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Parking reforms could include paid permit zones in neighborhoods near main streets

Posted by on December 7th, 2015 at 1:47 pm

parkinglead

Parking can be tight on N Michigan, just one block west of the popular commercial district on Mississippi Ave.

People who live on mixed-use corridors might be banned from parking their cars in nearby residential zones under a set of recommendations last week from a citizens’ committee.

After one small change, the committee unanimously approved the city’s proposal.

The committee, which consisted almost entirely of homeowners in residential zones, recommended that the city give its 95 neighborhood associations new powers to regulate curbside parking in their areas.

Neighborhoods would have to opt into the new permit program, and a majority of addresses in the area’s residential zones would have to vote for it. Residents of buildings in adjoining mixed-use zones wouldn’t get to vote.

Because any new permit system would also require anyone who uses overnight street parking within a given zone to buy an annual permit for their car (or a temporary permit for overnight guests), it’s unlikely that more than the handful of neighborhoods that have clear curbside parking shortages will create such systems.

The rules would only apply inside designated parking-permit zones, which would have to include at least 200 20 contiguous block faces in residential zones — one block deep by five blocks long, for example, or two blocks deep by three blocks long.

The contiguity requirement means that if a permit district were created on the south side of a mixed-use street, a separate action and vote would likely be required to create one on the north side.

Screenshot 2015-12-07 at 11.35.13 AM

An explanation of the divide between commercial and residential zones, from the city.

It’s not yet clear how much the parking permits would cost, but the advisory committee recommended that the second parking permit issued to a given residential address should cost more than the first, and so on.

Five-person committees appointed by neighborhood associations would control various details of the program, such as the total number of permits that could be issued. They would have the option of letting people who don’t live in the area’s residential zones, such as residents of mixed-use corridors or employees of nearby businesses, buy permits. But this would only happen, if it does, after people who live in residential zones had been able to do so, and the total number of permits to sell could be capped.

“Revenue above cost recovery will be used to support transportation demand management and small infrastructure improvements (crosswalks, flashing beacons, etc.).”
— from a city memo describing the proposal

The advisory committee recommended that the city have the option to set permit prices high enough to cover more than the costs of administering and enforcing the permits.

“Revenue above cost recovery will be used to support transportation demand management and small infrastructure improvements (crosswalks, flashing beacons, etc.),” the city wrote in a memo describing the proposal. Transportation demand management refers to any program that reduces the likelihood that people drive, from a bike map to a free bus pass.

The advisory committee’s only change to the city’s proposal was to specify that TDM measures be targeted to people or areas with less money.

The city would not be able to create a parking district of its own accord; that would have to come from local residents.

The process would begin either from a formal request by a neighborhood association or from a petition “representing 50 percent of the addresses within the proposed permit area.”

Once that step is reached, the neighborhood association and city staff would confirm borders of the permit zone and hold a vote to confirm it. Then the local neighborhood association would appoint a committee of between two and five members, with at least one representative of local businesses, to work with the city to create the rules for that district: the number of permits to be issued, the number to allow per address, the specific hours during which the overnight permits would be required, and how many permits if any to issue to people who live or work in nearby mixed-use zones.

The city would mail one ballot to every address in the residential zone. A permit district would be created only if at least half of ballots are returned, and only if a simple majority vote in favor.

After a district is created, nearby blocks could use the same voting process to expand it.

By handing some authority over parking to the neighborhood associations, the city would be giving more quasi-governmental authority to these locally based nonprofits than it has before. Though the city pays for neighborhood coalition staff to support neighborhood associations and regulates some aspects of their governance, neighborhood associations don’t typically have direct policymaking authority.

As described so far, parking permits wouldn’t be transferrable, which means that if you live in a residential zone and don’t park a car in the street, you wouldn’t be able to sell that curbside spot to someone else who wants it.

The plan includes a few measures intended to help low-income people who may have less ability to choose whether or not they live in a parking-scarce area.

Residents of government-recongized “low-income housing” within 250 feet of a permit district would get first priority in the “second round” of permit sales that would let people who don’t live in the permit district buy in.

As for the permit sales, the city says, “Discounts will be offered to individuals with a demonstrated financial hardship.”

There is also a measure for people with disabilities: any vehicle with a Disabled Person Parking Permit wouldn’t count against the cap on the number of permits.

Tony Jordan, who created the Portland Shoupistas group to advocate for more a demand-based parking system in Portland, called it “a very smart recommendation has been passed out of this committee by consensus.”

Jordan highlighted in particular the possibility of charging more than the minimum for parking permits.

Jordan’s hope is that tighter parking permit rules will lead to less neighborhood resistance to new development and less pressure on the city to institute parking minimums.

Correction 12/7: An earlier version of this post overstated the minimum size of a residential parking permit district, and at one point accidentally used “residential street” where “mixed-use street” was intended.

— Michael Andersen, (503) 333-7824 – michael@bikeportland.org

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114 Comments
  • Bjorn December 7, 2015 at 1:57 pm

    Currently the city does not employ nighttime ticket writers do they? I dont’ think there is any parking enforcement after 10pm. If the neighborhoods hope to block overnight parking without a permit I think they are going to use up most if not all of the money raised by the permit system to pay for enforcement.

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    • TonyJ December 7, 2015 at 2:11 pm

      PBOT indicated that they felt enforcement until 10 would suffice for most neighborhoods, but they were open to considering overnight enforcement,

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      • mark December 7, 2015 at 4:04 pm

        That would be a waste to enforce after 10.

