The Worst Day of the Year Ride is February 11th

City’s parking study shows Portland’s low-car potential

Posted by on November 13th, 2012 at 11:29 am

Cover of BPS parking study.
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Last week, the City of Portland Bureau of Planning & Sustainability released their much-anticipated study (PDF) on the many new apartment buildings in Portland’s inner neighborhoods that have little or no on-site auto parking. Commissioned after neighborhood groups aired grievances about parking and other impacts to streets near the developments, the study offers actual data to explain what’s actually going on.

Back when this issue first came to light back in August, I penned an editorial urging the City to address the problem. Despite a forward-thinking Portland city code that doesn’t require builders to provide auto parking if they’re on a transit corridor, went my thinking, the fact remains that most people still own cars and need a place to put them. Turns out that there’s not as much of a “problem” as I thought.

The study found that 72% of residents surveyed (eight apartment buildings were analyzed) own at least one car. However, despite this rate of car ownership, the study found that there’s still plenty of on-street parking spaces available for them. An analysis of the on-street parking within two blocks of each building in the study showed that parking is “underutilized.”

But while the study pointed out that residents seem “reluctant” to give up their cars, a whopping 64% of them get to work by some other means than driving alone.

The top commute mode share numbers were:

1. Motor vehicle (single occupant) – 36 percent
2. Public transit – 23 percent
3. Bicycle – 20 percent
4. Walk – 9 percent

By comparison, City of Portland data shows that the citywide average for single-occupancy motor vehicle work trips is 59 percent. The bike mode share among residents in this study is also considerably higher than the Portland-wide average. (For non-work trips, the numbers change a bit, with 44% driving alone, 4% taking transit, 16% biking, and 20% walking.)

Here’s an excerpt from the study (emphasis mine):

“An important point to draw from these results is that 64 percent of residents are getting to work via a non-single-occupant vehicle. Almost a third (28 percent) of those surveyed belong to car-free households. This is notable higher than the 12 percent car-free average in Portland.”

That seems like a pretty big deal. Especially following a Metro travel survey released earlier this month that led The Oregonian to report that, “Despite significant investments in transit and bike systems, the overall number of trips taken in automobiles in the Portland metro area has barely decreased in the past two decades.”

The other thing that stood out for me in this study is that bike facilities and bicycling itself as a way to encourage even more people to give up their cars, was only given a passing mention. The report instead, focused mostly on how carsharing and better transit access could play a role in reducing car ownership rates.

As I maintained in my editorial on August 14th, if we actually offered residents better bikeways and higher quality bike parking many more of these apartment residents would be likely to sell their cars.

In their analysis of the eight buildings in the study, residents reported that half of them had poor bike parking facilities or lacked adequate bike parking capacity.

Even with the completion of this study, this issue isn’t likely to go away any time soon. Some neighborhood groups remain up-in-arms about the buildings, and now, Mayor-elect Charlie Hales’ call for moratorium on them has just been deemed legally “indefensible” by the City’s Chief Planner Joe Zehnder.

We desperately need to add density to our city, and adding more space for storage of automobiles is the wrong way to go. What’s happening with these apartments proves that with good neighborhood design and access to transit and biking, people will choose more sensible ways of getting around. We should encourage this even further by offering people high quality bike and transit access and considering some sort of pricing model for on-street car parking. We need the space and we need the money.

– Read more analysis of the study from Portland Afoot. A public forum on this issue is behind held at today’s Planning & Sustainability Commission Meeting from 12:30 to 3:30 at 1900 SW 4th Ave, Suite 2500A. You can also email comments directly to the commission at

NOTE: We love your comments and work hard to ensure they are productive, considerate, and welcoming of all perspectives. Disagreements are encouraged, but only if done with tact and respect. If you see a mean or inappropriate comment, please contact us and we'll take a look at it right away. Thank you — Jonathan

  • rain bike November 13, 2012 at 11:41 am

    You say, “We desperately need to add density to our city…”


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    • Jonathan Maus (Publisher/Editor) November 13, 2012 at 11:43 am

      Well, I just think transit, commerce, biking, socializing, and so on, all work much better with density. Put another way, cities need to be dense to reach their potential in my opinion. I am much more aware of this after spending nearly two weeks biking and walking around Manhattan and Brooklyn NYC.

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      • rain bike November 13, 2012 at 12:02 pm

        If you’re arguing that if a city doesn’t aspire to grow up to be just like New York City, then it just isn’t living up to it’s potential, I have to disagree. I like my elbow room, even if it does mean that I have to walk/bike/bus a bit further to buy groceries or meet friends at the pub.

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        • Jonathan Maus (Publisher/Editor) November 13, 2012 at 12:07 pm

          That’s not exactly what I’m saying. NYC and potential aside. I think we need to be more dense… and I don’t think that means we can have more elbow room. I like the idea of living in a housing tower and then walking downstairs to a large public plaza and riding my bike on a wide, bike-only avenue to a large park. It’s about using space more efficiently… and we have many architects, planners, and designers that have figured out how to do density right.

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          • Zach November 13, 2012 at 12:37 pm

            I like the idea of inviting my friends over and sit around a campfire with them in my backyard, eating food I grew in my garden, and drinking moonshine I distilled in my garage with a still I built in my basement.

            And I like the idea of being able to do that without moving to the suburbs. It’s good to have more density, but Portland will lose its soul if we substantially eat into its supply of single-family housing.

            I’m also curious as to how the commuting patterns of the folks in these apartments compare to those of their neighbors (rather than the average of everybody in the city, which includes the SW hills and far-out East Portland). Regardless of the numbers, it’s obviously still great to encourage people to live in places where it’s easy to commute by bike or transit – but to use this study as evidence that more density will magically work is ridiculous.

            Why don’t you go talk to these people about how they shouldn’t use their cars on weekends, or ask them how they’d commute if parking downtown was cheaper?

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            • Craig Harlow November 13, 2012 at 3:04 pm

              Zach, I’m not seeing where the city policy or Jonathan’s assertion includes eating into the city’s supply of single-family housing. I think the attention here is being focused on reducing accommodation for cars when apartments are being built, not removal of existing homes to add density. Whether or not we want to grow as a city, we do grow because people keep moving here. Meanwhile, rents (and home prices) climb upward beyond affordability, and car ownership takes a huge bite out of budgets. For those who wish to buy or (good luck in finding a place to) rent a house with a yard, etc., that becomes easier as costs for both will be pressed downward when affordable apartments are more abundant. This is helped by reducing the capital and ongoing cost of putting in apartments when auto parking is allowed to be a smaller–or absent–cost.

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            • spare_wheel November 13, 2012 at 3:34 pm

              “It’s good to have more density, but Portland will lose its soul if we substantially eat into its supply of single-family housing.”

              I don’t think everyone views burning stuff in a pit and drinking moonshine as major components of quality of life. And greater density does not diminish the soul of a city; rather, it enhances it by allowing for a more diverse population.

