Editorial: Portland’s parking problem

Posted by on August 14th, 2012 at 12:48 pm

Existing conditions on Williams Ave-17

(Photo © J. Maus/BikePortland)

The issue of new apartments being built in close-in neighborhoods without (or with very little) auto parking has been making headlines in Portland recently. I’m glad to see this story getting the attention it deserves. Portland has a parking problem and the first step to fixing it is awareness that it exists.

In short, developers throughout the central and north eastside have taken advantage of Portland city code that encourages the construction of apartment complexes without any obligation to include auto parking. The thinking was/is that if an apartment building is in a transit/biking/walking-friendly area, the lack of parking wouldn’t be a problem and it would actually encourage more people to go carfree (or low-car). Developers — eager to be seen as “eco-friendly” and save lots of money by not including expensive auto parking — jumped on the opportunity.

Many sustainable transportation advocates probably see that as a good thing, as limiting car use is a necessity for a city to function at its highest potential. That is indeed true; but the problem is we’re just not there yet.

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Despite Portland planners’ dreams, most people still own cars and they need a place to put them. With increasing density (thanks to these apartment buildings), this means people are parking their cars on neighborhood surface streets. This increased demand on neighborhood parking has a lot of real consequences — many of which have come up in bike-related projects.

When activists wanted to try out Portland’s first “parklet” (what PBOT is now calling “street seats”), they were looking at N. Mississippi Avenue as a potential location. But when the idea floated around the neighborhood, there was opposition from some people on the grounds that there was already too much parking pressure on local surface streets.

When PBOT approached a project to improve the bikeway on N. Williams, in one busy area (near N. Failing Ave), the idea of removing parking to create more space for a protected bikeway was off the table before the public process even began. (PBOT’s calculation was that businesses would revolt against the idea.)

The spillover of auto parking on streets near busy commercial corridors also impacts how neighborhood greenways function. The increased traffic, looking for parking space, adds to the volume of cars and makes the side streets less pleasant to ride on. Another issue is when cars are parked right up to the corner, which limits sight lines and can make crossing by foot, bike or car more stressful and sometimes dangerous.

I’m all for developers building in fewer auto parking spots; but we need to be realistic. It seems to me the answer isn’t to roll-back the regulations and require more auto parking. Instead, in the short-term, we need to come up with more creative solutions to storing cars. More importantly, we need to make our planning dreams a reality by making decisions that will allow biking, walking and transit to compete with auto use. If more people felt biking was safe and convenient, and if they had more robust and reliable transit service nearby, we would see a much faster adoption of the carfree and low-car lifestyle I believe city planners hope for.

Put another way, Portland city code aspires to a city that doesn’t quite exist yet… So let’s hurry up and make that city a reality and the parking problem just might solve itself.

— Jonathan Maus: (503) 706-8804, @jonathan_maus on Twitter and jonathan@bikeportland.org

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steve scarich
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steve scarich

Quick question: you said “most people still own cars”. What does that mean exactly? Every apartment in Portland has at least one (or two) cars associated with it? I hear young Portlanders say they don’t have a car, and it is a trend in America that fewer young people own cars than prior generations.

Adams Carroll (News Intern)
Guest

i mean that a majority of close-in portland residents own at least one car. As for the trends and young people, I know about all that… But we’re not there yet. I feel like we’re in a multi-year transition period where we’re moving toward a new era, but we haven’t shaken the old era yet. Until transportation behaviors truly shifts, we need to address this parking issue.

Bjorn
Guest
Bjorn

The majority of housing has off street parking, why not allow some development of units where people aren’t forced to pay for off street parking if they don’t want to utilize it? The average portland household has more than 2 people living in it, should we stop allowing 1 bedroom apartments to be built?

HAL9000
Guest
HAL9000

Part of the problem is of density – Portland’s density is pretty low, which means that there is actually a lot of parking around, streets are relatively uncongested (not counting I-5), so driving is pretty easy and attractive for a lot of people.

If you look at Seattle or Vancouver BC, they have roughly double the density that Portland does, and a lot more people take mass transit and, in BC, they bike more.

We shall see what the future holds, but the city is definitely becoming more dense. Downtown Portland, however, has a tiny % of the jobs in the city – roughly 10% – that very few people actually work there.

Anonymaus
Guest
Anonymaus

I don’t think this is a good argument for apartment buildings to include parking. The only way we are going to get where you and I want us to get, is by forcing upon people. People don’t walk in NYC because they like to (well not initially at least), they do it because they can’t drive. We gotta force those hipsters out of their parents’ Camrys. 🙂

Adams Carroll (News Intern)
Guest

Mr./Ms. Anonymous,

I’m not making the argument for apt buildings to include more auto parking. In fact, you and I agree. My argument is that the way to “force hipsters out of their parents’ camrys” is to do everything we can to make biking and transit more convenient and plentiful.

Spiffy
Guest

Jonathan Maus (Publisher/Editor)
Mr./Ms. Anonymous,
make biking and transit more convenient and plentiful.

no, we should just stop making driving the easy option…

Utility cyclist (Eugene)
Guest
Utility cyclist (Eugene)

I think this is the crux of the issue. There is a simple way to regulate on-street parking; tax it. Parking meter rates are way too low and it serves as a public subsidy for car owners.

The best and highest use of our public right-of-way is for moving people, not storing private vehicles!

Adams Carroll (News Intern)
Guest

because I believe one thing, doesn’t mean I don’t believe the other. Obviously I think we need both better biking/transit and we need to make driving more inconvenient and expensive.

grumpcyclist
Guest
grumpcyclist

Whenever you accuse the Oregonian of running a “bikes vs. cars” article, remember you said this.

Adams Carroll (News Intern)
Guest

that doesn’t make sense grumpcyclist. Saying that I think we need to make driving less convenient and more expensive isn’t anti-car at all. It’s just realistic. Driving a car is highly subsidized and we don’t glean nearly enough revenue out of it. It is also way too convenient in the inner city and in order to make a more livable city we need to discourage auto abuse and encourage people to be smarter about when they drive and where they drive.

Caleb
Guest
Caleb

I’m glad you are for promoting bicycle use in this case, but perhaps what grumpycyclist is getting at is that the Oregonian running bikes vs. cars articles might be similar to you stating your opinions here. You call your perspectives “realistic”, but maybe they see theirs as that, too. I’m not saying I agree or disagree with you or them…just that what’s “realistic” is whatever we as a collective choose to make happen, and any time we call one side more or less “realistic”, we’re basically fostering the “x vs. y” mentality.

mark kenseth
Guest
mark kenseth

Agreed. It should be a less convenient to park a car, and/or more convenient to park a bike. For example, my street is wide enough to support an entire lane of parked cars on either side, yet the only bike parking consists of 3 sign posts (telling people where they can park a car) on the block. The neighborhood I used to live in had no posts along the street (single family homes). As parking for cars becomes less convenient, hopefully bike parking will become more convenient (as I think it is in some areas). Maybe it will someday be like those metal loops along the curbs for horses; there could be a bike corral or two on every block.

Hopefully car-shares can help alleviate the generational transition that Jonathan mentioned. My girlfriend and I are part of the transition. Both in our 30s; sold my car in 2008, sold her car in 2011. Haven’t looked back.

HAL9000
Guest
HAL9000

Copenhagen taxes the crap out of everyone, so they can’t afford cars. Car tax is roughly 200% of the car’s retail value. So that $15,000 Camry is actually $45,000!

…which explains why you don’t see many Prius’s (Priuii?) over there, they cost like $72k over there. Oh, and they also give bikes a tax break.

http://wallstreetpit.com/12684-denmarks-200-pecent-car-tax-crazy-and-crazier

AnonyMAUS
Guest
AnonyMAUS

First of all, please excuse my oversight during proof reading. I meant “is by forcing it upon them”. I agree with you. It sucks. I just feel like if the developers provide that option it is a good thing. I think I just got bothered with the fact that you seemed to call out the developers as if they were doing wrong. The economy is bad, so sure they have to cut costs to make things affordable. But by cutting auto parking is that a bad thing? Isn’t that what we want? Those apartment dwellers will get sick of parking and ditch their car, or just rarely use it (like my friends in NW did). Sure it sucks, I dot like seeing cars bumper to bumper covering both sides of the street all the time. It’s ugly. There seems to be no solution though. Perhaps the first set of apartment dwellers will have cars, but what about the ones in the future? Will the area eventually get dense enough to support car free/car light lifestyles? Maybe there will always be parking ridden streets in dense areas? I don’t know. I do know that I don’t like biking on said steets, though it seems to alleviate itself within a few blocks (even off of Alberta during last Thursday). Is it a price to pay for density and “affordable” inner-eastside housing, probably.

Just a wannabe wonk thinking out loud…

cw
Guest
cw

People in NYC don’t drive because the subway is awesome, not because they don’t want to. I lived in NYC for 10 years, and the transit in Portland SUCKS. Mass transit needs to be improved before people will start thinking about giving up their cars. At a minimum, it should run 24 hours a day.

Case
Guest
Case

I would still say “most”, as in more than half, of Portlanders own a car, those this is speculation on my part. I have a new apartment complex popping up on 24th and Glisan in my neighborhood. Lots of units, no parking, on a street with a bike lane that is well used. Should be interesting to see the impact it has when it’s full.

In general I’m not too excited about this plan. As you have said, it looks good on paper, but without investment in public transit it’s just a way for developers to appear green while saving money on the backs of the tax payers. On street parking causes wear and tear that the city has to deal with. Looks like the Free Ride Zone was just moved from the downtown core to developers’ pockets.

Bjorn
Guest
Bjorn

One of these buildings is next to the hollywood transit center, it seems pretty plausible to me that at least in that case a lot of the residents may not own a car.

