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

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

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

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

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

“We need to make it easier to repurpose parking lanes for safer bicycle facilities,” Bicycle Transportation Alliance Advocacy Director Gerik Kransky, who sits on the city’s “centers and corridors” task force about neighborhood parking, shared with us on Wednesday. “That’s why I’m there.”

But like many biking supporters on the committees — and there are quite a few — Kransky says he’s not quite sure how that would happen or exactly what biking advocates should ask for.

“We need to make it easier to repurpose parking lanes for safer bicycle facilities, but the mechanisms by which we get there, I don’t know.”
— Gerik Kransky, BTA

“It is very provocative and I don’t think it’s been done,” said Owen Ronchelli of Go Lloyd, a group with a mission to “create a thriving environment for business” in the Lloyd District in part by improving non-car transportation options.

Though Portland has often removed travel lanes in order to add bike lanes, it’s never removed a parking lane from a commercial corridor for the sake of bike facilities — something that’s happened in Austin, Seattle, Chicago and San Francisco, among other places.

Mauricio LeClerc, the city’s lead staffer on its downtown parking task force, said he wasn’t aware of any existing tools that could help engineers and planners weigh the citywide interest in bike facilities against a commercial district’s interest in auto parking.

So we contacted various people inside and outside of Portland to come up with a possible list of ideas for an auto parking policy that would, in addition to letting neighborhoods set a fair price for parking, allow for the city to improve biking, too.

City staffers would get guidance on how to compare the value of parking spots to the value of bike lanes

East Portland rider - Neri-6

122nd Avenue’s parking lanes are almost completely
unused, but the city recently rejected a proposal to
add buffers or bollards to the 4.5-foot bike lane.
(Photo: J.Maus/BikePortland)

This concept comes from LeClerc, who noted that just as some parking spaces are more valuable than others, some bike lanes are more valuable than others. The city currently has no formal way to assess that.

“The city clearly needs some guidance on how to prioritize parking in relation to the ‘green transportation hierarchy,'” said Ted Labbe of Depave, a neighborhood task force member. “Is parking for the various transportation modes part of this hierarchy or is it something separate?”

Brock Howell, policy affairs manager for the Cascade Bicycle Club in Seattle, suggested applying a principle from water law: “use it or lose it.” If a parking space is full less than some percentage of the time, it might be eligible for removal.

Jay Crossley, a researcher at Houston Tomorrow, said his “dream scenario” would be for this to be part of a “multimodal level of service” calculation. (Portland has been quietly working on an MMLOS policy for two years, delaying it more than once.)

“If businesses rely heavily on street parking, they should have to subsidize it,” said Steve Bozzone, who represents the Community Alliance of Tenants on the downtown parking task force. “Streets should be primarily about mobility.”


The city would enforce rules preserving lines of sight near street corners

This concept comes from Mary Kyle McCurdy, policy director for 1000 Friends of Oregon, and sustainability consultant Rex Burkholder. Burkholder called out truck loading zones near corners as a specific issue for improvement and suggested removing parking within 20 feet of every corner. McCurdy suggested maximum height limits.

The city would preserve more curbside spaces for loading and unloading so trucks don’t park in bike lanes

Delivery truck on N Interstate-1-2

North Interstate Avenue.
(Photo: J.Maus/BikePortland)

When we interviewed business owners on 28th Avenue about the possibility of removing parking from their street, several were more concerned about the loss of temporary truck parking than of customer auto parking.

“Commercial loading and unloading, especially in our neighborhood business districts, is super important and something I haven’t seen the city put as a priority as it should be,” said Kathryn Doherty-Chapman, a parking task force member who worked on San Francisco’s recent variable-price parking reform.

McCurdy, of 1000 Friends, suggested designating non-bikeway side streets as de facto loading areas in order to reduce double-parking on primary corridors.

Houses wouldn’t need full garages and driveways if they have an on-site bike shed

(Photo: BikePortland reader Kari)

As we wrote this month, every single-family home in Portland more than 500 feet from a frequent transit line is required to have room for two on-site auto parking spaces — this in a city where hundreds of homeowners build structures to store their bikes.

That’s an idea from Bozzone; so is the next.

The city would add bike corrals when bike parking runs out

Ever since Portland invented the on-street bike corral, 100 percent of them have been requested by nearby businesses. Bozzone said it might be time for this to change.

“The city should not need a business owner’s permission to install bike racks/corrals if there is clear demand for it,” he wrote. “Right now a biz can say no and maintain the status quo, even if 100 of us request a rack.”

Door-zone warning markings would be a standard feature of curbside parking spaces on busy streets

When door-zone bike lanes don’t have marked buffers, more than 90 percent of people bike in the door zone. With buffers, this falls to 60 percent.

Though door-zone bike lanes are sometimes referred to as “bike-lane protected parking,” Portland continues to create them, and it obviously has many streets with no bike lanes where bike users feel pressured to ride in the door zone so cars can pass them. With or without a bike lane, there’s no reason that the city’s standard paint requirements for every on-street parking space couldn’t include a marked door zone.

The city would put the same burden on creating new parking spaces as it does on removing them

A 2013 redesign on NE Glisan added 19 street parking
spots next to a Fred Meyer parking lot.
(Photo: M.Andersen/BikePortland)

Last year, less than six months after retreating from a bruising attempt to persuade local businesses and landlords to support auto parking removal on one side of NE 28th Avenue in order to make a crucial northbound biking connection comfortable, the city created dozens of newly permanent street parking spaces on East Burnside, right around the corner in the very same district.

The city’s Bike Plan for 2030 calls for both Burnside and 28th to have “separated in-roadway” bike facilities. According to Metro’s Active Transportation Plan, an all-ages bikeway on Burnside would have the highest return on investment of any bike project on Portland’s east side.

Transit consultant Jarrett Walker once wrote that each of Europe’s human-friendly streets, cleared of auto parking and travel lanes amid huge political battles over the last 40 years, could be seen as a “battlefield memorial recording a triumph that involved major pain and suffering.” A bike-friendly parking policy would at least prevent Portland from creating future battlefields for itself.

