surroundings slope down and away from the facility, it’s rather perched atop it, seemingly vaulting up from where it sits. From almost any perspective, the view sweeps toward the horizon. If ever there was a picturesque park and ride, this surely is the one - proving once and for all that one person’s trash is another’s treasure. Or, park and ride.

Addressing the crowd, Commissioner Romero expressed her appreciation for the project’s partners. She cited the efforts of IT, WSDOT, the city of Lacey and the contractors on the project for collaborating to make the park and ride a reality. “This is a great example of a public-private partnership come to life,” said Commissioner Romero.

About 100 people and two dogs attended the celebration. Joining Commissioner Romero were Lacey Mayor Virgil Clarkson; Tumwater Mayor Pete Kmet; IT Acting General Manager Ann Freeman-Manzaneres; executives from the Washington State Transit Association, Sound Transit, and the Thurston Regional Planning Council; officials from the IT Board of Directors; and members of the Lacey and Olympia city councils.

WSDOT’s Regional Mobility Grants program delivers transit-mobility projects that are cost-effective, reduce travel delay for people and goods, improve connectivity between counties and regional transportation centers and are consistent with local and regional transportation and land-use plans. Funded through the multimodal transportation fund, the program has provided $161.2 million to support local projects since 2006.