Starbucks manager backs parking meter hike, says all his workers bike or walk

Screenshot 2015-12-18 at 9.01.09 AM

Kraig Buesch, Starbucks manager and downtown
retail committee chair.
(Image: City of Portland)

As the Portland City Council debates whether to raise downtown street parking meter prices from $1.60 an hour to $2 and allow paid hours to extend into early evening, there’s been a lot of talk about the costs to a very specific category of person: a low-wage downtown worker who drives to work.

At the council Thursday, Commissioner Amanda Fritz said she was worried about downtown commuters who “have to park there because they can’t get to their job on transit at 5 o’clock in the morning or whatever it might be.”

Those concerns have drawn criticism from others who say, based on Census data and a city-conducted survey, that preserving cheap or free parking downtown would help almost no poor people, because virtually no low-income downtown workers arrive by car.

“Giving away something that wealthier people do more and use more than poor people is a lousy way to address equity,” said Ben Schonberger of the housing-supply group Housing Land Advocates, a member of the city’s parking advisory committee who testified at city hall Tuesday.

As an alternative to rejecting a meter rate increase because of the chance that it would impact a few hundred low-income people, Transportation Commissioner Steve Novick has suggested that the city spend some of the $4 million generated by the meter increase to create a new program that would offer discounts below the current $5 per night for low-income people who use city parking garages.

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Others, including parking advisory committee member Tony Jordan of Portland Shoupistas, have suggested that the city spend some of the new money on a program that would discount transit passes or subsidize night-owl bus service.

On Thursday, as the council took its first reading on the measure, there was an interesting exchange about this that didn’t make it into The Oregonian’s coverage: actual testimony from a downtown employee who is, though not low-income himself, the manager of seven low-income workers who sometimes have to arrive before regular TriMet service begins.

Here’s the exchange between Commissioner Fritz and Kraig Buesch, manager of Starbucks at Southwest 9th and Taylor and chair of the Portland Business Alliance’s downtown retail council. It came after Buesch (echoing a Pearl District neighborhood representative and another representative for the PBA) endorsed the rate hike because they said it would reduce congestion, pollution and overcrowded curbside parking.

Buesch: Anecdotally, I’d like to also say that my staff of 10 people, 7 out of the 10 would be considered low-wage earners, and none of the 10 park cars downtown.

Fritz: What hours is your business open?

Buesch: We are there from 4:30 a.m. until 7:45 p.m. If you’re interested, a couple things that Starbucks offers is — we’re testing in other cities and are interested in bringing this to Portland — partnering with services like Lyft and Uber to provide early-hour or late-hour transportation at a discounted or free rate for employees. We also subsidize — if you buy a parking pass or a transit pass, we have a program where you can get pre-tax dollars taken out of your pay statement to buy at a lower rate.

Fritz: How do your 4 a.m. workers get there?

Buesch: They bike or they walk.

As Schonberger said in his testimony, it may make sense for decisions about public resources like curbside parking to be based on “direct observation and supply and demand, and not anecdotes.” But so far in the city’s downtown parking debate, this is the only actual anecdote the city council has heard about how low-income workers use their streets.

Everything else about their needs (other than the city’s data, which showed essentially the same thing) has been hypothetical.

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

Correction 5:30 pm: An earlier version of this post misspelled Buesch’s name.

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Bjorn
Bjorn
6 years ago

Using additional funds raised by parking meters to actually give people more choices in how they travel downtown is a great idea. Currently our transit system is somewhere between non existent and woefully inadequate from 11pm to 5 am. Rates should be raised enough that there are always a couple empty spots on every block to eliminate people driving around searching for a spot, and that money should be poured back into transit and alternative commuting options.

Hello, Kitty
Hello, Kitty
6 years ago
Reply to  Bjorn

And, presumably, lowered when availability is high, right?

ethan
ethan
6 years ago
Reply to  Hello, Kitty

Eh, if availability is high, it means that there’s few people willing to pay or few people driving. Either way, that space could be better used for people. Set up some tables and chairs and bike racks whenever availability is high and slowly make them permanent. Smooth transition to more stuff for people and fewer cars.

q`Tzal
q`Tzal
6 years ago
Reply to  Hello, Kitty

Removed when availability is high, over time.

Hello, Kitty
Hello, Kitty
6 years ago
Reply to  q`Tzal

Presumably, demand varies over the week, so some parking spots have high demand during business hours (when we should raise rates), and low demand during of-hours (when we should lower them).

alankessler
alankessler
6 years ago
Reply to  Hello, Kitty

No need to presume; these things can be tracked. The policy for when to remove curb zone parking can and should take the variable demand into account.

Jeff Snavely
Jeff Snavely
6 years ago
Reply to  Hello, Kitty

I suppose that depends on what your goal is. Are you trying to maximize parking revenue, decrease driving, subsidize the local clothing store, or provide cheaper overnight parking for condo-dwellers?