Correction 9:40 pm: An earlier version of this post failed to mention the lower parking requirement for single-family homes within 500 feet of frequent bus lines.

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  • Adam H. February 26, 2015 at 12:51 pm

    These are all good ideas. I’d like to see more curb-side protected bike lanes with the car storage lane shifted over to the left. In addition, parking should be variably priced according to current demand. This is has shown to be effective in other cities.

    Regarding creating visibility, no-parking zones at intersections, I’m actually against this. The fact that it is hard for people driving to see cross traffic actually creates a safer environment because it forces those people to slow down and pay attention.

    A true protected bike lane on East and West Burnside would be a fantastic addition to Portland’s bike network and should be pursued ASAP.

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    • MaxD February 26, 2015 at 1:07 pm

      Adam H,
      I agree with your desire for curb-protected bike lanes, and bike facilities on E Burnside. I disagree with your take on people parking close to intersections slowing down through and cross traffic. In my experience riding through the Central east-side the last 7 years, Cars parked too close to intersection do not slow down other drivers. I agree that it should, the parked car/reduced visibility creates a danger and reducing speed is the prudent thing to do, but many cars just blow right through. In fact, many times a van or box truck parked too close to an intersection would effectively block the stop sign, and drivers would begin blowing through stop signs even though a stop bar was painted on the street. I am in favor of traffic calming measures, but I think this parking situation does not effectively (at least anecdotally) work and increases risks to pedestrians and bike riders

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    • Terry D-M February 26, 2015 at 2:23 pm

      I have been working on east burnside for over a year, it is on the map…..but PBOT I doubt, though they are not saying so, will do anything about that monster until after the ramifications of the Foster road diet reshuffle.

      I fully expect there to be a “trickle north effect” that will increase communter traffic on that pro-tem morning/evening lane from 41st to 68th. After a year or two….just after the regional transportation plan is approved in 2017….then they will prioritize money for THAT road diet. They take things one major commuter regional corridor at a time…..

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      • Adam H. February 27, 2015 at 9:54 am

        Except that the bike lanes going in on Foster will be mostly door-zone lanes.

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        • davemess February 27, 2015 at 12:24 pm

          Except they will be wide enough to avoid the door zone AND much of Foster’s parking is underutilized.

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          • Alex Reed February 27, 2015 at 12:33 pm

            The planned bike lanes (buffer+lane) for Foster are seven feet from 54th to 72nd and six feet from 72nd to 80th. I don’t personally count six feet as wide enough to avoid the door zone. I do my best for the two blocks I bike on SE Hawthorne between Grand and 7th, but avoiding the four-foot door zone involves biking uncomfortably close to the moving vehicles. I can’t think of a door-zone seven-foot bike lane example, but I suspect that I personally wouldn’t feel comfortable until a door-zone bike lane is at least 8′ wide including buffers.

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            • davemess February 27, 2015 at 2:47 pm

              I can appreciate that, but I think there are many out there who do feel comfortable with those dimensions.
              There’s been a very noticeable increase of cyclists on SE 52nd, with even a somewhat narrower parking strip, next to a six foot bike lane.

              I estimate most car doors can open about 3 feet max. Having three more feet on top of that is more than sufficient for me. Also I tend to be pretty aware of what cars are occupied (i.e. I’m constantly looking for people in the car). I do get surprised every now and then, but if, like passing cars on the right) you’re riding at least somewhat defensively and paying attention to your surrounding you can substantially decrease risk.

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              • Alex Reed February 27, 2015 at 5:05 pm

                1) Some car doors are four feet wide (some trucks and coupes) so please be careful.
                2) Designing and building brand-new bike facilities (such as six-foot door-zone bike lanes) that are only comfortable for a subset of current bikers, and likely not for hardly ANY new bikers, doesn’t strike me as a very effective way to increase biking. It’s better than nothing – I’m glad it will help confident cyclists like you! – but I don’t think moves the comfort bar high enough to contribute much at all to having biking in Portland start increasing again.

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              • Alex Reed February 27, 2015 at 5:09 pm

                Re: 52nd – I wonder to what extent the trips taken on it by bike are new bike trips vs. bike trips that would have taken another route and are now on 52nd. I suspect the split is something like 5%/95%.

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            • soren February 28, 2015 at 11:07 am

              Apart from door zones, my cohabitant has mentioned to me that she feels uncomfortable in the 6 foot lanes on Hawthorne when there is bike and/or car congestion.

              I don’t think its a coincidence that the minimum width of bike lanes in most of northern europe is about 8 feet (2.5 meters). IMO, an 8 foot buffered bike lane should be considered the starting point for new infrastructure in PDX.

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    • soren February 26, 2015 at 3:18 pm

      The problem is that a contiguous wall of parked cars hides cyclists from view until the pop “out of nowhere” at intersections and driveways.

      In 16 years of daily commuting the Broadway protected bike lane is the only place I’ve been right hooked.

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  • davemess February 26, 2015 at 12:55 pm

    “this in a city where hundreds of homeowners build structures to store their bikes.”

    I’m curious about what really makes these structure any different than a carport. The one you have pictured sure looks pretty similar to a garage, and many storage sheds that people keep bikes in are often of a similar footprint to a single car garage.
    I’m just questioning why we have to be anti-garage as a garage can be used for storing bikes?

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    • Adam H. February 26, 2015 at 1:28 pm

      I’m buying a house and plan to install some bike racks in the garage, as I do not own a car. There’s no reason why you can’t use a garage to store bicycles.

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      • Cory Poole February 27, 2015 at 10:34 am

        I thought thats what garages are for..

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    • Steve B February 26, 2015 at 1:49 pm

      The issue is not existing garages. Let’s say you don’t own a car, and want to build a bike shed. Right now you have to build with requirements that are designed for storing cars.