HAL9000
Guest
HAL9000

NW Portland has also repeatedly shot down any parking meter plans, which would include off street parking garages. Dense neighborhoods like NW Portland really need to charge for parking, because of the very high demand for parking.

Charging for parking of course discourages people from driving in the first place, so this would be an excellent strategy to discourage driving. Alas, NW Portland neighbors and business leaders disagree, at the same time waving their “green credentials” and “liberal credentials” as they drive Prius cars and recycle their organic wine bottles.

Stretchy
Guest
Stretchy

In parking-challenged neighborhoods, charge for on-street parking.

Paul Souders
Guest
Paul Souders

In ALL neighborhoods, charge for ALL on-street parking. Just do it on a scale that slides all the way down to zero, based on demand. In quiet outer neighborhoods the price will be “free.” Along NW 23rd it might be $10/hr. or more. This could be done digitally (it’s all ball bearings these days…) and in real-time; in effect you’d be “bidding” on parking every time you park your car.

This actually works really well for everyone: if I absolutely have to drive to NW 23rd then I’m more likely to find a space, and the charge is worth it to me. Otherwise I’ll take a bus or ride my bike — indirectly strengthening the constituency for better transit, bike infrastructure etc. Businesses will know they have the exactly right amount of nearby parking.

Theoretically residents could get a subsidy or break, but the libertarian in me says: heck no, let them pay the market rate like everyone else. Parking is a resource someone is paying for; it’s only free to YOU.

The best part is, this is a super-duper free-market solution. Anyone who objects is essentially saying “I want someone else to pay for my parking.”

A.K.
Guest
A.K.

I’d absolutely agree to a city-wide parking permit system, like what they have in NW near Jeld-Win.

I live near the Aladdin Theater and parking is crazy on show nights. There are also people with driveways who I always see parking in the street, which sort of boggles my mind. I WISH I had a driveway, but don’t. I don’t WANT my car on the street, but have no choice currently as a renter (if I bought a house, a driveway would be a must-have).

Tony
Guest
Tony

Absolutely 100% YES YES YES

And since you bring up NW 23rd, that street is so screwed up, put meters there and use the money to pay for repairs!

A.K.
Guest
A.K.

Yes, they need meters up there, for sure. The argument that it’ll scare business away is bollocks, as it’s so crowded as is you can’t actually park on 23rd most of the time any ways, and wind up having to walk blocks and blocks.

jd
Guest
jd

San Francisco already does exactly this. Check out http://sfpark.org/.

Chris I
Guest
Chris I

Bingo. The root cause of these problems is under-priced parking. We have all been raised with free or subsidized parking. If you rent an apartment, it comes with a parking spot, whether you own a car or not. When you buy a house, it has a garage and a driveway. When you buy a condo, etc, etc. In most cases, these are city or county requirements. If you require every unit to have a parking spot, then the cost to park a car is zero. In reality, these spaces should all cost something, because they are using real estate. This piece should argue for a market-based pricing model for street parking, similar to the SF Park system and the removal of parking minimums in city regulations. Let the free market decide how much parking we need.

http://sfpark.org/how-it-works/

Stretchy
Guest
Stretchy

Just remembered this video: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=uVteHncimV0

HAL9000
Guest
HAL9000

It turns out that Portlanders don’t actually like to pay for parking. This is a political non-starter. See the parking wars of NW Portland and Hawthorne dating back to the 1990s.

Chris I
Guest
Chris I

No one likes to pay for parking directly. We all pay for parking, though. It is added to the cost of the things we buy, and the taxes we pay fund the real estate and maintenance of the parking infrastructure. Everyone pays for parking, we just need to change how we collect this money.

SilkySlim
Guest

Could this be the one reason to vote for Romney, for his pro car-elevator stance?

HAL9000
Guest
HAL9000

No, Obama wants to fund mass transit.

Bikes > Transit > Cars

Andrew Seger
Guest
Andrew Seger

We definitely need to try out charging for on street parking. The trick is convincing PBOT to share it’s money (as they do with the Lloyd TMA) and let the neighborhoods use their half of the money to fund various improvements in the neighborhood. Including maintenance, parks, etc.

Allison (@allisons)
Guest
Allison (@allisons)

I think this is a little shortsighted of you, Jonathan and I’m surprised. The reason people own cars at the rates they do is that they have calculated the various options and their costs and chosen a car (even if this didn’t happen consciously). The costs of car-ownership include the cost of parking, except that *the city is currently paying that cost when it provides free on street parking*. If there isn’t enough parking, it’s because the price on the parking is too low.

If we build that parking along side the apartment development, that parking is with us for the life of the building and does nothing to adjust the cost of car ownership. Those apartment developers are taking advantage of a policy – we can change that policy so that they’re required to price in parking in their development at market rates. If parking is the highest and best use of that land, then it’ll get built. Currently it’s not.

If you want more people to shift away from car-ownership or car-dependence, we’re going to have to increase the cost of car ownership by having car owners bear more of the cost of their own transportation choices. People expect parking to be free and believe it is their right to park their cars on the public thoroughfare. They’re wrong about that and they need to be disabused of this notion.

Furthermore, it surprises me that you take what is essentially a back lash argument to criticize a policy that you ideologically agree with. Long term, this is going to change people’s behavior and transportation choices (which are sticky and take awhile to change). In the short term it might make bike-friendly infrastructure harder to get people to swallow. That is not an argument against the policy.

In the short term, we can address all the things you talked about by say, preventing parking within 15 feet of a stop sign as they do in Seattle, instituting resident parking permits, and just organizing better to support the stuff we think should pass.

Adams Carroll (News Intern)
Guest

Allison,

I’m not bashing the existing policy. Just trying to say I am concerned about the impact it’s having and I’m putting forward some thoughts on how to lessen that negative impact.

I agree with you about changing behaviors — but what about the interim years before those behaviors have changed? Bottom line is that Portland isn’t doing enough fast enough to encourage folks to give up cars in the types of numbers that would actually make the existing parking situation work.

I disagree a bit about your assumption that people make financial calculations before deciding to own a car. I think the bigger reason ppl have a car is they feel it’s the safest and most convenient way to get around. And they’re right.. because we continue to compromise our streets to serve the auto-centric status quo in many parts of Portland.

And I agree we should do those things you mention in your last paragraph… But with less parking pressure it would be a much easier lift wouldn’t it?

Chris I
Guest
Chris I

It sounds like what you are arguing for are places like the Lloyd district, where businesses and residences all have large amounts of off-street parking. Every cycling city has parking problems and excess cars. The really good cycling cities don’t force developers to build off-street parking. They raise the cost of parking and provide less space for it.

Craig Harlow
Guest
Craig Harlow

Jonathan, when you say, “the impact it’s having, ” do you mean that residential vs. commercial parking pressure is adversely impacting active modes when PBOT tries to implement projects?

Adams Carroll (News Intern)
Guest

Yes. partly.

Allison (@allisons)
Guest
Allison (@allisons)

Lifting parking pressure by providing more parking is the same argument as wider freeways to fix congestion. The only pricing signal we have right now is scarcity. As long as you’re keeping the cost low, you will have over utilization. “Free” on street parking is the problem, not a lack of off street parking.

peejay
Guest
peejay

So, removal of minimum parking requirements for construction isn’t a ban on off-street parking; it’s giving the developer the freedom to decide how to allocate space to provide the most compelling housing situation for the market. If the developer felt that nobody would want to live in a place without parking, you’d better believe they’d build all the spaces they need into the building. But that means that there’d either be fewer units or smaller ones, for a given lot size and height maximum (for which there still exists regulations).

The reality is that most of the people moving into these buildings DO have cars, but they are making the gamble that there are enough on-street spaces that the cheaper housing cost will be worth it. The assumption is that on-street parking will continue to be free, of course. And the problem with free on-street parking is that it doesn’t exist in a proper supply-demand balance. If the demand for spots rises, and the supply can’t go up (only so many spots can exist on a given street grid), then there’s nothing to temper the demand, so you wind up with a scarcity that cannot be profited from (ideally, by the city, who could then provide some other benefit back to the community). But if you charge for parking, and charge MORE for high-demand parking, then people can decide how much it’s worth to them. Cheapskates can walk ten blocks to where they want to go, and lazy people can park in front of their destination, because the pool of people willing to pay a higher price for that space is smaller. And really smart people will realize it’s easier to visit that neighborhood without a car at all. And they’ll be able to, because the dense development is happening that allows more transit options to make sense.

So, we have to go through this stage of everyone complaining about parking, because this is the only way we can get the density we need to make our city function sustainably. I wish we could just jump into the future, though, without all the pain.

9watts
Guest
9watts

“The reality is that most of the people moving into these buildings DO have cars, but they are making the gamble that there are enough on-street spaces that the cheaper housing cost will be worth it.”

Do you know this?
I just learned the other night that the developer who is building a 50-unit apartment building at 19th & Hawthorne (with no off-street car parking but 55 off-street bike parking spots) already built a very similar 50-unit building in Irvington. They have done surveys of their tenants and find that of the fifty units, the number of cars owned by the residents is between 12 and 16. I suspect this is on the low end for Portland, and they talk as if they’ve tried to encourage this. But I found that very encouraging.

I think there is a real risk that single family dwelling people in our neighborhoods automatically project their own car owning habits onto future apartment dwellers in their neighborhoods and conclude that the sky is about to fall.

deborah
Guest
deborah

There’s a condo building at 20th and Hawthorne that found a really creative solution. They have stacked parking stalls. If we could get a couple of those car ‘storage’ type facilities i bet there would be plenty of people to use them. My family has two cars we park on the street, and we would LOVE to find longer-term storage for atleast one of them since we both bike commute. The problem is that there are very few options in Portland for even remotely affordable car storage, aside from street parking.

benschon
Guest
benschon

In fact, when that condo building “unbundled” its parking from housing (residents pay for each separately), it saw lower than expected demand for the private spaces. Now they are converting some of the spaces to bike parking. Welcome to the revolution!

