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Tribune finds support for limiting car use by microapartment dwellers

Posted by on May 14th, 2014 at 9:28 am

A rendering of the new micro-apartment building
permitted for Northwest Thurman near 23rd.
(Image: Footprint Investments)

Here’s a pretty simple solution for complaints that new “microapartment” buildings will swamp on-street parking: forbid some of the people in them from parking cars on the streets.

In a cover story of the current Portland Tribune, the concept gets positive reactions from a microapartment developer, a neighborhood association official and a sustainability think tank. And Portland Bureau of Transportation Director Leah Treat calls it “very interesting.”

The idea would only work in areas that use parking permit systems, such as (as of this year) much of Northwest Portland. It’s home to two new microapartment buildings, which use small bedrooms with shared kitchens and lounges to offer lower-rent units in high-demand areas at market price.

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Like some new apartment buildings in Portland, they also typically lack on-site parking space.

Here’s the description from Tribune reporter Peter Korn, presented as a sidebar to his story about the microapartment trend:

The Tribune asked the major players how they would respond to putting a cap on the number of street parking permits granted to each new micro apartment building.

“I think that’s a great idea,” says Ron Walters, until recently president of the NWDA, who serves on the neighborhood association’s transportation, planning and parking committees. Walters would go a step further and require new apartment buildings to come with their own transportation plans, spelling out how developers expect their renters to move about the city.

Cathy Reines, chief operating officer of Footprint Investments, developer of the Footprint Thurman micro apartments in Northwest Portland, says she’d support capping parking permits for her buildings (her company has 18 micro apartment buildings renting out in Seattle and she expects to build a number in Portland). Reines says she anticipates no more than five or 10 renters will have cars at the 50-unit Thurman Street development. A city transportation rule limiting the number of on-street parking permits dedicated to her building to 10 permits or so would work, she says.

In fact, Reines says she would be interested in incentives if her building kept its parking permits below their allotment. If, say, only five renters at Footprint Thurman sought city parking permits, the building could be rewarded with some sort of public transportation incentive.

Sightline Institute Deputy Director Clark Williams-Derry, whose Seattle think tank is a proponent of building apartments without off-street parking in dense neighborhoods, says he could support the parking permit limit for new micros.

“It obviously favors existing residents over new ones. … That’s not the greatest outcome,” Williams-Derry says. “But if it’s a way to navigate the politics and provide more inexpensive housing options for people who need and want it, it’s not the worst outcome.”


It’s a bit odd that the article doesn’t really discuss the usual solution to freeing up space on public streets, which is raising the price of parking on them. And it’s funny that after years of batted-aside claims that bicycle advocates want to “take away people’s cars,” something pretty similar to that idea is being endorsed by both a developer and a neighborhood association dominated by car owners.

And of course, there’s one important stakeholder group that didn’t get asked to sound off on the Tribune’s proposal: the future tenants who’d be subject to the new regulation.

That said, as the city prepares for a parking policy overhaul, kudos to Korn for circulating an interesting idea that actually seems to bring interest groups together on such a contentious issue.

 — The Real Estate Beat is a weekly column sponsored by real estate broker Lyudmila Leissler of Portlandia Home/Windermere Real Estate. Let Mila help you find the best bike-friendly home.

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  • Bjorn May 14, 2014 at 9:51 am

    While I understand that current residents want to keep their subsidized parking as is, It seems clear that the real issue is that the parking permits in some neighborhoods are underpriced.

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  • Kimberly Kinchen May 14, 2014 at 9:54 am

    That was a very nice way that Clark Derry-Williams noted that this is not a good idea.

    It’s not just that it favors existing residents, but who is limiting how many permits a single-family home owner can have? What’s the fair amount? People who seek out small apartments probably don’t want and / or can’t afford to drive, but singling them out . . . why not a lottery system? What’s next? People with larger houses (which usually means higher income and overall resources) get a higher water allotment when climate changes brings extreme drought to the PNW? Does not seem like a good precedent for sharing public resources.

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  • dan May 14, 2014 at 10:10 am

    I don’t know, it’s true it favors existing residents over new ones, but then, existing residents moved there under one set of assumptions and new ones would be moving there with different assumptions: that they would not be able to park a car on the street. If there’s a market for micro apartments under those conditions, it seems like a positive step, no? More density without more cars.

