After months of research and discussion with a massive stakeholders’ group, the Portland Bureau of Transportation on Thursday circulated its first concept for how to deal with shortages of free on-street car parking in some neighborhoods.
The proposal, which the city described Friday as “preliminary,” combines two main ideas:
1) Neighborhoods would get the option to vote to start charging themselves a yet-to-be-determined amount for overnight street parking, and
2) people who live in most of the buildings along commercial corridors wouldn’t get to park in permit-parking areas overnight unless people who live in nearby residences don’t want the space.
The second aspect, which is arguably the defining concept of the proposal, would be accomplished through the city’s zoning code. In any new parking district, residents of buildings in “residential” zones would get the first chance to purchase parking permits. But mixed-use, industrial and employment zones — zones that line almost every crowded commercial corridor in Portland where street parking is scarce — wouldn’t be included in the parking district. This would mean residents there would only be able to purchase parking permits if the “supply” of local parking spaces on nearby residential blocks (as determined by the city) exceeds the “demand” from residential zones.
“Any blockface within the permit area that fronts a residentially‐zoned property could be signed for use by permit holders,” the city’s proposal explains.
For example, here’s a map of the zoning on North Mississippi Avenue. Mixed-use and industrial zones, whose residents would be last in line for parking permits, are marked in red and purple. Residential areas, further from the Mississippi corridor, are marked in other colors.
The permit plan doesn’t offer solutions for what to do about parking on the commercial streets themselves. Options could include meters, shorter-term parking areas, shared off-street parking and other tools.
“Meters are a separate issue,” city project manager Grant Morehead wrote in an email Friday, by way of a city spokesman. He said the neighborhood stakeholder group will tackle that subject in September.
Two other key issues that hasn’t yet been tackled: how much the permits would cost and where the money would go.
Portland’s proposed parking reform could have major long-term impacts on the way the city grows and develops. For example, as our series on the Lloyd District has shown, the transition to paid parking in 1997 was arguably the most important change that set that area on the path to its imminent redevelopment into a dense, potentially bike-oriented urban area.
“If this was the permit program we had in place five years ago, the Division Street battle over parking might have turned out a lot differently.”
— Tony Jordan, centers and corridors stakeholder advisory committee
Advocates for dense, bikeable development hope that paid parking permits will be a way for central Portland neighborhoods to keep adding new housing without also setting aside more and more space for free or cheap car parking.
“If this was the permit program we had in place five years ago, the Division Street battle over parking might have turned out a lot differently,” said Tony Jordan, a member of the city’s stakeholder groups who has advocated for the city to start phasing out its subsidy of auto parking by charging people to store cars on the street. “Armed with the opportunity to permit up as construction set in, neighbors in affected areas might have incentivized developers to add parking or truly work to attract car-free tenants. In areas where the proverbial animals have already left the barn, a system like this will hopefully put pressure on the current landlords to do the latter.”
The detailed proposal from Morehead starts on page 8 of this PDF. Morehead circulated the concept in an email Thursday to members of the “centers and corridors” stakeholder advisory group that has been advising the city on parking reform.
Here’s a crucial passage in the proposal, in which Morehead describes the way that residents of buildings along a corridor might be able to buy parking permits after residents of homes off the corridor have had their chance:
The total number of permits issued within an area would be capped, based on a standard formula that is related to the total supply of on‐street parking. The concept does not include a cap on the number of permits issued to any one address; rather, it proposes a progressive pricing scheme (the second permit would cost more than the first, the third would cost more than the second, etc.). Properties with available off‐street parking would automatically start at the rate for a second permit. Daily guest permits would be available; these are typically sold in packets of 10.
If demand for permits exceeds supply, a waiting list would be maintained. If supply of permits exceeds demand, a neighborhood could decide to sell surplus permits to people outside the area. That would be a detail to be worked out in each implementation plan.
How often would demand for parking permits exceed supply in a given district? That’s hard to say, because if people had to pay for curbside parking permits, they might be more likely to park in garages and driveways, or less likely to have cars at all. However, here’s a map (prepared for the stakeholder advisory committee) that shows the intense demand for the curbside auto parking the city currently provides for free in the Mississippi Avenue area:
“A lot of details remain to be worked out,” Morehead added in the Friday email. “The SAC will surely have a lot to say about this idea.”
Update: The committee, which consists overwhelmingly of residents of residential zones, pretty much liked the proposal.
Seems like a recipe for the “residential” folks to have a huge incentive to keep prices far below market value.
The major problem we have with parking in Portland is a cultural one, not a matter of supply/demand. It’s common, even desirable, for most of the parking along or near major commercial corridors to be occupied. But that’s a major change for people who have lived in these areas forever, and are used to parking right in front of their home or business. I fear that this new policy exacerbates that mindset, reaffirming local homeowners’ “right” to the space (no doubt at below market values) while nearby apartment dwellers become the “other” residents that apparently lack full rights to the neighborhood where they live and play and pay taxes.
This is the sort of thing where a lot more can go wrong than can go right. Statistically, it’s a bad play.
Also, I should say that I dislike the City’s convention of producing maps where parking occupancies above 85% are indicated in red. For busy sections of the City, ~85% is considered the ideal utilization rate; anything below that and you’re not maximizing utilization of a valuable resource (space). So what you’re seeing is many block faces that have occupancies in or near the ideal range that look like they’re overcrowded given the alarming red line (I did the data collection for this project).
Definitely agree about the red marking. What we should be marking with red (=danger, =debt, etc.) is the empty parking spaces — where we’ve overprovided car parking and are paying for it financially, environmentally, and in terms of using our public spaces yet not maximizing public benefit. The areas that should be marked green are those areas that being more fully used (85%+, plus bike corrals or parklets). That’s where the city is better using its resources to meet what people are wanting, and the targets virtually all the parking experts recommend.
I would disagree the map above: “shows the intense demand for the curbside auto parking the city currently provides for free in the Mississippi Avenue area.” There is not a spot on the map that’s more than one block away from a <85% occupied block face. And if the map was enlarged to show the surrounding five blocks as well, I'd bet you would find parking supply is plentiful for those willing to walk five minutes.
Hard to tell someone who has been parking on the street in front of their house for 20 years that they now have to pay for the privilege.