Skis
Guest
Skis

I’ve heard that building doesn’t even reach full parking capacity and that they are looking to convert some of the auto parking to bike parking.

9watts
Guest
9watts

“The problem is that there are very few options in Portland for even remotely affordable car storage, aside from street parking.”

You’re saying this is a problem? I guess I should be glad you don’t collect semi trucks.

Andrew K
Guest
Andrew K

The last line says it all really.

I live in close-in Southeast and I hate to admit I agree there is a parking problem. On a lot of side streets there are so many cars parked and the streets are so narrow that getting hit by a car door is a serious concern of mine.

Now granted, I’m not saying we should just build more parking garages or increase the size of our homes to “store” more cars. Nor am I saying we should widen the streets. I’m saying let’s go all the way with this idea of a truely sustainable city. If we did, the lack of parking would fix itself.

I’m actually an advocate of making the downtown core for example completely car free. I mean why not? In order for this to work you would of course need a better street car network and by extension better public transit to get into downtown (either that or large parking structures on the outskirts). But think about how calm and peacful downtown would be if you took out the cars.

Yeah yeah yeah, I know that is a bit utopian of me to say, but I can dream right?

Craig Harlow
Guest
Craig Harlow

Keep saying it, “car free cities”.

Andrew K
Guest
Andrew K

I say it in the mirror every morning.

mark kenseth
Guest
mark kenseth

It’s not utopian. Cities were car-free only 100 years ago.

Andrew K
Guest
Andrew K

also, as and added note, I do think more neighborhoods should charge for on street parking. The Alphabet district for example has strict time limits on how long you can park on the street and residents have to pay for a parking permit.

This doesn’t seem to stop people from wanting to move there as rental and housing prices in that neighborhood are still very high and in demand.

Spiffy
Guest

this is the first BikePortland article that makes me never want to come to this web site again…

sickening…

Adams Carroll (News Intern)
Guest

Why not Spiffy?

And in some ways that’s pretty cool because I reckon I’ve posted thousands of articles since you’ve been reading ;-).

seriously. Curious what you find so sickening? The fact that I say people own cars and they need a place to put them?

Chris I
Guest
Chris I

I would love to own a trailer so I can haul gravel or take a large raft out to a river for the weekend. However, I don’t have a garage, and I don’t want to pay to rent a storage unit, so I won’t buy one. This is the problem with parking in Portland. There are too many cars, because we subsidize car storage. Fewer people would own cars if they had to pay the true cost of storage.

Spiffy
Guest

yeah, I suppose that’s a good track record… c(:

people don’t NEED a place to park their cars… they WANT a free place to park them… and the people currently parking for free are just complaining that more people will be using those free parking spaces…

what people NEED is fewer cars…

we are the future… we park bikes, not cars…

Carl
Guest
Carl

Stretchy
In parking-challenged neighborhoods, charge for on-street parking.
Recommended 1

This is the answer right here. Right now, valuable real estate is rented very cheaply or even given away. Charge market rates for on street parking and watch the parking “problem” evaporate.

spare_wheel
Guest
spare_wheel

IMO, street parking should be metered or require a purchased permit everywhere in PDX.

ME 2
Guest
ME 2

Great and timely editorial Jonathan. One of the reasons I sold my house in SE was all of the apartment dwellers nearby took up all of the on street parking in my hood.

I live near the NE Fremont commercial strip and currently there is a developer who wants to build a 4 story complex on NE Fremont and 44th. There is a lot of push back not just from area residents but from existing businesses. The developer has been pretty upfront that the project doesn’t pencil out if he has to build an underground parking structure, but I don’t think he should have it completely subsidized either. I wish there was an easy solution to make this fairer such as an additional fee for existing businesses or new proposed projects but I doubt that’s politically feasible in this current climate.

Chris I
Guest
Chris I

Would you move or sell a car if you had to pay for a residential parking permit? Would you move or sell your car if you had to pay and the system could guarantee that you would always find a spot?

Esther
Guest
Esther

I agree it is a huge problem, not just for parking-free complexes. My friends live right by 2121 Belmont, on the Morrison side. the building includes an underground parking garage, but there is a price to lease one of the spaces. The result? Morrison is totally parked up all the time there now between 25th and 20th (I tried to find parking once when I was picking them up to go skiing) and the city ADDED street parking on the cemetary side of the street.

Andrew K
Guest
Andrew K

I know the building you are talking about as I have a friend who lives there too.

This is a perfect example where the city should require a parking permit to leave your car on the street for more than say, two hours or risk a ticket. For someone in your situation where you were just trying to pick someone up to go skiing there would be no cost, but if you live there you need to pay up for the space you are using, either on the street or in the garage provided by the building owner.

Craig Harlow
Guest
Craig Harlow

How about Smart Meters for which the first 15 minutes are free? Goes along with the congestion pricing model.

Spiffy
Guest

it’s working… people are inconvenienced so they’ll find another way other than driving a car… it will just take them a while to learn, and yes we’ll have to listen to them whine during their learning curve…

Cliff B
Guest
Cliff B

Can I get a parklet in front of my house? There is no meter, so it should only be the supplies and permit fee. $1000 for a new patio in front of my house would be great.

CPAC
Guest
CPAC

It took me a while to figure out exactly what you’re advocating with this article, which seems to be: short term auto-storage solutions. And why? Because the parking-crunch makes drivers frustrated and thus more likely to oppose biking and transit projects.

But it’s frustration with driving and parking that ultimately causes people to abandon their cars. Putting off that frustration for a few years with short term auto-storage solutions doesn’t move us closer to getting the transit and cycling infrastructure we need.

I lived in New York for most of the last decade. Most people don’t own cars because it’s incredibly inconvenient (not to mention expensive) to have one: you can just take a cab, subway, or walk faster than you can get to your garage, drive, find parking, and walk to your destination. Moreover, you can rent a car any time you please for far less than it would cost to pay for a car, car insurance, and parking each month.

Portland isn’t New York. We have much less of a parking crunch. But frustrating drivers is a key step along the way to getting fewer of them.

Adams Carroll (News Intern)
Guest

CPAC,

You don’t have my perspective exactly right. To me, it’s not about people who have cars getting more frustrated at lack of parking and therefore more likely to oppose biking and transit projects. I didn’t write that at all and I’m sorry if the piece was unclear.

I’m saying that we have to acknowledge the reality that people have cars and need a place to store them (not a free place of course, just a place!). When they store those cars on surface streets, that parking demand/volume then negatively impacts the bicycling experience and it impacts the politics around some projects.

I’m all for making use of a car more frustrating! If only owning/using a car was anywhere near as frustrating or dangerous as my experience bicycling around the city… we’d live in a much different place!

CPAC
Guest
CPAC

Thank you for the clarification, though I’m still not sure I follow your line of thought:

People have cars (ok)
People have few places to put cars (ok)
We need more places for people to put their cars (why?)
Because we aren’t “there yet” with transit and biking infrastructure.

Is that about right? If so, how do we know when we are ready to stop adding (or even star eliminating) parking? I guess I’m just skeptical that we will *ever* be “there.”

If there were a concrete reason for making parking more plentiful in the short term, I could be convinced. (For example, if the streetcar were going to open in a year and we needed more temporary spots for that year; or if we need to placate drivers leading up to an election year in order to get a bike-friendly politician elected, ok.) But without some sort of concrete and extremely practical reason for adding parking, I think all it will do is prolong the problem.

Adams Carroll (News Intern)
Guest

CPAC,

yeah that’s about right. I’m not saying I have this all figured out in my head quite yet.

And I do think there’s a concrete reason to consider making parking more plentiful in this context… Because in the short term there isn’t enough. Does that mean I think we should give away a bunch of parking for free or litter our n’hoods with surface lots? no. Absolutely not. I’m just saying let’s be realistic and not put our heads in the sand. Fact remains that people have cars and that it could still be a few years before we see major swaths of the population live without them. In the meantime, we need to charge more to park/own them, improve biking/transit, and also perhaps consider putting pressure on developers to come up with more creative ways to store these cars… Like underground elevators, rooftops, or something… And whatever the method of storing the cars, make it easy to change the use to something else (like bike parking or parks or something) as auto use wanes.

CPAC
Guest
CPAC

I think we have a chicken-and-the-egg problem here.

You want a short term solution until the demand for parking goes down (as people switch to other modes).

I say that demand *wont* go down unless and until parking becomes even more scarce than it already is.

Again, it’s not that people in New York are just enlightened and somehow choose to live car free. It’s that it’s so expensive and inconvenient to own a car in New York that most end up not doing so. If we want fewer people to drive here, we need to make it *more* inconvenient/expensive/annoying to own one, not less.

Spiffy
Guest

this response was easier to understand and more to the point than the article…

MossHops
Guest
MossHops

I think I agree with Jonathan on this. Specifically, its ok to build developments that make driving harder by restricting parking, if the city does its part to make public transportation and biking easier. My fear is that the city won’t move as quickly as they ought to build out alternative means of transport.

I live 5 blocks from Division which is ground zero in this fight and I’d be far more excited about the parking issue if there were plans for street car to run through the neighborhood.