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        • Spiffy December 8, 2015 at 10:04 am

          there are illegally parked cars on every street in the city… it wouldn’t be a waste to ticket many of those overnight…

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  • TonyJ December 7, 2015 at 2:09 pm

    I’m also certain that contiguous includes two parallel block faces, but they are leaning towards not allowing permits zones to span the commercial corridors. (there would be one zone on the north of Division, and one on the south)

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  • Sam December 7, 2015 at 2:17 pm

    This is a shady, passive-aggressive way to continue the red-lining policies of old. Only the rich will be able to park. I am not pro-auto, but am pro-equity.

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    • Hayden December 8, 2015 at 10:21 am

      You got it. If you all haven’t noticed lots of people live in their cars in the inner city, close to resources, walkable hoods, transit, services.

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      • TonyJ December 8, 2015 at 10:25 am

        This is a good point and one that I brought up to city staff. I encourage people concerned about this topic to also write to the city and comment that people living in their cars need to be accounted for with this program.

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    • Kate December 8, 2015 at 1:20 pm

      I think you may be overestimating the cost of these things. I live in one of the existing residential permit areas (NW) and the annual pass in something like $88 per year. I mean, we are talking less than $10/ month for a resident. You do have to have to provide proof of residency so it does help keep down illegal parking. Before the permits were introduced, the neighborhood was absorbing all the Washington County workers who parked for free in NW all day and took the streetcar into the city to work. That meant actual patrons of NW businesses (and residents) had nowhere to park. It was just a subsidy to downtown workers.

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    • Evan Manvel December 8, 2015 at 4:23 pm

      Huh? I don’t really understand. If someone can afford the $4000-$8000 per year to own an automobile, how is a relatively small parking permit fee with an income hardship exception going to make it so “only the rich” will be able to park?

      Can you explain further?

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      • daisy December 9, 2015 at 2:57 pm

        The issue isn’t the cost of buying a permit. Rather, I believe this is the concern: “Neighborhoods would have to opt into the new permit program, and a majority of addresses in the area’s residential zones would have to vote for it. Residents of buildings in adjoining mixed-use zones wouldn’t get to vote.”

        A lot of the biggest complaint about parking in neighborhoods right now has to do with folks who live in large apartment buildings on commercial streets, and who park in the nearby neighborhood. Many residents feel they “own” the street parking in front of their house and resent that what are often young, new residents — and often renters — are parking in “their” spots.

        This new approach doesn’t even let the residents of these buildings vote on the system. It’s been designed to benefit and protect folks who own homes on residential streets and specifically to exclude renters in new buildings in mixed use areas.

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        • TonyJ December 9, 2015 at 3:19 pm

          This is mostly a fair criticism of the proposal. One major correction is that it is not a homeowner vs. renter thing. There are many many renters in residential zones.

          One aspect I think is being overlooked here, however, is that in order to “protect” their spots, these residents will have to pay a, hopefully non-trivial, price for that privilege.

          The goal here is to deal with parking congestion on residential streets and to diffuse opposition to transit oriented developments. The way to do that is to push hard for prices that are likely to result in additional supply for people outside the zones.

          If the permits are $0.16 a day, then we won’t be getting very far.

          Ideally everyone who needs or wants a permit can get one. The solution is to price permits so not everyone wants them. I think we have made that possible with this recommendation. Now it’s up to the community to convince council to make that possibility a reality.

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  • maxD December 7, 2015 at 2:17 pm

    This seems like a terivble idea. I dislike the idea of excluidng neighbors from a shared ammentity (parking on a public street) for the sole reason that they live in an apartment on a commercial street. Those commercial strips are benefiting the whole neighborhood (providing amenities and increasing property values). Why would the City consider privatizing the parking on public streets? How can anyone justify not allowing people who live in commercial zones a vote when this affects them as much as anyone? This seems like such a classist approach to our public streets, I am appalled it is being considered.

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    • Hello, Kitty
      Hello, Kitty December 7, 2015 at 2:50 pm

      I’m not defending this plan, but the idea is, I believe, that buildings in the commercial zone are exempted from the need to provide parking based on their proximity to transit. This is just the other side of the coin — if a building does not provide parking, now they will be more attractive to tenants who don’t need to park a car; it might even lower rents for those tenants.

      This helps prevent developers in commercial zones from externalizing their costs onto people in the surrounding residential zones.

      Note that most residential areas are home to a lot of renters, and this would apply to owners in the commercial zone (condos, houses, etc.) so this is not a renter vs. owner situation.

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      • soren December 7, 2015 at 3:59 pm

        This proposal would also affect long-term residents who own homes or condos on commercial streets.

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  • mark December 7, 2015 at 2:21 pm

    How does this no more enshrine the idea that parking next to your house is a “right”?

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    • alankessler December 7, 2015 at 4:45 pm

      That shrine sailed a long time ago.

      As opposed to doing nothing, our plan so far, and the only other political viable option, this sends the message that parking is a resource that has value and for which one must pay.

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      • B. Carfree December 7, 2015 at 5:43 pm

        Yes, the roadway is a resource and it has value. Giving over the right to purchase it to a small group of largely more affluent people doesn’t exactly cover itself in egalite.

        Of course it’s always easier politically to hand out goodies to the wealthiest people, but that doesn’t make it right. In fact, that’s how we have generated many of the messes we currently have.