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    • Kimberly Kinchen May 14, 2014 at 12:24 pm

      People who live in cities (or anywhere, really) need to understand that cities change, and they are going to need to adapt to that. It’s like expecting to not ever have to use the internet because you grew up using a phone and mail order catalogs.

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      • paikiala May 15, 2014 at 9:50 am

        I agree. Assuming the place you bought will forever look pretty much that way, no matter where you live, is ridiculous.

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  • GlowBoy May 14, 2014 at 10:21 am

    The article also cites statistics that 50-70% of residents of these new “microapartment*” buildings still own cars. And also that they don’t drive them very much. As if that’s a bad thing.

    But isn’t that a good thing? Isn’t the goal to reduce driving? It’s always been my position that it’s driving that we need to focus on reducing. These people are doing just that, even if they do own cars. Now I realize NW Portland is a special case, with very high density and parking at an extreme premium, so car storage should definitely not be free there. So if people in that part of town really do want to own cars there, I agree they should pay for the privilege – possibly in a private garage.

    But most of Portland isn’t that dense. Yet it looks like we’re rapidly moving towards a bipolar, all-or-nothing future with respect to car ownership: either get an insanely expensive place with offstreet parking, or get a place smaller than the average room at the Super 8 with no parking — and no realistic option to own a car that you just drive occasionally. I want to encourage people to park their cars and get around by other means when it makes sense to, but unlike apparently a lot of urbanists I don’t see ownership of cars as the inherent problem. Most parts of town aren’t really that tight on space.

    Personally … the beautiful mountains, deserts and beaches of the Northwest are the only reason I live here. If I’m going to be stuck in the city all the time, like some caged New Yorker who never gets out and explore the scenery once in a while, why bother? There are plenty of other cities with better job options, a lower cost of living, or both. Sell the car, and rent one when I need it, you say? I do rent cars for some trips, but it’s not always practicable with some of our trips involving 4 people, a dog and either skis or bikes. We are working on driving less and less in our day-to-day lives, but going completely without a car is definitely not how we want to live.

    Yes, a 150sf parking spot does take up space that costs money and that gets passed along in higher rents – but at least for newer apartments, the price differential between a no-parking apartment and a comparably sized apartment with parking seems to be waaayyyyy more than the actual cost of a parking space – with the developers pocketing the difference. I think the complaints about non-car-owners subsidizing car owners are ultimately false, at least for buildings with assigned parking, because in places like the Pearl District it’s standard practice for non-car-owners to earn substantial income renting out their unused parking space. After the no-car-apartment experiment of the last couple of years, I’m coming to the conclusion that developers ought to build about the number of parking spaces they should realistically expect their residents to use (so far their projections have come in way too low), and charge a fee to those residents who actually want to have parking spaces (high enough to cover the actual cost of providing the parking), rather than push the problem out into the street and force everyone into the all-or-nothing dichotomy.

    * are all these new no-parking/low-parking buildings really microapartments? Maybe in NW. I thought some of these new buildings also contained more conventionally sized 1BR and 2BR apartments, just without the parking?

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    • Anne Hawley May 14, 2014 at 11:24 am

      “I do rent cars for some trips, but it’s not always practicable with some of our trips involving 4 people, a dog and either skis or bikes. We are working on driving less and less in our day-to-day lives, but going completely without a car is definitely not how we want to live.”

      It seems pretty clear that living in a parking-permit or no-car situation wouldn’t suit your way of life. I’m not seeing anything in this article or the micro-apartment development, that hints at a threat to take your choice away–not even in the increasingly non-car-centric future city I’d personally like to see.

      I honestly can’t imagine a Portland where private car ownership and storage is ever prohibited. I can (and do), however, envision a Portland where private car storage is paid for by private car storers at some kind of market rate. That rate might continue to be zero in some neighborhoods for a very long time.

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      • TJ May 14, 2014 at 2:04 pm

        I think the concerns are in a potential failed experiment. Bottom-line is the solutions to the problems created by micro-apts do not exist. What problems are we solving other than the thinness of developers wallets?

        Maybe I am over-driving the point, but developments like this are done on the back of bicycling culture. Do the developers really care or is the mirage of Denmark-like cycling dependency being anchored? Will this backfire when it turns out, we do not have that many individuals looking for long term housing of the nature?