I can’t say I care much though. My ideal world has no on-street parking. Any tweak to the current system is so far removed that it’s irrelevant for me.

Hello, Kitty
Hello, Kitty
6 years ago
Reply to  Jeff Snavely

You, at least, are willing to be forthright about your goals.

I’d be on board with removing all street parking if there were a proposal that would better serve the city overall. Removing parking has a lot of costs for a lot of people, so whatever alternative is on the table needs to have sufficient offsetting benefits to make it worthwhile.

Chris I
Chris I
6 years ago

Fritz doesn’t get it.

Eric Leifsdad
Eric Leifsdad
6 years ago
Reply to  Chris I

And never has, from what I’ve seen.

9watts
6 years ago
Reply to  Chris I

You can almost set your clock by the predictably inverted positions she seems inclined to adopt, or so it seems sometimes.

Hello, Kitty
Hello, Kitty
6 years ago
Reply to  Chris I

Is Fritz “out of touch” because she is concerned about low income workers, or because she thinks they drive to work?

9watts
6 years ago
Reply to  Hello, Kitty

Because time and time again she uses low income workers, or handicapped, or elderly or whoever she thinks her constituents are, to argue for ill-considered, reactionary, counterproductive policies.

Hello, Kitty
Hello, Kitty
6 years ago
Reply to  9watts

In other words, she “doesn’t get it” because she is arguing for what she thinks her constituents want?

9watts
6 years ago
Reply to  Hello, Kitty

She misses the forest (largely public good) for the trees (individual person in wheel chair who she imagines needs to have on street parking, ergo apartment buildings without offstreet car parking are a bad idea. Or here, a good idea is floated but she tries to shut it down by essentializing from a poorly understood social demographic category.

maccoinnich
6 years ago
Reply to  Hello, Kitty

Fritz has the incredibly frustrating tendency to use equity as a justification for whatever policy position she already has. Yes, there will be some low income people who will be affected by this change. But the overwhelming majority of low income people working in Downtown don’t arrive there by car. If her is concern was truly for low income people, a more productive way to look at this would be to study how the largest numbers of low income people could gain a benefit from the extra revenue.

Both Fritz and Saltzman brought up the example of a hypothetical service industry worker whose shift starts before or ends after Tri-Met runs. It’s a reasonable concern. But maybe the $4 million extra a year could be used to start funding a night bus network along our frequent service lines. (I used to live in Edinburgh, a far smaller city, and it has buses running through the night at least once every hour on all its major bus lines.) I don’t know much money would be needed for this, but as a comparison PBOT already uses parking meter revenue to fund the Portland Streetcar to the amount of $4.4 million a year. That presumably buys a lot of service hours. Beyond being a benefit for low income people working irregular hours it would also align with our Vision Zero goals (fewer drunk people driving) and our climate goals (providing more alternatives to driving).

Martin Vandepas
Martin Vandepas
6 years ago
Reply to  Hello, Kitty

She “doesn’t get it” because I’m one of her constituents and she doesn’t seem to get what I want. Increasing parking rates (i.e. reducing the government subsidy for private vehicle storage on public space) is a relatively painless way to financially incentivize people to drive less. People driving less is good.

Hello, Kitty
Hello, Kitty
6 years ago

Have you (and others like you) engaged with her and made your position known?

When I went to her town hall meeting a few weeks back, there were lots of people there expressing their opinions about issues, and there were exactly zero people advocating for raising the price of parking (downtown, or anywhere).

If that were an issue that people discussed with her, that she saw was something people really cared about and could make articulate arguments for, it might influence her thinking.

Martin Vandepas
Martin Vandepas
6 years ago
Reply to  Hello, Kitty

Good point. Do you know when any of her town hall meetings are coming up? It might be a good time for Bikeportland Readers to express their concerns to her.

Martin Vandepas
Martin Vandepas
6 years ago
Reply to  Hello, Kitty

I did have this email exchange with her in 2011 in which she dismissed my concerns. I’m not sure she understood my argument…I don’t think she “gets it.”

Hello Commissioner Fritz,

I saw this quote attributed to you on bikeportland.com,

“I may support a bike sharing program downtown when I see bike riders using downtown streets and sidewalks in a safe manner. Daily, I see cyclists in the Light rail and bus lanes in front of my office. I see cyclists riding on the sidewalks, endangering and harassing pedestrians. I see cyclists running red lights and making illegal turns off the bus mall. And these are presumably experienced cyclists. I believe a bike rental program downtown would only add to these unsafe behaviors. The behaviors are unsafe for cyclists as well as pedestrians and drivers. The cycling community seems to be doing little or nothing to educate riders or reduce these dangerous behaviors.”