This plan attempts to get at the balance between existing low density housing and proposed high density housing. Many neighborhoods have been angered when a new high density buildings comes in with high on-site parking rates causing the tenants/owners to park in the surrounding neighborhoods. There definitely needs to be some sort of permit system but this seems overly complicated and more focused at revenue generation and social engineering.
Overly complicated? Focused on revenue generation and social engineering? I don’t see that anywhere. I can promise you, revenue generation is something PBOT is definitely not pushing.
Would you care to elaborate? Propose a more simple solution.
I’m not saying I love this proposal, but those are the critiques I’d make of it.
Giving something of value (200sq ft of public right of way) for free is also social engineering. It goes both ways.
In that case, sidewalk space has value and we should charge for parking bikes.
Revenue generation may be a tiny part, but social engineering is silly. You do understand the concept of supply and demand right? If any social engineering is going on it’s the free, subsidized car storage on city streets. Paying a little bit for a parking permit is going to ensure that long-time resident has a place to park. It’s not too hard of a sell if there’s already a parking shortage or that there’s data that shows in X amount of time there will be a shortage.
Is I-5 really zoned Open Space?
That seems a little perverse.
I guess this seems like a decent compromise. Could push more cars off the streets and into people’s driveways and garages (and giving them first dibs could appease some of the “we’ve been here longer” crowd). This could open up more paid parking for people in low or no parking buildings, and further entice some of those residents to maybe get rid of their car.
So the current residents have to pay for parking now because the developers of the luxury apartments cut corners. Why should the residents be punished?
I guess my developer cut corners when he built my 1922 house without a parking garage. But my neighborhood has no permit system, so I can store as much private property on the street as I want for free!
Your neighborhood hasn’t a permit system… yet.
See comment bellow about storing things in the road for free.
Also how the heat treating you?
So people who have been mooching off the government and putting their private belongings on the street finally have to pay for it? Finally. They should have been paying from the start.
Don’t come crying to me when progress sweeps through your neighborhood and you have to pay $15 a day to park your car while you ride your bike to work.
I don’t have a car… I have a bike. Plus, if I did have a car, the city decided for me that my house should have a driveway and a garage.
Do you feel you should pay to park your bike on a sidewalk? You are obviously having your bike parking subsidized if you lock it up anywhere other than a private residence.
Yes, if you park it there overnight — I know of noone who parks their bike on public property overnight (except for homeless folks). My bike has a home, in my garage and on my property– so does my car! Public parking should be used to enhance the economy by allowing people to visit and do business in other neighborhoods. In other words, as a tool to increase the tax base. It should not be sanctioned to use tax payer developed land to provide permanent, guaranteed overnight storage. If you buy a house or rent an apt that is not spacious enough to fit your personal property and you based that decision on the plentiful amount of nearby public property available to store your property on, too bad if the amount of space is reduced in the future!! You gambled and you lost, that’s the risk you took.
Oh, and btw. I have paid to have my bike stored on public property. AT the Sunset TC they charge bicyclists a daily fee to use the storage area. I gladly paid it and I would have paid more. Motorists, on the other hand, are charged ZERO to use the same Sunset TC parking garage that fills up by 7am every weekday.
“when progress sweeps through your neighborhood ”
You only have to pay if the developer of your house cut corners and didn’t provide sufficient off street parking.
And how long will our driveway last before the city comes and makes us an offer to buy that part of our lot for super-skinny infill housing?
Wasn’t sure the city did that… do you have an example of this?
This implies an arbitrary decision to double/triple/quadruple-tax Portland locals for accessing their own property. This is false. The plan to build massive apartment complexes in locals’ backyards, providing zero off-street car parking, just to turn around and tax the locals, yet again, to park on their own streets, is a deliberate mandate from Metro and the City. A policy which enjoys overwhelming support from Maud, and everybody he hasn’t censored off his site.
Why should residents of high-density apartments be punished?
Why should renters be punished? Home owners don’t own the streets.
Also where am I going to store my uhall shed for free?
YES!!! Finally someone is spittin’ logical game regarding use of our public ROW’s. 100% in favor of this. Lets make it happen.
Lets not forget that its the developers fault for building luxury condos with no parking spots for there tenants BMW and Audi branded vehicles.
You could put the impetus on home owners to use their lots to build parking spaces/garages, as well. They really shouldn’t have more of a right to the street than anyone else that live in the neighborhood; it’s part of life in the city.
Seems like a decent idea, but I’m a bit wary on the residents voting to charge themselves. PBOT will have to a lot os selling residents on the idea.
Also, without imposing parking maximums on multi-family housing buildings, won’t developers just build more off-street parking to compensate?
i don’t think it will be a hard sell really. when they complain about not having anywhere to park their third or fourth car, mention the permit system. when they vote it down the first time, and then call to complain about people taking their spaces, remind them of the permit system.
after awhile, it’ll practically sell itself.
“Also, without imposing parking maximums on multi-family housing buildings, won’t developers just build more off-street parking to compensate?”
That has definitely not been the trend recently. I can’t envision that being an issue given current occupancy rates and developers desires to maximize profit.
And wouldn’t that be better anyway, to get more cars off the street (and possibly build more bike infrastructure)?
Some believe that providing more parking spaces incentivizes people to drive their cars. After all, they have that reserved space waiting for them. The on-street parking will be filled one way or the other. The cars that are being driven are more of a hazard to bicyclists and pedestrians than cars that are parked.
and a moving bike is more of a hazard to a cyclist than one that is parked at home. Solution: walk or stay at home.
I think it’s premature to talk about maximums when we still have minimums in place.
There are maximums and minimums in some zones already. Pages 6-8 have the highlights.
Discourages vehicle having/hoarding/squatting. Can’t happen soon enough! Applause!
Where do you “squat” your car when you ride your bike?
Did you forget that some of us don’t have a car?
“Did you forget that some of us don’t have a car?”
Yeah, but 75% of the people in a “car-free” apartment without parking **do** have a car.