      “Building a Garage
      You will need to show how you will provide the required parking space. Parking in your driveway alone may not meet this requirement. A detached garage may have structural deficiencies that would need to meet building code standards

      The City requires that the garage be accessed via a driveway. If you don’t currently have a driveway you will be required to put one in. The driveway will need to be paved if it is within 150’ of an improved public right-of-way. For additional information on paving surfaces, see Portland City Code, Title 24.45.020.”

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      • davemess February 26, 2015 at 5:02 pm

        At the same time, I feel like the code is there for a reason, to prevent things like a good chunk of the city not having sidewalks because they didn’t think they were worth it for that first homeowner (or whoever paid for them initially).
        If you plan on being the only resident in your house forever than it makes sense to make a driveway/off street storage completely optional, but that isn’t the case for the vast majority of people out there.
        Without that code, you build your house without a driveway/garage, and sell it 5-10 years later to a family with 2-3 cars, who now will all be parking on the street.

        It’s great that there are a number of people out there who don’t own cars. But it’s somewhat irresponsible to just put our finger in our ears, hum, and pretend that people who buy your house in the future won’t.

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        • Pete February 26, 2015 at 5:44 pm

          For new construction this requirement translates into two 9’x18′ spots (in the OR codes that I know of) which could easily mean one driveway spot in front of a 1-car garage, depending on your setback. Installing a ‘green’ driveway (interspersed blocks with the right base, or porous materials like Grasspave) is an attractive option as well, and you have the added benefit of un-parkable curb space in front of your house for easy access to biking into your garage.

          But yeah, you’re really preventing the root cause that this article is addressing after you sell your house to the folks with two (or more) cars.

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          • Doug Klotz February 26, 2015 at 8:37 pm

            Currently only houses more than 500 feet from a Frequent Service Transit Street are required to have parking. Ironically, these are the places where there’s the least demand for on-street parking spaces. Where there’s the demand, is nearer these transit corridors where there is denser development. I advocate for, as a start, making the residential parking requirements the same everywhere in the city: No auto parking requirements for projects with less than 31 units, and requirements that increase from there. It makes little sense to have a house 450′ from said transit street not need off-street parking, and the one 50′ further away be required to have it.

            As for building a house without auto parking. That’s an economic choice. If you don’t include parking, it may affect the price you can sell the house for later. Today, that’s not much of a penalty except near corridors. As demand grows, and if there’s a permit system in place, the lack of parking could have a greater effect on retail value.

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            • Pete February 27, 2015 at 8:12 am

              Your argument makes sense; I’m not familiar with the rules in Portland proper. I definitely agree that the rules should be uniform throughout the zoning, and that you’d face value or even sales challenges without auto parking.

              I guess the question boils down to: is it a fair assumption that building large multi-family residences without dedicated auto parking spaces creates a localized demand for on-street parking? Therefore, if bicyclists are contending for removal of on-street parking for safety, should we be advocating for off-street parking written into zoning ordinances?

              Bonus question, should low-income (HUD-qualified) housing be exempt from off-street parking requirements to accommodate density under the assumption the occupants will tend not to afford car ownership? (This is the case in the Oregon zoning ordinances I know of).

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              • davemess February 27, 2015 at 9:30 am

                “Therefore, if bicyclists are contending for removal of on-street parking for safety, should we be advocating for off-street parking written into zoning ordinances?”

                I’ve tried to ask this question a few times on this site, and I think most just don’t want to address it.

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              • Michael Andersen (News Editor)
                Michael Andersen (News Editor) February 27, 2015 at 10:26 am

                Hey, Dave, I’ll try to explain my perspective on this.

                Off-street parking is necessary for a lot of buildings, just as chairs are necessary in restaurants. We don’t have laws setting minimum chair requirements for restaurants; restaurants are perfectly capable of providing their own chairs.

                As a result of this lack of a minimum chair requirement, many restaurants have over the years been able to come up with systems that avoid or minimize the need for chairs, something their customers don’t seem to mind, in part because it keeps prices low. Meanwhile, different restaurants continue to offer lots of chairs for those interested in paying for them.

                The problem here is that the public has distributed free chairs all over town and asked every restaurant to please share nicely with each other. This is a very good way to have every restaurant complain that they’re running out of free chairs.

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              • davemess February 27, 2015 at 12:32 pm

                Except using your analogy The vast majority of people still want to sit down when they go to a restaurant.
                And by not having any chairs in your newly built house you’re assuming that no one will ever need a chair in the future. And you’re forcing those future owners to use the public chairs, that apparently get in the way of people trying to bike.

                I get what you’re saying, but outside of guaranteeing by some method that people will not now or ever have any use for chairs you’re still going to see people using the public chairs.

                People will still want to sit down.
                I’m all for planning for the future, but not at a complete disregard for the present (esp. when one of the problems this future plan exacerbates becomes another issue that people are against).
                I just don’t think you can have it both ways, unless you have some pretty strict standards and regulations (like signing “no car” clauses into leases.

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              • Michael Andersen (News Editor)
                Michael Andersen (News Editor) February 27, 2015 at 2:19 pm

                I think I hear what you’re saying, too – that the zero-parking buildings developers have been building recently are likely to create parking spillover, even in the long run. I agree!

                But I think I’m failing to communicate part of my argument. I’m not arguing that apartment buildings should have zero parking, or that (in the analogy) restaurants should have zero chairs. I’m arguing that there’s a better way to make sure each individual building has more or less the parking it needs, but no more.

                We can easily ensure that new developments have adequate off-street parking without creating a harmful one-size-fits-all minimum that limits housing supply and forces car-lite households to pay for off-street parking spaces they don’t use. We just have to charge money for street parking.

                If we do that, developers who want to charge market-rate rent will be forced to build their own parking spaces (buy their own chairs). If the Richmond neighborhood had a $200 a year parking permit in 2009 plus meters on Division, a bunch of those developers would have included more parking in their buildings rather than just freeloading on the available curbside space. But there was no permit system, so they freeloaded. I’m saying we shouldn’t let them do that; it’s just a bad way to allocate resources.