If you really stand by the above quote, I just wanted to make a hypothetical statement from the opposite perspective to hopefully show you how flawed your logic is:

“I may support motor vehicle roadway funding when I see motorists using downtown streets in a safe manner. Daily I see motorists roll through stop signs without coming to a complete stop. There is rampant disregard for speed limit laws by the majority of drivers on I-405. I see drivers change lanes or make a turn without using the turn signal. I’ve seen motorists endanger and pedestrians and cyclists, by not stopping at crosswalks or driving in bike lanes. And these are presumably experienced drivers who have certainly passed driving, written, and vision tests to prove that they understand motorist safety in order to get their license. I believe a road improvement program would only add to these unsafe behaviors. The behaviors are unsafe for drivers as well as pedestrians and cyclists. The motorist community seems to be doing little or nothing to educate drivers or reduce these dangerous behaviors.”

I don’t even support a publicly funded bike sharing program, but your logic seemed so ludicrous that I felt like I had to bring it to your attention. In the future please truly consider the perspectives of all your varied constituents when making decisions that affect the citizens of Portland. Thank you for your time and service to the city,

Martin Vandepas
Portland Resident

Commissioner Fritz
8/21/11

to me
Dear Martin,

Thank you for your message. Cars are not driving on downtown sidewalks every day. Cyclists are. If cars were driving on downtown sidewalks every day, endangering pedestrians, it would be reasonable to ask, “why is this dangerous behavior happening, and what should be done about it?”, rather than setting up a car rental stand on the sidewalk. Car rental firms require insurance and a mechanism (license plate) to track down drivers who disobey laws, before allowing the car out on the street. The bike rental program will not require either.

I agree that the main reasons to vote against the allocation of federal funds to the bike rental program is that the funds are supposed to be spent to promote equity and safety.

Amanda

Amanda Fritz
Commissioner, City of Portland

9watts
6 years ago

Hilarious.
Thanks for reproducing that exchange here.

Chris I
Chris I
6 years ago

Wow. Just wow.

wsbob
wsbob
6 years ago

Martin…clever, but unoriginal attempt, unsuccessfully, at an effective retort to the words of Fritz you quoted. I’m afraid that for some of bikeportland’s readers hoping to somehow sway city commissioners towards widely unsupported stands on various city issues, Fritz understands all too well what the majority of the people she represents, expects their city officials, and their city to do for them in exchange for the contributions residents of the city has made.

It’s great that she devoted some workday time to offer some feedback on the points you raised in your letter. Unfortunate that you don’t seem to understand that the city may not be able to prioritize what you want, over what most of the rest of the city’s residents may want.

9watts
9watts
6 years ago

“Unfortunate that you don’t seem to understand that the city may not be able to prioritize what you want, over what most of the rest of the city’s residents may want.”

I’m curious, How do you know what ‘most of the rest of the city’s residents (may) want’?

wsbob
wsbob
6 years ago

watts at: http://bikeportland.org/2015/12/18/starbucks-manager-endorsing-parking-rate-hike-says-his-low-income-workers-bike-anyway-170692#comment-6604532

“…I’m curious, How do you know what ‘most of the rest of the city’s residents (may) want’?”

You should be reflecting upon ways Portland City Commissioner Amanda Fritz comes to have knowledge of what the city’s residents want and need from their city. She is after all, a city commissioner, whereas, I’m not.

The impression I’ve gradually come to have from the Oregonian news, and from bikeportland stories and various reader’s comments to them, about Fritz’s work for the city’s people, is that she recognizes her responsibility to know from the people, what they need, and does seem to take that responsibility seriously.

9watts
6 years ago

See the difference between us is that you seem to take what she says at face value, believe her, but I don’t. I would like to, but the positions she has taken, the arguments she’s tried out, do not add up to anything I find reasonable. maccoinnich said it best upthread.

Hello, Kitty
Hello, Kitty
6 years ago

I take her at her word because I have worked with her on various issues since the days before she ran for Council. You may disagree with her positions, but rest assured that she believes what she says, and isn’t in anyone’s pocket.

9watts
6 years ago

“rest assured that she believes what she says, and isn’t in anyone’s pocket.”

Both are also asserted by and true for Consumer Reports, incidentally.
I am not frankly concerned with either. What gives me pause is that the thinking behind what she says (or what Consumers Union writes) often seems half baked, uncircumspect, ill-considered. I suspect that neither actually understand the subtleties of the issues they are dealing with.

Since I know more about CU than AF I’ll offer an example: Consumers Union have been adamant since day one that they take no money from manufacturers, don’t favor product X over Y, etc. But this is not the only risk of a consumer publication, the only thing to be concerned about, surely. What about the compulsion to buy, replace, throw out? Or the need to breathlessly chase whatever the newest feature is? In the beginning CU were also militantly suspicious of manufacturers’ motives, of advertising hype, and spent a good deal of their reviews exhorting consumers to not be hornswoggled. Fast forward to today and they’ve done a 180 on the last one. Now they are a well placed mouthpiece for the interests of industry in as much as they fall over themselves flattering Middle Class tastes. Recently they wrote: You can never be too rich or have too much fridge space.