It is my understanding that
(a) that ratio is somewhat contested, and
(b) as stated in the article, “if people had to pay for curbside parking permits, they might be more likely to park in garages and driveways, or less likely to have cars at all.”
i hope mine was parted out, but it may have gone to a landfill
Don’t have a car, as of two years ago. Finally became untenable to have one in Portland, so my husband and I got rid of the Honda Civic HX we’d shared since ’96. Even when we had it, we took the bus and rode our bikes and walked to avoid the heinous parking situation around the city. We used it for trips out of the city. When we go places out of the city now, we take a van or bus but have used Zipcar. We’ve saved a lot of money and aggravation–I can’t say I’ve missed having a car at all.
Hi WAR–for what it’s worth, the squatters I was referring to are the car collector people like the guy I lived across from who had five vehicles parked on the street that he shuffled around daily. Or the other neighbor with the perma-parked rotting motor home and boat. When you think you have free storage space, it makes it a lot easier to decide to get that derelict classic VW van you’ll fix up “someday.”
My proposal to help solve the parking squeeze in these neighborhoods, and to raise money for safety projects city-wide:
Every citizen living in the City of Portland who wishes to park a motor vehicle on the street will now need a resident parking pass. Resident passes are issued based on your current address and are good for one year. Base price in 2016 would be $50 per year, city-wide. Neighborhood zones will be defined, to ensure that only 90% of available parking spaces in a zone have an available permit for a given year.
At the end of each year, you have the option to renew your permit. Any available permits for the next year will be auctioned to the highest bidder. For areas like Mississippi, Hawthorne, etc, the price of permits will likely rise quickly, as demand outstrips availability. The following year, the renewal price in that parking zone will increase to match the average of the auctioned permits from the previous year. If residents do not want to pay the higher price, or move out of the zone, their permits are then available for auction.
This system does not play favorites. It doesn’t matter if you live in a house, or an apartment, if you’ve lived here 2 years or 20. Everyone is equal. If you want to store your private property on the increasingly valuable public street space, you have to pay the market rate. If $150 per year is too much to store your 1989 Honda Civic that you use twice a month on Alberta, then you have the choice to get rid of it and avoid the cost of parking.
The problem in Portland right now is that people are moving into congested neighborhoods and expecting to park their car on the street. This program would eliminate that expectation. You can move to the neighborhood, but you better be ready to bid for a parking permit when it comes up in January. The reality for most of the city would be immediate permit availability, but certain neighborhoods would be highly competitive, and would essentially be considered “car free” zones by prospective tenants or homeowners.
This is a great idea. In the name of fairness, it should be extended to any vehicle that uses public space/infrastructure to park/store private vehicles.
This would include bicycles as well…in the name of fairness.
Is there even anyplace where residential bike parking in the actual street is possible? I know I’d park my bike in my living room before I’d leave it lying in the street all night.
I know you’re trying to balance out the discussion here, but making this a point of “fairness” just seems moot.
This does not go far enough! Renters should also carry identification or wear an embroidered R on their clothing.
Not all renters live in apartments and most (current) apartments aren’t in commercial or MU zones. This is less about renter vs. owner and more about TOD (transit oriented development) vs. traditional residential development.
I think it’s VERY important to recognize that we don’t want to force parking in apartments (affordability) and most of us defended that practice by saying that these residents likely wouldn’t own cars. It’s time to see some walking of the talking here.
Fook yeah! Comment of the week!
I’m glad to see a serious move towards paid street parking but I am troubled by the creating of second class citizens. Why should your living arrangement alter your ability to use space in the public right of way? It’s not like these existing home owners are contributing disproportionately towards paying for parking infrastructure. the permits of any area should be first come first serve to ANY individual who can prove residency.
just get rid of permits completely… you have no right to park on the street over anybody else… quit asking the government to store your 2-tons of personal property and take some responsibility for your things…
Agree, unless you own (or lease) a space to park your car, you have no right to complain having no where to put it when you’re not driving it.
I also think that the owners of homes with off-street parking ought to go to the end of the line for street parking passes as well.
I don’t care if you came to Oregon in a covered wagon.
Seems like a less than fair, but reasonable solution. I say “less than fair” because streets are the public domain and everyone should have the same right to use them in the same way. However, if this makes the “residential” class feel better about infill, that’s a good outcome.
What is the “residential class”? People who live in residences?
“everyone should have the same right to use them in the same way”
I agree with you when it comes to using the streets for
– going places
– jumping rope
– chatting with neighbors
but not so much when it comes to
– vehicle storage.
this obviously means they’ll be denying parking permits to all people who don’t have a driveway…
Nope. Those houses will get the lowest price for the permits! Houses with driveways will have to pay the higher price! Kinda crazy, no?
Well if a driveway takes up the width of a parking space it makes sense that that homeowner should pay more. (spoken as a person with a driveway)
Short-term driveway rentals will be the next big thing.
Currently illegal, but hopefully legalized (with rules in place to prevent people building parking lots) when the single family zoning is reviewed.
Can I buy all of the left over, below market value spots?
I don’t like people parking in front of my house, so if I buy 10 of them, chances are my street wont have many people on it.
Main Idea #1-We get to vote to charge ourselves for a parking permit. I can’t wait to see that reported in the Oregonian. The commenters will bring their servers to a halt. Seriously, we are a very long way culturally from any sense that the space in front of our residence is for anything except our vehicle(s), at least in cities like Portland. In New York or Boston or London, it may be different. I think the concept has merit and no question that public streets are not private parking spots. I endorse an approach like the one reported here. But, it’s gonna be a hard sell. Remember that city street fee proposal and how we welcomed it with open arms?
Lots of neighborhoods have Area Parking Permits. Those are enacted at the request of the neighborhood. This is just a different way of allocating the permits.
“If this was the permit program we had in place five years ago, the Division Street battle over parking might have turned out a lot differently”
This is a good start but we also need to address overcrowding at hot dining and drinking spots. I suggest that we also institute a permit system for reservations and restaurant lines! If there is sufficient space a renter should be allowed to enter but otherwise homeowners should always have priority.
I have some longer term dreams that would allow for metering in these residential areas. Gotta get residents thinking of $$$ on every parking space first.
Sure, this is arguably unfair to people who live on commercial streets, but without some system like this, the whole idea of low-parking and no-parking buildings is a total bust, as we’ve seen already. At least with a permit system, we can go back to letting developers build no-parking buildings with some confidence that the residents will actually use transit and bikes rather than cars.