        Disclosure: I last lived in apt my freshman year of college. I cannot do it. Houses are simply more charming.

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      • GlowBoy May 14, 2014 at 4:15 pm

        I think we actually agree. I don’t mean to communicate that I personally feel a threat to my ability to own a car without paying a fortune in parking, but I am concerned for renters who might still want to own one and drive it as little as possible. And I do support the idea of some (reasonable, based on the neighborhood’s density) market rate for parking.

        It concerns me when people such as quoted in the article talk about owning a car but driving it very little as somehow a bad thing (at least outside NW Portland and maybe a few other really dense areas). That should be a good thing, but it’s become a bad thing because developers aren’t properly meeting demand, and making parking an externality that has to be borne by the crowded commons. I’m concerned that we’re losing the middle ground (at least for apartment dwellers) in our rush to build so much no-car housing so fast. I think we’re building too many no-car apartments right now; in future developments I think only a certain number of permits should be issued for no-parking units, and other buildings should have to include some number of vehicle parking spaces (which might well be lower than the number of units in the building).

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    • TJ May 14, 2014 at 11:37 am

      Well said.

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    • Kimberly Kinchen May 14, 2014 at 12:42 pm

      I’m a New Yorker (these days). It has its challenges and I’m looking to head back to the PNW, but it also has a lot of perks, including some of the biggest and best public parks and other spaces in the country that are easily accessible via public transit. I can take a train to hike or bike in the Hudson Valley. I can ride a bike and then take a train to bike or hike in the Hudson Valley. Etc. etc. etc. I rode one mile through via Broadway in the Bronx on Sunday morning to get to a great rail trail, for a lovely 30-mile roundtrip excursion. Red tail hawks regularly hang out on my fire escape, and it’s a short train trip to see bald eagles up the river in the winter.

      New York is a lot bigger than midtown Manhattan and when people make generalizations like you have, I can only assume you have spent very little time in a dense city. My “cage” might be small be west coast standards, but I can walk to every basic service — and many discretionary ones — I need within 5 minutes, including an ER. And I actually say hello to and chat pleasantly with my lovely neighbors on a regular basis. Again, I have some issues (NYC drivers are the worst, for instance) but there are plenty of benefits to density.

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      • TJ May 14, 2014 at 2:33 pm

        I haven’t spent time in NYC in ages, but do the boroughs really look like Hollywood, with a road like Sandy, I-84, an awkward commercial center, and a traditional Portland grid all within walking distance?

        No doubt Hollywood has a great deal of potential for infill, but I’d like to see a plan that ensures comfortable multi-family options (or even couples), not just multi-single person units that don’t provide an environment that suits most for long, against what they could own for just a tiny bit more. This isn’t New York. The cost of bungalow in Beaumont or Rose City hasn’t come anywhere near the 7 figure mark and won’t for some time.

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        • Kimberly Kinchen May 15, 2014 at 8:16 am

          It’s incredibly varied. There are definitely sections along Queens Blvd that replicate that to some degree (ugh, thank you Rudy Giuliani, for the strip malls and billion-lane wide crossings) — where on either side of the Blvd of death there are some very awesome walkable neighborhoods. And yeah, farther out in Brooklyn you can get that sort of thing, although with less walkability nearby.

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      • GlowBoy May 14, 2014 at 4:58 pm

        Put you on the defensive, did I? I have found NYC an enjoyable place to visit, and no question the ability to walk to all those amenities is something most Portlanders can only dream of (though many of us here do talk to our lovely neighbors on a daily basis). But as much as I encourage more density and urban vitality in Portland, Manhattan certainly takes it a lot further than I would find enjoyable on a long term basis. And in an ultra-urban environment such as much of NYC there are also a lot of people who hardly ever (if ever) leave the city, and that’s the lifestyle I was poking fun at.

        I’m sure the Hudson River Valley and a rail-trail and train-window eagles are nice, but proving my point that if I were satisfied with that level of nature I could do it almost anywhere and not just in the Pacific Northwest. The places I like to go don’t exist in New York, and even in a PNW with several times the density and much better transit service, many of them would still require a car to get there. I try to get around as much as possible without a car in my daily life, but there’s no way I would want to not own one, nor live in a place where it was prohibitive to do so. You can pry the keys out of my cold, dead hands.

