Consultants working on the Columbia River Crossing (CRC) project have revealed plans (PDF here) to build three new park-and-ride facilities in Vancouver. The facilities (which have gotten a cold reception) would include parking capacity for 2,900 motor vehicles.
“Wouldn’t Vancouver rather spend $60 million making it better for people to live in their downtown core, rather than turning it into a car storage area for people from Woodland who are commuting to jobs in downtown Portland?”
— Joe Cortright, economist
The parking garages are being proposed to encourage more Washingtonians to use light rail; but Portland economist Joe Cortright, who has emerged as the project’s most outspoken critic, says the multi-level garages only encourage sprawl, reward car use and are, “Yet another example of how distorted and car-centric this whole project has become.”
Cortright also points out that the cost of those parking spaces comes out to about $60 million.
He gets to that number by multiplying the 2,900 parking spaces by $20,000, which is what many experts estimate as the cost of each space in a parking garage after the total price of construction is figured in*.
Cortright sees that as a “huge subsidy to suburban car drivers.” (It’s unclear whether or not the CRC will charge a fee to use the park-and-rides.)
“Wouldn’t Vancouver rather spend $60 million making it better for people to live in their downtown core,” Cortright wonders, “rather than turning it into a car storage area for people from Woodland who are commuting to jobs in downtown Portland?”
(CRC project staff have not replied to requests for information about an official cost estimate and whether or not they plan to charge a fee to use the park and ride facilities.)
—*Parking cost estimate taken from Transportation Cost and Benefit Analysis II – Parking Costs: Victoria Transport Policy Institute (PDF)