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Park and ride agreement ends in Coupeville

After 16 years Coupeville commuters will have to find a new place to park before catching the bus.

The Coupeville School District is eliminating the park and ride lot located next to Coupeville Elementary School because it’s too congested.

The school board Monday night approved terminating the park and ride agreement between the school district, the town of Coupeville and Island Transit that had been in effect since early 1990.

A number of factors have caused crowding in the lot.

Superintendent Bill Myhr said increased elementary school enrollment, more volunteers and more parent involvement in school events has meant more cars in the lot, resulting in more congestion.

“That will give us a lot of space back for parking,” Coupeville School Board member Kathleen Anderson said.

The congestion is most apparent before and after school when parents are dropping off and picking up their children.

Once the agreement is terminated, workers will repair and alter the lot to make it safer for parents driving their children to school. Myhr said there will be a circular route through the lot which should be a help to parents.

Island Transit and the town have time to find an alternative park and ride lot.

The current agreement isn’t set to expire until Aug. 28 and officials are busy in the interim trying to find a new lot.

“We kind of knew that was coming,” Coupeville Mayor Nancy Conard said. Officials are negotiating with property owners to either buy or lease a new lot.

Island Transit Executive Director Martha Rose said she wasn’t surprised by the school district’s decision, but she was confident an alternative location can be found before the agreement expires in August.

“I’m not worried about getting a new spot,” Rose said.

Island Transit has money it can use to fund additional park and ride lots.

The organization received $900,000 from the state’s supplemental transportation budget for the installation of new park and ride lots throughout Whidbey Island.

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