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          • Babygorilla November 13, 2012 at 12:43 pm

            Jonathan, what are you doing to personally make us more dense? Surely, you must not live in a single family stand alone residence.

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            • Jonathan Maus (Publisher/Editor) November 13, 2012 at 12:55 pm

              What am I doing? Nothing I guess.

              I live in a single family home with my wife and three kids. I also own a mini-van which I park (for free! ha!) on the public street in front of my home.

              I also run a bike blog where I constantly encourage people to bike more… Yes I drive my mini-van on occasion to take my kids around and/or if I happen to feel like it.

              I’m not sure what your point is exactly. I’m not calling anyone out for their decisions… just saying I think we need to be more dense. And FWIW, I’d be really interested to consider living in a multi-story building. Who knows, it might happen someday.

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              • grumpcyclist November 13, 2012 at 2:08 pm

                The point is that it’s hypocritical to say, “We need to get more dense to reach our potential!” while living in a single family home. If you’re advocating for density, then you should walk the walk, no?

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              • Dave November 13, 2012 at 2:12 pm

                I think it’s a bit dangerous to start down that road, because where do you stop? I’ve heard a number of people in the past make statements, for instance, when celebrities give money to a charity or invest resources in a personal humanitarian project, along the lines of “that’s hypocritical, because they still have so much money, it’s ridiculous to only give X-thousand dollars.”

                Do we expect them to just give away everything and live on the street?

                Obviously, that’s a bit of an extreme, but I think we have to be a little bit careful about shouting hypocrisy when a person’s ideals don’t exactly match their current life circumstances – there can be a lot of reasonable reasons for that to happen.

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              • 9watts November 13, 2012 at 2:28 pm

                It is a process, grumpy. Everybody’s a little different, at a different place in their journey. Something like 95% of households include fewer people than Jonathan’s. Probably something like 75% use their car more than his family does. There are a million ways to parse this but what is the point? This isn’t Singapore. If Jonathan didn’t bike I’d complain too–and read a different blog–but come on.

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              • spare_wheel November 13, 2012 at 3:40 pm

                Using your logic a smoker would be hypocritical if they were to acknowledge that smoking is bad. One can recognize that a choice is better without having made that choice.

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              • was carless November 13, 2012 at 8:09 pm

                Portland has effectively run out of housing. We need more housing. People want to live here. Our housing prices are rising astronomically fast.

                Without new housing stock, who knows? Want to pony up $3500 for a one-bedroom apartment like SF – a city with one of the most restrictive zoning regulations in the US?

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              • El Biciclero November 14, 2012 at 4:33 pm

                Would we call drivers who don’t ride bikes hypocritical if they advocated for more/better bike infrastructure? Such drivers might merely be recognizing that more transpo biking was a good thing and they might also think having choices (being able to drive or ride in safety) is also a good thing.

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              • Babygorilla November 13, 2012 at 2:17 pm

                The point is you are preaching an agenda (more density, housing towers) when you don’t actually practice it yourself. And you are getting suckered by the developer’s claims of “sustainability” when all they want to do is through up out of scale housing as cheaply as possible and they found a loophole that allowed them to build on the cheap and were finally able to convince banks to lend for projects that don’t require adequate parking for the people who will actually live there and who actually will have cars there. And, now you want to charge people to park in their own neighborhoods when neighborhood parking doesn’t actually cost the city anything out of pocket.

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              • 9watts November 13, 2012 at 2:31 pm

                You really think the street in front of your house, our houses, is just free, parking there costs no one anything out of pocket. Hm.


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              • Alex Reed November 13, 2012 at 2:34 pm

                Actually neighborhood parking *does* cost the City something – roads are twice as wide as they would have to be if all cars were parked off-street. That extra space has to be repaved every once in a while – multiplied by every residential street in the city and that’s a LOT of repaving.

                I’m not saying I think on-street parking is bad. I am saying that it does cost something to the City.

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              • Jonathan Maus (Publisher/Editor) November 13, 2012 at 2:35 pm

                I’m hardly “preaching” Babygorilla. I think that’s going a bit far. I am saying I think density is a good thing and I’d love to see more of it. This post is about parking policy, it’s not even focused on “preaching” density.

                And I don’t agree with the idea that I can’t say density is a good idea, and I can’t encourage density, simply because I don’t live in a multi-story building.

                As I’m not being “suckered” by anyone thank you very much. In fact, I’m skeptical of developers just like you are. But given the popularity of these apartment complexes, they seem to be responded to market demands.

                As for paying for residential parking. I’d be the first one to sign up if PBOT started that program. Our roads are public space owned by PBOT and I think they have a right to manage them in the most efficient/effective way possible. I would gladly pay a monthly fee to park in my house if it meant that money would then be used for things I want and like (like fixing potholes!).

                Please be careful about jumping to false conclusions about my perspectives. Thanks.

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              • Jeremy Cohen November 13, 2012 at 2:52 pm

                I think you have to be careful about how far you read into Jonathan’s comment. Density in the city is a good idea–and it doesn’t demand we tear down the single family dwellings, but instead simply allow builders to operate in a different parking paradigm. I think it is a bit absurd to declare every action an extension of ideology (or in this case a contradiction to it.) There are often much more complex reasons people live/don’t live where they do–as for me, I live in a single family dwelling with my 2 kids, wife, dog and veggie garden. It is nowhere nearly as big or yard-y as my former house in Eugene, and even less so than the house I grew up in on the outskirts of Indianapolis. The truth is, the more dense you ALLOW the city to get, the less people need/want/have cars. I don’t want to live in Manhattan either, but I also don’t want Portland to get any more like LA. Nobody is making developers build these buildings–but we should be asking ourselves why the neighbors are so upset…I think we would find they don’t want someone “else” to park in front of their house (but they certainly don’t mind parking there themselves). Classic case of “super-liberal” until it actually affects me.

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            • Joseph E November 13, 2012 at 10:02 pm

              My 4-person family lives in a 2 bd house in the Hollywood district, because we looked for a 3bd or 2bd apartment with bike parking and a playground or courtyard for the kids, in a walkable neighborhood near a good transit line, and found nothing. We found many apartments with 1 or 2 car parking spaces but no yard of the kid. Now we are paying for a big front yard we never use, though at least we have a big basement for bike (and other) storage, are less than 3 blocks from 3 grocery stores and dozens of businesses.

              If someone will build a family-oriented apartment block, with a big shared yard and playground in the center, only accessible from the building, and 3 stories of apartments around the 4 sides, with at least 2 secure bike parking spots per apartment, in a good school district and a walkable area, I would gladly pay up to $1300 for 2bd 1ba or $1500 for a 3bd 1ba. Developers, are you listening?

              Actually, I think they are.

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        • John Lascurettes November 13, 2012 at 12:20 pm

          Elbow room comes with a cost (to everyone).

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          • rain bike November 13, 2012 at 12:59 pm

            You are right, but there are benefits too. The best part is, we each get to assess that cost to benefit ratio for ourselves. I hope that there’s room in this forum and in our communities for a diversity of opinions (and solutions) on the matter of density. We’re all interested in a high quality of life, right? What that means for me might not be the same for you. That’s cool.