Your defense of Amanda Fritz rang a bell. I have no trouble believing that she’s in no one’s pocket, or disingenuous, but what is the relationship between her positions, her platform, and the priorities of and challenges experienced by her constituents? What trouble does she take to understand, say, bikey folk? To reflect on the history of transportation investments and biases and how these carry forward? From everything I hear she’s well meaning, but can be clueless and foolish at the same time.

lop
lop
6 years ago

> 9watts December 18, 2015 at 11:20 pm

>Hilarious.
>Thanks for reproducing that exchange here.

Do you completely discount any point she might have tried to make, even if not ideally phrased? Should pedestrians have to tolerate sidewalks downtown becoming shared paths where based on the way many ride pedestrians don’t have priority? Should they have to, but only during the transition period until the bike network is expanded satisfactorily? How would that be defined? And after years of training cyclists that it’s fine to ride without regards for the safety and comfort of pedestrians, how feasible will it be to change that culture. How much success has there been in changing the culture of motorists, once established? Portland has made efforts to make it a more bike friendly city, and this blog and its readers focus on that, at times to a fault. Portland also strives to be a pedestrian friendly city. Are shared paths pedestrian friendly? I would argue no, at least not when there are as many road users as there are in the central city, even off hours. This is true even if they only function as shared space in practice, not in law.

I expect you or someone else to point to some crash statistics right now. But you ignore something when you do that. The conflicts between motorists and pedestrians exist at intersections and curb cuts. The majority of time spent walking is not at either. There is plenty of time between those conflict points to relax, to not have to pay attention, where it’s safe to play on your phone, focus on a conversation, not have to walk in a straight line, to not have to hold onto a child or pet and keep them close to you for their safety etc…I (and others) can make peace with the idea of having to tense up and pay attention to cross a limited number of conflict points safely. But only to a point. When curb cuts are too frequent an area ceases to be pedestrian friendly, no matter what other amenities are introduced. When crosswalks are routinely blocked, even if it’s safe to walk around the blockage it becomes stressful. Drivers that make a turn on red often don’t stop until in the crosswalk. It is less bad, but still stressful when cyclists do the same. Although at times more frustrating because I can’t excuse the behavior by thinking that their vehicle offers limited visibility. And when people bike on the sidewalk the conflict isn’t limited to well defined places. It’s continuous.

When I walk in a place that isn’t pedestrian friendly I don’t think about how I almost died. Because a close call is a very rare event. I think about how stressful and slow it was to get around. When I don’t go back to a place it isn’t because I think I might die. It’s because it wasn’t a fun place to be.

Not dying in a collision isn’t enough to make a place pedestrian friendly. Not going to the hospital after a collision isn’t enough to make a place pedestrian friendly. It has to be fun and pleasant too. Shared paths are not. Blocked crosswalks and sidewalks are not. Sidewalks that are narrowed at pinch points by bike racks that lead to spillover into a general traffic lane when more than a couple people are present is not pedestrian friendly, even without a collision or near collision.

Making Portland more bike friendly would be great. But is that still true if it happens at the expense of making it more pedestrian friendly?

9watts
6 years ago

You always make excellent points in your comments here, lop, and I appreciate the pushback. As rachel b noted here recently, MANNERS on the part of pedestrians and cyclists are still a thing, their presence appreciated, their absence lamented. I agree with both of you on that point, and don’t for a moment endorse rude riding on sidewalks anywhere, including downtown Portland.

My beef with Amanda Fritz’s arguments is that they strike me as opportunistic jabs, collective punishment rather than a principle, or a standard to which she holds other modes. My hunch is that funding for autos-only infrastructure rarely comes to a vote at City Council because it is just how we take care of business so she doesn’t encounter very many symmetrical opportunities to take whacks at cars (were she so inclined).

Martin Vandepas
Martin Vandepas
6 years ago

Lop: Of course allowing bikes on downtown sidewalks would reduce the safety and convenience of pedestrians. Of course pedestrians are safer of ped-only paths than on multi-use paths. No one is arguing otherwise.

The point that I was trying to make in my “unoriginal” note to Comissioner Fritz was that the illegal actions of some bicyclists shouldn’t be used to make decisions about whether to fund bike projects in the same way that illegal actions of drivers aren’t used to make decisions about funding auto projects.

Yes there is a hint of truth to Fritz’s original comment. Some bicyclists are scofflaws and ride dangerously. But it’s the city’s responsibility to design a safe and effective system that minimizes these dangers just as it does for autos.

wsbob
wsbob
6 years ago

Martin at: http://bikeportland.org/2015/12/18/starbucks-manager-endorsing-parking-rate-hike-says-his-low-income-workers-bike-anyway-170692#comment-6605308

Martin…here is, for I believe what is likely many residents of and visitors to Portland, the salient point Fritz makes in her past comment to bikeportland, which you excerpted in your comment:

“…The cycling community seems to be doing little or nothing to educate riders or reduce these dangerous behaviors.” portland city commissioner amanda fritz, quoted on bikeportland.