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              • davemess February 27, 2015 at 2:55 pm

                Thanks for taking the time to discuss this.

                I am in agreement that in some neighborhoods permits are very likely going to be happening in the future.

                I do take some issue with this though: “We can easily ensure that new developments have adequate off-street parking without creating a harmful one-size-fits-all minimum that limits housing supply and forces car-lite households to pay for off-street parking spaces they don’t use.”

                That is fine for the initial owners or inhabitants, but we don’t currently have any way of guaranteeing that the next owners or inhabitants will have the same preferences. Or that the couple who builds a house without a driveway will have a child or two and realize that they want to get a car.
                I think you are on to something with parking permits though as this maybe would help select that the next owners/tenants would have a very high burden to own/park a car, so you might select for more people who don’t have a car.
                Until those permit systems (and other possible selective pressures) are in place though I just don’t think you can have the stance that you don’t want people parking on public streets and you don’t wan to make requirements for off street parking. People with cars will most likely keep their cars and they’ll find a way to park them somewhere (or they’ll move or look somewhere else where it will be easier for them).

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              • Michael Andersen (News Editor)
                Michael Andersen (News Editor) February 27, 2015 at 3:57 pm

                Hey, thanks for bringing it up politely and thoughtfully and helping me think about it too.

                It seems to me that we have a perfectly good way of matching future Portlanders to houses with the appropriate parking facilities. It’s the same system we use for matching people to restaurants with the appropriate seating level, for matching small marketing firms to buildings with the right quality of air conditioner, for matching teenagers to the right distribution of soda machines. There are lots and lots of options in the city and people look for one that’s got the right combination of price and services for them.

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        • Alex Reed February 27, 2015 at 11:02 am

          As we discussed in a previous thread ( , those of us who think the off-street garage and parking requirements are bad public policy think the subsidization of autos that results is a serious problem.

          In my neighborhood (FoPo), and I’d guess yours and many others, street parking is not scarce. I’d estimate that only 25-ish% of spaces are used on my block at any one time. In my opinion, we could afford to relax the off-street parking requirements in such neighborhoods even before implementing a fee-for-permit-parking system.

          However, sometime, the City should implement a residential parking permit system that costs a reasonable amount of money (one on the order of the cost to maintain a car-sized portion of street). That would give some relief even in neighborhoods where street parking is currently well-utilized. It would also eliminate the unfortunate current public policy in which people who don’t have as many cars/use them as much (and tend to be poor) subsidize parking for those who have more cars and use them more (and tend to be wealthier).

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          • davemess February 27, 2015 at 2:58 pm

            “In my opinion, we could afford to relax the off-street parking requirements in such neighborhoods even before implementing a fee-for-permit-parking system.”

            Would that truly be “bike-friendly auto parking reform” though?

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    • Gary February 26, 2015 at 1:56 pm

      It doesn’t say anything anti-garage. Only that you’d be able to receive credit for a bike parking facility instead of a car parking spot (such as a garage). Clearly there’s a lot of interest in a garage other than for parking a car.

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      • Chris I February 26, 2015 at 3:10 pm

        People use garages to park cars?

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        • Brad February 26, 2015 at 4:36 pm

          Not in my neighborhood! Every time I see an open garage in Kerns, it’s full of boxes, or maybe some kind of mechanic or woodworking shop.

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        • Dan February 27, 2015 at 9:05 am

          I use my garage to store 9 bikes and 2 trikes, and have it split in half with a bike work station on one side and traditional workshop on the other side. Sorry hon, no room for the car!

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      • Bald One February 27, 2015 at 10:19 am

        I would like to see City’s new home construction permitting for new driveways in residential areas take into consideration the placement of the new driveway relative to the neighbors’ existing driveways. New skinny home infill process typically they put the driveway wherever they want, and this frequently leaves a un-parkable gap between the existing curb cuts and the new curb cuts – further reducing available auto parking in the streets by piecemeal cutting up of the curb sections. They should make the infill homes place their driveways with some sense of preserving the curb sections to fit an auto there. So many 10 foot orphan sections of curb being left in the wake of infill where increased density making on-street auto parking more of an issue.

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        • davemess February 27, 2015 at 2:59 pm

          But where will all the Mini’s and Smart cars park? 🙂

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  • Terry D-M February 26, 2015 at 12:59 pm

    The auto parking on Glisan in front of Fred Meyer was foisted upon North Tabor for safety as PBOT “did not know what else to do” with the 22 foot lane. I have not met anyone in the neighborhood since it was striped that actually thinks it was a good idea……other than it is better than that HUGE swath of pavement the road diet left us. We want bike lanes … far as I can tell, almost unanimously. The North Tabor Board DID unanimously endorse removing that lane of parking in favor of a two way bikeway….and sent it off to the city as part of the public record on the comprehensive plan (comment on the map link below please). It would have been cheaper to do at the time when the new crossing at 66th was built (private donation), but alas, now we will have to go back YEARS later and retro-fit (project is on an 11-20 year timeline).

    Last summer on Halsey as well PBOT added permanent parking with little public notice as part of a repaving project just to the north, but back-tracked on a road diet east to 74th with bike lanes as this would require “more public outreach” and ‘Several houses were not notified.” North Tabor NA and Montavilla NA endorsed this modern safety configuration east of 67th that did not require any parking removal, groups representing 22,000 Portland residents ….but alas, the bar is higher for active transportation than it is for added parking. PBOT, the agency that talks the line, but when it comes time says……we do not have a policy on that.

    Hopefully, some policy changes will happen SOON so we can actually start doing these projects in a COST EFFECTIVE way instead of always having to go back and fix things.

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    • Todd Hudson February 26, 2015 at 2:08 pm

      Terry, I live near the Glisan Fred Meyer, and have *never* seen a car parked in those spaces they striped. Never, not once, even before Christmas or the Super Bowl.

