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Pioneer Square parking lot and thoughts on a parking reform renaissance

Friday, July 18th, 2014

Prior to 1984, the public plaza known as “Portland’s living room,” was full of cars. Believe it or not, Pioneer Courthouse Square used to be a parking lot (and before that it was a regal hotel).

That fact isn’t new to many of you who study urban planning and transportation in Portland. I’ve heard about it for years. But until an aerial photo of it turned up on Twitter last night, that history never really sank in. The photo above was dug up by the Portland Development Commission and then tweeted out by Supportland. (more…)

Backyard homes are almost as car-lite as apartments on transit lines, study finds

Thursday, July 10th, 2014
Sally Spear, 63, moved into a 200-square-foot backyard cottage designed by her son-in-law Schuyler Smith, 33, in 2010. Smith now designs ADUs for a living.
(Photo by M.Andersen/BikePortland)

When it comes to cars, accessory units in backyards and basements are nearly as low-impact as big apartment buildings next to bus lines.

That’s the conclusion of a new state-funded analysis (PDF) that combines the results of a survey of Portland accessory dwelling owners with other recent studies to start examining one of Portland’s newest real estate trends.

The average rental unit in Portland brings 1.31 cars on site, according to the U.S. Census. For transit-oriented apartment buildings, that falls to 0.83 cars — and for accessory dwelling units, it’s 0.93 cars.

(more…)

After 28th Ave businesses hear from customers, a few backpedal from bike-lane opposition

Monday, May 5th, 2014
NE 28th Avenue and Davis commercial district
Some 28th Avenue businesses and
customers see things differently.
(Photo by M. Andersen/BikePortland)

Different businesses react differently to hearing from upset customers.

A week after we posted a petition, circulated by opponents of a buffered bike lane on 28th Avenue near Burnside and signed by 60 nearby businesses, many readers have contacted those businesses to let them know they disagree with the decision.

Some of those businesses have responded by saying that a planned neighborhood greenway, two blocks away from the commercial strip on 30th, is a good compromise that would preserve about 100 auto parking spaces in the neighborhood while obliging north-south bikers to zigzag only a few blocks out of the way. Others have said they didn’t intend to sign the petition, and others have asked to be removed from it.

(more…)

Parking power prevails (for now): PBOT pulls plug on 28th Ave bike lanes

Friday, April 25th, 2014
A ride with the family-6
The city’s new “interim solution” for the Buckman/Kerns commercial district (that is, keep things pretty much like they are now).
(Photo by J. Maus/BikePortland)

The Portland Bureau of Transportation on Thursday backed off from its proposal to replace about 100 auto parking spaces on 28th Avenue near Burnside with a buffered bike lane.

Available auto parking is “a very, very big deal” for neighborhood commercial districts like this one, project manager Rich Newlands told the 20s Bikeway Project stakeholder advisory committee at their meeting last night.

The city completed its first multi-street count of the neighborhood’s parking demand in time for Thursday’s meeting, which had been slated as the committee’s last. The results showed that many nearby blocks in the free-parking neighborhood were near capacity.

(more…)

Are parking permits a solution to neighborhood parking wars?

Monday, April 21st, 2014
Auto parking on Southeast Division Street.
(Photo by M.Andersen)

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.

(more…)

Miracle on 34th? Neighbors ask city to improve bike access by removing auto parking

Wednesday, January 8th, 2014
Mark Zahner outside his 34th Avenue home.
(Photos by M.Andersen/BikePortland)

It’s an anomaly in Southeast Portland’s parking wars: a group of homeowners is asking the City of Portland to please remove a row of auto parking spaces from their street.

They’d rather have a bike lane, the group says. But it’s not yet clear whether their request will be granted.

“It’s a street where nobody’s been killed, but many, many near misses,” said Mark Zahner of the street where he lives, 34th Avenue between Clinton and Division streets. “We feel like it’s only a matter of time.”
(more…)

NE 28th Avenue business owners split on bike access and parking, interviews show

Wednesday, November 27th, 2013
James Lanagen of Beulahland said the neighborhood
would “adapt” if buffered bike lanes replaced on-street
parking, but that he’d rather keep the parking.
(Photos by M.Andersen/BikePortland)

The question of how to make biking better in the NE 28th Avenue area divides employees from their bosses, businesses from their customers, tenants from their landlords and different kinds of bike users from each other.

If there’s one thing this project doesn’t have, it’s consensus — not among the “bike community” (whatever that is) and not among the “business community” (whatever that is).

We know because we asked.

(more…)

What if you could auction off the right to park a car in front of your home?

Tuesday, November 26th, 2013
Auto parking on Southeast Division Street.
(Photos by M.Andersen)

Unlimited free on-street car parking is one of the big problems stopping Portland from becoming a better place to live, work, ride a bike, and do business — and a Portland planning expert is floating an interesting solution.

(more…)

Wonk Night kickstarts effort to reform Portland’s bike parking code

Thursday, October 31st, 2013
Bike Parking Wonk Night-7
An unprecedented gathering of bike parking
brain-power met at Lancaster Engineering
Tuesday night.
(Photos © J. Maus/BikePortland)

Staple racks at the grocery store blocked by piles of pumpkins; events with 800 people and zero additional bike parking; apartment buildings with dozens of wall hooks that are difficult and awkward to use for many people…

Portland is full of bike parking problems. Fortunately, most of them are solvable.

On Tuesday night, Jonathan and I joined the bike coordinators for Oregon’s two largest-employment universities, three representatives of bike parking equipment companies, two city employees, three architects, a team of engineers, the operator of the largest bike parking facility in North America and 25 other wonky Portland citizens for drinks and sandwiches to start talking about the solutions. (more…)

Portlanders prepare for Park(ing) Day party

Monday, September 16th, 2013
IMG_2531.JPG
(Park)ing Day in San Francisco, 2010.
(Photo: Josh Jackson)

The international festival that envisions ways to repurpose the 30% of central business district land area (PDF) that U.S. cities currently devote to auto parking keeps getting more interesting.

This Friday, Sept. 20, Park(ing) Day celebrations are going down at a few spots around Portland. But the most interesting might be the plan for SW Stark Street between 10th and 11th, close to Powell’s City of Books and just outside the Ace Hotel.

“We’re taking all of the parking spaces on SW Stark between 10th and 11th and turning them into extra bike parking, ping-pong tables, public parklets and outdoor seating for the nearby restaurants,” writes Katrina Johnston, the local researcher and designer behind THINK.urban. “Ace Hotel will also be doing two spaces in front of their place and there will be an event going on at The Cleaners that will serve as an unofficial after party.”

(more…)

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