Phil Kulak
Guest
Phil Kulak

The problem is that on-street parking is free. If you want to not require parking for new construction, you need to charge for parking on public streets, or yes, people are just going to take the lower rent and own a car anyway.

are
Guest

it is already illegal to leave a car parked in one place for more than 24 hours
http://www.portlandonline.com/auditor/index.cfm?&a=16049&c=28591
if you do it twice you can be towed
http://www.portlandonline.com/auditor/index.cfm?&a=16050&c=28591
i think everyone knows this is not enforced, but if people overwhelm a neighborhood with parked cars, you can imagine there will be some citizen initiated citations.

Spiffy
Guest

citizen citations only work for ORS code, not PDX, and you have to see the person, you can’t just cite a car…

OnTheRoad
Guest
OnTheRoad

I have had quick response from the Abandoned Auto hotline. You call them about autos that have been parked without being moved (I usually don’t call until they’ve been parked for a week or more) and the city comes out and tags it usually within a couple days. They give the owner some few days to move it. If it is still there on the second inspection, they tow it.

was carless
Guest
was carless

Really? I remember seeing cars parked near NE Alberta that had blackberries growing through the rusted-out hood! They had been parked on the street for over 10 years!

OnTheRoad
Guest
OnTheRoad

Apparently nobody felt the need to call them in as abandoned. It is primarily a complaint-driven system.

Kiel Johnson (Go By Bike)
Guest
Kiel Johnson

I think our transit and bike lanes are a lot better than New York City and they don’t mandate parking for development. When I pass those new developments in inner SE (near the new streetcar) I think, “this is great here will be 200 new alternative transportation advocates”

MossHops
Guest
MossHops

Bikes infrastructure is probably better here, hard to argue that our public transport is better than places like NY or Chicago. In Chicago, not having a car is fine because most every block is 10 blocks from the el.

Portland needs to change behavior with carrots and sticks. I see the stick in making parking harder, but there need to be more carrots.

D_G
Guest
D_G

I think our transit has a ways to go before it can be considered transportation. I think it is pretty good for commuting, but the way the fares work, rules about taking a pet along or a small cart, make the MAX or bus really only useful for a commute. A trip to the grocery store, IKEA, downtown with my family (including the dog) is still always in the car. For me, my commute by bike could not be replaced in terms of cost/convenience. For getting around with a family, we walk/bike some, take the MAX a couple of times a year and drive the remainder. We could give up our 1 car (rely on Zipcar for trips) if we could get around with our dog on transit.

Chris I
Guest
Chris I

So we add demand-based meter parking and use the money to fund Trimet? Seems like a good idea…

Olive828
Guest
Olive828

Agree completely, though I don’t have kids… the dog is a problem if I want to bring her to a friend’s house… especially places I normally would bike… if the bus let dogs on we’d be on track!

SIDE NOTE:
I think a crucial part of pay-for-park street parking would be some sort of visitor pass for residents. 2-hour time limits in a residential neighborhood are pretty cruddy if someone wants to come over from SW to NE with their infant, and, say watch football on Sunday and have a dinner party. Very rarely do I have a visitor for less than 2 hours!! So I’d be glad to pay a market rate (love the tiered pricing based on smart-park demand) for street parking, as part of my property taxes or a-la-carte or whatever, but with that I’d like the option to get a (few) long-term visitor permit. That said, I’d definitely sell one of our family cars if we had to pay for street parking.

Sarah H
Guest
Sarah H

As someone who has been car-free for over a decade and is looking to move to Portland, this stance you’re taking makes me sad. Is Portland really not ready for me? Will I suffer too much from not owning a car if I move there? Should I stay away? These are all things that go through my mind when I see the resistance to creating housing specifically designed for people like me.

Housing that does not come with expensive unneeded parking will *attract* the people Portland is looking for, who will help move Portland into its new car-light future. I don’t want to move into a place with an HOA fee for a parking space I will never use.

The pressure has to come from both sides or progress will be very slow and ultimately limited. I have personally known people who have moved to San Francisco (where I now live) without a car, and because they happened to land in an apartment that came with parking, they said “well maybe we should get a car! since we have somewhere to put it.” If you want a city full of cars, provide a lot of “free” (i.e. subsidized) parking. If you don’t, don’t. It’s really that simple, from my point of view.

Andrew K
Guest
Andrew K

Sarah

I think this thread is at least in a small way proof that Portland is very much for you. We’re just having a conversation here, and a very civil one at that while we throw some ideas around.

If you pick your neighborhood wisely living a car free life-style in this town is easy. I admit I own a car, but I use it only for the times I want to go on a hike far outside the city. If the car wasn’t totally paid off I probably wouldn’t bother with it and would instead use Zip Car for those rare occasions or something similar.

But anyway, don’t be surprised if you hear conversations like this if you decide to move here. We like talking about bikes, transportation, walking, and urban transformation over a good beer and yummy food. It’s one of our favorite things to do!

Rol
Guest
Rol

This is simple: the shortage of parking is supposed to be a stick. Better bike facilities would be a better carrot. Both can work. But the stick only works if you have the will to use it, and the carrot only works if people know about it. Though this analogy still doesn’t account for people’s dullardly unimaginative tolerance for sticks.

Anyway, compromising bike lanes in favor of parking amounts to making the carrot smaller in order to make the stick smaller. Hmmm, it’s almost as if there’s someone out there who doesn’t share the same goal toward which the carrot and stick are leading. Who could it be? I believe that someone is called AMERICA.

Sarah H
Guest
Sarah H

It seems to me the answer is not to stop building these parking-less developments, as they are exactly the future we need to be aiming for. They are a no-regrets move in the long term. As others have suggested, the answer has to be in the structuring of the parking permitting and pricing in the neighborhood to take these new developments into account. To help guarantee that actual car-free people are moving into these new developments, make street parking permits for people living *at that address* very very expensive. This way, people who were already living in the neighborhood will not be as adversely impacted, and people with cars will think twice about moving into this new development.

Obviously alternative transport has to be built out in parallel, and it seems that Portland is on the right track in this regard. If you deter car-free people from moving there (by covering your city in parking lots and compelling developers to include parking in their plans, making the housing more expensive), you are needlessly repelling mass transportation, pedestrian, and bicycle advocates from the area.

When I see these articles about new car-free developments in Portland, I immediately want to know where they are, so I can consider them as a possible future home (and, oddly, it’s often hard to get to these details from these articles), and I immediately suspect that the surrounding neighborhood will be a future car-free-friendly neighborhood if it’s not car-free friendly already. I really don’t think I’m alone in this.

Terry D
Guest
Terry D

The city should require permits for on street parking if there are curb to curb built streets. The permits should be priced by demand in the neighborhood. Residents without driveways should be given first priority, but there should be maximums per household. Greenways narrower than a certain width should only have parking on one side of the street. At the same time in the areas where full streets are built require the streets to be emptied completely at street sweeping times, like San Francisco does. Anyone who does not move their car would be towed, but sweeping would occur at posted regular intervals. This would also solve the debris build up and gravel problems we have since the roads would be better swept while getting rid of the clunkers and other forgotten about vehicles.

Retail corridors throughout the city should have their parking metered with the neighboring residential areas having enforced time limits/permits for residents only.

Apartments buildings that do not have auto parking should not be completely left off the hook. They should require bike parking and work room facilities PLUS pay a special development charge that would go into a pool to build more neighborhood greenways, bike lanes or other needed infrastructure. The permits should still be low enough to make not building auto parking still more attractive but still be able to pump some significant money into bike friendly facilities from the private sector. Good examples are several new apartment building popping up around the future “20’s” Greenway/Bikeway the city has been promising us for years. Have these developers put some money into a pool thus making building this connection that much cheaper and at the same time making the neighborhood easier to navigate by bike.

Welcome to the “eco-friendly” big city……

Happy to rent out my empty driveway
Guest
Happy to rent out my empty driveway

There IS enough parking. Many of the people complaining the loudest about parking pressure are people who live in single-family homes with driveways and garages. If people actually stored their cars in the car-storage space that comes with their house, it would remove a lot of cars from the street. So I agree that charging for on-street parking to incentivize more efficient use of our existing (and plentiful) parking makes more sense than continuing to build more capacity. We’re supposed to be doing more with less these days, right? Let’s use a capitalist, market-based approach to be more efficient about using what we have.

Chris I
Guest
Chris I

That’s a good point. If you were to add metered parking in a residential area, I think you would see a lot of garage sales the weekend before they go in…

Evan Manvel
Guest
Evan Manvel

There’s a company that facilitates renting out empty parking spaces, similar to AirBnB. Not yet in Portland.
http://www.parkatmyhouse.com/us/parking/boston/

More about it:
http://bucks.blogs.nytimes.com/2012/01/18/a-matchmaker-for-drivers-and-parking-spaces/

This company may be trying to figure it out:
http://portland.parkingspotter.com/

It makes a lot of sense. We have something like six parking spaces for every car in America, and that’s ridiculous, and happening, as the previous commenters have pointed out, because car parking is way too often underpriced and bundled rather than having a marginal cost.

San Diego had ten parking spots for every car in 2006. Not sure about Portland.
http://www.kpbs.org/news/2012/feb/03/san-diego-looks-place-park-all-cars/

El Biciclero
Guest
El Biciclero

This is one of my pet peeves: folks in my neighborhood with 3+ cars, one or two in the driveway, one or two quasi-permanently in the street…and a garage full of junk. Or shop equipment. Or a rock band. Etc. I’ll admit I have two cars, but one is in the driveway and the other is in the…wait for it…garage. The other half of the garage is full of junk and bikes, but I really try to keep my cars out of the street unless I’m driving somewhere.

Of course, there are always the temporary visitors that come over and need to park somewhere, or the times I get bark dust or something delivered in my driveway and have to park a car temporarily down the street (I figure my car is more visible at night than a pile of bark dust…). Not sure how to sort out temporary visitor parking from resident permanent storage, but I would love some incentive for folks in residential areas to keep their cars on their own property.