      The re-configuration of Glisan is pretty disappointing overall. When they ground off the old stripes, they dug deep into the pavement, so there’s divots at regular intervals, down the entire stretch of road. They didn’t do any striping on the right side of the lane, so it gives the appearance of one really wide lane that encourages fast driving.

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      • Terry D-M February 26, 2015 at 2:17 pm

        I know…..I know. That roadway is way too wide there and parking is totally underutilized, so it wakes it more dangerous. Hoepfully, the lower speed limit will help.

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      • Brad February 26, 2015 at 4:39 pm

        Or of two lanes where the stripes have worn off and a driver drives way to the right thinking it’s a lane.

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  • davemess February 26, 2015 at 1:23 pm

    How about the city actually enforce distances you can park from corners, stop signs, driveways, and lights. There are way too many places here where intersections are made more dangerous for all (bikes, peds, cars) because people park all the way up to the corner, reducing (or eliminating) visibility.

    Some places it’s just hard for me to envision a traffic engineer trying turn or pull out of a driveway and thinking that it is actually safe with pretty much no visibility of oncoming traffic (looking at you Providence Cancer Center driveway on NE 47th (near Glisan)).

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    • Steve B February 26, 2015 at 1:42 pm

      Indeed! Interestingly, the rationale I have been given by multiple PBOT staff concerning why they do not restrict parking all the way up to the crosswalk is to maintain parking capacity. State law already prohibits parking of vehicles within 20ft of any crosswalk, and 50ft if your vehicle is over 6ft tall. Sadly, this is yet another example of PBOT prioritizing vehicle parking over safety and walkability.

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      • davemess February 26, 2015 at 5:03 pm

        yes, I have constantly heard “well we have really short blocks in Portland”.

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      • Dan February 27, 2015 at 9:09 am

        Wow, I didn’t realize that. The mid-block crossing near 7th and Multnomah has parking spaces 4 feet away from the crosswalk. You can be technically IN the crosswalk, and still be hidden behind a parked vehicle.

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        • paikiala March 2, 2015 at 2:10 pm

          The midblock crossing on Multnomah east of 7th has a buffered bike lane before entering the travel lanes on the north side and the south side buffered bike lane has a bike corral. On 7th south of Multnomah is looks like there is no parking on the street.
          Can you be more specific in your critique?

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    • Alex Reed February 27, 2015 at 12:39 pm

      I am in very strong support of this! I’m always afraid of cross-street stop-sign-ignorers when I’m biking on n’hood greenways.

      Parking removal for visibility would help in two ways:
      1) People biking on greenways could see potentially dangerous road users on cross-streets more easily and
      2) Responsible and alert road users coming to stop signs at cross-streets would be able to stop behind the crosswalk/sidewalk area and see enough of the road from there. Currently, most road users roll forward at two-way cross-street stop signs till they are almost in the intersection so they can see, and I’m never sure if one of these people sees me and is waiting (while rolling) or doesn’t see me and might decide to bolt through the intersection, putting me in danger. Both happen with fair frequency, at least on Clinton.

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  • bjorn February 26, 2015 at 1:25 pm

    The first place that on street parking should be removed and replaced with bike facilities is Sandy Blvd. It is by far the quickest way to bike from outer NE into Inner NE and downtown, plus the parking on Sandy actually causes most of the congestion on the street as cars stop and attempt to parallel park. Everyone would benefit from the removal of the parking on Sandy and there is plenty of parking on side streets to take up the demand.

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    • Adam H. February 26, 2015 at 1:32 pm

      I agree about Sandy, but would extend the sentiment to all major commercial streets – including Broadway/Weidler, Burnside, Hawthorne, Belmont/Morrison, etc. Basically any major street that leads to a bridge should have protected bike lanes.

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      • soren February 26, 2015 at 3:43 pm

        I think the addition of concrete bulb outs on many of those streets will prevent easy conversion of parking spaces to bike lanes. (PBOT is installing new bulb outs on Belmont right now.)

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        • ethan February 26, 2015 at 4:30 pm

          Do you happen to have a source about the bulbouts on Belmont? I scoured the PBOT site, but couldn’t find anything about the bulbs. I was in the area a bit ago and noticed that the streets were ground, but I was under the impression that they weren’t actually going to change anything.

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          • soren February 27, 2015 at 11:49 am

            Two curb extensions appear to be going in at 33rd and Belmont. These “improvements” create another barrier to extension of the infamous disappearing Belmont bike lane.

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      • Kyle February 26, 2015 at 5:13 pm

        Indeed. I started commuting to work via the NE Lloyd bike lane and the Steel bridge because it feels a hell of a lot safer than Ankeny does at the moment. On Ankeny it’s gotten so bad in the past year or so that I feel like I risk my life daily with hurried cut-through traffic and cross-traffic. On Lloyd nobody is “cutting through in a huge hurry,” so traffic is flowing as intended and it feels a lot safer.

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    • Mike Cobb February 26, 2015 at 1:51 pm

      Same wavelength, Bjorn. Thanks. Currently, I take Sandy all the time: irresistible expediency for traveling from my NE house to 75% of my destinations. The best test for my vehicular cycling skills, bravery, and road rage endurance.

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  • MaxD February 26, 2015 at 2:08 pm

    I would love to see the parking removed on Interstate Ave to connect the bike lane there! Hawthorne seems like a great candidate for bike lanes as the lanes between 20th and 39th are too narrow to drive in! Road diet that stretch and remove parking as needed to get a continuous bike lane from Grand to 60th

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  • kittens February 26, 2015 at 2:36 pm

    Seems to me most of the resistance to removing parking usually stems from unenlightened small business owners.

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    • davemess February 26, 2015 at 5:05 pm

      Do we really need to call people who have different priorities “unenlightened”?

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      • Adam H. February 27, 2015 at 9:52 am

        If they willfully ignore data, then yes.

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        • davemess February 27, 2015 at 3:00 pm

          The issue is that data and methods of data collection can be interpreted different ways.