        Again, my point is just that some people seem bent on penalizing car ownership, when most of the ills generated by the automobile, and which we’d like to reduce, are caused by car use. A car doesn’t pollute, maim, kill, threaten, damage property or cause traffic jams when it’s parked.

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        • Reza May 14, 2014 at 7:11 pm

          “A car doesn’t pollute, maim, kill, threaten, damage property or cause traffic jams when it’s parked.”

          Yeah, it just takes up a ton of space. The costs of said space are usually borne by society, in the form of free, on-street parking subsidized by every Portland taxpayer. For decades, homeowners have gotten used to that cost, to the point where most think it’s their God-given right to be able to park in front of their space without paying for it.

          That attitude is what needs to change.

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          • GlowBoy May 14, 2014 at 7:25 pm

            A car doesn’t take up “a ton” of space, at least in lower to moderate density neighborhoods. We all subsidize lots of things we don’t personally benefit from. That’s why government exists – to make us all pay for social goods and services provided by the commons – when private enterprise wouldn’t do it, at least not with reasonable equity.

            We all pay for schools, even if we don’t have kids or ours are grown up. We all pay for the fire bureau even if they never come to our house, and libraries even if all our books come from Powell’s. By the way, if it came to it I would be happy to pay for the space I use on the street in front of my house (where less than 50% of the spaces are even in use at any given time) but people like Spiffy don’t even want to let me do that.

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        • Kimberly Kinchen May 15, 2014 at 8:20 am

          They aren’t train-window eagles. You get off the train and walk 10 minutes to a large wildlife preserve along the river. This is the kind of assumption I’m objecting to. It has nothing to do with defensiveness. It has to do with your hating on density when you haven’t actually lived it. Question it, fine, but for the record: New Yorkers don’t live in cages, and we’re not nature-deprived.

          In the meantime, city dwellers everywhere are simply asking car owners in cities to pay their fair share, the high cost of which right now is shifted to those of us who don’t drive. Which is the larger point here.

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          • GlowBoy May 15, 2014 at 5:04 pm

            Kimberly, I’ve long advocated on BikePortland for increased density. Middle ground here … there are differing degrees of density: I don’t favor blanketing the entire city with Manhattan-level density. That doesn’t mean I oppose substantially increasing density here, nor does it mean (as I have pointed out numerous times in this very thread) that I oppose making vehicle owners pay for parking, both on and off the street.

            Again, sorry if my passing reference to a stereotype of some (not all) New Yorkers set you off. And again, I’m sure there are lots of ways to connect with the natural world easily reached without a car from NYC (and many other cities, including Portland). Like a number of Northwesterners, I just have a much more expansive view of connecting with the natural world than people do elsewhere, enabled our region’s unique assets, and much of it is not accessible by public transport. Not going to let someone else shrink my (and my kids’) access to the natural world just because a handful of BikePortlanders want to punish people who own cars but have the sense not to commute in them.

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            • Kimberly Kinchen May 16, 2014 at 6:13 am

              No one wants to punish people who have cars but don’t commute in them. We want people who use public parking to pay the full cost of using a public resource for private storage, and not so subsidize it and the external costs associated with it. As cities get more dense, which will happen whether we all like it or not, this will increasingly become an issue and people might have to start choosing between amenities. That’s my basic point.

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    • spare_wheel May 14, 2014 at 4:38 pm

      “Personally … the beautiful mountains, deserts and beaches of the Northwest are the only reason I live here.”

      And there are people like me who don’t need cars and have other reasons for living in Portland. Why would you begrudge people like me an affordable home in the city?

      I suspect I know the reason but it would be nice if you could spell it out.

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      • GlowBoy May 14, 2014 at 7:26 pm

        Well, how about you spell it out: it seems like a lot of people like you want to keep me from owning a car at all. Leaving it parked most of the week isn’t good enough, apparently.

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      • GlowBoy May 14, 2014 at 7:42 pm

        “Why would you begrudge people like me an affordable home in the city?” As I’ve pointed out in one of my admittedly long posts above, I don’t think that providing parking for the number of building residents who would actually use it is inherently a threat to the affordability of your home. That would only be true if a building’s parking is underutilized or if the residents who use the parking spaces aren’t paying for them.