Is Fritz correct on this point, or not? What visible efforts are biking advocates making, to manage certain bad behaviors of people biking, that undermine support from city residents in general, for investment in superior biking infrastructure?

With little to no willingness from people favoring biking, to hold accountable, people that bike badly on sidewalks, city streets and roads, it can be very difficult to build confidence in the wisdom of making investments in bike infrastructure beyond the standard bike lane expansion. Fritz seems to understand this point well enough.

At any rate, the commissioner’s caution in offering support for bike share, helped give the city more time to mull over pros and cons of that project, and ultimately bring before the council, a better worked out plan and deal for bike share than had existed before.

9watts
6 years ago

“…The cycling community seems to be doing little or nothing to educate riders or reduce these dangerous behaviors.” portland city commissioner amanda fritz, quoted on bikeportland.

Is Fritz correct on this point, or not? What visible efforts are biking advocates making, to manage certain bad behaviors of people biking, that undermine support from city residents in general, for investment in superior biking infrastructure?

Thanks for the belly laugh.

Let me try this: “…The auto community seems to be doing little or nothing to educate drivers or reduce these dangerous behaviors.”

What visible efforts are driving advocates making, to manage certain bad behaviors of people driving, that undermine support from city residents in general, for investment in superior driving infrastructure?

Sounds funny doesn’t it?

Martin Vandepas
Martin Vandepas
6 years ago

wsbob, It’s exactly as 9watts said above. Why is it the “cycling community’s” responsibility to make cyclists responsible but it’s the city’s responsibility to make auto drivers responsible?

What do you want me to do? Yell and swear at cyclists that I see doing things that I don’t like? You want ME to try to explain to some tweaker that he shouldn’t be riding the way he is on account of pedestrian safety?

9watts
6 years ago

I was laughing so hard I didn’t read your post all the way to the end, west side robert.

With little to no willingness from people favoring biking, to hold accountable, people that bike badly on sidewalks, city streets and roads, it can be very difficult to build confidence in the wisdom of making investments in bike infrastructure beyond the standard bike lane expansion. Fritz seems to understand this point well enough.

Fritz doesn’t understand this point; she holds this lopsided view of how responsibility is distributed. Thanks for shining such a bright light on the asymmetric modal responsibility views of certain well placed individuals.

wsbob
wsbob
6 years ago

watts at: http://bikeportland.org/2015/12/18/starbucks-manager-endorsing-parking-rate-hike-says-his-low-income-workers-bike-anyway-170692#comment-6605880

“…What visible efforts are driving advocates making, to manage certain bad behaviors of people driving, …” watts

Distinguishing people that drive as “…driving adocates…” incorrectly characterizes the fact that most people driving rely on that mode of travel because it is the most viable mode of practical travel in this era. Today’s society is way past the need or even desirability of advocating for driving as a mode of travel. What society does to help discourage bad driving, is have people that drive be tested for ability to drive safely and capably, as well as being and insured in order to drive. No such obligation made of people that bike.

Martin at: http://bikeportland.org/2015/12/18/starbucks-manager-endorsing-parking-rate-hike-says-his-low-income-workers-bike-anyway-170692#comment-6605885

Martin…thanks for asking. What do I want you to do about people biking badly on road and sidewalk? I’d suggest you do what you think is right. If you believe that’s faulting Comm Fritz as to her concerns as to how some people neglect to show due consideration when riding their bikes there, for people walking on the sidewalk, I guess that’s it.

Personally, you could talk to people you know, and if they ride bikes on the sidewalk, help them consider how conscientious and responsible they are in the manner in which they ride there when people walking are also using the sidewalks. From what I’ve personally seen, plenty of people otherwise skilled and knowledgeable in riding a bike, are inclined to ride way too fast approaching and in the presence of people walking there.

On a broader than individual effort to have people riding bikes, in general, rather than specific to sidewalk use, do so more safely…various bike advocacy groups could be making a much more assertive effort than currently done, of encouraging people that ride in traffic, to learn and develop basic and superior bike in traffic riding skills. BTA and national organizations do some of this for a wide range of age groups. Operations for kids, such as Safe Routes to Schools, and the Bike Trains, introduce this knowledge to people at an early age. Those are good, beginning efforts.

maccoinnich
6 years ago
Reply to  Hello, Kitty

On this particular issue (raising parking rates) there was a committee representing a diverse range of interests that recommended increasing the rates. There were multiple people testifying in favor of the rate increase. One person expressed specific concerns. Not a single person turned up to council to express outright opposition.

wsbob
wsbob
6 years ago
Reply to  Hello, Kitty

“In other words, she “doesn’t get it” because she is arguing for what she thinks her constituents want?” kitty

Seems to be willing to look at issues from other people’s perspective. It’s unlikely the tweet exchange included in this story, was Fritz’s only thoughts about the parking meter rate increase proposal. Doesn’t readily concede a stand if her impression is that an issue hasn’t been given sufficient consideration, or that doing so would be wrong. Those are all good qualities for a commissioner to have.