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            • Randall S. November 13, 2012 at 1:21 pm

              Well, when I’m forced to subsidize the extra road costs to pave the way to low-density, spread-out cities, then you’re actually assessing the cost/benefit ratio for me.

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              • rain bike November 13, 2012 at 1:29 pm

                No. That’s simply increasing a cost. You still get to assess how that cost relates to the benefits you enjoy and decide how you will react.

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        • was carless November 13, 2012 at 8:06 pm

          Its disingenuous to argue that Portland will EVER be as dense as Manhattan, or even Brooklyn. Portland’s average density is one of the lowest in the country, lower than even Beaverton. Seattle would be a better model to look at, but they have serious problems in housing affordability by their unique geography and draconian zoning policies that, luckily, Portland does not have.

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    • Tony November 13, 2012 at 12:49 pm

      Projections show us adding a million people to the metro area in 25 years, we should hope that at least 1/3 of them move to the actual city.

      Why? Because the long supply and transportation lines needed to keep the ‘burbs alive are wasteful and don’t support themselves.

      So, we need to find a place for those people to go in a way that doesn’t turn Portland into Houston or Atlanta.

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      • 9watts November 13, 2012 at 1:21 pm

        Part of the difficulty I think we/the city/the neighbors are up against here is that car owning preferences and the durability of the housing infrastructure are out of phase. Car owning preferences are shifting as we speak, and this trend away from car ownership will almost certainly accelerate. The housing stock built today may go up fast, but it is going to be here a long time. For most of these buildings’ life, the car ownership rates among Eastside Portland renters will be lower than they are today. The surveys did not do a good job of assessing this dynamic element – and to be fair that is a tricky thing to accomplish in a survey.

        But the point is that if we focus on present car ownership patterns to determine the viability of these no-off-street-car-parking buildings we are not taking the whole picture into account.

        This is fairly easily demonstrated by comparing the risks of guessing wrong –

        (a) buildings without off-street car parking are built as planned but car ownership rates do not continue to fall vs.

        (b) the ill-conceived moratorium or related NIMBY efforts go through but car ownership rates continue to fall.

        With (a) the worst we get is a parking permit program that solves the problem, whereas with (b) we get an ugly & expensive buildout of car parking that sits unused and unconvertible to any other use, and the apartments are priced out of reach of many folks because of the extra cost of providing all that parking.

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        • are November 13, 2012 at 2:12 pm

          i live in a neighborhood of structures that were built as single-family houses, and most of them are still used that way. i bike or walk everywhere. i do not own a car. this is uncommon but not unique in this neighborhood, and it is somewhat more common in neighborhoods nearby, where the incidence of co-housing is higher. we grow quite a substantial part of our entire intake of fresh vegetables in containers and/or raised beds. we could not really do this in a highrise. density, yes. extreme density at the expense of people being able to sustain themselves outside the money economy, no.

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          • Paul in the 'couve November 13, 2012 at 4:08 pm

            I think it should be both/and not either/or there should be high rise housing and single family. There may be some areas – like the Pearl, were very dense is pervasive. Other areas like East Portland mostly single family and duplexes with occasional apartments.

            But MOST areas should be more mixed. Like the Hawthorn corridor or Burnside / Ankeny. The areas 2 or more blocks off of the main corridors will probably remain mostly single family residential. Meanwhile apartments and high-rises will come to dominate in the blocks closest to the shopping and business districts – assuming zoning and regulation allow this to happen.

            That kind of density development ultimately benefits everyone. Families in single family homes find more businesses and entertainment opportunities within walking / biking distance of home while still having a yard. Apartment dwellers get more units available and less competition for units on vibrant streets and can also walk into more residential neighborhoods.

            Urban living isn’t for everyone and some prefer the quiet of a sleepier neighborhood, but if that’s what you want, you’ll do well to take the higher property values of your home in the city and move to Corbet or McMinnville.

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          • was carless November 13, 2012 at 8:13 pm

            Again, I don’t think anyone is advocating for extreme density. Portland is seeing a number of what we call “low-rise” apartment buildings, in the 2 – to – 5 story range.

            Mid or high rise construction costs significantly more, commands much higher rents, and is banned from all neighborhoods in Portland except Downtown, the Lloyd District, and South Waterfront.

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    • Jim Labbe November 13, 2012 at 12:50 pm

      This statement struck me as off the mark too.

      There are places in the region (East Portland, West Gresham, parts of Washington County) where denser development has been so poorly designed and crammed in to existing neighborhoods that they have needlessly made people the enemy of density.

      We desperately need well-designed dense developments that support walkable neighborhoods and are more fully integrated with a more balanced transportation system. We also need adequate parks and greenspace so that dense urban areas are places people will flock to instead of run away from like they did in the 20th century.

      Fortunately we have more and more good examples of dense, human-scaled development that fosters vibrancy (e.g.


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    • Ben Guernsey November 13, 2012 at 1:48 pm

      If you like elbow room then why be in a city at all?

      I believe density is linked to diverse melting pot of culture, look at rural America, pretty close to a mono-culture within geographical regions (thats my opinion as someone from a much smaller area). If you want vibrancy of art, food and music, density seems to be a pretty key ingredient. It’s not perfect, dense cities have plenty of flaws, but they also have a lot of economic, technological and environmental benefits to living close together too.

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      • rain bike November 13, 2012 at 2:12 pm

        I’m talking about inner SE-type elbow room. I don’t want to live in a tower in The Hurl. I like my garden and my garage, where I work on my bike.

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        • was carless November 13, 2012 at 8:17 pm

          Towers are not even allowed anywhere in Portland except Downtown, the Lloyd District, and South Waterfront. East Portland, besides the Lloyd District, does not allow highrise construction. City zoning does not allow it.

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      • are November 13, 2012 at 2:13 pm

        but at the same time, we do not want to become completely dependent on shipping in our food supply from large corporate farms out in idaho somewhere.

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        • Joseph E November 13, 2012 at 10:08 pm

          So you would rather add new population in the city of Portland, increasing density and letting more people enjoy our bikable, walkable neighborhoods, instead of building new exurbs on the edge of the metro area on what is now farmland, right?

          Allowing more people to live in Portland (where many people want to live, but cannot afford the high rents due to the low supply of housing) will prevent sprawl on the farms that provide our local produce. Preventing apartments, or making them more expensive thru parking requirements, will force more people to live out on in the suburbs, and encourage further sprawl into farms and forest.

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          • are November 15, 2012 at 4:13 pm

            what i am suggesting in part is that if every inch of the city is paved over or built up, you and i will not be able to grow our own food, which then makes us entirely dependent on bringing food in from elsewhere, possibly a long way away, possibly requiring farming on a scale that only wal*mart can support. i am not saying let’s have forty-acre farms in the urban core, and i am not saying spread out so larger farming operations are forced to south korea. i am saying there is density and there is density.