        The solution is for apartment buildings to charge residents who use the parking spaces the full cost of providing them. That would also mean building fewer spaces than units in most buildings, so that they will be fully utilized. Fine. I just don’t think pushing the problem out into the Commons is benefiting anyone but the developers.

        Sigh …. walk down the middle of the road, get shot at from both sides. Guess I felt like shooting back today. Sorry if I’ve ticked some people off, but sometimes you have to go extreme in defense of moderation …

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        • spare_wheel May 16, 2014 at 7:41 am

          “The solution is for apartment buildings to charge residents who use the parking spaces the full cost of providing them.”

          so…someone who stores their vehicle for free in the “commons” wants *those people* to pay.

          classic.

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  • Chris I May 14, 2014 at 10:41 am

    A better idea: auction off the car space permits each year. If you win the auction, you get to park in the neighborhood. If you want a guaranteed spot each year for your car, you should probably buy an apartment that has dedicated parking.

    This is the only fair way to manage parking in busy urban areas. A system like the one proposed above is a huge handout to current residents. It’s akin to rent control in cities like SF and NYC. If you aren’t one of the people that is lucky enough to get grandfathered in with a free 200sqft space in a busy public ROW to store your private property, your only alternative is to pay hundreds of dollars per year to store your car in a private space.

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    • TJ May 14, 2014 at 11:33 am

      What do you consider a busy urban area? These tiny apartments infilling neighborhoods like Hollywood and Clinton/Division aren’t good for Portland. Rents between $600 – $1,000 for a 200 sqft “room” without parking, storage, a yard, a porch, etc. Still, even today, you can find a couple of friends and rent a house at a per room rate of less than $600, plus have space to store your private property and invite friends over for tea and truffles. I get the sinking feelings these micro apartments in once single family home neighborhoods will follow the condo bust of the mid 2000s. This said, the near complete redesign of our quaint bungalows into 3,500 sq ft yard-less McMansions is also an absurdity that needs to end.

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      • Chris I May 14, 2014 at 12:09 pm

        The micro-apartments in the Hollywood neighborhood are going to be right in the central commercial district, next to a grocery store and transit center. If you consider this a “single family home neighborhood”, I think we have different definitions of what a single family home neighborhood is. The commercial district in Hollywood would be a great area for a permit auction system; and the rest of the street spots can be metered and limited to 3 hours. I say this as a resident of Rose City Park that walks, drives, and bikes to Hollywood frequently.

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        • TJ May 14, 2014 at 12:38 pm

          I’d ask the residents of Hollywood if it is a busy urban area. I lived there, on 45th between Thompson and Tillamook, from 2009 – 2013. This is pre Whole Foods, Velo Cult, the smoking ban at Moon & Sixpence, and the complexes next to the Theater and library. I watched our block go from elderly, who passed-on, to young families with kids (truly awesome to see houses and yards perk-up again). The parking, with the rise of Whole Foods and The Farmers Market already spills into the neighborhoods on the weekends. I’m fine that, but adding residents without storage for their private property is senseless. Where does it end? Are we to turn Hollywood into the mayhem that is Division now?

          The idea that we’re proposing bike-centric living feels good and Hollywood certainly as the public transportation to support (best Tri-Met served ‘hood in pdx). However, these places are overpriced and lack many of the perks that make Portland a great place for young active adults to live –assuming this is the target.

          When developers decide to knockdown every bank and drugstore in Hollywood to build micro-apt, the problem becomes apparent.

          My other concern is community investment. Are these types of “homes” really something folks live in for a few years, or are they transitional housing from college and your first job, before life expands beyond the walls of 200sq ft? Are we building units people want or what people will settle for?

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          • spare_wheel May 14, 2014 at 4:45 pm

            Speaking for myself, I have decreased my square footage over the years and have never had a desire to live in 1500 + sq ft house. I think many younger and older folk are also looking for simpler and more sustainable homes.

            I’m also trying to understand why you feel threatened by micro. Density does not kill grocery and drug stores…it increases the need for compact livable areas with local amenities.

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    • was carless May 15, 2014 at 11:29 pm

      Yeah, I do not think a neighborhood has a right to restrict car ownership or parking permits for only newcomers without pricing or restricting car usage equally. I have heard arguments over and over again claiming that America requires equal access to cars and car ownership (which IMHO is a terrible idea, and causes massive pollution and shitty urban places), but then says “but then you can ban cars for everyone else but little ‘ol entitled me.”