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    • Kate December 8, 2015 at 1:22 pm

      I’d argue it does the opposite. It recognizes that street space is a commodity to be paid for. It doesn’t mean that visitors/ non-residents can’t ever park. They just have time limits (usually 3- 4 hours at a time). This helps turnover and should help reduce driving and the need for huge parking lots over time.

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      • Brad December 10, 2015 at 12:38 pm

        Yep, a commodity that certain people are exempt from even having an option to pay for.

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  • TonyJ December 7, 2015 at 2:22 pm

    The order is a bit off in the article:

    1) NA or Petition makes request
    2) Staff and NA confirm borders
    3) Vote
    4) Committee Formed
    5) Supplemental Plan Approved
    6) Equity Scan
    7) Sales
    8) Enforcement
    9*) Enlargement of zone.

    See: https://drive.google.com/file/d/0B29tUa5SiA4dMXpmREpjOWlUVzQ/view?usp=sharing

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    • Alex Reed December 7, 2015 at 2:50 pm

      How could any of these permit zones pass an equity scan? It seems like they’re all going to, in broad strokes, protect the parking of predominately wealthy single-family homeowners, at the expense of predominately less-wealthy people who live in multifamily housing near noisy, polluted (albeit vibrant and vital) busy streets.

      I think this proposal is close to being a good thing for the city, but the fiction that any likely proposed zones could pass equity muster (if the “equity scan” has any teeth to it) seems fairly laughable to me. A provision that parking permits would be available to ALL low-income people in the area in the FIRST round (not just people in government-recognized low-income housing, and not just in the “first part of the second round”) would be a good place to start.

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      • Hello, Kitty
        Hello, Kitty December 7, 2015 at 3:02 pm

        The residential zones in inner SE, at least, contain a lot of rental properties, and a fair number of multifamily housing units. It’s not like the new housing being built in commercial zones is able to accommodate families or is in any sense affordable.

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        • soren December 7, 2015 at 3:49 pm

          “The residential zones in inner SE, at least, contain a lot of rental properties, and a fair number of multifamily housing units. It’s not like the new housing being built in commercial zones is able to accommodate families or is in any sense affordable.”

          Perhaps the NIMBY zoning code that bans construction of multifamily housing in these areas has something to do with rental scarcity, absurd rent increases, and the displacement of many poorer individuals?

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          • Hello, Kitty
            Hello, Kitty December 7, 2015 at 3:54 pm

            Current zoning code allows construction of mulitfamily housing in many residential zones.

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            • Alex Reed December 7, 2015 at 4:00 pm

              Yeah… just not the residential zones that make up the vast majority of the eastside of Portland.

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              • Hello, Kitty
                Hello, Kitty December 7, 2015 at 4:01 pm

                Not in R5, if that’s what you mean. But you can in all the others.

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              • Bjorn December 7, 2015 at 4:06 pm

                not in R7.

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              • Hello, Kitty
                Hello, Kitty December 7, 2015 at 4:16 pm

                You’re right, but there’s not much of that in the eastside (or anywhere?)

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              • soren December 7, 2015 at 5:06 pm

                You made this claim previously and I corrected you.
                R20, R10, R7, R5, amd R2.5 ban attached duplexes, group structures, and multi-dwelling structures.

                Title 33, Planning and Zoning Chapter 33.110, p. 110-7.

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              • Hello, Kitty
                Hello, Kitty December 7, 2015 at 5:26 pm

                I concede my statement omitted the R, but mostly because those are not significant zones in the part of Portland that I know best. R5 does not allow multifamily houses, but R2.5 does. I just checked the zoning code, and attached buildings (i.e. multifamily structures) do appear to be allowed, which is also what a planner told me recently.

                https://www.portlandoregon.gov/bps/article/64609

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              • soren December 7, 2015 at 6:53 pm

                https://www.portlandoregon.gov/bps/article/53295

                R2.5 does allow up to 8 attached houses (separate entrances). I guess that’s technically multifamily but not dense housing by any means.

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              • Alex Reed December 7, 2015 at 4:19 pm

                Yup – R5 and R7 make up a solid majority of the land area of the east side of Portland.

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              • TonyJ December 7, 2015 at 4:26 pm

                But that’s not where most of the lower priced multi-family housing is, is it? That would probably be in R1 or non-conforming uses, but I will happily concede if we move beyond speculation.

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              • Alex Reed December 7, 2015 at 4:41 pm

                Hm.. Looking at a zoning map, I think you’re partially right. There are plenty in R1 zones (e.g. the plexes on Caruthers between 20th and 25th) but also plenty in CS zones (e.g. the old apartment building at 2052 SE Hawthorne).

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              • Alex Reed December 7, 2015 at 4:44 pm

                But the point is – most of the land (and I’d bet people) that this policy will benefit are wealthier single-family homeowners. It will also benefit some residents of plexes and the like, but that’s not really who’s driving it politically. I wouldn’t be surprised if ultimately, some parking zones were drawn specifically to exclude R1 areas so that those residents wouldn’t be competing with single-family homeowners for parking.

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              • Alex Reed December 7, 2015 at 4:44 pm

                Still, I think it’s worth supporting – but I’ll hold my nose as I do it.

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              • TonyJ December 7, 2015 at 4:49 pm

                Trust me, I held my nose as I supported the zoning stuff too, as did ~1/2 the committee… but that’s compromise.

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            • soren December 7, 2015 at 4:45 pm

              http://bikeportland.org/2014/04/23/maybe-this-is-why-you-cant-afford-an-apartment-in-the-central-city-104887

              ~69% of the residential land in the central city does not allow construction of multifamily housing.

