Posted by Michael Andersen (News Editor) on April 21st, 2014 at 6:13 pm
As the city’s transportation director says Portland should stop giving away so much of its on-street parking space for free, a local parking expert is floating one way to do it.
From the embattled 20s Bikeway to Foster’s broken bike lanes to the chronic shortage of rental housing in low-car-friendly parts of town, residents’ annoyance over the lack of on-street auto parking in central Portland is making it harder for the city to become bike-friendlier. At the Oregon Active Transportation Summit Monday, parking consultant Rick Williams said a paid parking permit program could be the solution — but there are a couple catches.
First, he said, the city should rewrite its rules to let neighborhoods charge more for local parking permits than the systems cost to enforce. Ideally, he said, the city should raise neighborhood parking permit prices from their current level ($60 a year, in the few places where permits are used) to whatever the market will bear.
Second, to make the first option palatable, the city would have to promise that neighborhoods would get to keep the money and put it into better transit, walking, biking, paving — whatever it wants — in its own area.
That’d be a big switch from the way Portland currently runs its paid parking policy. Today, permit programs are only allowed to charge enough to cover enforcement and administration. Williams said this makes the price of parking artificially low; building and maintaining a parking space in central Portland would cost hundreds of dollars per year.