Developers will only build no-parking buildings when they can externalize their parking costs onto the surrounding neighborhoods.
I don’t know how true this really is. Plenty of owners of craftsmans have externalized their parking onto the street too by building ADUs, filling their garages with other things, building additions, etc.
It would be nice if paying for a parking permit in a city was just an expectation, regardless of housing style choice. If there was actually a market for parking, houses with driveways would be prized and priced accordingly, and (hopefully for us car free folks) the price of apartments/condos/houses without parking would fall.
That has been true so far only because it’s possible for them to do so. Isn’t the point of this proposal to rule this out from future no-parking development?
I somewhat like this idea. There’s a limited amount of street space. Dense buildings have less road space per unit.
However, I like the auction idea (mentioned by Chris above) better.
I like the auction idea too, but would take it a step further. I want to hold an auction for individual spaces. I am willing to pay more for one in front of my residence; those further afield, with fewer bidders, would be cheaper, and this way, the parking resource would be allocated most efficiently.
I understand what you’re going for, but I don’t like the thought of potentially turning a public resource into something only available to the wealthy. What if your obscenely rich neighbor chooses to buy out the street? If we’re considering this a public resource, it should be reasonably available to all.
Easily dealt with — limit the number of permits that can be purchased by a given household.
Does the property line extend into the roadway? How much of the costs of roads are covered by a street frontage tax, so no matter how big a development there is, from a one story house with a large yard to a fifty story tower, it’s a flat rate per foot of street frontage?
This code would be a huge step in the right direction, but it’s irritating that the people the “residential class” love to hate on — renters — get some sort of weirdly second-class status in this arrangement. It’s not as if renters were in charge of the city code, nor the development arrangement that yielded <1 parking spots per resident in some buildings. Not sure why owners of the craftsmans get more claim over a public good. The only sort of preferential treatment here should be for equity or disability reasons, not housing choice (or means).
There’s lots of renters who will have an entitlement to a permit too. It’s residents of buildings in transit oriented development. The city, ostensibly, invested lots of money for those areas to be amenable to car-free lifestyles and I don’t think it’s totally insane to expect that the residents have some intention to do so.
This lets us allocate “car free” apartments to those who would benefit most; i.e. those that are actually car free.
If this is transit oriented development can the renters get a lane on the arterial for buses and another for bikes? Or is public space reserved for richer car owning homeowners at least a block away?
Tony, I hear you, but I’m not sure how you can say that Mississippi Ave apartment buildings are more transit-oriented than housing in the three blocks between Mississippi and I5. If you live on N Missouri, for example, you are two blocks from the bus line on Mississippi, but you’re also just across the footbridge from the Yellow Max line.
I think for those of us who frequent this site, it’s not a big difference. If you have ever met with a bunch of average Portlanders, you will probably recall that they are terrified of walking 3-4 blocks unless it’s for recreation. I think that many people’s idea of a “walkable” neighborhood is one where there’s some pretty flowers planted along the sidewalk and there’s no one else walking nearby.
Homeowners in transit oriented development also benefit from improvements, by way of more frequent buses (sometimes, not always), street safety improvements, not to mention the rise in property values (good for individual owners, bad for overall affordability, of course). Thus, I’m still unsure why apartment dwellers in transit oriented development get the “last in line” spot. Not all car free people live in apartments, some are even homeowners! I think this whole hierarchy rests on a flawed assumption that homeowners aren’t also sometimes car free.
If they don’t own a car, their position in line doesn’t really matter.
Will home-owners on the same “transient-oriented streets” also be excluded from obtaining parking permits? And, if not, why not?
I believe they would. The plan is about geography, not ownership.
Honestly, if you moved to Portland after say 1973, you shouldn’t be allowed to own or drive a car.
China implements a similar system; you need to bid through an auction to purchase a driver’s license and a car permit. Without which you cannot drive or even purchase an automobile.
Would they (we) get to pay lower taxes as well, since you’re denying us access to this infrastructure?
This wouldn’t effect me personally, but even if you started today, I can’t see the logic of denying the newcomer. Would they be denied access to parks as well? Sidewalks? Schools? Rezoning and increased density is a different challenge, that must be addresses, but residency term seems irrelevant.
With our current system of roads, some jobs will be unavailable to me without my ability to own and drive a car.
The only way I see this working is if state and federal governments pour a LOT more money into public transit, stop insisting that transit be a for-profit enterprise (!), and subsidize transit passes for those who would no longer be allowed to own and drive a car.
Who isn’t going to be allowed to own a car?
Oh and maybe if people had to start paying for parking, the bus wouldn’t have to squeeze around cars that have been parked in the same spots for months.
I’d bet 80% of the opposition to development would go away if people knew they’d still be able to park in front of their houses. It’d be nice if they were transferrable/marketable. It’s unfair to renters, but buying off incumbents is how things get done. It beats stopping development altogether.
Probably not. They’ll just move to demanding available parking for the few times a year they have over all their friends and family for a barbecue. And uncongested roadways. And available parking on commercial strips where the new residents live. And for the crosswalks to be empty so they don’t have to wait to turn (those pesky renters walking to a bus stop…)
I live in the Boise neighborhood where the Mississippi parking study was undertaken (and chair the BNA Land Use & Transportation Committee). This proposed system which puts all the burden on apartment renters—many of whom are not here yet–simply allows our elected officials to avoid providing leadership on this issue which is a function of increasing density.
Walk around the neighborhood and you’ll see many current home dwellers with multiple cars on the street and/or dilapidated garages or ADUs where garages once stood (good for them in this instance). Almost every residents contributes to and needs to be part of allocating and paying for using the right-of-way.
This system does nothing to begin to change everyone’s transportation behaviors and perpetuates the myth the curbside in front of and near your home is “yours.” The orange cones in the street are reminder of this urban myth.
How about a free permit for home owners while charging people who live in the apartment. This whole plan stinks of disguised taxes. Your all on board. You’ll price yourselves out of this city an no longer be able to pay the fees to live here.
“…no longer be able to pay the fees to live here.”
in this case the fee is one I can do something about. It is what I like about it. I can get rid of my car (my demand for parking) and then I don’t need to pay that fee.
Why do homeowners get that benefit?