Nate
Guest
Nate

I’ve seen a few interesting ideas:
– Pay to park a car everywhere! This should be done with EZPass type technology where demand-set pricing means parking in un-congested areas is free, while hotly contested areas is expensive.
– Have a few parking spots for new development. These cost extra to ‘lease’ for residents, or workers in commercial spaces. As fewer people are interested in leasing their own, they transition to carshare and/or bike parking. A 10-spot lot under a 20-unit building would be easy to fill, and easy to retrofit down the road if it goes unused. Carshare has gone largely unmentioned here, but it can play a critical role in making “carfree” a feasible option for many more people.
– No complaining when the “free” onstreet parking in your neighborhood gets used up. Is your car parked in your driveway? (Many residents in my neighborhood don’t use their driveways, meaning on-street parking can still be difficult.) Get a 2-car garage if you insist on having 2 cars and parking for them!

Having lived [nearly] carfree for over a year now, I’ve watched as more and more Washintonians park in my N.PDX neighborhood to take the MAX to downtown. How would their behavior change if that was metered parking? (To say nothing of running the light rail over CRC/new interstate boondoggle?)

Final thought, brought on by this review of “The Great Inversion and the Future of the American City” http://www.nytimes.com/2012/08/12/books/review/the-great-inversion-and-the-future-of-the-american-city.html?_r=1
It seems that increasing density raises prices in ways that may disproportionately affect low-income folks: causes them to move further out, likely to become more auto-dependent, and bring on a further drain due to the host of related health/other issues.

Phew.

Skis
Guest
Skis

The parking situation impacts people on bikes. Look at Division. I see more and more cars using Clinton for parking and/or circling around to look for parking. A low traffic road is being used in a way that it wasn’t intended for and this is only going to lead to conflicts. Not sure what the solution is, but that is the reality and with a lot more apartments with first floor retail coming on line soon it is only going to get worse.

Randall S.
Guest
Randall S.

Maybe I’m just too new-fashioned, but I’m still not completely clear on the concept of why it’s okay to use public property for storage of private property.

Paul
Guest
Paul

If Portland charged for street parking everywhere, I’m willing to bet a lot of cars would be sold. I agree with Sarah H that if there’s a free parking spot folks are more likely to have a car. Hell, I even thought about it. I’ve been car-free for about 5 years and there are plenty of days where I think it would be nice to drive this trip instead of riding a bike in a much longer zig-zag and roundabout way instead of a straight shot with a car because it’s too dangerous on a bike. Or waiting 10-15 minutes for a bus with a 10-15 minute transfer wait. If people are really going go the car-free or car-light way, transit and bikes must be the more convenient way, not the other way around. If driving a car from one neighborhood to another meant going a roundabout route instead of straight as an arrow, and parking was charged based on demand, then yeah, we might have a chance. Buses and trains might then start running every 4 minutes and you’d be able to bike the length of Hawthorne or any other business street without any stress.

Point: Everything we humans do is related to convenience. Require people operating large machinery to go the less direct way and they will make different transportation choices.

El Biciclero
Guest
El Biciclero

I could only click the Recommended icon once, but +50 on routing and convenience of auto alternatives.

Tony
Guest
Tony

Permit parking is the way to go. Unfortunately, the only residential permit zones allowed by PBOT are for areas impacted by 25% or more “commuter” traffic, that is, people who drive to the area to walk or take the bus to another area.

We need more flexible permitting options. Let people pay to store their cars and let the neighborhood manage that money for street repairs, sidewalks, etc.

resopmok
Guest
resopmok

Making parking metered everywhere in town doesn’t make sense, especially in my neighborhood (mt scott/arletta) where the economic impact would be disproportionate to income and property value. Furthermore, property owners have good reason from time to time for needing access to on street parking. For example, if it’s necessary to tear up and replace a driveway it’s unlikely they’ll want to park their vehicle in their raised garden beds. It also seems unfair to charge them an hourly fee during such a project when they are trying to improve their property – which ultimately comes back to the city in the form of higher property tax as well.

It’s a trade-off of lifestyle that has perhaps gone misunderstood in this city. The closer to the city’s core that you live, the more dense housing becomes and there is less need to drive, as most everything you need will be within walking distance anyway. The farther out you live, wheeled transportation becomes necessary so that a whole day alone is not needed just to make a trip to the grocery store.

Perhaps the best solution is simply to allow those who pay property taxes to attain a permit for one or maybe two vehicles (and charge for the second) to be parked overnight in the street in their zone. In densely populated areas, put meters on the streets. And Seattle’s no-corner-parking law is just a no-brainer to ensure line of sight and turning radius for larger vehicles.

JRB
Guest
JRB

As someone who has lived in cities with much worse parking problems, i.e. Philadelphia and DC, I just can’t sympathize with what Jonathan is saying. We have two vehicles, a station wagon and a pickup, both paid off years ago. We used to drive them much more, but now we’re down to about 4,000 miles per year on the wagon and 2,000 on the pick up. The wagon is indispensable to my wife’s business and we park it our driveway in NE. The truck we keep for the occasional times I need to haul stuff to that you need a truck for or get to a trailhead without losing an oil pan or muffler. We park it on the street.

If parking ever truly becomes an issue in Portland, I’m in favor of the pricing schemes many posters are advocating. For people who truly need a vehicle for a business or other purpose as we do, we’ll pay the price whether that’s for a street permit or the extra for a house with off street parking. For the truck, which is optional, we would weigh the pros and cons against the alternatives like car share. A street parking permit may be the con that would tip us over into a car share, but as somebody earlier posted, since my truck is paid off and requires hardly any maintenance or insurance, I’ll hang on to it.

wsbob
Guest
wsbob

I think it’s probably true that most of the people owning and parking cars on the street aren’t particularly wealthy. Wealthy people can afford houses and condos with garages, and valet parking when they drive to town.

Poor and not so wealthy people that aren’t located near light rail, trolley and bus lines that can provide them with practical alternative transportation to cars, and/or for whom walking or biking isn’t a practical alternative to driving…are the majority of people needing cars and places to park them, on-street or otherwise.

Sure…charge them for on-street parking in their neighborhoods, and more where they’re already being charged for it, and they’ll pay it because, this not being NYC with its highly developed mass transit system and for those that can afford it, the traditional practice of traveling around by cab…they really have no practical alternative.

Lenny Anderson
Guest
Lenny Anderson

Some random thoughts on parking in Portland:
*I lived in SF in the 70’s (rode a bike, took the Muni and owned a BMW), and when we moved to NW PDX in the 80’s I had to laugh when folks complained of a parking problem here. No way. Just no way!
*We were in Frankfurt a Main a lot in those years, a dense European city, and one night at a party I overheard someone ask a friend if she drove over. She answered, “Oh no, I came by streetcar as I found a really good parking spot near by place for my car and don’t want to lose it!” Hmmmm.
*Surface parking is the ugliest, poorest use of urban land, and Portland is blighted with acres of parking lots downtown, in vital industrial/employement areas like Swan Island, in the Lloyd District. All over. Put that land to higher use for housing, commerce, production.
*Portlanders seem to believe they “own” their curbside parking…not true, its public right of way, and we should charge for its use as demand grows.
Use the proceeds to fund better bike facilities and transition to a fareless TriMet.
*The project on NE Fremont & 44th is two blocks from a frequent service bus, the 75, that gets you to Hollywood MAX and three lightrail lines in 5 minutes. We need affordable housing and retailers on Fremont need customers who will spend their “no car bonus” locally.

paul
Guest
paul

The percentage of citizens who own a car is easily found rather than made up by anecdotes about your friends. Portland isn’t even in the top 50: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_U.S._cities_with_most_households_without_a_car. We are just below Seattle, at 16.10%.

There are a few cities on that list that fit the description of making parking very expensive, but there is a much larger set that are simply poor.

This discussion about on-street parking misses one glaring fact: 64% of the housing stock in Portland consists of single-family homes (http://verylocaldata.com/cities/OR/portland). The vast majority of these are not located in the Hawthorne or Clinton neighborhoods; e.g. the have driveways.

MossHops, D_G, Nate have it right. Banning or making on-street parking very expensive is only going to penalize those who live in residences without off street parking or live in apartment complexes. Guess who’ll pay the price?

Hike the gas tax,funnel the money to public transportation, stop building wasteful max trains to the suburbs and restore frequent bus service. Then you can start to talk about moving people out of their cars. Until then, it’s just a pipe dream of young upwardly mobile cyclists who live in close in neighborhoods.

wsbob
Guest
wsbob

“The percentage of citizens who own a car is easily found rather than made up by anecdotes about your friends. Portland isn’t even in the top 50: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_U.S._cities_with_most_households_without_a_car. We are just below Seattle, at 16.10%. …” paul

The stats in the wiki article tells not of the percentage of citizens owning a car…but instead, of the number of households that don’t have a car. Didn’t see the 16.10% figure you cited for Portland, but assuming it’s approximately accurate, that would suggest that 84 percent of Portland households have a car. That’s a lot of cars, an unknown number of which inevitably will be parked on the street at various times for some reason or another.

That a need to have cars and park them on the street exists is symptomatic of how urban and suburban land planning in the U.S. has been awry for so long. Even people that don’t need cars to get to and from work may tend to have them simply because walking and biking in their neighborhood or slightly beyond is impractical or lousy. If the private motor vehicle ride is more comfortable and enjoyable than a walk down the sidewalk along a busy, noisy street, people will, if they can somehow afford it, drive.

