MUKILTEO — The good news is that starting Tuesday, non-Mukilteans can park at Lighthouse Park, take a ferry to Whidbey Island or frolic however they want for up to 12 hours without fear of a parking ticket.
The bad news is they’ll have to shell out $27 for 12 hours.
The better news is they can stay for five or 10 hours at the going rate of $2.25 an hour.
Parking at Lighthouse Park has been limited to four hours, also at $2.25 per 60 minutes, for those who didn’t live in Mukilteo. Residents get two tags per household and can park free for up to 16 hours, but not overnight.
The expanded parking to let others linger at Lighthouse Park is starting in the low season for demand, said Dave Osaki, the city’s community development director. Cars can park up to 12 hours, from 6 a.m. to 10 p.m. The park is open 16 hours.
“It’s a pilot program. It goes from Oct. 15 through March 15,” Osaki said.
Outsiders can’t just willy-nilly park anywhere for longer than four hours, though. They are relegated to the back row by the railroad tracks.
There are 33 specified stalls, marked by bright yellow curbs. Only two meters, placed in the lineup, can be used to pay from one to 12 hours.
“The meters will be right there by the parking stalls,” Osaki said. “The other meters will not accept payment for more than four hours.”
Don’t even try.
There are about 250 hourly parking spaces, not including boat launch spots, and four charging stations at Lighthouse Park. Overnight permit spots, which are not a perk for residents, are mainly used for ferry commuter parking.
“We want people to enjoy the park,” Osaki said. “If you want to recreate or go to a downtown business or ride the ferry, you can without having to look at your clock.”
Whidbey Island offers free bus service daily except Sunday.