Posted by Michael Andersen (News Editor) on May 14th, 2014 at 9:28 am
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.
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.”