9watts
Guest
9watts

“Even people that don’t need cars to get to and from work may tend to have them simply because walking and biking in their neighborhood or slightly beyond is impractical or lousy.”

I don’t think all that many people make decisions about whether to own a car based on the practicality of the alternatives. I think they own a car just like folks grab a beer from the fridge. It is a reflexive thing, done without all the contemplation and calculation some folks here attribute to it.

Besides, many of the reasons why walking or biking may be impractical or lousy (if we stop and think about it) is that so many people have cars….

MossHops
Guest
MossHops

I see it as a “both/and” thing. Some drive because they have to, many more drive out of habit. We have to figure out policies that make driving a requirement for far fewer people, and less of a habit for many more.

9watts
Guest
9watts

“We have to figure out policies that make driving a requirement for far fewer people, and less of a habit for many more.”

Agreed. But I’d note that many who have convinced themselves that driving is a requirement say & believe this in part because they have no experience substituting a bicycle for those trips, and perhaps their peers all drive reflexively too. Put another way the distinction between requirement and habit may not be so clear cut.

wsbob
Guest
wsbob

“…I don’t think all that many people make decisions about whether to own a car based on the practicality of the alternatives. I think they own a car just like folks grab a beer from the fridge. It is a reflexive thing, done without all the contemplation and calculation some folks here attribute to it. …” 9watts

That’s mighty expensive beer to be grabbing reflexively without contemplation and calculation. Beer doesn’t get a person to the grocery store in the safety, comfort and shelter of a car during the extremes of weather conditions. Except in peak commute hour periods, travel in a car is a time saver over walking and biking.

For many, many people, a two mile round trip is a long distance to walk, and it takes a fair bit of time…40 minutes or more vs 20 minutes or less by motor vehicle. Depending on street and traffic conditions, travel by bike could match motor vehicle travel time for people able to make that mode of travel work for the what they have to accomplish.

It’s true that the walking-biking experience for practical, day to day tasks wouldn’t be as lousy as it often is, if fewer people used motor vehicles for travel. Land planning over past decades has created conditions that essentially oblige people to travel by motor vehicle. That planning has set a human activity pattern that’s very hard to break.

HAL9000
Guest
HAL9000
Joe Rowe
Guest
Joe Rowe

Jonathan noted the complaints used to sell more parking.

Chris nailed the root cause here: “under priced parking”.

America builds quick fixes because people who assume leadership have a blindness to the root causes and dialog is controlled.

The same line of logic is used to add more lanes to a freeway. Problem is…. more lanes and more parking never works. Never.

The end of free and cheap parking will solve the problems noted here.

We need a long list of things being done in other cities to address the reality of our transit and parking problems. We need to force people living in many neighborhoods to buy permits to park in their neighborhood. No permit = no parking and circling on quiet streets.

What if curb parking is all full on busy streets like Williams? Raise the meter price and shorten the time.

We need more parking officers. The tickets they write pay for their salary and increase safety. We need more spots with a 15 minute paid limit for everyone. We need more areas with metered curb parking. Portland is getting very dense and we’re beyond gentrification. That means high and low income people should pay to park. There are ways to reduce hardships on low income car owners as we phase in these improvements.

The reality of $4 gas is forever here.

No more free parking folks.

MossHops
Guest
MossHops

“The same line of logic is used to add more lanes to a freeway. Problem is…. more lanes and more parking never works. Never.”

I don’t think it’s necessarily wise for Portland to add parking or require parking for new developments. However, San Francisco is very instructive case on how not to do this. San Francisco has lots of meters. San Francisco also has permitting required for many neighborhoods. Furthermore, the value per parking space is probably about 10x what is is in Portland (if you judge by parking garage prices). However, for many years (at least through 2007, when I left that city), parking was an absolute nightmare.

The big problem for San Francisco is that through parking scarcity, driving was a challenge, however for many in the city, there are no other viable options (bike infrastructure at that time was poor, public transport is ok, but not great). By limiting the available spaces, San Francisco became a much less livable city. It didn’t drive people to other options, because the other options weren’t viable, and that is the crux of the issue.

Charging for parking, or making parking more scarce is a viable way to make our community less dependent on cars if (and only if) we provide meaningful alternatives for more of it’s citizens. Our bike infrastructure is good, but has stalled out. Our transportation infrastructure is getting better, but is no where near where it needs to be. We can change behavior by making parking scarce, only if there is a true alternative for those ready to give up the automobile. I find that I am blessed because I can bike or walk to so many places in this city, but that statement is probably not true for a majority of our residents.

Joe Rowe
Guest
Joe Rowe

Let’s look at details.

1) What metric did you use to label and judge SF as not as livable?

2) Mr. Maus points out a problem. He suggests more parking would prevent the unsafe condition of people parking to the very edge of an intersection. I solved that exact problem without adding parking. I made 2 years of photos and calls to the parking violation hotline. I also called lawyers of victims on Foster who had city staff blaming the victims. That same staff had sent me email with the same blame game. Rather than paint the curbs and write tickets the city staff sent me documents about the duty of a pedestrian in crossing duties. When the illegal parking got worse tri-met busses were blocked for 25 minutes and could not make the turn. School truck drivers used no parking zones and claimed their supervisors suggested it. Lo and behold the city painted the curbs in a very unsafe spot. Lo and behold there is no need to write tickets because people obey the paint and no parking poles when used in tandem. Paint the curb, most of the problem solved.

3) Mr. Maus points out that adding parking would solve the problem of people circling a quiet bikeway in search of a parking spot. This could be so easily solved without parking. Any quiet street or bikeway located near a busy commercial street would simply need a) meters and limits on long term parking on the busy street b) zone parking stickers needed to park on the quiet street c) staff to write tickets and make some sweet revenue. The problem noted by Ester would not exist if we had some leadership and vision.

The details are worth a longer debate.

MossHops
Guest
MossHops

1. My proof point on SF is not very general nor scientific, as it’s born out of my personal experience. I lived in SF for 7 years and had a job that required a car. Every night coming home, there was a distinct possibility that I would be trolling for a parking spot for 30 minutes or more. This problem was surmountable until I had my son, then it was absolutely unacceptable and so we moved to Portland. Now we are “car-lite” and I bike to work most days and bike with the kids on most of our errands.

San Francisco is a city I absolutely love. However, there is a a problem with regards to livability. This is especially true for families and is probably why San Francisco has one of the lowest percentages of children in households in the US.

Paying for parking is equivalent to a flat tax which is something I am philosophically opposed to. Some people (and this seems to affect low and middle class blue collar families more often) still need to drive to work as they either need to use their car at work, or they need to drive to places to far to reach by bike and unreachable by public transport. By charging for street parking, you wouldn’t be hurting the rich (who probably would view it as a mere nuisance) but rather hurting those who would see these fees as a real burden. I don’t think that parking fees are the most equitable solution.

Joe Rowe
Guest
Joe Rowe

Ok. Well I lived in SF and was car lite there. When there were no spots for parking I did not need to hover and circle in my car for 30min. I would just drive to nearyby neighborhoods with plenty of parking (2 min) and then walk to my apartment (8 min).

So you are saying that because of this SF is less livable? And you’re using your life experience in SF to justify Portland adding more parking rather than follow best practices in other cities?

Seriously, the details here are many, and very important.

MossHops
Guest
MossHops

Joe, my second line on the post that you responded to states:

“I don’t think it’s necessarily wise for Portland to add parking or require parking for new developments.”

I’m not advocating for required parking. What I am saying is that there are plenty of places in San Francisco where parking is restricted, yet people are not moving to other forms of transport as many believe will magically happen here in Portland. It is fine to make parking more scarce, as long as we accelerate the development of other forms of transportation so that people have truly viable alternatives.

Second, that is great that you had the ability to be car-lite in San Francisco. But the difference between your experience and mine is instructive. Just because you could be car-lite in SF doesn’t mean that everyone could be. Furthermore, just because we both can be car-lite in Portland doesn’t mean that everyone can be. Talking about parking issues on BikePortland is a bit frustrating because there is a distinct lack of empathy for others who can not pursue our lifestyle.

In the end, our transportation options in Portland are not good enough. Both public transport and biking need to get better. To charge for parking permits throughout the city at this point means that we are punishing drivers, but for many, we are not yet giving them a true viable alternative.

9watts
Guest
9watts

“… just because we both can be car-lite in Portland doesn’t mean that everyone can be. … a distinct lack of empathy for others who can not pursue our lifestyle.”

MossHops,
while I hear what you are saying, and it is a familiar refrain. But I don’t think we know enough to say all that. Most people who drive can list dozens of reasons, not the least of which is that this is America: everybody drives, bla bla bla. But with time and some focused attention most of them could phase out their reliance on a car. Will it take time to learn new patterns, figure out how to equip one’s family with a serviceable suite of bikes and accessories, develop a different set of priorities? Sure. Will this happen overnight? Of course not.

“In the end, our transportation options in Portland are not good enough. Both public transport and biking need to get better.”

But this is a dynamic problem. In our flawed system, asking for all this (what have been called carrots here) without also discouraging car ownership (the sticks) is crying for the moon. Our flawed system actually does work for lots of carfree households (how well or poorly would be worth investigating, but I’ve not gotten much traction trying to motivate that). Now is a perfect time (in my opinion) to crack down on the subsidies to car ownership, of which free parking is but one.

MossHops
Guest
MossHops

I definitively want both carrots and sticks. My concern with this thread is that there seems to be far more focus on the sticks.

Everyone has their own “tipping point” where they make the personal decision to park (or sell) the car and start to rely on other forms of transportation for their needs. We can’t dictate for others where this tipping point is, they have to decide for themselves.