Do you not think that the taxes the condos pay aren’t wrapped up in their rent payments?
Public land should be shared. If you want to live in a city, you have to deal with parking one way and we should not further the idea that anyone is guaranteed a space in front of their house. If they want a guaranteed spot, they can make one on their lot, just like condo/apt owners.
Put meters everywhere. If you want to store your car in a public space, you’re going to pay to do that and it doesn’t matter where you live.
It cost money to park one car. I costs more money to park two cars. Can you even get permits to park three cars? So basically, it is the city’s way of driving people out of cars and on to alternative forms of transport (bikes/Metro). So increasing fee = social engineering.
I would propose that permits are granted based upon the sq/footage of the lot and the number of bedrooms. So a 5000 gq/ft lot with a 3 bedroom might get 2 permits for a nominal cost. If a developer buys up a few lots they should include and develop more on-site parking or make it clear that parking is not readily available. That will drive the market to develop parking options.
“permits are granted based upon the sq/footage of the lot and the number of bedrooms. So a 5000 gq/ft lot with a 3 bedroom might get 2 permits for a nominal cost.”
Which was is your idea tiered? Because I’d think the bigger the lot the fewer the permits. 25×80 lot = up to 2 permits; 50×100 lot = up to 1 permit; 100×100 lot = no permit
This is an interesting idea, but I am really stumbling over the idea of privileging a certain set of residents because they live half a block away from someone else, and thus are somehow not in the commercial corridor. It’s hard to find places to rent in Portland. We don’t have a market where people have lots of options — and renters aren’t generally the more privileged among us.
Also, what’s to keep a developer from tweaking the building address to make residents eligible for permits? That big place on Mississippi fills up the whole block to Albina, I believe.
Then again, many of the folks in the Mississippi neighborhood have alleys in their backyards and could perhaps park back there if they carved out the space (and perhaps they’d be motivated to do that if they didn’t want to pay for a permit).
I like the idea of having residential parking permits on neighborhood streets. That’s a good start. It doesn’t seem right, in this very tight rental market, to have different policies depending on address.
I also wonder, around Mississippi, how you draw a boundary around the parking issues. If you’re a car-lite renter on Mississippi and you can’t get a parking permit for the neighborhood, I imagine you won’t sell your car. Rather, you’ll park four five blocks away rather than one or two blocks away.
I’m not opposed to this idea, but it does seem to create a hierarchy and perhaps push the problem a few blocks further.
Hello unintended consequences? Portland should be increasing the area zoned for mixed-use and higher-density development! This policy would encourage people to keep areas zoned for single-family-residential only. The permits area a great idea, but they should be first-come-first served. If there is too much demand for the permits, then the price can be raised until there is a reasonable amount of parking use – 85% of parking used on average at busy times. Supply and demand: it works!
Actually, I think the “residential zoning” language includes multifamily zones like R-1 and R-2, commonly known as “apartment zones”. It’s just that most multifamily being built in Portland is in Commercial zones like CS and CM, because more units per sq. ft. of site are allowed in those zones. This is partly because the R-zones set a limit on units per sq.ft. The C-zones only regulate height and width, so one can build more, but smaller, units if so desired.
I would love nothing more than for all the critics of this plan, especially those who want more progressive solutions, to come on August 5th and speak up. There are a lot of us on the committee who feel like you do, but we need to work towards consensus. If we have more public support, we have a better chance of making this plan better.
There is a time for public comment, last time it was used up by Terry Parker.
So, if you want this more equitable, I’m sure it will be brought up. I’m sure some on the committee will also argue for the lowest cost possible. Show PBOT and the committee that people are listening and they aren’t all against market rate permits for everyone.
“we need to work towards consensus”
Even if it’s discriminatory?
“I would love nothing more than for all the critics of this plan, especially those who want more progressive solutions”
Why is the concept of charging all residents a fee in an equitable manner so hard to swallow?
There’s inequality BAKED into the system Soren. Unless we seize every driveway and garage in the city and charge for it, we’re going to have some people paying less to store their cars than others.
Why are there so many voices on here that are more concerned about providing easier options for people to park!?! Isn’t part of the game her to make it HARDER to own a car? Did I click the wrong link? Am I on bikeportland?
Here’s where I’m coming from, folks. I’ve probably been at 50+ hours of meetings in the last 10 months trying as hard as I can to steer policy towards the most progressive parking policy that would exist in the country. I’m not going to give a full-throated defense of this plan, that’s PBOTs job and you should hold them to it. I have plenty of things I’ll be saying on Wednesday about it. But if this is what we end up passing, it will be a tremendous step in the right direction. It’s not going to be the end of the world if some people pay more for parking than others, if it encourages people to drive less, I’m for it, because that’s the point, isn’t it?
As a side note, a few years back when Shoup wrote his op-ed on overnight permits (and the plan he proposed, by the way, was not nearly as progressive as this – http://www.oregonlive.com/opinion/index.ssf/2013/01/portland_should_consider_overn.html) I questioned why everyone shouldn’t pay market rates. Here was his response:
“Yes, the proposal for cheap permits for residents is entirely political. I’ve visited many cities with similar parking disputes, and the elected officials almost always insist on pleasing the nearby residents, who are the most vocal. Grandfathering is a time-honored political way of getting to yes.
I suspect that many nearby residents will accept the overnight permit solution, and those who object to it will appear obviously unreasonable.
In a better world, I agree that everyone should pay the market price for on-street parking. But we are still a long way from that world, and Portland has to start from where it is. As Supreme Court Justice Benjamin Cardozo wrote, ‘Justice is not to be taken by storm. She is to be wooed by slow advances.'”
If the choice is between overt discrimination against a generally less-wealthy demographic and no parking reform, I flat out prefer no parking reform. Moreover, this proposal would set a precedent that would make further discrimination against renters easier. I find the fact that this proposal is even being considered to be very sad.
This plan is not discriminatory against renters. Even if all the buildings that are currently rentals switched to an ownership model (i.e. condos), the plan would stay the same. Furthermore, renters in the residential zones would be treated the same as their neighbors who are owners.