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      • jj November 13, 2012 at 5:35 pm

        Portland is the whitest metropolitan area in the country. Rural areas in the South are far more diverse than anything we have in Portland. There may be good reasons for density, but density doesn’t cause diversity.

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    • alex November 13, 2012 at 11:38 pm

      the reason is because of sprawl and the UGB. we can either grow up or out. the portland metro area is expected to grow considerably in the coming years. we can either densify commercial corridors or we can build new freeways and mow down farmland. lesser of two evils maybe, however those 20minute walkable communities that everyone wants are made possible by creating a vertical gradient of commercial and residential.

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  • Jim Labbe November 13, 2012 at 11:41 am

    Thanks for covering this Jonathan.

    A study in Hillsboro in 2007 found the same thing, that the City center had an over-abundance of parking and could use existing space more efficiently:

    The real problem is the cut backs in bus service along these corridors that threatens to force some people (especially for which biking and walking are not options) back into their vehicles.


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    • Dave November 13, 2012 at 11:56 am

      Yup, transit deficiency is huge, and despite having a ‘relatively’ good transit system for the U.S. as a whole, we really don’t have that good of a system in an objective sense. If you want to go anywhere but downtown, wait times are long, routes are inconvenient, and for goodness sakes, times when there SHOULD be major transit access, like a late Saturday night (out to eat, out drinking, out dancing, to a movie?), you have to wait an hour between buses/trains or there is no service at all. Guess all those people had better just drive, I’m sure they’ll be responsible after having had drinks all night long.

      Trimet seems to be in that downward spiral of ‘no money, make cuts’ – ‘why are fewer people riding?’ – ‘no money, make cuts’ – ‘now even fewer people riding!’

      We really need transit to be a MAJOR priority from the top to the bottom levels of society. It’s a public service that benefits everyone at every level of society.

      Of course, bicycle access can help fill in a lot of the gaps, and it represents an important investment too, but it can never replace everything that transit is good for. Every mode of transportation is really important and fills needs that other modes do not support, we just have to realistically look at the balance and make decisions to appropriately balance modes in order to give the most people access to the most things, in the most efficient way.

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  • RH November 13, 2012 at 11:53 am

    I’m all for this! If people are concerned about auto parking, live in a building that offers it or park in your garage/driveway.

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  • Todd Boulanger November 13, 2012 at 12:09 pm

    Yes, I agree strongly with the finding,
    “In their analysis of the eight buildings in the study, residents reported that half of them had poor bike parking facilities or lacked adequate bike parking capacity.”

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  • Nate November 13, 2012 at 12:11 pm

    I clued in to the same page as you over on Portland Afoot, Jonathan, though with a different conclusion. It seems to me that these buildings are already attracting the population they were meant for: low- and no-car folks who don’t need a car all to themselves. However, there are times when a car is useful, as in that weekend trip to the coast, or to the hardware store for home improvement materials. While you and I might even make those trips by bike (?), that is what carshare is particularly well-suited for. And the report notes that there is a noticeable lack of those options nearby. It is precisely those options that help folks feel like they no longer need to keep their own car on hand just in case.

    The report seems to prove that these buildings aren’t causing the problem people complain most about – clogged parking nearby. Further, ‘if you build it, they will come.’ I say, if you build it better – more and better bike parking, and more cars-on-demand options for when transit+bike+walking really won’t cut it – then you have a really winning proposition.

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    • are November 13, 2012 at 2:16 pm

      for the moment, at least, car sharing is a commercial enterprise. you would not want to take a car2go to the coast, but you might want to take a zipcar. if zipcar sees a market, they will arrange to put some cars near these places. if the market is not taking care of it, you may have to look into government subsidies.

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      • Steve Gutmann November 14, 2012 at 5:06 pm

        Check out You can rent a car from a neighbor (with full insurance) for as little as $15 a day. Plus gas. There are nearly 400 cars for rent via Getaround in the Portland Area alone.

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  • Dan V November 13, 2012 at 12:11 pm

    It’s a storage issue. I hear about it from several long-time Portland residents who seem to think that the purchase price of their house included not only their garage (full of boxes and IC toys) and driveways (empty or non-daily vehicle storage), but the parking spots in front of their house (“the development fees included building the road, therefore, since I paid them, I DO own the right of way”). Until that mindset changes, people will fight hard to keep parking directly in front of their residence (I have heard the argument that parking on a side street would cause their vehicle to be at greater risk of theft/vandalism).

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    • Ben Guernsey November 13, 2012 at 1:54 pm

      Storage and work space is why I wouldn’t consider a condo over a traditional house. I love the ideas of density and wanted to support them. But I wanted a place to wrench on my bike, that wasn’t in a carpeted spare room, where I had to haul my bike up stairs.

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      • A.K. November 13, 2012 at 2:46 pm

        Indeed. And you realize how awesome backyards are once you don’t have one any longer. Or how annoying it is to listen to the neighbor you share a wall/floor with practice their “band” music. (I currently rent half of a duplex and miss many of the things I had when I was renting a house).

        Condos and apartments are ideal for some lifestyle choices, not for others.

        Myself, I’d be happy with a small bungalow-style house with a modest backyard and shop space.

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      • was carless November 13, 2012 at 8:20 pm

        Rowhouses are one solution to that problem. Amsterdam is composed of 10000s of skinny rowhouses that are privately owned… and it is a huge biking city, obviously.

        However, in most serious bike cities, people park their bikes outside.

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        • are November 15, 2012 at 4:16 pm

          storing a bike outside in portland from october to june is not good for the bike.

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          • Dave November 15, 2012 at 4:29 pm

            The weather here is about the same as in the Netherlands – except there it’s colder during the winter so things often freeze as well as getting rained on all winter.

            Regardless of this, many people don’t have any choice, because the alternative is hauling a 45lb bike up and down multiple flights of narrow stairs multiple times every day. My wife and I have to park our bikes outside year-round here, because we live on the third floor, in a small apartment, and the building has no space for bike storage (not even a basement). We (obviously) only have space for one bike each, so it has to be a larger, practical bike, as we don’t own a car either. It’s just the way it works out.

            Sure, it’s better for the bike to not stay wet all the time, but it’s also better for your pots and pans to not have you cook in them all the time. You use them well and take reasonably good care of them, and if they’re made well, they’ll serve you well.

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      • takeaspin22 November 14, 2012 at 9:32 am

        I’m in the same boat as you. I love my house but I would prefer a condo or apartment close-in to downtown, if it had ample work/storage space and a little bit of outdoor area (balcony or patio). High density housing with the amenities of a single family house is hard to find in Portland.

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    • Ben Guernsey November 13, 2012 at 2:06 pm

      Oh, BTW that was meant to be a big hint to developers.

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  • Spiffy November 13, 2012 at 12:25 pm

    people complaining about parking-less apartments are the ones currently enjoying the free parking and just don’t want to share it with their new neighbors…

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    • Greg November 13, 2012 at 4:46 pm

      Yep. That is exactly what I hear at my community association.