              “In Northwest, the zoning allows high-density development, and the market has responded,” said Eric Engstrom, principal planner at the city’s planning bureau. “In Buckman, it is zoned single-family exclusively. … Probably without zoning, Buckman would be much denser.

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              • Dan December 7, 2015 at 7:07 pm

                Call me crazy, but is all the new multifamily construction in NW leading to affordable housing there? I’m pretty sure I could buy a house in Buckman for the price of a condo in NW.

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              • maccoinnich December 7, 2015 at 10:49 pm

                As of the time of writing, there are zero houses listed on Redfin in Buckman for under $450,000. There are however a decent number of condos available in NW for as little as half that price.

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    • B. Carfree December 7, 2015 at 3:30 pm

      So people vote on the thing and then the details are filled in. That doesn’t seem quite right to me.

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  • m December 7, 2015 at 2:31 pm

    If all of these folks are just riding their bikes, walking, taking public transit, and not actually owning cars (like the city likes to constantly point out when people ask questions about all of these new developments), what’s the big deal? Maybe, just maybe, the city and developers aren’t being truthful?

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    • TonyJ December 7, 2015 at 2:34 pm

      Or maybe, as this article (http://www.accessmagazine.org/articles/fall-2015/does-transit-oriented-development-need-the-transit/) from this morning’s roundup suggests, they own cars but don’t get rid of them if parking is ample and free.

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      • soren December 7, 2015 at 4:40 pm

        “they own cars but don’t get rid of them if parking is ample and free.”

        is your goal really to make life difficult for low-car renters (who drive less and own fewer cars) while rewarding homeowners (who own more cars and drive more) in the inner SE?

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        • TonyJ December 7, 2015 at 5:06 pm

          No, my goal is to maximize the utility of our public right of way. It’s also to end as many subsidies to car ownership as possible so the social cost of car ownership and operation is not something I pay for unless I’m driving.

          I worked HARD to make sure that this proposal included the opportunity for higher prices. There’s A LOT of people, renters and owners, who live in R zones with excess cars and the more we get lightly used cars off the street, the better.

          I also proposed that people who put their cars on peer2peer carshare should get access to priority permits and/or discounts.

          Soren, hit me up, I think we are allies. I’m not going to engage in a pissing match here about how pure my intentions are. I’m working as hard as I can to balance the scales so that people who drive pay their way, maybe give me a modicum of benefit of the doubt?

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          • soren December 7, 2015 at 6:30 pm

            TonyJ, We *are* allies and I initially grudgingly supported this proposal. I’d accept a higher fee based on proximity to a commercial zone but the blanket exclusion is not something I can support.

            It’s also to end as many subsidies to car ownership as possible…

            Low-car households receive little benefit from these subsidies and a low-car lifestyle is often a prerequisite to a no-car lifestyle. I think this proposal would have the unintended consequence of discouraging construction of low-parking apartments that cater to both low-car and no-car households.

            While I understand the desire to set a precedent when it comes to charging for residential parking, I think that the unequal allocation of parking in this proposal reinforces the idea that parking is a homeowner’s “right”. The promotion of increased turnover in commercial areas is also troubling because it may reinforce the idea that commercial parking is a “right”. Resistance to removal of parking has been the “third rail” when it comes to active transport and I think this proposal may be counterproductive from that perspective.

            “who live in R zones with excess cars and the more we get lightly used cars off the street, the better.”

            I’m one of those people and would like to understand your argument.

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            • TonyJ December 7, 2015 at 7:48 pm

              Let’s talk, send me a message twjordan at gmail.com

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            • Nate Young December 9, 2015 at 4:26 pm

              Are you calling people who own a car but leave it sitting for 5.5 days a week low-car? Because I think those people are benefiting from this subsidy every bit as much as someone who drives to Salem every day for work. You know you can leave the car as long as you need to at no cost.
              Instead, it seems like this proposal would encourage those (you) people to ditch the idle car and rely on car-sharing instead.
              And it seems wildly unlikely that permits would be so that car-dependent tenants couldn’t get them in the second round of sales.

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              • soren December 9, 2015 at 5:02 pm

                Subsidies with an “s” at the end.

                The car-free lifestyle is often overrated from a pollution/sustainability standpoint. For example, I own a car and pollute far less that the vast majority of car-free people.

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    • Matt December 7, 2015 at 2:53 pm

      I suspect that the majority of people aren’t riding their bikes, walking or taking public transit–they are driving. Maybe in the general vicinity people are engaging in alternative car transport. Bust most of the shopping districts on the east side are really only accessible by car when you are making the commute from across town (Alberta, Mississippi, Williams, Division, and Hawthorn). Sure, you can take transit to these locations, but do you really think that shoppers looking to spend $200 on a dress are going to bus in? Biking is an option, but really only during the summer months for the casual rider. In my opinion, the shopping districts that we’ve setup in Portland are no better than what exists out in Beaverton or Hillsboro–people drive to a shopping complex, park and walk around. In Portland–people drive to Alberta, park in the neighborhood and walk around…

      Regulating parking has to happen for the neighborhoods, but what do you think is going to happen to the commerce when people can’t park and shop…

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      • Hello, Kitty
        Hello, Kitty December 7, 2015 at 2:56 pm

        You’ll still be able to park short-term in the residential areas, so shoppers will still get their free parking.

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        • Alan Kessler December 8, 2015 at 11:26 am

          (hopefully we’ll also manage to get meters on the commercial corridors before too long)

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    • soren December 7, 2015 at 3:09 pm

      I can picture the Oregonian story already: elderly special education teacher who bought a home in 1975 forced to sell because she cannot bike to Gresham.