Tom Hardy
Tom Hardy
6 years ago
Reply to  Hello, Kitty

She thinks “All worthy types are driven to their jobs by chauffers in their limosines

Hello, Kitty
Hello, Kitty
6 years ago
Reply to  Tom Hardy

Where did that come from???

Chris I
Chris I
6 years ago
Reply to  Hello, Kitty

Because she thinks that cheap parking is good policy. We know from the data that low income workers have among the lowest driving rates in Portland. They mostly use the bus, they walk, they ride bikes. We can’t have cheap parking, good bike infrastructure, and excellent bus service, because cheap parking increases demand for driving. So if we really wanted to help poor workers, we would re-allocate street space to support safe biking and quick transit access, and price those spots based on market demand. The money from parking can be used to improve bike/bus access.

davemess
davemess
6 years ago
Reply to  Chris I

“We know from the data that low income workers have among the lowest driving rates in Portland.”

Are there some other studies you are going off of? The one that Michael wrote on a few weeks ago seemed like it was swayed by a lot of part time-working PSU students.

Chris I
Chris I
6 years ago
Reply to  davemess

They don’t count?

Hello, Kitty
Hello, Kitty
6 years ago
Reply to  Chris I

They’re a special situation that skews the other data.

Alan 1.0
Alan 1.0
6 years ago
Reply to  Chris I

Amanda Fritz: BikePortland’s “thanks, Obama.”

Alan 1.0
6 years ago

I do, too (even though I’m not a constituent). I don’t think you or Jonathan have been at all unfair with her, not even particularly pointed or negative. It seems more a meme among some commenters, and I liked the comparison since at least half of the meme’s use with Obama is in irony.

What I have seen – from a distance, so open to better info – is that Fritz could be considerably more open or communicative in her dealings with a variety of community groups and their input. It seems like she listens, but then comes out with a final edict without discussion or indications of *why* she tilted the way she did, or without consideration or compromise for alternate points of view.

chris
chris
6 years ago

If we just banned all on-street parking downtown, would that address these pseudo-populist concerns?

Martin Vandepas
Martin Vandepas
6 years ago
Reply to  chris

What would you suggest we do with that space then? bigger buildings, more car lanes, wider sidewalks, parks, bike lanes? There are a lot of things to do with valuable downtown space. Parking is just one.

mark
mark
6 years ago
Reply to  chris

Ban them…then what with them?

Zimmerman
Zimmerman
6 years ago

Wait, are we to imply that Amanda Fritz makes decisions without looking at actual facts beforehand?

Cough* Riverview Cough* Cough*

Anne Hawley
Anne Hawley
6 years ago

It’s interesting that the Oregonian failed to report Craig Bush’s testimony. It’s almost as if they’re in favor of endless low- or no-cost parking downtown.

wsbob
wsbob
6 years ago

The idea that raising parking meter rates forty cents an hour, will have a lot of people now driving into town and parking on the street, decide to instead, ride a bike or take mass transit, doesn’t add up.

People living twenty walking minutes away from their destination, might consider walking or biking, instead of driving, but I think even that’s doubtful if conditions have driving be very appealing…such as the torrential rains we’ve been having for the last week and a half. The city wants and needs more money, and street parking having been staked out as a revenue source, offers the city the opportunity to bring periodically increasing amounts of money in.

I don’t think the city seriously has in mind that modest, periodically increases in the hourly parking meter rate, will dissuade people from driving into downtown and parking on the street. If the city did, or wants to explore the potential for reducing congestion by this means, it might consider an experimental trial period…say three to six months…during which the parking meter hourly rate would be doubled, tripled, or possibly quadrupled( imagine the community reaction to such a proposal…).

Try that, and see if the partial result, is some curb parking spaces always open. After the experimental period is expired, revert to the pre-experiment rate, while discussion about the experiment, and decision about what higher rate to make permanent, proceeds.

Tony Jordan (Contributor)
Reply to  wsbob

40 cents is probably not enough in some areas and too much in others.

What 40 cents will do is make SmartPark a smarter choice and cut down on cruising for street parking. That cuts emissions and makes the streets safer.

wsbob
wsbob
6 years ago

“…What 40 cents will do is make SmartPark a smarter choice and cut down on cruising for street parking. That cuts emissions and makes the streets safer.” tony j

Possibly. Though it’s not likely to dissuade people from driving downtown. Personally, I never like parking in the parking structures. Much prefer parking on the street. Though finding street parking Downtown during business hours, is tough. After 6pm or so, sometimes not so bad. Anathema to bike advocates, I suppose, but a little cruising around in the motor vehicle in the evenings, looking for parking, can be relatively cheap entertainment. I wonder how well the city understands just who the people that choose street parking in Downtown are, and what their business Downtown is that leads them to choose that type of parking.