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  • jim May 14, 2014 at 11:32 am

    So they can have a car, they just won’t get a parking permit.

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  • jim May 14, 2014 at 11:33 am

    Where are they going to park their bikes? Will there be an on site bike storage facility? The apartments are obviously too small for that.

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    • Kimberly Kinchen May 14, 2014 at 12:30 pm

      We’re in a 450-square foot one-bedroom and we currently store 3 bikes plus two Bromptons. With the right kind of rack, it’s pretty easy fit a bike or two in a modest space (and I prefer that for security reasons). But it really should not be that hard to find space for dedicated bike racks in public or semi-public spaces either, and if we’re aiming to encourage more density, that’s a good use of public space.

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  • TonyJ May 14, 2014 at 11:44 am

    Any permitted zone should be restricting the number of permits. If your house doesn’t have a curb cut, you get 1 at a low rate, a second at a discount and a 3rd by auction or lottery at market rate. If you have a curb cut, you get 1 at a discount and the second by auction/lottery.

    When that is the case, we can discuss limiting permits to residents of new buildings. We all gotta have skin in the game, right?

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  • Joseph E May 14, 2014 at 12:06 pm

    Is it constitutional to treat residents of new multi-family buildings different than residents of old multi-family buildings?

    The fair solution is to sell a set number of residential parking permits every 6 to 12 months. If all of them sell out and the parking is 80% full or more (so that more permits cannot be sold), then the price of permits would go up until demand met supply.

    This is fair and reasonable. If the city wants, it could subsidize permits for seniors and people with disabilities.

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    • dan May 14, 2014 at 2:02 pm

      Is it constitutional to sell houses at one price in 1980, and another price in 2014? IANAL, but I’m pretty sure the answer to both questions is yes.

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    • 9watts May 14, 2014 at 6:44 pm

      Lots of good points.
      I’ll just add that in the neighborhoods where I’ve looked at this closely (inner East Side) homeowners own more cars, both per capita and per household, than do renters, who I believe have for the most part also lived in single family houses, until recently.
      This is the part that rankles me: those with excess cars begrudge and want to restrict already lower car ownership of others. Glass houses, and all that.

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  • MaxD May 14, 2014 at 12:13 pm

    I believe that a city ought to increase density equal to the amenities it offers in terms of openspace and transportation options. I belive Portland is falling well short of its obligation to create real incentives to density. Either the city can plan for density and add more openspace and improve transit/bike/ ped conditions, or it can make developers include amenities as part of their buildings. I do not think parking should be required, but SOMETHING should! It seems very foolish of Portland to give so much to the development community at the expense of its own future livability

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  • Matthew Rogers May 14, 2014 at 1:24 pm

    Perhaps an apartment-building bound car share would work?

    Have a handful of vehicles with different capability for “rent” by tenants by the hour or day; have the monthly expenses covered by the HOA, but reimbursed by the reservations on the cars. Even a fully paid-off clunker that’s never driven has insurance and occasional maintenance costs. Price “access to mobility” correctly into the rent, and it might be a valuable perk for the building’s community

    Then the 50 or so folks that live there have access to a truck, a multi-passenger van, and a few small wagons/hatchbacks (electric, even?) when they’re needed. The occasionally-used, privately-owned cars would theoretically be fewer, consuming less on-site or on-street parking.

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  • Spiffy May 14, 2014 at 1:34 pm

    4-hour meters on every street, no permits… then nobody can complain that somebody else is taking their parking since it won’t be theirs…

    clear up our roads for ALL the people, not just storage of specific people’s cars… you bought the house, not the parking spot…

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    • TJ May 14, 2014 at 4:17 pm

      A continued crusade, but I mean it as a question:
      Is it right to encourage bike, ped, and public transit options, by increasing the cost of car ownership? Does this hurt the poor, who may need to travel outside the bounds of our current comfortable bike and transit infrastructure? Do these “cheap” infill housing options only suit a very certain type of Portlander and truly do not meet the city’s current affordable housing needs?