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  • Joseph E November 13, 2012 at 12:33 pm

    If you want elbow room, there are plenty of low density neighborhoods in Clark , Clackmas, and Washington Counties, and in East Portland, SW Portland, and Gresham.

    But thousands of people want to live in inner N, NE, SE and SW portland who are currently unable to find apartments to rent or houses to buy. The rental vacancy rate is lower in Portland than in any city other than New York, and rental prices are rising faster than house prices or inflation.

    The only way for more people to live in walkable, bikeable existing neighborhoods is to increase density. Since most people don’t want to double or triple up in shared housing, new apartments are the most important solution.

    Developers want to build no-parking apartments, because that’s what the free market is begging for. It will be good for the city, good for the economy, good for the environment, and very good for the new residents who get to live in Portland instead of getting stuck out in Tualatin or up in Clark County.

    But it would be good if the parking-free apartments provide off-street bike parking, as an alternative to providing car parking. A bike parking space costs less than 1/10th the price of a car parking spot, so this should be a fair alternative. And while car parking is oversupplied, secure public bike parking is in very short supply on most residential streets.

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    • 9watts November 13, 2012 at 1:11 pm

      “But it would be good if the parking-free apartments provide off-street bike parking, as an alternative to providing car parking.”

      My understanding is that the rules are written requiring this very thing. 1.1 off street bike parking stalls per apartment. Not sure why some of the surveyed apartments lacked them. Perhaps someone can explain?

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      • Greg November 13, 2012 at 5:06 pm

        I think (not certain) many buildings meet that requirement by providing a hook to hang a bike in the apartment. I suspect most people don’t want to shlep their wet and dirty bike up stairs and into their living space, and would prefer a secure communal parking location with easy access.

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        • Joseph E November 13, 2012 at 10:12 pm

          Huh, that doesn’t seem to fit the spirt of the law. Imagine if your “off-street parking” mean “drive up over the curb and park on the grass lawn”. That’s the equivalent to parking your bike on the living room wall. The bike parking should be on the first floor, and preferable covered, though it could be in an outdoor courtyard with staple racks.

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    • Paul in the 'couve November 13, 2012 at 1:53 pm

      Also, Parking minimums are an additional cost for low income residents. That “Free Parking Space” with your apartment isn’t free – you pay for it in your rent. People who are trying to be car free are paying for something they don’t want. Low income renters are paying for a parking space instead of something else, and worse, since they have the space, they will have some incentive (in addition to poor transit etc. etc.) to buy a car to park in it.

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    • was carless November 13, 2012 at 8:25 pm


      Also, if you visit NW Portland, you can clearly see how popular apartments w/out parking are: I dare you to find ONE single apartment for rent in NW! If you do, compare the rent to SE Portland.

      edit: I just checked – and there is currently ONE apartment for rent in NW Portland. ONE! There are over 10,000 units of housing, so there is a vacancy rate there of <.1%

      Think about that. Yes, your rent will likely double or triple over the next decade if we don't start building REEEEAAAALLLLYY fast – the market will make sure of that! We have 6 years of pent-up demand for housing that is coiled up like a tight spring… and nobody is building houses OR condos.

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      • A.K. November 14, 2012 at 10:51 am

        Yeah I moved 1.5 years ago, and it was a total PITA. And I wasn’t even looking in NW. In inner SE and NE Portland (think 39th to the river, and Brooklyn to Alberta), two-bedroom apartments/condos/whatever were in short supply unless you wanted to pay an arm and a leg. I jumped on the first place I found that was right at $1,000, and I’m glad I did so even though I lack some of the things I’d like in an ideal living space.

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  • mikeybikey November 13, 2012 at 12:56 pm

    On improving low car options, the obvious oversight is that we need to be more aggressive about making the transition from bicycle to train as easy as it is down at OHSU. No searching for a rack. Safe and secure. As an experiment, ride the new protected bike lane on Multnomah over to Grand with the intention of catching the CL loop into downtown. See how far up Grand (and away from the streetcar stop) you have to walk before you find a staple rack. Its shameful.

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  • Bjorn November 13, 2012 at 1:35 pm

    I’d like to see a followup study of these developments in another year. I wonder how many people who already have a car will consider selling it after moving to one of these buildings. A little difficulty in finding parking might not be a bad thing as it would be one more incentive to do so.

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  • Hart Noecker November 13, 2012 at 2:00 pm

    Going car-free is easy. Call up the non-profit group of your choice ( I chose Planned Parenthood ), and tell them you want to donate your car. Within 48 hours a tow company will come and take your car and leave you a receipt. After auction your donated car is guaranteed to net your charity/nonprofit at least $500 dollars (mine was $700). You get an awesome letter from your nonprofit thanking you, and you get to live the rest of your life liberated from the burden of the polluting, dangerous automobile.

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  • Max D November 13, 2012 at 2:12 pm

    “As I maintained in my editorial on August 14th, if we actually offered residents better bikeways and higher quality bike parking many more of these apartment residents would be likely to sell their cars. ”
    Agreed! And I would add enforcement! People driving cars consistently drive 5-10 mph over the speed limit, talk/text while driving, and run stoplights. That is some scary shit for someone on a bike, but just business as usual to drivers and police. Enforcing the laws we have may be the expedient way to improve our infrastructure (traffic cameras!)

    In terms of density, there has to be a trade off: to ask people to give up their small personal kingdom, we need to offer a shared kingdom that is bigger and better. We need some real investments in parks and park systems and transportation. We need to relax some rules about dogs, alcohol and campfires in parks, we need streetcar and MAX to stop at Forest Park and Powell Butte. People should be able to take their pet on the train/bus. To ask people to give up their cars, but not provide a way for them to reach hikes, parks, etc with kids, and pets and normal family stuff is unrealistic. People love Portland because it is relaxed, easy to get around, easy to get to parks, farms, hikes, etc. Portlanders have dogs, they want to hang around in the evening and drink beer. We should develop some beaches where people could have small fires in the summer. Check out Vancouver, BC: high density and massive park system, huge beach network full of picnickers all summer! You can bike, take a ferry boat, drive or take the bus.

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  • are November 13, 2012 at 2:18 pm

    why does the data not include a category for people carpooling? or was the number less than one pct.?

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    • are November 13, 2012 at 2:21 pm

      also it seems odd that more people commute by bike than do other errands by bike. i mean, what these numbers say is someone commutes to and from work by bike and then, okay, some of them walk their other errands, but apparently some of them drive. while none of the motorist commuters do any errands by bike. just weird data.

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      • Paul in the 'couve November 13, 2012 at 3:55 pm

        They don’t provide the exact questions, but I’m guessing the funny mode share figures regarding “non- work” trips have to do with the exact questions asked and possibly the limited number of respondents. It might also be expected to vary between the different locations.