If we look at Portland’s mode counts, it is clear that many feel that biking/public transport is too dangerous, too inconvenient or takes too much time. Many of those concerns are misperceptions and many are valid. We do have to do more too make cars less attractive, while making other modes more attractive so that we can move the tipping point for many towards alternative modes of transportation.

I understand and agree with you that many who think they can’t do without their car are misinformed, but I can’t change their minds for them nor can I force them out of their car. I can only make driving less attractive to them and make biking and public transport more so.

9watts
Guest
9watts

“If we look at Portland’s mode counts, it is clear that many feel that biking/public transport is too dangerous, too inconvenient or takes too much time.”

Mode count tells us all that? Really?

As I said above, I suspect (don’t know but imagine) that many people’s choice to keep driving has nothing whatsoever to do with any weighing of the practicalities of the well-known alternatives. They just always had a car and so did/do their peers and that is pretty much all there is to it. Social class, habit, inertia, you name it, there are plenty of ready explanations for why driving remains the norm, even in situations where it is patently ridiculous or could easily be jettisoned.

This is why I think it is time for sticks. Carrots will do nothing for the people I know who fit the above description. They are neither interested nor concerned because they’ve never given biking-as-transportation a second thought.

Alex Reed
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Alex Reed

Charging people for parking, which I bet costs the City millions to provide, is not adding a “stick.” It is taking away a “carrot” that we are currently giving people for behavior we would like to see less of.

9watts
Guest
9watts

“… driving was a challenge, however for many in the city, there are no other viable options (bike infrastructure at that time was poor, public transport is ok, but not great).”

I’d like to unbundle this term a bit. What do we mean when we say ‘getting around without a car isn’t viable.’ Who are we talking about? Have we asked those who engage in this unviable activity what they think?
I’d be in favor of eschewing the term altogether, because I think those who get rid of their car for the most part never look back. Of course many of our peers still think that is unviable. Ha.

HAL9000
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HAL9000

The great Portland bikeway system is atrocious.

Here’s an example: Have you ever biked to the airport from your house? Even studying Google Maps for half an hour, I don’t think I could remember the route from my house. Not to mention that it would take 3 times longer than driving. So now I just blew 3 hours biking to/from the airport (or more likely, IKEA for me) to pick up some shelves and a desk lamp.

Other parts of the Portland metro area are even more off-limits to ordinary people riding a bike from Portland: the West side, Lake Oswego, and don’t even get me started on Vancouver!

Joe Rowe
Guest
Joe Rowe

The airport is a weak link in the bike way. Because of one weak link our bikeway is atrocious? I disagree.

If you need to get to the airport and/or Ikea(TM) there are many multi mode options that are far better than even the best bike path. Carshare? Cab? Friend?

The topic here is regarding adding parking spaces so cyclists are safe. My point is that adding parking spaces will make cyclists less safe. The safety and transportation issues can be resolved without adding parking.

HAL9000
Guest
HAL9000

Yes. And the problem is that we focus our energy and time building infrastructure to move and store automobiles, instead of moving people. This is a fundamental flaw that has yet to be addressed anywhere in the nation!

jim
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jim

They should figure out how many cars are expected for each building, figure out how many street parking spots there are, and make them supply the balance of the parking spots on site. This would only be fair. The row houses that pop up often do not leave room for on street parking and no driveway, this means they have to park in front of the neighbors house. ……

Chris I
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Chris I

You don’t own the spots in front of your house. We all pay taxes, so we all have equal rights to street spots.

jim
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jim

I didn’t mean to infer that anybody would have the rights to those spots, I just wanted them to not add more cars than available spots. It’s not fair, kind of like when you buy an airline ticket for your vacation and you find out they sold more tickets than what the plane holds…

Alex Reed
Guest
Alex Reed

What about, instead of allowing zero-parking apartment/condo buildings, the City requires apartment developers and managers to unbundle housing units from parking spaces? Then you could rent/purchase a unit, but not a space. This would also help solve the existing problem of buildings without enough parking spaces – tenants/condo owners could rent spaces at nearby buildings.

I guess you would also have to start either charging or limiting parking on the street (with resident permits etc.) That’s a huge political lift but a must in order to solve our parking problem.

spencer
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spencer

The problem with your argument is that we are all happy to have more density, but when we get density, we’ll be left sharing the bike boulevards/ complete streets with people circling the block looking for parking. If we all just ban parking w/o charging for on street parking, the public ROW will only get more and more congested w/o increasing safety for road users. Ultimate density does NOT equal bike utopia without planning for a separate ROW

rwallis
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rwallis

This article and the comments that followed should be mandatory reading for transportation engineers and land use planners. I thank you Jonathan for sparking such excellent commentary. Not that it matters, but I agree with Jonathan!

Lance P.
Guest

I couldn’t disagree more. It took my family a long long time to find a place close in that has no auto parking. I want to live around other people that bike and walk. There is waaaaay more demand for carfree choices than available. Not only that. Have you seen the Multmomah census? You might be surprised by the % of carfree citizens. Your so called ‘Parking Problem” could be solved by adding parking meters. Just last year my neighborhood, 28th/Burnside, tried to convince the city to add parking meters. We convinced just around 55% of the neighbors to sign the petition. Unfortunately, the city ignored our request. I have read this blog for years but feel like I just either this was an co written paper or somebody just paid you off. Sad.

MossHops
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MossHops

“I have read this blog for years but feel like I just either this was an co written paper or somebody just paid you off. Sad.”

Seriously? I understand why some disagree with the piece, but you really want to jump all over BikePortland and yell “Sell Out!” as soon as they write something that you disagree with? What would biking be like in Portland without this site?

Furthermore, we, as a community of urban cyclists are fighting for our slice of the urban landscape on a daily basis. We are asking to be heard and respected even if the majority of motorists don’t agree with us. Given that, it’s rather appalling and ironic how little many commentators on BikePortland tolerate diversity of opinion among generally like-minded cyclist.

geneb
Guest
geneb

This is bigger than just parking…My problem is with the “planners” and the City trying to tell me how I should live my life and trying to force me to live a lifestyle that I don’t choose. Various social engineering attempts to force me to not own motor vehicles are but one example of this. You would not like if if I told you how to live your life, in detail, why should I like it when you try to tell me?

Embracing diversity means letting other folks do it there way. I have no interest in living in a place where we are all the same.

Alex Reed
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Alex Reed

I don’t like people telling me how to live my life either. But, I also don’t like people without cars (who tend to be poorer) subsidizing people with cars (who tend to be richer). In the status quo, where the City owns and maintains free parking for as many cars as anyone wants to have, people without cars are subsidizing people with cars. I have a car myself, which I keep parked on the street. I think it’s completely unfair that anyone except for me is involved in paying for my private vehicle storage. I think it’s especially unfair that the people who get a raw deal tend to be less well-off and privileged than I am.

El Biciclero
Guest
El Biciclero

Well, in a sense, “planners” and developers are telling folks how to live their lives transportation-wise by creating streets that are downright hostile to anyone not in a car. You want to get anywhere? Better use a car, or you are taking your life in your hands. How is coercing folks into cars–under a not-so-figurative threat of death or injury–that much different from “forcing” folks out of cars under threat of actually paying the true costs of owning and storing them?

Joe
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Joe

why create any limits or build any spaces? Unless parking generates revenue, don’t build any more ‘free’ parking. once its at capacity, it will price some out and encourage others to eschew it. problem solved.

tom
Guest
tom

The combination of climate change and sprawl are leading to global ecological collapse. Its easy to forget about or dismiss this because it is happening in slow motion compared to our lives but we absolutely have a responsibility to address it immediately. Cars must become much less common. No more easy parking spaces. We all must make sacrifices (even if that means congested streets for bikers) and we cannot wait. We certainly cannot politely wait for our city to become completely bike and pedestrian friendly while encouraging auto use in the transition. The upside is that a life without a car is actually more enjoyable, healthier and simpler. No more excuses.

Caleb
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Caleb

Let’s all fly a kite…up to the highest height. Done.

GlowBoy
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GlowBoy

My attitude about carrots and sticks is that I’m 100% in favor of making biking, walking and taking transit easier – MUCH easier – than they are today. I might also be convinced to support some things that make driving less easy. But only on a limited basis; I used to live in Seattle, which is all stick and no carrot, and I’ve watched that region’s livability gradually swirl down the toilet as a result. And I do NOT support making car ownership more difficult, because I see excess car use and not car ownership as the problem.

Realistically, some of us MUST own cars. In our case, my wife needs one for her 24×7 on-call job. And when she gets called in, I can’t get my child to school and then get myself to work on time without a second car. So even though I bike or take transit to work more often than I drive, leaving my car parked harmlessly in front of my house, suddenly I am the devil incarnate, stealing public resources for storage of my satanmobile?

Like many of the homeowners in our 100+ year old neighborhood (same as A.K.’s, though we’re a couple blocks far enough from the Aladdin to not be impacted on concert nights), we have a beautiful old house that does NOT have a garage or a driveway. Probably close to a third of us are in this situation.

We knew that not having off-street parking was a bit of a drawback when we bought our house, but our only concern with that would have been finding parking. Fortunately there’s plenty of extra space on our block and we almost always manage to park right in front. Never in our wildest dreams did we imagine that someone would cook up the idea of charging us for using this underutilized slice of The Commons.

What would a “market rate” be? $200/mo PER CAR is probably the going rate for garage space. We certainly can’t afford that, nor should we realistically have been expected to anticipate that when we bought the house. If we’d thought that was a real possibility (and really, it probably isn’t) we would of course have kept shopping. Start charging these “market rates” now, though, and you’d screw us double by destroying the value of our home and making it impossible to move somewhere with off-street parking. Same with a lot of my other neighbors. So I’ve got a dog in this fight, and fight is certainly what I would do.