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  • m December 7, 2015 at 2:37 pm

    Or maybe people don’t like to ride their bikes during the 8 months of the year it is cold and rainy here.

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    • Chris I December 8, 2015 at 9:39 am

      They are allowed to drive, but they should pay for the space they are using. Space that could be used to make biking a safer and more viable option year-round.

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      • Hello, Kitty
        Hello, Kitty December 8, 2015 at 10:24 am

        I disagree that, in most cases, on street parking in residential areas makes biking any less safe. In fact, I contend the opposite. Imagine a typical residential street, with parking on both sides, and enough room for two cars to pass. Would removing parking make that street safer? It would, if anything, encourage people to drive faster by making the street feel wider and more open. Drivers might even try to pass a slow or turning vehicle, causing a conflict with cyclists.

        It would also make it more difficult for pedestrians to cross, as now there’s a much wider (approx. 2x) expanse of roadway to contend with. Finally, removing parking would also remove the buffer that helps isolate sidewalk users from motor vehicle users in the roadway. Try walking down SE 26th from Clinton to Powell and back, and see which side seems more pleasant — the side with parking, or the side without. Would the parked vehicles make you feel safer with small children?

        I would argue that on-street parking generally makes streets safer and more pleasant.

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        • Jeff Snavely January 20, 2016 at 1:31 pm

          I have yet to hear a convincing argument from the parking = traffic calming crowd. I’m further biased because many of them are really just pro-parking and using the safety argument as cover.

          Fine… crowding the street may slow traffic. If speed was the only consideration, you might have a point.

          How do you bring up crosswalk safety and not mention visibility? Specifically that the pedestrian must often be 6-8 feet into the street before they can see or be seen.

          Perhaps the largest flaw though, is the assumption that the street must stay the same. Want a narrower street to calm traffic? Fine. Move the curbs out. Voila. You now have narrow lanes, shorter crosswalk distances, huge sidewalk buffers and big swaths of new green space for flowers, vegetables or a bench.

          We would never propose paving over a park to build parking, yet somehow the idea of planting over our parking seems even more absurd.

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          • Hello, Kitty
            Hello, Kitty January 20, 2016 at 1:42 pm

            In my experience pedestrian visibility is not an issue on most residential streets because volumes and speeds are relatively low. Crash statistics would likely bear me out.

            Parked cars also provide a physical barrier that let pedestrians enter the street while still having some protection. But where this is a factor, curb extensions should probably be provided. SE 26th would be a great candidate for these, in my opinion.

            Speed is not the only consideration, of course, but it is probably the biggest.

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  • soren December 7, 2015 at 2:39 pm

    I strongly suspect an attempt by home-owner-dominated NAs to unilaterally remove parking rights from long- and short-term residents who are predominantly renters is going to create a political firestorm.

    (I’m a fan of residential parking permits but there is an underlying meanness to this proposal.)

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  • m December 7, 2015 at 2:42 pm

    “I’m a fan of residential parking permits but there is an underlying meanness to this proposal.”

    I agree with this but I think it is also a strong indication that many folks are sick and tired of being lied to and ignored by the city.

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  • ED December 7, 2015 at 2:46 pm

    I admit I haven’t read all of Shoup’s work, but have read the highlights. On that basis, and correct me if I am wrong: How is giving control of neighborhood parking to the residents along those blocks, while excluding residents and business owners of the adjacent commercial blocks who are also part of the neighborhood, something that any self-respecting Shoupista could support? Pricing parking in the neighborhood, yes, but why give the neighborhood cartels control of a scare resource to manage for their own benefit? This seems like a gift of public property to the neighbors, despite any nominal annual permit fee residents may pay.

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    • TonyJ December 7, 2015 at 4:19 pm

      So, not to appeal to authority here, but Shoup proposed an even more restrictive approach in his op-ed. The gist being that paying off “incumbents” is worth getting the price above 0 and preventing more restrictive parking requirements.

      I am well aware that ideally we’d have an “all may park all must pay” situation here, but that’s politically unrealistic.

      FWIW, I actually gave Professor Shoup the rundown on this plan over lunch a few weeks ago. He raised no objections and was seemingly not as concerned about the pricing as I was.

      This isn’t a perfect proposal, but after a year on this committee, that was about 1/2 people just wanting to own their curb and 1/2 more Shoupian type folks, I am proud that the consensus approach is smart parking policy. A policy with protectionism isn’t great, but I think no policy is worse.

      In defense:

      1) The progressive pricing and pricing above recovery is HUGE. No one does this currently in the USA that I know of. I doubt we’re going to start out at a truly reasonable rate, but the door is open (if this passes council) to eventually price permits in a way that discourages people from storing barely used cars on the street. The higher the price, the more likely that the “second pass” of permits will be available to these residents.

      2) Whether we like it or not, NA are not cartels for homeowners. Many, if not most, of the ‘hoods where these zones are going to be implemented have large renter populations, if not majorities. I strongly suggest that people start now on recruiting and attending NA meetings so the makeup of these boards when the permit program is approved is more representative of the neighborhood. A representative board should be able to make accommodations for some commercial properties.

      3) There is a possibility that the first pass will be limited to one permit per residence w/o on street parking. This would, as well, increase the likelihood that other people can get the permits. This is something we will need help to pass.