      Also, the scenario of 4 hour parking would prevent me from owning my truck that I only use to go paddling, mountain biking, skiing, back-country hiking, and an occasional bike race, as I couldn’t fill the meter while I was at work. I currently live where I can store my truck on the street or alley for free, but only one house on my block has a driveway.

      Long term parking garages are a better answer. And the developers should pay for them.

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    • GlowBoy May 14, 2014 at 5:02 pm

      And THAT is precisely the attitude that I find repugnant.

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      • TJ May 14, 2014 at 6:06 pm

        Repugnant is a tad heavy, but what attitude are you referring too? All I am saying is that we’re letting the developers market this on the backs of feel good bike culture without considering the future. I’d very much not like for Portland neighborhoods to be filled with micro-housing that cost $600-$1,000 dollars w/o the opportunity for parking. The point is, this further pushes people out of the city and does little to alleviate the increasingly costing rental market. It is housing for a very select few.

        I don’t know, I am not sure how many supporters and commentators are lining-up to live in these units anyways.

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        • spare_wheel May 14, 2014 at 6:21 pm

          so on the one hand you are arguing that small apartments are going to be so successful that you won’t find free parking and on the other hand you are arguing that no one wants to live in these apartments.

          i guess you really don’t like apartments.

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          • TJ May 14, 2014 at 6:58 pm

            I’m arguing, that these are at an advantage to developers –like knocking down an older home to build an “ugly” row home with a garage as its center piece.

            I think the micro-apts can be good for a few and only temporary, but what’s stopping developers from sprouting them up all over the place, further limiting renter’s options.

            And I am not arguing no one will want to live in them. I stated many who want to get closer-in or stay closer-in, cannot live in them. They aren’t suitable for many living conditions. They aren’t suitable for long-term, putting roots down, investments in communities.

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            • John Liu May 15, 2014 at 6:04 am

              Spacious, inexpensive, and close-in: pick any two.

              That’s the reality, and all the wishing in the world won’t change it. So, microapartments can meet a need. Maybe a small, niche need, but it will be many years before they are even 0.1% of the city’s housing stock.

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            • spare_wheel May 15, 2014 at 8:12 am

              “They aren’t suitable for long-term, putting roots down, investments in communities.”

              That’s code for “those renters” are not like us therefore it’s OK to discriminate against them.

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            • was carless May 15, 2014 at 11:34 pm

              “Damn kids keep off my lawn!”

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        • GlowBoy May 14, 2014 at 7:28 pm

          Sorry TJ, my comment was directed towards Spiffy’s (“4-hour meters on every street, no permits… then nobody can complain that somebody else is taking their parking since it won’t be theirs…”), not towards yours. I should have been more careful to cite the post I was responding to.

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  • dwainedibbly May 14, 2014 at 5:32 pm

    The coming war over rights to on-street parking is going to make it even harder to remove parking for bicycling infrastructure. Imagine how much harder the fight on 28th would be if it was a neighborhood with parking permits.

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    • Chris I May 15, 2014 at 10:21 am

      If we charge the market rate for parking, I think it makes the discussion a lot easier. As it is now, it is impossible to accurately quantify the value of the on-street spots that are slated for removal. Local businesses obviously think that they are highly valuable, and cycling advocates think they are less valuable. If the market rate is being charged, the city can say: “these spots are worth $x to the city each year”. Removal of parking can then be added as a cost of the project.

      The removal of parking is going to get more and more difficult as the city continues to add density. My question for you is this: will there be more pressure for on-street parking if we charge for it, or if we give it away for free?

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    • TonyJ May 15, 2014 at 10:39 am

      Since we can’t seem to win the parking removal now, I don’t see how much harder it could get. I think Chris is right, charging the right price for parking all over the city will change the way we think about parking.

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  • jim May 15, 2014 at 12:42 am

    Maybe they should limit them to micro cars only? Nothing bigger than a Smart car.

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    • GlowBoy May 15, 2014 at 11:15 am

      Wow, limiting on-street parking to vehicles that can’t safely transport children? That’s family-friendly.

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  • dweendaddy May 15, 2014 at 7:54 am

    If you want to read about the science (if you call economics a science) of parking, check out Donald Shoup, the “parking guru” of UCLA who has studied this subject in more detail than anyone else. http://shoup.bol.ucla.edu/
    My take home point from his work is that it is usually most effective to let the market rule – give parking (if limited, as in this case) to those who are willing to pay for it.
    Common city planning mistakes he warns against include having minimum requirements for parking (not based on good science) and pricing parking under market (creates an incentive to drive).