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  • oliver February 26, 2015 at 2:42 pm

    “every single-family home in Portland is required to have room for two on-site auto parking spaces”

    I don’t think this is unreasonable, in many new builds this translates as a single car garage with a single parking space in front of it. The vast majority of all a garages that I’ve ever seen have their interior car parking spaces being taken up by “stuff” As very few of these new houses have basements anymore.

    One person’s single car garage is another person’s bike shed.

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    • ethan February 26, 2015 at 3:12 pm

      My problem with the garage is not that it can’t be re-used, or used for a purpose other than storing motorized vehicles; it’s that each one is required to have a paved driveway leading up to it. Every single house therefore has a large section of nonpermeable pavement that channels stormwater and increases environmental impacts. Additionally, many (most?) driveways have curb cuts in the sidewalk which makes the sidewalk unlevel.

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      • gutterbunnybikes February 26, 2015 at 4:42 pm

        No it’s pretty easy to make a garage a small auxiliary housing unit if one was so inclined. I’ve thought about doing to mine, but my carriage house is connected to the neighbors and we have liens on each others connected driveway, so there is a whole slew of extraneous legal stuff for me to do so. But most homeowners don’t have that problem.

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      • Pete February 28, 2015 at 11:32 pm

        There are options besides “nonpermeable pavement” for driveways. Unfortunately the cheapest and easiest ways for developers to conform to code is exactly as you say.

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    • Brad February 26, 2015 at 4:43 pm

      Garages should definitely not be required. They should be an optional addition. Also, if a garage has to go in, I think the permeable pavers are fantastic and so much better than just putting down a concrete slab.

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      • davemess February 26, 2015 at 5:06 pm

        “They should be an optional addition.”


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    • Doug Klotz February 26, 2015 at 8:41 pm

      This requirement is superseded when the house is less than 500 feet from a Frequent Service Transit Street. See earlier comment.

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    • Doug Klotz February 26, 2015 at 8:45 pm

      The requirement is not for a garage, it’s for a Parking Space. This Required Parking Space must be more at least 18′ from the front lot line. (the Required Space must be 9 x 18′, if I remember right) You can also park in that 18′ section of driveway that leads to the Required Parking Space. Thus the “two spaces” that is referred to on BikePortland.

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  • thefuture February 26, 2015 at 2:58 pm

    This whole parking for private vehicle issue is going to be a moot point in the not so distant future when driverless cars completely change the relationship people have with the automobile. Personal auto ownership will plummet in lieu of joining a service (such as UBER minus the human driver) where a car can be summoned at your point of departure and let you off at your destination then whisk off to pick up the next person. This idea of vast amounts of space and infrastructure dedicated to parking personal vehicles will be laughable. Buildings, especially those in urban areas, will be more worried about providing adequate pickup and dropoff locations in close proximity than massive parking lots. Huge areas of land will be made available for things such as parks, walkways, and yes bike boulevards where we previously accommodated parked cars. I’d love to see Portland be forward thinking about this, stop obsessing about parking for personal vehicles, and be the first major city to embrace the possibilities the driverless car will create. It’s really not that far away.

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    • davemess February 26, 2015 at 5:08 pm

      “where a car can be summoned at your point of departure and let you off at your destination then whisk off to pick up the next person.”

      We’ve had taxis for over 75 years, and yet there is still a very substantial percentage of the population that chooses to have their own car. Individual convenience and personal free run VERY deep in most American’s DNA. I wouldn’t expect that to change in the near future.

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      • thefuture February 27, 2015 at 6:49 am

        @davemess even if people still own their cars it will have the ability to go park itself somewhere else more efficient than directly next to the owner’s destination. BMW already had a crude version of it at auto shows this year. Parking could be much more centralized and efficient if the car can drive itself a little further than the owner wants to walk, rather than parking that is spread out everywhere taking up what could be space better utilized for public space and bikeways.

        A self-driving ‘taxi service’ would be much more efficient than the current model. Wait times will be vastly reduced and time to destination much faster which will increase adoption and reduce cost. Unfortunately part of that savings and increased efficiency will be taking the human driver out of the equation.

        All of this I think can be a huge benefit to bike infrastructure which I still see people using. Self driving cars will make roads much safer (less driver error, less distracted driving, less drunk driving, less road rage, etc) which will help those who were nervous to ride get on a bike.

        I just don’t see a huge fundamental change like this otherwise, and if the technology is utilized correctly it can have massive benefits for cities, environment, and people who bike.

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        • davemess February 27, 2015 at 7:15 am

          None of that changes the fact that the car will still need to be stored somewhere when the person is at home.

          You’re advocating for cars driving longer distances and eating up more fuel to find further away parking. That’s maybe helping one problem but just exacerbating another.

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          • thefuture February 27, 2015 at 7:49 am

            Back to my point of self driving cars vastly decreasing car ownership and in turn vastly reducing the number of vehicles on the road and necessary parking. Cars will be in use most of the time rather than the ridiculous amount of cars just sitting idle right now.

            Evidence shows that younger generations are increasingly rejecting car ownership due to its high cost and its becoming less of a status symbol over time. The kids would rather show off their smartphone than their car. Services like UBER have really upped the game of car sharing, but there’s still a possibly sketchy person at the wheel of a possibly sketchy car that is going to hinder mass adoption of such services. Self driving cars still allow people to be in a car by themselves plus it will show up much faster and get them to their destination more quickly. Wealthy people can have their fancy version with high end vehicles and low income people can have more economy versions. Young people and the elderly can get around safely. If its just one person a small single occupancy car will show up or if you want to move something a larger car. You’ll say “well there is Car2Go and Zipcar”, but those you still have to reserve and go walk to then worry about where you’re going to park it at the end (Zipcar more than Car2Go I realize).

            All of this adds up to less vehicles needed to do the same thing, way less space needed for parking, etc. Big picture a win for cities, the environment, and in a lot of ways for active transportation.