I know we don’t own the street. We also don’t own the sidewalk portion of the public right-of-way, yet we still have to maintain it. I’m about to spend $2000 on minor sidewalk repairs the city is requiring. I sweep the leaves even though none of them come from my yard. And whenever it snows I’m always the first one out there, busting my butt to go shovel 160 linear feet of it (I live on a corner lot, so this can be a ton of work). I don’t complain about these legally mandated and sometimes burdensome responsibilities, because I currently view them as my duties as a citizen. But if a new, absolutist view of ROW ownership is to prevail and the city is going to start charging for on-street parking, then the city can also start paying to maintain its sidewalks.

Alex Reed
Guest
Alex Reed

I don’t think $200 per car every month is ever going to fly in non-downtown Portland. I’d think $20 per car monthly would be much closer to the mark to start. Would that be a huge burden on your family? If it would, it’s because you’re already close to the edge of your means – perhaps if the City were to institute such a fee they could create a fee waiver program for families in need.

For most families in Portland though, $20 or so a month per vehicle would be a completely affordable annoyance. It would be an awesome revenue source for the City and would pay for lots of improvements (possibly including taking sidewalk maintenance, repair, and clearing under the City’s wing – personally I think that would be completely proper).

Alex Reed
Guest
Alex Reed

In fact, this seems like a great opportunity for a revenue source to pave and add sidewalks to streets whose residents want such things done. Parking fees from those streets’ residents could be squirreled away to construct complete streets there once enough money was collected. Parking fees from other streets’ residents could go towards street maintenance, sidewalk clearing and repair, parks, and other public goods. Sounds like a visionary City leader could solve two big current problems with one fell swoop!

GlowBoy
Guest
GlowBoy

No, $20/mo would be affordable for us. In fact, that’s the figure I had in the back of my mind as what I would be willing to accept. It would still be a significant incentive for most families to avoid parking on the street if they don’t really need to — without being downright punitive like the idea of a true “market rate” being bandied about (with a downright punitive tone) here. My guess is it would free up quite a lot of space on the street.

I like the idea of using some of the proceeds to improve the substandard ROWs we have in many parts of town, and I would support that even though the improvements would not be in my neighborhood.

Portland (and many other cities) already have resident parking permit systems in some dense neighborhoods where parking is tight, and this could be used as a model for the whole city. Add the ability to have means-tested discounts for low-income people, and also a mechanism for non-residents who are only parking for a few days (overnight guests, contractors working on homes) to opt in on something like a day-by-day basis, and you could have something that might work. I might even support it.

The biggest question in my mind would whether enforcement costs would end up eating up all the revenue. Permit systems work today because they’re implemented in dense neighborhoods where the area of enforcement is relatively small. Could it be done across Portland’s entire street system, with thousands of miles to patrol? We might end up with a complaint-driven system like we have for so many other aspects of city regulation.

Alex Reed
Guest
Alex Reed

Agreed, I do worry whether enforcement costs would eat it all up. But I imagine some motivated and imaginative bureaucrats could think up a system that would work. Perhaps affordable monthly fees ($20 or less) combined with sizeable penalties for violations (maybe in the $500 range) combined with lots of signage and options for visitors (a large number of guest day-passes with scratch-out days – perhaps 60 or more – given out to each resident for free?). Then the Police bureau would recover their costs from enforcing egregious violations while what most people see as legitimate use would avoid penalties, hopefully without excessive hassle.

Terry D
Guest
Terry D

We also have a car, a house, a corner lot and 160 feet of sidewalk to maintain. The house was built in 1902. Since we bought the house we have spent close to $1800 on sidewalk replacement required by the city. I did not baulk since having fully built streets and sidewalks was priced into the cost of the house when I bought it….the same sized house in a neighborhood without these amenities would have been cheaper.

The house had an undercut into the basement one-car Model T sized garage with a tiny driveway large enough for a table and chairs. I did not care since at that time I was carless. I few years later I hooked up with my partner, he moved in and we compromised and changed his car to an older style diesel we could convert to B99. We parked it on the street because of course it was too big to fit in the tiny “garage”. Since we live about a half mile from a MAX stop we assumed that over time on-street parking would become more difficult and eventually would have to be permit only because of future growth. So, when we had the opportunity to build a driveway we did. It is in between the houses, is bricked so all the rain water is handled on site and the permit was only less than $300. It looks like it was always there. At the same time the “garage door” conversion permit, which was really just replacing a garage door with French doors, cost about the same. Now to get to the point….

We did this because we assumed that in the long run the city would grow enough that on street parking would become a problem, like it is in every dense American city. We saw a solution and took it. I did not EXPECT that on street parking would be available just because we lived on a complete street. That is publicly owned space, it is NOT our space. I assumed in 2003 that eventually on street parking would become either too inconvenient or expensive because this city is growing. I bought the house and lot, not the spaces around it. Luckily due to circumstances we had the resources to fix the “parking problem.” In your case it sounds like you live close enough to a future MAX stop that the same thing will happen to you. It is unavoidable in a city that is growing. The increase in property value you will get from living in a walkable neighborhood near a MAX stop will more than outweigh any negative impact you will receive because of permit only parking that will inevitably occur because of your location. The city is growing, residents have to adjust. If you do not want to move and you absolutely need parking long term then you will need to look into building your own spaces if you have room on your property.

Now on a side issue….why was a simple permit to change out a door the same price as the permit to build a WHOLE driveway? The first permit was about 25% the cost of the project and the permit for the driveway was closer to 5.5% (we did almost all the work ourselves for both projects). I found this ridiculous…the city should have charged significantly more for the driveway and less for the door change out since one of the main reasons we did it was for energy efficiency….

GlowBoy
Guest
GlowBoy

Good for you Terry D. Just because you took the initiative to prepare for 2050, though, doesn’t mean everyone else should have to, especially if they live in neighborhoods where parking is NOT tight. Our house, incidentally, was also built in 1902, but there are a couple of key differences.

1. Maybe parking is indeed tight where you are, but it isn’t where we are, and probably won’t be even 20 years from now (by which point we will have retired and sold the house anyway). We’re far enough from the new Rhine MAX station that we won’t be seeing radical changes. Unlike your assumption, our purchase decision certainly DID anticipate a steady increase in density as part of the city’s natural growth (even though the plans for the MAX line were not known at the time), and I welcome the idea of the city absorbing a very large part of our region’s future growth. But our neighborhood could absorb quite a bit more density without parking becoming terribly scarce. Our part of Brooklyn is not going to be packed with 4-6 story Euro style midrise housing anytime soon.

2. We don’t have the cheap, easy driveway option you did. Adding a garage would require excavating a large portion of our backyard (accessed from the side street) and building a new driveway across the sidewalk. This would, I’m sure, cost many tens of thousands of dollars and might also entail some tricky permitting issues.

As I said in another post, I’d gladly pay $20/mo/car for the privilege of parking on our lightly used street. It’s the idea of charging a so-called “market rate” (which could easily be 10x higher) that I object to.

Terry D
Guest
Terry D

If your street does have open parking spaces as the norm than $20 a month would probably be market rate. As long as commuters do not figure it out once the MAX stop opens (that can be dealt with by “residents only” parking restrictions). As far as the driveway permit goes, sounds like your back yard is almost exactly what we did…create a new curb cut-out around the corner. We did not build a garage, just the 11 foot wide driveway. As long as your “impervious surface ratio” on your property is ok and there are no severe slopes to deal with then the permit is not tricky at all and ridiculously cheap. We were lucky in that we just plowed our top soil into the back yard and it is now growing tomatoes. The driveway can butt up to the property line. Of course you have to replace the sidewalk since the cement depth has to be thicker for an apron than a normal sidewalk but that has no impact on the permit pricing. It is all about cost-benefits and how much it is worth it to you to have convenient access to your autos combined with losing that 500 square foot or so of green space on your property.

Joe Rowe
Guest
Joe Rowe

If you live close to the “Aladdin” theater and you’ve got no current problems then why argue for more parking or free parking? Permit neighborhoods are only for places with current parking problems.

If you live close to the Aladdin you may someday have parking issues, and on that day you’ll also have made a ton of equity in your home (100k) so you can afford a neighborhood permit at $200 per year. That’s a 99k profit.

GlowBoy
Guest
GlowBoy

I’m not arguing for more parking. And you’re right, I’ve got no current or anticipate problems finding a place to park; I’m responding to the threats on this thread of charging EVERYONE (even in neighborhoods that don’t have problems) “market rates” for parking on the public right of way.

9watts
Guest
9watts

I hear you, but I have a different interpretation of market rate:
“I’m responding to the threats on this thread of charging EVERYONE (even in neighborhoods that don’t have problems) “market rates” for parking on the public right of way.”

(a) If we only charge for parking in areas that have excess demand, the problem can be expected to spill over into areas that currently don’t experience this excess demand. Though I think this spillage won’t be a tidal wave either. I notice for instance that the church goers who flock to the new-to-our-neighborhood church clog the streets around the church on Sundays with their cars, but that effect drops sharply outside a radius of about 2.5 blocks.
(b) Market rates along Hawthorne on a summer weekend are not, I don’t think, going to be the same as market rates on your less trafficked block. That is at least how I understand the term.

Jake
Guest

love that there are so many opinions about this issue. the conversation needs to continue, hope the developers read bikePortland.org too.

Jeff Bernards
Guest
Jeff Bernards

A bigger issue than the car parking situation is where will we plant the “victory” gardens of the future, if ALL the land has high rises? It only solves the transportation issue not the food issue. I can miss the bus but I can’t miss too many meals.