        Typically in such surveys they ask “Which mode do you use most often for ______” rather than providing for a free response, or a break down or % of the time estimates etc. So depending on which activities the specifically mentioned and how they phrased the question and the number and sophistication of possible responses, cycling could be under reported. For example, if the respondents read the questions as implying errands and getting groceries then perhaps they do not use bikes for those specific trips, but they may actually make frequent trips by bicycle that they didn’t feel fit the question.

        I did notice however, that the walking mode share was less than 10% for commuting but 20% for errands. So, although biking dropped, walking increased. This indicates that the residents are making shorter trips and keeping trips in the neighborhood. So perhaps some of the missing bike trips don’t exist simply because people staying in the near vicinity such that walking is the better option.

        Also, I noticed that transit dropped even more dramatically for “non-work” trips. That fits the model above as well, but additionally, it may be that transit doesn’t work as well for shorter trips, for carrying baggage and for getting places for shopping and entertainment, vs. work.

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      • Errandless in Portland November 14, 2012 at 5:24 am

        I’ve got a couple anecdotes that could explain why people run errands by bike less often than they commute by bike. Just speaking for myself:

        1) my commute is toward downtown where I have plenty of options for good bike routes, but most of my errand destinations are cross-town where there are fewer connected route options and more frequent major street crossings.
        2) Bike parking at my work is great. Bike parking at Fred Meyer, Home Depot, etc, with a trailer? Painful.
        3) When I commute, I’m by myself. When I run errands, I often have my toddler with me. Buying a trailer is an extra expense that is an additional barrier to entry for folks. I’m also not nearly as tough as Emily Finch.
        4) Just like having kids along, schlepping stuff on errands is not an issue on a commute, and weather is more of a concern on errands since I can change clothes at work.

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        • Paul in the 'couve November 14, 2012 at 10:09 am

          Yes, the different types of destinations, are certainly an issue. Time could be an issue. Since errands may be to places we only go one a week or less, knowing the best route could be an issue.

          As for the kids, I really know what you are talking about. Maybe I am wrong, but I was assuming that nearly all the residents of these parking free apartment developments would be without children.

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  • Babygorilla November 13, 2012 at 3:27 pm

    You really think the street in front of your house, our houses, is just free, parking there costs no one anything out of pocket. Hm.
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    Yes. My street hasn’t been repaved in decades. Its a sunk cost of the city paid years ago. It might be repaved sometime in the distant future, but the City of Portland does not pay anything out of pocket to maintain the parking areas. Same goes for a majority of the neighborhood streets around the City of Portland. And when there is some sort of repaving, the additional cost is incremental, just like bike lanes, because the parking areas do not sustain the same damage as the travel lanes.

    Neighborhood parking should remain without meters and primarily without permits. Commercial districts (Alberta, Mississippi, Hawthorne, etc.) should get metered parking. Certain already dense areas like NW or Goose Hollow should have their residence permit system with some off hours or meters for the commercial properties therein.

    Continually adding fees and costs does not make Portland a livable community. We already pay some of the highest water and sewer rates in the country and we have a Water Bureau spending millions of dollars on projects not related to water and sewer service (the lawsuit on that issue is starting to claw back some of those funds, but its probably just an accounting issue and it won’t decrease rates). Parking revenue that should go into the street budget gets siphoned off to subsidize the streetcar, which is in itself a subsidy to developers (developers who built primarily because of Urban Renwal / TIFF subsidies and would have built without a streetcar with the same effect of adding density). Not to mention the general abuse of the urban renewal system, which siphons funds and tax revenue away from Multnomah County, which can’t funds its library system so a separate bond measure needs to pass which increases property taxes, and in some weird working of property tax law, actually means Portland will lose about $11 million a year in general fund property tax revenue between the library district and the school levy. People are struggling financially and that’s not sustainable or livable.

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    • 9watts November 13, 2012 at 3:54 pm

      – stormwater runoff collection and treatment costs taxpayer/ratepayers money,
      – street sweeping costs money,
      – repaving (past and future) costs money,
      – digging up the street and repaving it when sewer or other utility work is necessary costs money,
      – the opportunity cost of not being able to, for instance, grow food where cars now park is not zero, and so on and so forth.
      Others can enumerate the various hidden subsidies better than I can.

      I agree that sewer and water rates here are nuts, but overcapitalized solutions to problems that have simple solutions like reducing the impervious surfaces by narrowing streets and adding bioswales are the reason for these fees, rather than market rates for scarce resources like parking spots on residential streets. What happens with any revenue from parking permits is another matter, and I’ll let those more qualified than I speak to that. Donald Shoup has some good ideas about how to direct the funds so generated back to the neighborhoods in which they were collected.

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    • spare_wheel November 13, 2012 at 4:46 pm

      If property taxes and sewage bills are a such a severe financial hardship a home owner can always choose to rent. Owning an expensive inner city home is not some sort of fundamental human right.

      I see no problem with charging residents to park on city streets. User fees are the equitable way to pay for infrastructure. The operating principle should always be: if you use it pay for it.

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  • Jim Lee November 13, 2012 at 4:01 pm

    Just saying that on average a personal motor vehicle stands idle–that is, parked–95% of the time.

    In that sense parking is more vital to personal ownership of a motor vehicle than are streets, roads, highways.

    Attacking car-culture via parking is more subversive, and effective, than via road-building.

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  • Jeremy Cohen November 13, 2012 at 4:27 pm

    I also have to admit that as a cyclist, I am a fan of dense street parking. There are many studies that show a tight correlation between PERCEIVED speed limit and posted speed limit. In every case, streets that are narrow (because of parked cars, curb extensions, bio-swales, center planters, etc) cause people to drive more slowly IRRESPECTIVE of posted speed limits. Parked cars on the street=narrower driving space=slower cars=safety for me and the family.

    All this stink about CARS parking on the STREET? Really?

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    • 9watts November 13, 2012 at 4:39 pm

      Sure, but red light cameras, bioswales, container gardens, on street bike parking, rainwater storage tanks, tool sheds, etc. would all accomplish similar effects and wouldn’t represent a subsidy to an activity that has as many deplorable qualities as cars do.

      For that matter, most of our streets are far too wide including the two rows of parked cars.

      Portland has a skinny streets ordinance. The objective is laudatory, but the means don’t tend to involve more parked cars. Here’s an Oregon manual for skinny streets:

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  • Babygorilla November 13, 2012 at 5:32 pm

    If property taxes and sewage bills are a such a severe financial hardship a home owner can always choose to rent. Owning an expensive inner city home is not some sort of fundamental human right.
    I see no problem with charging residents to park on city streets. User fees are the equitable way to pay for infrastructure. The operating principle should always be: if you use it pay for it.
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    Those charges, and property taxes, are factored into by landlords in setting rents.

    It just seems like costs of living for alot of people in this town is ever expanding while income remains stagnant and a proposal for yet one more fee on the populace for something that is pretty ingrained in most neighborhood is offensive while urban renewal and developer subsidies and debt service incurred by the City and County (and I didn’t even mention the time bomb that is the unfunded pension liability for police and firemen) are under reported. Sustainability incorporates financial sustainability and it should be a huge issue in Portland and need to be considered in this context of a proposed parking fee.