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      • soren February 27, 2015 at 10:42 am

        And this is why young people are favoring smart phones/alt-transport over cars.

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        • davemess February 27, 2015 at 3:02 pm

          While I will agree there is a trend. I a bit worried it has more to do with more young people being underemployed, unemployed, or living in their parent’s houses.

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  • Nick Falbo February 26, 2015 at 3:27 pm

    122nd is NOT where the bike lane vs. parking lane debate matters. Sure, the parking lane is little used, but that just makes it a de facto 12 foot bike lane today. What 122nd needs to become a better place to bike is fewer vehicle lanes, not fewer parking lanes.

    This debate is all about small streets, like 28th Ave, where there is limited room to provide comfortable mobility for all while maintaining parking.

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  • gutterbunnybikes February 26, 2015 at 4:38 pm

    I’d like to see the elimination of all time based parking zones. You know the ones that say you can park here during these hours and not at other times of the day.

    As an example, SE Thorburn (you know that nightmare where E burnside sorta turns into as it turns into Stark/Washington in Montavilla). That street has parking then not parking, then parking again later after the rush hours. Problem is that few use it at any time of the day, and often when in used it’s at the no parking hours.

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    • davemess February 26, 2015 at 5:09 pm

      Would you rather they just be travel lanes full time?

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      • gutterbunnybikes February 26, 2015 at 5:59 pm

        Anything would be better then the on again off again situation as it is now. Seems to me that the parking can disappear for one part of the day, that it could pretty much disappear the rest of the day as well.

        Though with my example of Thorburn, removing the lane/parking would leave plenty of room for some protected bike paths, which would be a great connecter from middle east side to Montavilla/Gateway as well as a connector between the 50’s bike project to the (hopefully soon) 70’s bike project as well.

        But yes i’d rather it all be traffic (even if it was just for cars)or parking, the whole swapping of roles creates more headaches than benefits.

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    • Doug Klotz February 26, 2015 at 8:53 pm

      The latest traffic engineering term seems to call the on-and-off lanes “pro-time lanes”. The reconstruction of Division St, just finished, removed these lanes between 13th and 19th, and 21st and 26th. Although this allowed all-day parking, it also allowed for curb extensions to make it easier for people to cross the street, and allowed for curb extensions with swales in them. Now I did advocate that all such swales be not on Division, but around the corner on side streets where they could capture almost as much water, and leave more space for walking, café tables, and other more useful things.

      Now that it’s done, it’s clear that there’s not really much demand for parking on lower Division. Better to trim back some curb extensions and put in bike lanes on both sides. Unfortunately, the four-lane section still remains from 13th west, and between 19th and 21st, so that would prove difficult. If that could be dealt with, the south side curb extensions would be fairly easy to remove, as there are no trees or swales in them (for reasons of infrastructure that exists below that curbside lane). Then the centerline could be shifted over, for instance.

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      • rick February 27, 2015 at 9:55 pm

        Many disabled need the curb extensions.

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  • rick4redelectrictrail February 26, 2015 at 6:28 pm

    I’d like a removal of many parking lanes.

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    • ethan February 26, 2015 at 8:06 pm

      That would be great. Downtown Portland has about 46,000 auto parking spots (don’t quote me on that), about 4,000 of them are in smart park garages. And around 9,000 of them are on the street. Many of the streets with on street parking (like SW Pine) are practically lined on both sides by off street parking. Removing spots like these and other redundant spots, we could have a very functional bike network through downtown. In many cases, you could have bi-directional lanes for bikes. Even if half of the on street parking gets turned to bike facilities, that would only lower the total parking by 10% or so. That shouldn’t be too hard for a city that wants a 25% bike share.

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      • rick4redelectrictrail February 26, 2015 at 10:47 pm

        The 3rd Ave / Burnside area needs help.

        One place where parking lanes on both sides of a busy street are being removed is on SW Oleson Road by the Fanno Creek bridge. $7.3 million dollars and the suburban neighbors support it.

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  • Todd Boulanger February 27, 2015 at 4:21 am

    As one who has worked on parking removal, supplementation and enforcement…

    PLANNING: remember that the primary role of public streets is for the safe movement of people…storage of vehicles is secondary, especially when it conflicts with safe passage. (Not to say that parking has no value, especially in business areas…but it should not be the paramount function of public space…and then back to the objectives under a green hierarchy.) This ties back into Vision Zero.

    BUSINESS PARKING: there should be NO non-metered on-street parking in any commercial district, as this affects turn over and thus access to the very businesses complaining about lack/ loss of parking. [And off-street parking should be nominally “taxed” since its provision (over supply) negatively affects the urban city (runoff, transit viability, air quality, heat island, etc.] Additionally, all loading zones should be metered too.

    LOADING ZONES: are very important…but they are often in the wrong place AND they are often being abused for non loading tasks. Additionally, service companies (making daily and weekly deliveries to restaurants esp.) have adopted oversized trucks to make deliveries…why is a >60k GVW heavy goods truck needed to regularly deliver limited quantities of paper towels, beer, etc. in the city center? It makes no sense…for the general public nor the delivery driver who struggles to find parking for such a beast.

    PARKING DESIGN: PBoT should strongly consider revising how it looks at parking. Such as adopting street designs that are flexible in their street standards (raised areas that convert to other uses in priority periods), time limited parking areas, abolishing traditional diagonal on-street parking on most commercial streets (>10 mph 85th percentile speeds >1500 ADT). If it is still needed then install back-in parking (only on right curb side of street).

    CAR-LIGHT ZONES: The recent fight over parking free multifamily buildings highlighted the issue of misallocated residential off-street parking (structures built after 1910 with a garage)…for uses other than vehicle storage…its “ok” to not use your garage/ driveway to park a car…but just do not complain when you cannot find room on the street to park your car because your [future] neighbor is doing the same. The shift to transit use, walking and bicycling to work has also perversely increased the frequency of street parking of “Gorge Cars” (my term), that high mileage car covered in leaves/ moss that sits unmoved except for a “monthly” trip to the coast/ mountains or COSTCO.