This plan is based on zoning and geography, not ownership status.
so homeowers in commercial zones will also be excluded from purchasing permits? i did not realize that. thanks for clarifying, chris.
i would enthusiastically support a policy that treats loan/land-owners and renters equitably. however, if a policy discriminates against renters only because they are renters i will oppose it loudly, sarcastically, and rudely.
Yes, the proposed policy would restrict the nearby street parking privileges of all residents of nonresidential zones, whether or not they own homes and whether or not their units are attached.
Though the text of the post is accurate, this misunderstanding is probably due to my headline. There I chose to focus on the major group effected by the law (apartment dwellers) rather than on the mechanism the law used to achieve this (zoning). That may not have been the right decision but I think it’s the least bad option.
Tony, will the stakeholders committee look at written comments? If so what’s best way to reach them?
You should probably ask Grant Morehead about that. I assume they’d distribute comments if asked.
Is this a good place to send comments?
Questions or comments about the City of Portland’s parking plans may be submitted to: email@example.com.
Or should they be sent to Grant Morehead?
For more information about the project, contact Grant Morehead, project manager, at 503-823-9707 or firstname.lastname@example.org
I can’t say for sure. I suspect email to the first address would make it to Grant, but you could send to both to be safe.
My first reactions is that this wording is pretty important:
Properties with available off‐street parking would automatically start at the rate for a second permit. Whether this is a handout to homeowners or not depends on that rate for a second car. If it’s high enough to matter, say $50/month or $600 a year, I don’t think people would buy them frivolously. Instead of a handout to homeowners it would only be a handout to homeowners who don’t have offstreet parking. There’s a lot to dislike about that, but it’s a lot smaller problem than a handout to just anybody.
My second reaction is that this should be coupled with eliminating minimum parking requirements. Most of the rationalizations put forward for minimums involved helping people without off-street parking. If they’re protected by other means, what purpose do minimums serve?
I believe it helps in giving the city a pass to upzone neighborhoods with SFH zoning.
This policy makes sense to me. Personally, I’d rather have everyone who wants to park in the public ROW pay the same rate, but that idea wouldn’t ever pass muster politically.
This approach at least puts a price on parking a second or third private car on the street, and it should discourage the all-too-common practice of leaving one’s own driveway empty and then complaining about the lack of nearby street parking! = )
I live in an area with zoned parking, so buying a permit thingme annually is already normal to me. I own my little house and not only does it not have a driveway or anywhere to put one, there’s no parking on my actual street. It’s not typical.
That said, as a homeowner, I have to maintain the boulevard and sidewalk in front of my house. That includes not only picking up all the garbage and butts and dog mess people feel free to leave on public land and clearing leaves, ice, etc., it also means I pay to repair the concrete when the sidewalk is busted. The public sidewalk people hang out on day and night, wearing and tearing. It’s not that if I don’t do it, nobody will. I will be fined if I don’t do it.
All the snark about second classing renters with higher fees might go down more smoothly if those public right-of-ways were maintained by the public. So long as it’s the responsibility of homeowners, it’s pretty likely some of them will feel like they have a special right in the vicinity.
I’m not sure what picking up dog feces has to do with government-subsidized free vehicle storage.
Moreover, given the hundreds of billions of direct government subsidies (mortgage-interest deduction and gains tax-exemption) to home-owners complaining about having to pick up dog poo comes across as incredibly petty.
I think the point is that property owners are responsible for maintaining some of the public right-of-way, and that leads people toward a sense of ownership. Cleaning up other people’s messes is just one particularly distasteful aspect of that.
and once again…what exactly does this faux-victimhood have to do with free vehicle storage?
One could argue that apartment dwellers do maintain the sidewalk and parking strips as well, just not directly. Their rent pays for the contractors that clean and repair that space.
Absolutely true. Sam was not making a moral argument, but rather noting that when you take care of something yourself, directly, to tend to get a sense of ownership over it, and become protective of it. That feeling is a lot less intense if you are indirectly paying for someone else to do it.
Maybe it would be fair to divide parking by lineal feet of blockface. Say one space per 50ft (maybe 1/100ft.) Thus, the apartment building could park 2-5 cars and the single-family homes could park 1-2. Since everyone still has to buy a permit, this would just be a way to divvy the priority. That seems like a reasonable way to keep vehicles/area under control (at least in the public ROW) and maybe allows the market to sort-out congestion.
I’m not sure what the park+ride or car+bike hybrid commuter parkers are going to do if we do it citywide — the current system leaves pockets of abuse because it takes so many households and so much paperwork to establish a parking permit zone.
Beware of the unintended consequences. It will take years to figure them all out. Attempting to address the parking issue may have significant land use and housing affordability consequences.
I’m not certain if I’m interpreting it correctly, but it looks like residents of an apartment building constructed on a “residential” street would be guaranteed to be able (or at least get priority) to buy on-street parking permits, but residents of apartments in a “mixed use” building on an adjacent “commercial” street be able to buy permits at any price if the residential neighbors bought up all the permits. If this interpretation is correct and if I were a developer I would NOT build any mixed-use building that combined ground floor commercial and apartments above. Instead, I’d build just an apartment building on the residential street and skip the commercial completely. Is this what we want?
As mentioned, the difference in zoning is often also a difference in potential number of units per acre. And that’s comparing CS to R-1. In the near vicinity of most transit corridors (Hawthorne, Belmont, Division, e.g.) there is no apartment zoning, except mixed in seemingly randomly between CS (storefront commercial) zoning, right on the actual transit line. Unlike most cities, there is no apartment zoning a block or two away from corridors.
So, most new apartments are built right on the transit corridor because that’s the ONLY place they’re allowed. And, given the difference in zone capacity, it has so far made much more economic sense to build on the Commercial lots rather than the “Residential” (that is, apartment zoned) lots. If this proposal is adopted, it might change the economics, but not much. You’ll still be able to build 3+ times the number of units on the commercial 10,000 s.f. lot as you can on the residential (apartment) zoned 10,000 s.f. lot.
I should note that, in the case of Mississippi, there actually is low-density apartment zoning (R-2) on either side of the corridor. But, it’s really low density (one unit per 2000 sq.ft. of land), so you couldn’t build higher density apartments there either.
“Unlike most cities, there is no apartment zoning a block or two away from corridors.”
Portland is the only large west-cost city that has a default prohibition on multi-unit development in residential areas.