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    • spare_wheel November 14, 2012 at 8:46 am

      “Those charges, and property taxes, are factored into by landlords in setting rents.”

      A renter knows exactly how much they pay and when the lease expires can move. I have little sympathy for someone who takes out a several hundred thousand dollar loan and then complains about paying a few extra dollars a month for a sewage fee.

      “and I didn’t even mention the time bomb that is the unfunded pension liability for police and firemen) are under reported. Sustainability incorporates financial sustainability and it should be a huge issue”

      So now you jump from sewage fees to union bashing. IMO, the financial sustainability crisis you imagine is simply a propaganda tool used to justify cuts to government services. We do not have a spending crisis. We have a “pay your fair share crisis”.

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      • 9watts November 14, 2012 at 9:01 am

        “I have little sympathy for someone who takes out a several hundred thousand dollar loan and then complains about paying a few extra dollars a month for a sewage fee.”

        We’re getting a little far afield here, but I think it is worth pointing out that the stormwater charges are not ‘a few dollars,’ and some of us bought and live in houses that didn’t cost as much as you seem to think. I pay ~$170 for offsite stormwater/yr and about $115 for base charges on my water/sewer/stormwater bill/yr. Those are fixed costs I can’t do anything about.

        Putting bioswales or rainwater collection infrastructure where cars now routinely park along the curb would have gone a long way to making that $464 million Big Pipe project which we’re all paying off unnecessary. Free streets, my a$$.

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        • spare_wheel November 14, 2012 at 2:06 pm

          The city will waive storm-water fees for those who mitigate runoff. If you don’t like the fees you can fight to repeal the ordinance and establish a new system.

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          • 9watts November 14, 2012 at 2:09 pm

            That is true for *on-site* stormwater charges, but not for off-site stormwater charges which is what I was quoting above.
            Fighting to repeal charges that stem from past over-exuberant capital spending on BES’s part is a long row to hoe.

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      • Alex Reed November 14, 2012 at 2:59 pm

        Hey, I more or less agree with you, spare_wheel, but how do you get from babygorilla mentioning the unfunded pension liability that the City bears to “union-bashing?” Mr. Gorilla didn’t even mention unions. Maybe he holds the politicians who agreed to said pension plans responsible… or the voters who elected said politicians 🙂

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        • Alex Reed November 14, 2012 at 2:59 pm

          Mr. or Ms. Gorilla, I should say.

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        • spare_wheel November 15, 2012 at 9:04 am

          The defined benefit pensions of police and fire safety officers are the result of hard fought union contracts. Moreover, every private or public pay-go defined benefit plans have large unfunded actuarial accrued liabilities (UAALs) over a 30 year term (GASB 25/27). IMO, fear mongering about UAALs is a transparent attempt to undermine support for one of the last bastions of unionization in the USA (government employees).

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  • jj November 13, 2012 at 5:39 pm

    Joseph E
    Developers want to build no-parking apartments, because that’s what the free market is begging for. It will be good for the city, good for the economy, good for the environment, and very good for the new residents who get to live in Portland instead of getting stuck out in Tualatin or up in Clark County.

    Not true–the developers in the report admit that the reason they are not including parking is that including it would increase the costs. They want lower cost apartments so they are excluding an amenity–parking.

    We may decide that this is good for the city, but let’s not kid ourselves that this is because of the good intentions of developers. They are trying to make a buck.

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    • 9watts November 13, 2012 at 5:50 pm

      of course parking would increase costs – for the developers, for the future tenants, whether they have or want a car or not, and for everyone else in the future who is stuck with unfriendly, inflexible architecture.

      What I can’t figure out is why so much ire is directed at the developers here? If you are saying that building apartments with out off-street parking is more profitable for the developer, then I don’t see what is per se wrong with that either. I don’t think the issue is so much who saves how much–skipping the off street car parking seems to save lots of people lots of money–but how to incentivize future tenants not to have cars in the first place. We could put more energy toward that, but griping about developers seems misplaced.

      Off-street car parking is not simply ‘an amenity.’

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      • Paul in the 'couve November 13, 2012 at 6:16 pm

        Further, whether or not they can save money, developers would not build the apartments if they didn’t expect to be able to rent them or sell them. It is called a market place – buyers and sellers decide what sells for how much.

        Also, parking factors into the # of units built and the viability of a project. So this is never a choice between 40 apartments with parking or 40 apartments without. Often it is a choice between a viable project that will get build and on that a developer won’t attempt. This is because car parking takes space and costs money. 40 apartments without parking becomes 24 apartments with parking and the developer may well decide that the increased sales price or rent from the parking project will not cover the actual cost – which includes the land of course. And of course this is partly because most car owners never want to pay directly all the costs associated with owning a car.

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        • Paul in the 'couve November 13, 2012 at 10:26 pm

          Sorry for the typos: Should read : “Often it is a choice between a viable project that will get built and one that a developer won’t attempt”

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    • Joseph E November 13, 2012 at 10:22 pm

      “They are trying to make a buck.”

      Of course they want to make money! Why should housing be built by non-profits?

      “the developers in the report admit that the reason they are not including parking is that including it would increase the costs. They want lower cost apartments…”

      Half right. Parking would increase costs, making the apartments significantly more expensive. But it’s not the developers that want lower cost apartments – developers like to increase the value of the land as much as possible, to maximize their total profit. The demand for “lower cost” apartments comes from renters, who can barely afford the rents in many parts of Portland already.

      If adding more parking makes the cost of the building too high, the whole development may become unprofitable. Due to total floor area and height limits in the zoning, you can’t just make the building 1 or 2 floors taller to make up for the space lost to parking, so the price per apartment may go so high that not enough people will be able to afford the rent. People want lower cost apartments, and developers respond to that demand, as they should in any somewhat free marking.

      With all the existing zoning laws, the market for housing is by no means free.

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  • Jayson November 13, 2012 at 10:08 pm

    This study shows that these new developments are beneficial to the City and the region by offering more affordable places in the inner city with a variety of transportation options – options that residents are taking advantage of! Why on earth would we take a step backward and start requiring parking like we were living in the 1950’s? Smaller developments in particular offer the best infill design when they don’t set aside parking on small lots. Off-street parking was a foreign concept in most early 20th Century apartment buildings (except for the wealthy). It makes sense that if we strive to live in a more vibrant and walkable/bikeable place, requiring parking is NOT the answer.

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    • pg November 14, 2012 at 5:35 pm

      Sorry but the report does not make this claim or address this question.

      The report does not look at the rental prices of these apartments versus similarly situated apartments with parking. All the reports relies on is the verbal claims of developers that they the costs would be too high if parking were included. (It’s a bit ironic that posters here, who are often suspicious of development interests, seem quite willing to accept them here.)

      The report COULD have looked at actual rental costs to see if these developments actually WILL add to the stock of affordable housing in the city. Given their prime locations, I’m skeptical.