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  • matt picio February 27, 2015 at 4:14 pm

    And by not having any chairs in your newly built house you’re assuming that no one will ever need a chair in the future.

    And why, exactly, should there be a requirement for the current owner of a home to provide for all future potentials uses of a (notional) future owner? If a garage and driveway do not currently exist, and I don’t plan to own a car but want to build a bike “garage”, why is it my responsibility to construct and pay for that? The buyer can do that themselves, or they could decide to buy a different house.

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    • Pete February 28, 2015 at 11:59 pm

      My building shares a driveway with a newer triplex that required two parking spots per unit. The developer, like most do, designed the building to maximize lot utilization. There were two one-car garages, two usable spaces, and, quite frankly, two unparkable spaces that I pointed out to the building department during plan review. Today the building is occupied by a young couple who parks both of their cars on the street (garage is for toys; actually quite a few bikes), a single mother with two driving-aged children who parks one car in the driveway and one or two on the street, and another single woman who actually parks invariably in her garage or on the street.

      I think what davemess is saying is that bike-friendly auto parking reform seems to imply removing parking from streets, and if you do so, you need to make sure the cars have a place to go. Given that bicycle mode share is still 10% or lower in Portland, and that most bicyclists also drive, it’s a pretty safe assumption that a majority of households (now and in the future) will have at least one car. Building codes requiring off-street parking at least allows for the removal of on-street parking which, arguably, creates the opportunity for safer bike lanes.

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      • soren March 1, 2015 at 9:03 am

        ” Building codes requiring off-street parking at least allows for the removal of on-street parking which, arguably, creates the opportunity for safer bike lanes.”

        I disagree. Building codes requiring off-street parking make it easier to keep and park cars. These codes subsidize and reinforce car-dominant culture. Increased competition for a limited number of on-street parking spaces would help make PDX a more sustainble and livable city.

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        • Oregon Mamacita March 2, 2015 at 9:15 am

          Can you point to any data that suggests that the removal of parking and other tactics intended to reduce auto ownership and use have actually reduced driving in Portland?
          Last I checked, biking was stagnant, transit was stagnant and over 70%
          of Portland residents drove alone to work. That figures have not budged probably will not budge because the average Portlander likes cars. Clinton St. is the emblem of how PBOT’s attempts at social engineering via traffic engineering have failed. The road diet just caused the traffic to move to Clinton.

          So- why should these policies that have failed up until now magically start working?

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          • Alex Reed March 5, 2015 at 1:06 pm

            Here’s Oregon-side-of-the-metro region-wide data:


            The Portland-area decline in VMT per capita has been more dramatic than for the US as a whole and started earlier. A reasonable hypothesis is that the main salient differences between our area and the country as a whole are in planning and transportation policy. In general, those differences are the UGB, a higher starting level of bike/ped/transit-friendliness, more bike/ped/transit infrastructure construction, and less auto-oriented infrastructure construction.

            I suspect that any research into the effects of any one project or policy, except for an especially dramatic one, would find the “noise” overwhelming the “signal.” Mostly likely not because the “signal” is small, but because it’s distributed over many, many drivers and with plenty of “noise.”

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            • Oregon Mamacita March 5, 2015 at 4:58 pm

              Can we please have more facts? The drop in car registration could have some non-bikey causes. For instance, working at home, unregistered cars,
              and a poor economy all contribute to fewer registered cars. Transit use and bike commuting are flat- so I still don’t see a full picture of what is going on, especially in East Portland where infrastructure and transit are crappy.

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              • Alex Reed March 6, 2015 at 7:06 am

                Those are some reasonable hypotheses. I would be interested to see any data you dig up on them. For example, if working from home increased much more in Portland than the nation over the 1990-2012 period, or employed persons per capita decreased much more in Portland than the nation over the 1990-2012 period, then those could explain some or all of the difference (although work trips are I believe a minority of total miles driven, the money to pay for cars, gas, insurance, and maintenance is an important cause of driving).

                Note that the data from the link above is on the number of miles traveled, not the number of cars registered. It is, of course, possible that the data ultimately comes from car registrations. In that case, you could look for data showing that unregistered cars increased more in Portland than in the nation at large.

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              • Oregon Mamacita March 6, 2015 at 9:17 am

                Alex, I am not finding the numbers re:telecommuting. We do know the number of companies that say they permit telecommuting has risen from 23 to 38 percent. Maybe the census has something more solid.

                When we look at something as multi-faceted as the reasons people drive, I suspect we will find a whole bunch of factors-cultural, technological etc.
                Some factors may cancel each other out- more interest in biking but a
                smaller number of people fit enough to bike (we do know the army has a real problem with finding physically fit recruits).

                I have a theory (just that) that people may be moving around less, period.
                Fewer VMT, but no major increases in transit and biking. Perhaps computers keep us at home.

                I would also want to look at home based businesses & the use of Amazon & Zappos. You can work from home & shop from home nowadays.

                The story is still unfolding. I sure would like to have more facts.

                I tend to think that under-registration of cars is not a big factor because
                you will get towed with expired tags. I see what looks like homeless car campers with good tags.

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    • davemess March 2, 2015 at 1:12 pm

      Or (and more likely) they would just choose to park their car(s) in the public street.

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  • Parker Knight February 28, 2015 at 12:21 am

    How come motorcycle/moped is not parallel option along with bicycle to alternate to vehicle?

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    • Michael, BikePortland February 28, 2015 at 8:04 am

      Great point! What would a motorcycle-friendly parking reform look like?

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      • rick March 2, 2015 at 5:18 pm

        It would have more parking spots in town centers.

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  • rick March 29, 2016 at 9:11 pm

    TriMet bus 55 is being changed on SW Hamilton Street because many people close to bus 55 simply opt for the frequent service given by bus 54 and 56 on BH Highway and Scholls Ferry.

    Auto-parking reform is needed in downtown Beaverton. too much asphalt.

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