Very few poor people drive to work downtown

by on November 24th, 2015 at 1:49 pm

The Portland area has invested $4.8 billion in a regional public rail network, and currently spends $313 million a year to hold down ticket prices on the system.

Another several million dollars each year go toward expansions of the region’s biking network.

Despite that investment, at least one Portland city council member has been arguing in the lead-up to a hearing next month that the public should also be subsidizing downtown car trips.

His reasoning: some of the people who drive downtown are poor.


Commissioner Fritz questions city plan to legalize tiny homes near property lines, a perk currently given to auto storage

by on November 20th, 2015 at 10:55 am

Sally Spear, right, lives in a backyard home in Northeast Portland with her daughter’s family.
(Photos by M.Andersen/BikePortland)

Until this week, Portland seemed poised to eliminate one of the many ways it prioritizes housing for cars over housing for people.

For decades, there’s been exactly one way to build a 15-foot-tall structure up to the edge of most Portland property lines: put a car in it.

Want an accessory dwelling unit the same size as a garage? Sorry, that’ll have to be set back five feet from the property line, even if it has no windows or doors facing the property edge.

Bike sheds currently face the same restriction: unlike garages that were designed for cars, bike sheds must be at least five feet away from the property line in all single-family residential zones.


Portland may require developers to offer residents, employees $600 for biking or transit

by on November 11th, 2015 at 8:40 am

bta reception area
Downtown employer New Relic already offers in-office bike parking, but it doesn’t buy you a bike. Not yet.
(Photo: New Relic)

Got a new job in Portland? Have a new bike.

Deals like that could become common under a set of proposed rules being discussed by the City of Portland that might require developers or property managers to give each new resident or on-site worker $600 that could be spent only on non-car transportation: a nice new bike, six months of TriMet passes, four years of bike share memberships, or whatever.

The one-time payment would trigger at the time of move-in or hire. The goal is to make Portland’s streets cleaner and more efficient by reducing auto use.


As Portland’s housing shortage boils over, its mandatory car-housing policy seems safe

by on October 9th, 2015 at 12:14 pm

Justin Buri of the Community Alliance of Tenants tells Portland city council that Portland renters have a “right to the city” that is being denied by rising prices.
(Video: City of Portland)

At City Hall on Wednesday, a searing picture of what it means to be a low-income renter, looking for space in Portland’s housing crisis.

At City Hall on Thursday, a seemingly earnest discussion of whether it’s fair to charge cars more than $0 for taking up space.

Nobody is claiming that an opt-in neighborhood parking permit system — the main measure the city is considering — is anything close to a solution for Portlanders searching for housing amid one of the country’s worst housing shortages. Still, it was odd this week to watch Portland’s City Council lament as if capitalism mandated that even the very poor must pay for 130 square feet of bedroom, and then 21 hours later debate whether the government should continue to guarantee free 130-square-foot parking spaces almost everywhere in the city.


Task force likes proposal to restrict main-street residents’ curbside parking rights

by on August 6th, 2015 at 11:57 am

morehead with centers corridors committee
Portland Bureau of Transportation planner Grant Morehead discusses parking policies with the city’s Centers and Corridors parking stakeholder committee.
(Photos: M.Andersen and J.Maus/BikePortland)

Central-city apartment dwellers might want to start looking into that whole car-free thing pretty soon.

An advisory committee composed almost entirely of residents of residential zones gave a general thumbs-up Wednesday night to a city proposal that could let residents of residential zones vote to prevent people who live on commercial streets from buying overnight parking permits in their neighborhoods.

Because most of Portland’s commercial main streets are zoned for mixed-use or employment, the proposed parking permit system — which would also charge residential permit holders a yet-to-be determined monthly or annual fee for curbside parking — would effectively let residents just off of commercial corridors remove curbside parking rights from residents of most nearby multifamily buildings.

The city’s idea is that such a system would lead developers of buildings on commercial corridors to include more on-site auto parking in their new buildings, or else to market their buildings more successfully to car-free residents.


City parking reform proposal would limit apartment dwellers’ access to parking permits

by on July 31st, 2015 at 1:52 pm

Under the concept, residents of the mixed commercial zone along Southeast Ankeny Street wouldn’t be allowed to buy permits to park cars on nearby residential streets unless there were spaces left unused by nearby residents.
(Photo: M.Andersen/BikePortland)

After months of research and discussion with a massive stakeholders’ group, the Portland Bureau of Transportation on Thursday circulated its first concept for how to deal with shortages of free on-street car parking in some neighborhoods.

The proposal, which the city described Friday as “preliminary,” combines two main ideas:

1) Neighborhoods would get the option to vote to start charging themselves a yet-to-be-determined amount for overnight street parking, and

2) people who live in most of the buildings along commercial corridors wouldn’t get to park in permit-parking areas overnight unless people who live in nearby residences don’t want the space.


Large crowd at City-sponsored symposium learns evils of free parking

by on June 29th, 2015 at 4:35 pm

parking crowd
The crowded auditorium at the Portland Bureau of Transportation’s parking symposium Monday.
(Photos: M.Andersen/BikePortland)

“Our cities have minimum bedroom requirements for cars but not minimum housing requirements for people.”
— Jeffrey Tumlin

If anyone needed evidence that parking policy matters to Portlanders, it arrived at the Portland Building Monday in the form of 130 people, many armed with pen and paper, to attend a five-hour “symposium” on the subject.

The event organized by the Portland Bureau of Transportation drew a who’s-who of neighborhood association and city transportation officials. One was Transportation Commissioner Steve Novick, who said that parking was the transportation issue he hears about more than any other.


Eastmoreland residents organize against wider bike lanes that would remove parking

by on May 4th, 2015 at 10:37 am

yellow house from below
Some people bike on Woodstock Boulevard’s sidewalk to avoid the door-zone bike lane that would be upgraded as part of the 20s Bikeway Project.
(Photos: M.Andersen/BikePortland)

The Eastmoreland Neighborhood Association is trying to stop Portland from widening the four-foot door-zone bike lanes along four blocks of Woodstock Boulevard.

The four blocks would be a key link in the planned 20s Bikeway, the first continuous all-ages bike route to stretch all the way from Portland’s northern to southern border. But Kurt Krause, chair of the neighborhood association’s bike committee, said the benefits of a continuously comfortable route aren’t worth the costs of removing curbside parking in front of seven large houses that overlook the Reed College campus across the street.

All seven houses have private driveways and garages on their lots.


What would bike-friendly auto parking reform look like? Seven ideas

by on February 26th, 2015 at 12:26 pm

Squeezed on Northeast Alberta Street.
(Photo: J.Maus/BikePortland)

As the City of Portland continues public meetings with its two massive parking reform committees, most attention has been on parking prices: how much permits and meters should cost and how the money should be spent.

But another issue has, so far, mostly escaped notice: The many ways that parking spaces can conflict with biking improvements.


Portland parking reformers puzzle over how to value bike lanes

by on January 30th, 2015 at 10:28 am

New striping on Broadway ramp-2
What’s it worth?
(Photo J. Maus/BikePortland)

How much is a bike lane worth?

As the City of Portland begins moving toward an overhaul of its auto parking policy, the people on two massive parking-reform stakeholder committees (one for the central city and one for neighborhood commercial districts) are beginning to confront an interesting problem.

If modern acolytes of market-priced street parking are correct, it’s actually not hard to discover the economic value of an on-street auto parking space: use meters or permits to raise the price of parking until 15 percent of spaces in a given area — about one per block — are always empty and available. It’s the curbside equivalent of a store that’s acquiring new inventory at the same rate that it sells its current stock.