Tony Jordan (Contributor)
Reply to  wsbob

Your argument, to be clear, is that it’s fun to drive around downtown looking for parking and therefor market pricing won’t work to get people to use a cheaper garage because they’d rather pay more for the benefit of cruising?

I find that very dubious. In any event, have fun driving around in circles, I hope that the eventual advent of performance pricing which will lead to a vacant space on every block won’t ruin all your entertainment possibilities.

wsbob
wsbob
6 years ago
Reply to  wsbob

Not an argument, but simply a feeling that raising the parking meter rates a little bit, isn’t going to dissuade people from driving downtown rather than get there by mass transit, biking, etc. I expect some people might cruise around the block two or three times, for ten minutes, maybe fifteen at most, looking for a possible open parking space at the curb. No big deal I don’t think. Some might cruise longer, who knows? I doubt anyone with the city does.

If someone really has something that’s important for them to do downtown, within a certain time frame, which I believe many or most of the people driving downtown do…they’ll likely head for a parking lot or structure. That’s part of why I tend to think that most of the city’s reasoning for raising the hourly meter rate, isn’t about reducing congestion, but instead, bringing in more money.

Something the city should have done years ago now, but has been putting it off, putting it off…is return to no street parking on the park block side of the South Park Blocks. No parking directly next to the park, really helped the park’s beauty and function. The city reverted from the no parking next to the park, to help raise revenue for the streetcar construction. And of course, once the streetcar was built, the eyesore car parking directly adjacent to the park, was continued on. Letting that parking go, is giving up money.

TonyJ
TonyJ
6 years ago
Reply to  wsbob

The city did not initiate this increase. The study was done, the central city parking policy update committee looked at it, that committee voted to create a subcommittee to determine if an increase was warranted.

That committee met, looked at the data, and decided to raise rates by 40 cents.

Now the commissioners have to decide whether to implement the recommendation.

I, personally, considered congestion as part of my reason to vote for the increase. Hopefully that information is worth a bit more than your conjecture?

wsbob
wsbob
6 years ago
Reply to  TonyJ

“…I, personally, considered congestion as part of my reason to vote for the increase. Hopefully that information is worth a bit more than your conjecture? tony j

I’d be delighted if the forty cent an hour increase in the street parking rate opens up street parking spaces, and helps to generally reduce traffic congestion downtown. Council isn’t likely to turn down the opportunity to get that money, regardless.

People having need of parking their cars on the street, and for whom the slight increase in rate will be substantial, will feel the blow the worst. Plenty of people in town that can afford the increase, or valet parking for that matter. I’m glad at least someone on city council is willing to look at situations such as this one, from the perspective of people that have to park on the street, but don’t really have the extra money for the increase in the hourly meter rate.

TonyJ
TonyJ
6 years ago
Reply to  wsbob

Which people would those be? Specifically, the people who NEED to park ON the street, but for whom 80 cents will be a problem?

If someone actually NEEDS to park on the street, but there are no spots, because it is too cheap, are they better or worse?

What makes someone NEED to park on the street, is it because they are crunched for time? Is it because they have a disability? Is it because they have a heavy load to carry?

If someone NEEDS to park on the street because they are crunched for time, how does the status quo support them when you have to drive around for 10 minutes, wouldn’t a garage be better?

If someone NEEDS to park on the street because they have a disability, is it truly equitable for them to have to drive around for 10-15 minutes to get a space. For almost every wage, 15 minutes is worth more than 80 cents or $1.20.

If someone NEEDS to park on the street because they have a heavy load, will they be better served by an open space on every block or by full parking because it is too cheap?

Did I miss anything?

wsbob
wsbob
6 years ago
Reply to  TonyJ

“…What makes someone NEED to park on the street, is it because they are crunched for time? Is it because they have a disability? Is it because they have a heavy load to carry? …” tony j

Their job may be the reason. It was for me. In this story, what’s this guy Ben Schonberger say about street parking? Something that “…wealthier people…” do more than poor people. That kind of callous indifference to moderate income people struggling to make ends meet, doesn’t suggest a keen awareness of basic services people need downtown to provide. There still is a middle class, in this country. It’s people from that income level that these rate increases effect.

Most people I know, are resigned to increases in costs of things…the rent, utilities, gas, etc. It’s all kind of formulaic, no rhyme or reason to it: ‘It’s been four years, time for a rate hike! ‘. The parking policy update committee wouldn’t really even have had to deliberate about the increase proposal, other than to try make a positive impression. Though arguments for the proposal sound like only so much lip service, if this parking rate increase truly does decrease congestion and have more street parking spaces become open, that will be something to see.