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  • alex November 14, 2012 at 7:54 am


    a great perspective to contribute to the density debate would be rick potestio. he has extensively studied the impact of growth in the portland metro area and has presented ideas/framework for how to do it smartly.

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  • Rebecca November 14, 2012 at 9:56 am

    A note on the Planning Commission forum last night on this topic – an equal number of people spoke in favor of the no parking moratorium as spoke against it (one Commission member kept a tally).

    At the end of the forum, the Commission members each gave their general impressions of the no-parking requirements. All members voiced general support for the continuation of the policy, with one member stating that mandating the provision of space for cars does not seem to be the best way to reduce our city’s dependency on cars.

    I support the no-parking code but acknowledge that not all residents will be car-free. My two cents is that developers are externalizing a cost on the surrounding neighborhood while saving tons of $ on development by not including parking. The City should adopt a policy that no-parking building owners should be required to actively promote and accommodate carsharing programs for their tenants (for example, a group membership to GoCar, a building carshare program, or paying for reserved Zipcar parking spaces on their block) to mitigate parking strain on the surrounding neighborhood and truly make car-free living an attractive option.

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    • A.K. November 14, 2012 at 10:57 am

      That is a very smart idea – couple the parking-free apartments with a few zipcar spots right outside. It would certainly make it more feasible for someone to live there without a car.

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      • Steve Gutmann November 14, 2012 at 5:09 pm

        Check out Way cheaper than Zip, especially for longer (e.g. full-day) trips. You’ll see nearly 400 cars available for rent (from your neighbors) for as little as $15 a day, including insurance.

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    • pg November 14, 2012 at 5:28 pm


      Absolutely agree. We should encourage TOD and lower car-use lifestyles, but we need to be honest with ourselves and our neighbors about what is going on. Residents WILL continue to own cars. How do we limit this? Should we institute permits (as in Goose Hollow area)?

      We need to hold the developers feet to the fire to provide dedicated space for car sharing.

      And we have to be certain that transit options continue to be available.

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  • David Burns November 14, 2012 at 1:46 pm

    I was thinking that it might make sense to add a “parking fee” to car registrations for addresses in high-density areas that don’t have off-street parking.

    That would remove the externalization of parking costs, while still allowing for reasonable guest access (which a permit system would not). I don’t know if would be worth the extra administrative costs, though.

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  • dwainedibbly November 14, 2012 at 4:46 pm

    There is a terrible cost to cycling infrastructure every time a no-parking building is approved. Hear me out:

    Forcing people to park on the street is going to assure that in the future we will have a MUCH harder time building bicycling infrastructure on those very streets. Parking & cycling infrastructure take the same space. By sending a message that it’s ok to rely on on-street parking, we’re sending the message that we aren’t going to set that space aside for people on bikes.

    There are always going to be some people with cars. New buildings should have some amount of parking on-site (off-street). It might be a small amount, less than 1 space per unit, but it needs to exist.

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    • 9watts November 14, 2012 at 5:01 pm

      did you read paul in the ‘couve’s linked story above about how parking induces driving?

      The problem with your argument is that it assumes and asserts that the demand for onstreet car parking is high and rising. Nothing leads me to conclude that this is an accurate assessment of the medium to long term future. If we do this right the ability to live well and not have a car will trump the other concerns voiced in the hearing yesterday and here.

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      • Paul in the 'couve November 14, 2012 at 6:23 pm

        The way induced driving due to parking would work in this case is the guarantee or likelihood of a spot to return home to. Residents of the apartment buildings having a dedicated space will be far more likely to take the car on a short or optional trip knowing that they have their own reserved spot when they return. Residents in the single family areas will be able to continue to rely on having parking within a few houses of their own. When taking the car means losing my spot, walking to the store begins to look like a good option.

        Limiting parking limits trips. Eventually giving up the car will be a further evolution. Side street parking becomes long term storage because moving means you lose your spot. I’d rather not have cars parked in the street, but I’d rather have cars parked in the street that being driven on short and medium trips within the central city.

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      • dwainedibbly November 16, 2012 at 6:14 am

        I’m not saying that parking shouldn’t be limited. My point is that it should be limited by removing it from the street. Push the storage of private vehicles to private spaces and let developers (and residents) incur the costs. Leave the public right of way for the public. Control how much private parking is available by requiring only a limited number of off-street spaces.

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        • Paul in the 'couve November 16, 2012 at 8:39 am

          I’m not opposed to limiting it on the streets, but I am in favor of limiting it everywhere. Mostly I am in favor of making drivers pay actual market costs to park their cars.

          But this issue is bigger than just parking. It is creating communities and a built environment that favors walking and biking and short trips and also mass transit while gradually disadvantaging automobile use and trips. More apartments and people and density are good for all of this. First floor parking garages are bad for neighborhoods and discourage walking (the cumulative effect make it worse).

          Sure, I’d love to remove parking pretty much anywhere, but so far we have virtually never succeeded in removing parking from the street. Even on Holiday Ave. where there is ample parking we couldn’t get even a few spaces. The current debate is with single family home dwellers who not only oppose loosing parking, but oppose other people using it. The debate would be even more fierce if we were talking about taking it away.

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    • Paul in the 'couve November 14, 2012 at 5:53 pm

      There is a difference between parking on residential streets and on shopping / business district arterials. We ALREADY have issues with removing parking in business districts and shopping areas AND those spaces are already mostly full – see NW 23 or Hawthorn or Mississippi. Yet NW 23 and Mississippi aren’t that bad for biking – the problem on Hawthorn is that we need to take a travel lane out.

      IN New York virtually all the cross streets in the residential neighborhoods like the upper west side or anywhere in Queens for that matter have on street parking that is 100% utilized. Yet those are some of the safest streets to ride on. Those cars are parked, and they stay parked. The streets say relatively safe with slow speeds and light traffic. It is the major streets – Avenues in particular – where infrastructure has been developed for cyclists. Again, like PDX needs to do on Hawthorn, this has been accomplished mostly by removing travel lanes, and leaving parking in place. Parked cars on a smaller hazard than speeding ones.

      Just think, riding through Ladds Addition or Laurelhurst where there is already a significant amount of on street parking. Does it really make a difference as a cyclist if that parking is 50% utilized or 90% utilized? We don’t need specialized cycling infrastructure on most residential streets. Perhaps occasionally for a particularly important link in the biking route system.

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  • Dante' November 14, 2012 at 8:10 pm

    I always like reading the comments to JM’s articles, very insightful reading whether I agree or disagree with some comments.

    In regards to myself though, I own a car and a bike. I live on Williams in a LEED building that has parking for my car but also lots of bike parking. I’ll be the first to say I drive my car a lot but it’s more so because I like to get out and go when I want to go whether hiking, backpacking, the coast or to Seattle. I don’t want to pay for a zip car, rental car, I just want to go. Besides that though, I’m an everyday rider to an extent. I ride once/twice a week to work but always use my bike as a form of transportation once I get home since my apt is in a central location to everything. I guess the overall point is some people bike, just not as much as others while still wanting their freedom to own a car.

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