      This is a foot in the door and it’s not going to take a constitutional amendment to iron things out. The real battle is going to be getting the pricing and permit cap through council. I can see pushback on the pricing and we’ll end up with low priced permits that still restrict access.

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  • DAN December 7, 2015 at 2:47 pm

    The point of allowing apartment buildings to be built without parking was that the residents were supposed to be biking / taking transit — not because they could park on nearby residential streets. Isn’t this just going to formalize that? (Assuming that any neighborhood associations are motivated enough to make it happen — I’m not so sure that anyone in my neighborhood would take this on.)

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    • soren December 7, 2015 at 3:02 pm

      “The point of allowing apartment buildings to be built without parking”

      This is not legal in Portland any longer.

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      • Dan December 7, 2015 at 3:28 pm

        I know, but if a neighborhood parking system is implemented, maybe that kind of development goes back on the table. Personally I think that kind of in-fill is good for the city, as long as every 50-unit building doesn’t bring 50 unused cars parked on neighboring streets.

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      • alankessler December 7, 2015 at 3:33 pm

        This is no longer the law largely because of the backlash from single-family residence neighbors who suddenly saw condo-dwellers parking in front of their homes.

        I don’t think the equity situation is nearly as dire as is being made out in this thread. If we want to have no/low car housing in inner neighborhoods, this is one of the few ways to achieve it. Every person who would rent an apartment in the commercial zone but for the residential permitting program is one fewer people competing for the transit/bike accessible housing stock.

        I suspect there are many people who would happily live car-free in the affected buildings if we could unbundle the cost of parking from the cost of rent. With any luck, this proposal will decrease demand for close-in apartments, and will, in turn, decrease the rental rates the market will bear.

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        • alankessler December 7, 2015 at 3:34 pm

          *one fewer person

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        • Alex Reed December 7, 2015 at 4:12 pm

          You’re right, the longer-term equity dynamics are not so bad. And the even longer-term equity dynamics of putting the political groundwork in place to further densify Portland without pissing off the politically powerful nearby largely wealthier homeowners because of parking problems is even more pro-equity. But surface-level equity is also important….

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        • soren December 7, 2015 at 4:30 pm

          “With any luck, this proposal will decrease demand for close-in apartments, and will, in turn, decrease the rental rates the market will bear.”

          Making this kind of demand-based argument in the face of insanely restrictive zoning laws comes across as an anti-density argument.

          It’s also absurd to believe that renters/condo-owners will not simply move their vehicles to the periphery of the boundary. I biked for 99% of my transportation in Seattle but my household still owned two cars. (I would sometimes park tens of blocks away from my apartment and would forget where my car was located for weeks at a time.)

          This proposal would punish people who drive the least (low-car renters) while rewarding those who drive the most (car-dependent homeowners).

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          • Alan Kessler December 8, 2015 at 10:39 am

            If I came across as making an anti-density argument, then I must not have expressed myself very well.

            I’ll try to say it better: the current inner-Portland zoning regulations are way too restrictive, as evidenced by the skyrocketing rents. We should be doing everything we can to encourage more housing to be built.

            One of the main things we should do to achieve that is to eliminate all parking minimums. Cars take up space that should be occupied by families. They also require infrastructure that harms walkability (e.g. driveways across the sidewalk). We did eliminate parking minimums once once, and several largish buildings were built under those rules. Then, the long-term residents near the new buildings revolted, and the City caved on 0-minimum development.

            We will not get back to zero minimums anytime soon unless we make a compromise. In the meantime, buildings will be built with garages and curb cuts that will not be removed in our lifetimes.

            You write:
            “It’s also absurd to believe that renters/condo-owners will not simply move their vehicles to the periphery of the boundary.”

            So what? If enough people do this that it’s a problem (in the eyes of the single-family residents near the boundary), then the boundary can be extended until it is no longer an issue. If renters/condo-owners park outside the boundary and it spreads those cars out far enough that nobody complains, then the problem is mostly solved. In any case, a situation where one can park next door on the street for free is more valuable than a situation where one has to walk a dozen blocks to get one’s car. This will make more housing available to car-free/car-lite households.

            “This proposal would punish people who drive the least (low-car renters) while rewarding those who drive the most (car-dependent homeowners).”

            Actually, I think the biggest winners will be the people who are willing to drive not at all (or use carshare, etc.) and who will now able to find close-in housing because the demand for an apartment with no (or very inconvenient) parking is lower than was the demand for apartments with free nearby parking.

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            • soren December 8, 2015 at 1:25 pm

              Alan, We share the same aims but I still think the current compromise is a mistake.

              “We will not get back to zero minimums anytime soon”

              I see no evidence that this proposal will increase the likelihood of this happening. Moreover, I think this type of parking zone would make no-car or low-car projects less attractive to developers.

              I think the biggest winners will be the people who are willing to drive not at all (or use carshare, etc.)

              I believe that there are far more households that would consider a car-lite lifestyle than a no-car lifestyle. I also have to correct the implicit assumption that car-lite households necessarily drive more than no-car households.

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      • TonyJ December 7, 2015 at 3:35 pm

        It is up to 30 units. Hopefully someday it will be possible to build more than that without parking.

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      • Nate Young December 9, 2015 at 4:33 pm

        Sure it is. They just have to be 39 or fewer units. Which is not proving to be a problem here in Arbor Lodge where we [will] have 3 contiguous buildings, a block off Interstate with a total of 51 units on five 5000ft2 lots.