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    • PDXPete May 17, 2014 at 9:44 pm

      Dweendaddy: I encourage you to repeat your points, because the conversation gets diverted. You are exactly right.

      Cars are parked 95% of the day. Parking space is a limited resource. Giving away for free a limited resource guarantees a shortage.

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  • SteveG May 15, 2014 at 5:31 pm

    The solution is simple (but the politics are hard):

    1) Create a limited number of neighborhood parking permits.
    2) Set an auction to find the clearing price.
    3) Part of the money goes to PBOT to manage the permit program.
    4) The rest of the money goes back to the neighborhood association, to spend on neighborhood improvement priorities. Like nicer parks. Or a neighborhood pool. Or transit pass subsidies. Or an annual cash rebate to each resident of the neighborhood.

    “Because it has always been this way” is a bad reason to keep subsidizing parking a private car on the public streets be free. If you can’t afford to park your car without a “free” spot on the public streets, you can’t afford to own it. So you should probably either move to a neighborhood with plenty of parking, or sell your car.

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  • i ride my bike May 15, 2014 at 6:51 pm

    Its always the people arguing the loudest about parking are the ones who have off street parking anyway, they either choose not to use it or simply just dont want someone elses car parked on the public street in front of their house.

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  • Trek 3900 May 15, 2014 at 10:08 pm

    99% of all cyclists in Portland own cars. The idea of building an apartment building without parking is not well thought out (that’s the PC way to say it – and on this website that’s the only way it will get thru the PC police). Parking garage is the correct solution on bottom floors and/or below grade assuming it has security (gate and card reader, rental background checks, etc) to keep out car bombers.

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    • 9watts May 16, 2014 at 8:20 am

      “99% of all cyclists in Portland own cars.”

      Um, and you know this how?
      Only about ~83% of households (never mind people) own cars in this town, so your statement could only be true if essentially none of the 16% of no-car households had bikes either. I know many people who bike but do not own cars. I’m sorry you don’t.

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  • was carless May 15, 2014 at 11:36 pm

    Most European cities, IF they allow on-street parking, have been slowly but surely ratcheting up car parking permits for years, in an effort to get the cars OUT of their cities. Just like London charges a $30+ daily fee to drive in the central city.

    Yet here we are, supposedly a progressive urban planned city, and our culture is of car entitlement. Classicism at its best! Would make even a British Lord blush.

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  • Dave May 16, 2014 at 8:09 am

    Does the city have the authority to levy a per-car tax on single family households?

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  • megawonk May 16, 2014 at 10:19 am

    i dont really understand why this is even an issue? an apartment without parking is advertised as such, people know what they are getting into before they move in.

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    • GlowBoy May 16, 2014 at 12:26 pm

      In a more balanced market, megawonk, your reasoning might make sense. But lately there’s been an extremely short supply of available apartments, with people lining up a dozen deep for anything that comes available. Right now renters don’t have much choice, and a lot of people are taking no-car apartments (even if they’d gladly pay extra for offstreet parking) because those are all that’s coming onto the market right now.

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  • GlowBoy May 16, 2014 at 12:49 pm

    Personally, I think the rise of microapartments is generally a good thing. In fact one of my few regrets in life is passing up a really cool 400sf downtown studio (not quite micro, but close), instead going for a more conventional 1BR in an older brick apartment building in the streetcar suburbs. Should have gone for it at the time.

    Anyway, maybe the current explosion in microapartments will turn into a glut once the rental market finally cools. It seems a lot of the units are barely cheaper than what we’d formerly call “small” apartments nearly twice the size. I know there are certainly altruistic benefits to having a smaller footprint, but it seems to me one of the main reasons for teeny-tiny places is to that they should be more affordable. Hopefully prices will ease off as a bunch more supply comes online.

    And while I agree with you that people shouldn’t see microapartments as a threat per se, I think it’s important to acknowledge that the near-total dominance small apartments in recent construction has had a negative effect on families in this very tight rental market. Larger apartments (let’s say 2-3BR and 900-1200sf) just aren’t getting built, and with this year’s absolute explosion in home prices it’s tough for families looking for places to live in Portland.

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