It also sounds like it’s not whether you live on a commercial corridor, exactly, but the zoning of the lot on which the building you live in is built. So, there could be a CS (commercial) zoned lot (Soon to be called Mixed Use zone) with an apartment building on it. Commercial zones do not required mixed use. You can build residential only. Many have (SE 30th and Hawthorne, e.g.). But because these are apartments in a Commercial (or Mixed Use) zone, the residents would not be eligible to purchase permits, whereas the apartment dwellers across 30th to the west would, because their building is on a R-1 lot. Both face Hawthorne.
I agree with Tony, that it is certainly worth considering, that if this plan does not succeed, we will continue to have opposition to apartment building (or mixed use) construction, and perhaps more restrictions imposed. If it is passed, there could be inequity between renters in C-zoned buildings vs. renters in R-zoned buildings, e.g. But there could be more acceptance of apartment and other housing density that makes it easier to live without a car. If residential permits ease the opposition to these buildings, could the system be tweaked later? Soren also has a point on the difficulty of doing that.
I don’t know the answer.
I’m a longtime homeowner in a close in neighborhood in NE Portland. I’d be very willing to pay for a periodic permit for a portion of the public space that is in front of my house, particularly if I knew that the revenue was going to result in an outcome such as noted in the Citywide Parking Strategy: “…including encouraging walking, cycling, transit and carpool trips over drive-alone trips.”
As it happens, in our case we probably wouldn’t buy a permit since we have a driveway, seldom have guests that drive to our house (and if they did they could park in our driveway), don’t run a business out of our home (like a neighbor), don’t offer Airbnb services, and so forth. That said, I have a question.
Would a “parking” permit entitle the lease-holder to a defined amount of space on the street that could be used for other-than-automobile-parking purposes; e.g., park a motorcycle, set up a bike corral, be used for a basketball court (which we did), etc.?
I’m assuming these other uses would need to fall within the scope of regulations about what can/cannot be done in a street. I’m not sure if those regulations are different for cul-de-sacs, but I certainly hope we don’t see those popping up (again). That’s another topic for discussion.
I feel that if I bought a potent o should be able to use it as I liked, even if that was for a basketball court. I hope the rules are clear on that.
Rents include property taxes and other building costs such as sidewalk maintenance, garbage, water. Everybody pays.
I smell a rat here…A resident of this city is a resident of this city PERIOD! Putting in code something that makes an unnecessary distinction like this between renters and homeowners should be DOA! Park in the street? Pay the fee! And the fee should be set high enough to cover costs and discourage unnecessary parking in the public POW.
Life and limb of bicyclists should clearly have priority over auto storage.
This law is NOT about owner vs. renter, but one zone vs. another. We have tons of laws that make this distinction without controversy. Why can one person turn their house into a bagel shop, but another can’t?
1. If you are having people over for an event — a dinner, a celebration, or a gathering of mourners — will my visitors have to get temporary permits to park in a neighborhood they don’t live in? Will they even be able to find a place to park within six blocks of where I live if something like this becomes law? Telling my guests to carpool or take isn’t always an option as some of my friends are elderly, live alone and/or cannot walk blocks to/from a bus stop.
2. If a gathering runs later than transit, or if someone works graveyard or swing shift, what are their parking options?
3. How do we implement something like this without also simultaneously improving public transit access and affordability?
In the existing permit parking zones you are allowed to park without a permit for 1-4 hours, as signed by the blockface. I don’t know if any of the proposed or existing zones run at night, the ones I’ve seen all have limited hours, eg 7am-7pm Monday through Saturday. If you want to park longer than the guest limit of 1-4 hours you need a permit. If you are allowed to buy a permit for your car (because you live or work at the right address) you are also allowed to buy temporary one day permits that you can give to your friends when they drive over. If you can find parking now when street parking is unrestricted then there is no reason to expect it to get worse if the permit system limits who is allowed to park on the street.
I think it’s safe to say that fee based parking would free up street parking. Not the other way around. I could see a scratch off card system like the one used downtown for handicapped parking. In addition to a smart phone system that would allow guests to pay for street parking without meters.
What about disabled parking?
This is a real turn around for PBOT. What pushed them to change their minds?
“The city can make residents of apartment buil dings without off-street parking ineligible for residential parking permits on nearby blocks, so anyone who rents an apartment in those buildings will know that overnight parking in fr ont of nearby homes is illegal. Tenants will have to live without a car or make arrangements to pay for off-street parking. The market for these apartments without parking is large, ho wever, because almost a quarter of renter households in Portland do not own a car.”
PBOT Note: Dr. Shoup’s proposed parking permit program would regulate parking amongst the residents of a particular neighborhood assigning a priority for parking to a ‘class’ of residents (single ‐ family home vs. apartment dweller).
This question of privilege is a vexing one, which requires decision ‐ makers to ask and answer a few fundamental questions, including
1. Should residents, who live in single family residences, be given parking privileges that are not afforded to their neighbors that live in apartments (even if neither have off street parking)? Why or why not?
2. Should residents who live in an area of the neighborhood that was developed many years ago be given parking privileges distinct from residents that are living in a newly developed area? Why or why not?
There is no equitable justification for these types of distinctions. In fact, these types of policy discussions raise the concern that we may be perpetuating patterns of discrimination based on home ownership status, which correlates to income, race, and ability.
In many of the neighborhoods where the new apartments are permitted and/or being built, there is a mixture of single family homes, small multi ‐ family units (duplexes, quads) and businesses along the main street. Large apartment buildings are new additions to the neighborhoods, and much of the conversation has created an “us (existing residents) versus them (new apartment residents)” framework in discussing who has the right, or more right than others, to use the public right ‐ of ‐ way.
Dr. Shoup’s approach also gives the impression that residents’ have ownership of the right ‐ of ‐ way in front of their home or on their block. Given the multitude of purposes that the right ‐ of ‐ way fills, this is a dangerous precedent to set. The City of Portland’ right ‐ of ‐ way is a public good and its use by individuals should not be dependent on the size of one’s personal property
Honestly, I think the only solution to this problem is to make parking hellish for everyone across the board. It will just add into the equation for whether or not some family or household decides a car is realistically necessary.