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        • Nate Young December 9, 2015 at 4:37 pm

          Meant as a response to [parking-free buildings] are no longer legal…

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    • B. Carfree December 7, 2015 at 3:36 pm

      And here I thought that it was commonly accepted that people won’t give up on owning/abusing cars until the hassles of ownership/use reach a tipping point. Parking scarcity is a critical tipping point.

      Don’t we want the homeowners and renters in residentially zoned lots to experience this incentive equally with the renters in the mixed use buildings, or are some animals still more equal?

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      • Hello, Kitty
        Hello, Kitty December 7, 2015 at 3:53 pm

        Not everyone agrees that an increase in hassle is a good thing.

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        • B. Carfree December 7, 2015 at 4:54 pm

          We’re in agreement that not everyone agrees that hassle is a good thing. I would guess the folks who would like hassle-free motoring are a large majority of our population. Those folks also want people on bikes and pedestrians to stay out of their way and I disagree with them on these issues as well.

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          • Hello, Kitty
            Hello, Kitty December 7, 2015 at 5:20 pm

            I don’t think most Portland drivers want bikes and peds “out of their way”. I think that’s a old cliche that just isn’t (generally) true in the city.

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  • Adam Herstein
    Adam Herstein December 7, 2015 at 3:22 pm

    How is only allowing certain people to vote on a city issue even legal?

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    • Hello, Kitty
      Hello, Kitty December 7, 2015 at 3:28 pm

      This happens for all sorts of processes… LID formation, for example, where people can choose to tax themselves for an improvement, and compel others to pay as well. Or street closures.

      Devolution of government power is almost always a good thing.

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      • Adam Herstein
        Adam Herstein December 7, 2015 at 3:34 pm

        Right, but this proposal purposefully excludes people who live in commercial corridors from voting. To me, this just entrenches the homeowners vs renters rhetoric (even though residential doesn’t always mean homeowner) and doesn’t even sound legal. I’m also wary of giving NAs too much power until everyone in the neighborhood is mailed a ballot for board elections. Currently, renters are vastly under-represented at NAs and voter turnout is abysmal.

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    • soren December 7, 2015 at 4:04 pm

      Portland’s LIDs are sponsored by the city. Neighborhood associations have no governmental powers because they do not hold vote by mail elections.

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    • Adam Herstein
      Adam Herstein December 7, 2015 at 4:32 pm

      However, I do think this is a good proposal otherwise. I talked to Tony and he explained that it’s not a vote restriction, but a specific parking district voting. I misinterpreted this from the original article. I’m still wary of giving NAs too much power, however, this is a good start and unfortunately some compromises need to be made.

      Looking forward to see how this pans out.

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  • Dan December 7, 2015 at 3:33 pm

    soren
    “The point of allowing apartment buildings to be built without parking”This is not legal in Portland any longer.Recommended 0

    As of when? We’re building one right now. 34 units, 8 parking spots, one of which is ADA.

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    • Adam Herstein
      Adam Herstein December 7, 2015 at 3:35 pm

      Eight parking spaces is not no parking.

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      • Hello, Kitty
        Hello, Kitty December 7, 2015 at 3:51 pm

        If only 8 people who live in that building have cars, it should be plenty, no?

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  • John Liu
    John Liu December 7, 2015 at 3:34 pm

    I am confused about this. Would customers of the businesses on the corridor be prohibited from parking in the permit only area? Would that pressure businesses to have parking lots, or to fight parking removal for bike lanes even harder, or hurt business there?

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    • alankessler December 7, 2015 at 3:40 pm

      The discussion has focused on prohibiting overnight parking and/or implementing time-limited parking zones (e.g. 2-hour zones). Commercial customers could come park shop and leave within the time restrictions.

      The goal of the program is to reduce the number of people using neighborhood streets for long-term storage of vehicles. If this works, it will actually free up more transient parking for business customers.

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      • Bjorn December 7, 2015 at 4:09 pm

        Seems like metering is a better way to accomplish that goal, and that would be the answer if that was the only goal. The permit system is basically an attempt to get people who love their free parking to implement some kind of system, but in the end I think it will make it even harder to get to a market rate system that actually gets to the goal of not providing subsidized unlimited use of a scarce resource.

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        • Hello, Kitty
          Hello, Kitty December 7, 2015 at 4:14 pm

          If you really want to maximize the value of on-street parking, annually auction individual spots to the highest bidder, regardless of where they live. That would allocate each space to those who value it most. It’s a far more economically efficient system than what the city is doing.

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        • alankessler December 7, 2015 at 4:58 pm

          You’re not wrong. Meters are a better tool in a lot of ways. I wish I could show you the looks of horror on some of the faces at at a Richmond Neighborhood Association meeting when I stated that I would like to see every parking spot in the neighborhood metered.

          Parking is political; if we’re going to do anything, there needs to be a compromise. This is very similar to the compromise recommended by Donald Shoup.

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      • John Liu
        John Liu December 7, 2015 at 4:38 pm

        Thanks, that helps me understand what is proposed.

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  • bjcefola December 7, 2015 at 5:14 pm

    In my neighborhood parking is an issue and funding for traffic safety improvements (ie crosswalks, flashing beacons etc.) is an issue. I don’t know if anyone would support creating a district or not, but I think it would be nice to at least have a tool in the toolbox for these issues.

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  • kittens December 8, 2015 at 1:25 am

    Why is it so hard to just do area parking permits for all neighborhoods? it works well all other the world, including Portland where it is used.

    Commercial strips that require more parking than is possible on their frontage need meters to encourage turnover.

    I just don’t get why this is an issue???

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  • Hello, Kitty
    Hello, Kitty December 8, 2015 at 2:00 am

    Parking permits are a hassle, Why would people not experiencing a problem want to invent a hassle that provides no counterbalancing benefit?

    This plan, it seems, is about offering a solution where one is needed. Coming up with a single blanket policy that would work for all the different situations around the city would be vastly more difficult.

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    • Hello, Kitty
      Hello, Kitty December 8, 2015 at 2:01 am

      (in reply to kittens)

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  • William Henderson December 8, 2015 at 6:45 am

    Regardless of what you think of the proposal, Tony deserves credit

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    • William Henderson December 8, 2015 at 6:50 am

      Hit enter early. Anyway, Tony deserves credit for pushing this forward by brokering a difficult negotiation.

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  • Mark December 8, 2015 at 7:05 am

    Why are we giving credence to land owners and renters that the space adjacent to their home is somehow more beholden to them than anyone else? If the parking is so valuable, put up a parking kiosk and everyone can equally pay.

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    • oliver December 8, 2015 at 9:13 am

      Right. If you do not own the space in which you wish to park your car, you have no right to complain about not having a place to park it. Entertaining the complaints of these whiners is a waste of time.

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      • TonyJ December 8, 2015 at 9:34 am

        You two are so right! Actually you are. So get out there and make it happen! A good first step would be to support this plan since starting from scratch with your plan to implement market based parking reform as a fiat accompli is probably pretty unlikely.

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  • Matt December 8, 2015 at 12:58 pm

    Or the city could do nothing, leave it the mess that it is and cost zero dollars. People will just have to drive around and park far away from their homes and compete with people shopping. Probably a pretty good sign that your property is worth a good deal of money if you’re having this problem. Maybe time to sell and move somewhere else 🙂

    What a problem in this world when you have to walk two blocks from your car to home. People walk miles for water elsewhere in this world…

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  • Bill Stites December 8, 2015 at 1:58 pm

    Thank Michael for covering this important topic. And thanks to Tony for all of his efforts.

    No individual is guilty of the historical progression that has led to car-saturated streets in many areas. But here is an opportunity to use public space better – and yes, that comes with rules, regulations, and costs to those who choose to benefit from the public resource.
    The street is public space – that’s the fundamental concept here. Speaking of equity – how about for those of us who don’t own cars? The idea that a public resource is available to you for free if you own a car, and not available to me [for, say, planter boxes] is inequitable.
    I’d love to see some estimates/calculations for what that parking spot is really worth over a year … true market value. Has the City determined this value?
    Part of such a calculation should include consideration of the alternate uses that are preempted by storing so many cars on the street. I’m going to guess that such a market value would be in the $400. – $600. range/yr.
    [did I hear a collective gasp?!].

    While I don’t know all the details – and appreciate the expose here – I am strongly in favor of neighborhood control over this valuable resource.
    Going slightly off-topic [parking] but on principle [public space], I would note that every time there’s a block party, the potential for better uses of the street becomes exceedingly obvious.

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    • Hello, Kitty
      Hello, Kitty December 8, 2015 at 3:32 pm

      What alternate uses do you see for a typical residential parking space that would set the value at $400-$600 per year?

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    • Matt December 9, 2015 at 12:37 pm

      You’re planter box would have to be taxed some how to pay for the space that it consumes.

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      • Matt December 9, 2015 at 12:38 pm

        your, not you’re

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      • TonyJ December 9, 2015 at 1:14 pm

        Right, the cost should be the same as a permit for a car to consume the space.

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        • Hello, Kitty
          Hello, Kitty December 9, 2015 at 1:15 pm

          And you’d probably have to move your planter box once a week to avoid the city towing it.

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          • Bill Stites December 10, 2015 at 12:42 pm

            Planter boxes aside, I’m suggesting that there is already data about the market value for that parking space. I would appreciate seeing a number from PBOT as to what that value actually is [average cost of parking a car in a commercial space]. If it’s around $50/month, there is the $600/year.

            Clearly, we need to shift away from $60/yr. thinking, based on pre-existing market rates for commercial parking that have settled in over many years. If not, then we are into subsidizing car owners – and that is not equitable for the [impressively high] percentage of folks who don’t own cars, and don’t have an opportunity to use this public resource.

            And the value of these other [community] uses? Priceless. Let your imagination run free.

            Allow me to repeat: I would appreciate seeing a number from PBOT as to the average cost of parking a car in a commercial space today. I submit that thats where the negotiation for permit cost should begin, then adapted to the specific needs of the area being considered.

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            • Hello, Kitty
              Hello, Kitty December 10, 2015 at 12:45 pm

              Why would you apply commercial rates (which would be driven by parking rates downtown) and apply them to residential areas?

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  • Nate Young December 9, 2015 at 4:45 pm

    I’m curious why only overnight parking will be restricted? Here in Arbor Lodge we face what I call the ‘park’n’ride’ problem where people from Vancouver and St. Johns park in the neighborhood and take the MAX train to work.
    Obviously there are differences, but why not make the same argument that driving and parking are not rights but privileges and should be purchased OR that drivers should use the appropriate facilities?

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  • Brad December 10, 2015 at 12:39 pm

    “Residents of buildings in adjoining mixed-use zones wouldn’t get to vote.”
    –Yay for democracy. Everyone pays for the roads, but only certain, privileged people get to use them.

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    • Hello, Kitty
      Hello, Kitty December 10, 2015 at 12:47 pm

      Schools too!

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