What about the disabled?
Rick, the city already has a disabled parking program for neighborhoods and meters.
I hear the “What about the disabled” argument come up a lot when it comes to decreasing ubiquitous access for private autos. The fact is that when it comes to the car centric public, “the disabled” make up a very small percentage of road users (not counting the minor disabilities that are the direct result of default auto use), and for far less than the cost of using such a large percentage of public space for private auto use we could accommodate the travel needs of people with disabilities as well as create a livable and workable environment for non-auto transportation.
Is there not one city in the world which has figured this out which Portland could model? Surely we are not the only ones!
How about the Tokyo model where we ban overnight parking on public streets and don’t permit anybody to register their car in the city without proof of an off street parking spot. We could narrow every non-arterial street to add in pedestrian spaces. Trees. Bioswales. Food carts. Cafes. Benches. Bike lanes where streets are contiguous. Parklets. Basically, let the massive amount of public space currently used for the storage of autos to be put to other uses. Once you do that the city will start to feel empty and allowing denser development to fill it up might be better tolerated. Some daytime parking spots would of course remain, but that wouldn’t require nearly as much space.
What is it, exactly, you want to do on a residential street that you currently can’t, and how will this plan help you do it?
Bureaucracy bureaucracy bureaucracy bureaucracy bureaucracy.
So in Portland you are not supposed to own car because it’s so *evil*. Ride your bike everywhere and just pray that it’s either all there in one piece or there at all when you need to get home because the city refuses to do anything about our thriving bike chop shop industry. Uggh this city has really taken a nose dive.
That is a rather selective reading of the tea leaves, wouldn’t you say?
I don’t think it’s a matter of “not supposed to own a car because it’s so evil.” It’s just where we are, in Portland–too many people, too many cars and many, many more on the way, and we don’t have the capacity for them. We have a number of things to adjust to get everybody where they’re going and not turn the city into a perpetually gridlocked smog factory. That’s just how it is. Beth made some good points about mass transit (above)–I ride TriMet nearly every day and the buses on my route are packed to over capacity. The City has to focus on buses and bikes and feet and cabs, car sharing. I always liked driving (a manual!) but giving up our car was not a question when my husband and I saw and felt the way Portland’s going. It’s way more pleasant to be chauffeured to and fro, even in a packed bus, than it is to drive here now. Nicer to bike or walk than to drive too, though increasingly harrowing. Cheaper, too, and less toxic–a big concern for me. Our air’s getting bad here because of increased fume-y traffic of all kinds–cars, trucks, trains, planes. More people = more fumes.
Sure, and some of us share one car. That seems reasonable for two people to share one car, no?
Hi Tyler. Car sharing’s great. But it’s not about what seems reasonable, or about anyone’s personal opinion about cars. It seems reasonable to nearly every red-blooded American that we each and every one have as many cars as we like, any size we like, anywhere we like that we can drive as much and whenever we like. Freedom! USA! It’s what we’re used to. We’re used to having what we want. The problem here and in other congested cities is that we’re right smack up against a simple issue of space and what the roads and the air can bear. I won’t even get into climate change. And if as many folks move here as expected (and, barring an earthquake, I expect the numbers to be even higher than projected) then even a couple sharing an economy car will still put too many cars on the road for traffic to achieve anything more than a polluting miasmic standstill. Sharing one car amongst a passel o’ neighbors, though–that’s a plan! If highly un-American. 😉
I share your frustration with the City, though.
Guys aren’t we a little concerned that this scheme, in an already highly “revitalized” area, makes it so that renters (people like me who generally make less money and are more likely to be a POC) will essentially have the option of owning a car (a neccessary evil when working crappy far away shifts) taken away? Knowing full well that often car ownership is vital to getting/keeping a good job? :-/
Personally, I don’t like this plan, and think a better solution is simply to continue requiring new development to provide some parking for residents, who, realistically, are likely to own a car.
i agree. although this proposal is neutral in terms of zoning it is not socioeconomically neutral. perhaps, an exception could be made based on income level.
Hold up. My wife and I live in a small apartment and own a small car.
How are we less entitled to park our car on the street than someone with property that’s chosen not to build a garage?
If space is the main concern, we take up far less space than any homeowner does.
You can’t build a house without parking. This proposal is, I assume, an attempt to find a way to let developers of multi-unit buildings in commercial zones to build buildings without parking, and without upsetting the status quo in the surrounding residential zones.
But it does nothing to stop people from using their garages for storage, applying for a permit, and parking their car on the street.
I looked into this when investigating building an ADU, and I’m pretty sure that current code requires you to have enough driveway space for 1 or 2 cars, regardless of whether your garage has room for a vehicle or not.
Tyler, the city wants to promote multi-family housing with low/no parking, and some apartment dwellers get screwed as a result. There are lots of neighborhoods in the metro area with plenty of street parking if that’s the priority…
My apartment has parking and my car is small enough that I can always find parking within a few blocks.
I don’t care what the city promised (my building does have parking, but the garage is full), we have to deal with the situation as it is, not what we’d like it to be.
No one owns the streets and not a damn person is entitled to on-street parking close to their home, unless in the case of disability.
If you are within 500 ft of a frequent transit street, you don’t have to build a garage or parking space, unless you’re building more than 30 units.
If there are marked disabled parking spaces, would the user of them need s permit if parking beyond the time limit? I don’t think its been discussed yet.
Instead of “commercial district” vs “residential district” as the eligibility criteria for permits, why not “existing building” vs “yet to be built buildings”?
In other words, a one-off grant of permits to residents in existing buildings (whether they have a car or not).
No more permits ever get created. The initial permits are fully transferable. A market for them would quickly develop.
For existing residents, their permit would become an asset that they can sell if they wish. It’s a good deal for them. Residents moving into new developments can buy a permit from an existing resident who doesn’t need it.
If at any stage in the future there is a desire to reduce the number of permits the government can buy them back on the open-market.
Agreed. Seeing I-5 in green surprised me. It’s not a park…
I thought that was odd too. Grant said that it was used for large transportation infrastructure as well as parks.
Parking problems? Won’t affect me… When I get my autonomous robot car I’ll just send driving endlessly up and down your neighborhood until it gets a space right in front of your apartment building… Hahaha