Tony Jordan (Contributor)
Reply to  TonyJ

1) city policy is clear, on street parking is not prioritized for employee/commuters.

2) when did you need to park on street for work when a garage wouldn’t work? Given that cheap parking leads to higher utilization, how would less available parking be worth more than slightly more expensive but available parking?

3) the reasoning was not, “it’s been four years, time for an increase.” The reasoning was, it’s been four years we should look into how one of the most valuable assets the city owns is performing.” That process, by the way is onerous. The whole process should be data driven and dine for performance.

wsbob
wsbob
6 years ago
Reply to  TonyJ

“…2) when did you need to park on street for work when a garage wouldn’t work? Given that cheap parking leads to higher utilization, how would less available parking be worth more than slightly more expensive but available parking? …” tony

Because I needed access to my vehicle while working, I needed to park next to where I was working. A parking structure blocks away, would have been a big handicap to working. Less costly parking does not necessarily lead to higher utilization, at least not in the area I already noted the location of. As I wrote earlier, it wasn’t difficult to find an open street parking spot. Didn’t have to drive around for ten or fifteen minutes to get one. There always were some 20-30 percent available at arrival.

Some people needing such parking as I did, aren’t working for companies, and aren’t working full time. Street parking isn’t, or shouldn’t be, just for shoppers. For people with modest incomes and tight budgets, the increases in the hourly parking meter rate, definitely make making ends meet, tougher.

Tony Jordan (Contributor)
Reply to  TonyJ

I wholeheartedly agree that one-size-fits-all pricing is bad policy. We need to move as swiftly as possible towards pricing that leads to efficient occupancy. Higher prices where the demand is, lower prices where the vacancies are.

meh
meh
6 years ago
Reply to  wsbob

The city doesn’t “need” more money. They want more money, but until they can actually spend what they have responsibly, they don’t “need” it. Every year they seem to find millions in unspent funds, just in the nick of time to resolve some perceived emergency.

Chris I
Chris I
6 years ago
Reply to  meh

A man died this week because we don’t have enough money for safe infrastructure. Parking income can be used to make this city better for biking, walking, and transit access.

paikiala
paikiala
6 years ago
Reply to  meh

Parking revenue is one of the few sources of revenue for PBOT, along with gas taxes.
Conflating the City’s underestimate of property tax revenue on the General Fund and parking revenue increases is irresponsible ***portion of sentence deleted by moderator — no need to call anyone names paikiala! — Jonathan***

AndyC of Linnton
AndyC of Linnton
6 years ago

Night-owl bus service. Oh my god, imagine getting on a bus at 4 a.m. in Portland.

Tony Jordan (Contributor)

Yeah, it would be awesome. No more morning cab rides to the airport!

Mark
Mark
6 years ago

Maybe it would reduce drunk driving too, as a bonus.

Hello, Kitty
Hello, Kitty
6 years ago

I don’t disagree with this, but I do wonder if it would be better (from an energy/fossil fuel/emissions standpoint) to encourage individual car trips at 4AM as opposed to operating a fleet of buses.

There are certainly other benefits to late night bus service, but emissions are usually my starting frame of reference when thinking about these things.

9watts
6 years ago
Reply to  Hello, Kitty

“to encourage individual car trips at 4AM as opposed to operating a fleet of buses.”

Those are not/should not be the only two options we are considering. Paper or Plastic is a distraction from the real challenge: neither.
What is wrong with how Craig Bush’s employees get to work now?

Hello, Kitty
Hello, Kitty
6 years ago
Reply to  9watts

Maybe neither (sleeping, or drinking at home alone, is a great thing to do at 4AM).

Chris I
Chris I
6 years ago
Reply to  Hello, Kitty

So, someone that wants to get somewhere at 4am needs to own a car?

Once you own a car, you are much more likely to just use it all of the time. We need a transit system that enables a car-free lifestyle. Part of that is sometimes running fairly empty busses around the city. A bus with 5 riders is just as efficient as the single-occupancy SUV driving around town.

ethan
ethan
6 years ago

Nobody in my office drives to work regularly. Occasionally someone will drive to work ( maybe about once a month in total between 10 people).

ethan
ethan
6 years ago
Reply to  ethan

We have 4 people who bike in often, one person who generally walks and the rest bus or train. Half don’t own a car. The other half owns cars but they are driven to work so infrequently, I have only seen one or two of their cars. However, our bikes are ridden enough that everybody knows what they look like.

SilkySlim
SilkySlim
6 years ago
Reply to  ethan

This got me thinking. At my office in NW, mass transit wins (40%), with driving close behind (35%), then biking (17%) and walking (7%).

Almost all drivers are “legacy” employees that were part of the company when our HQ was on the east side with free parking.

Also worth nothing that most people WFH about one day per week. And I did break people down a bit (for example I bike 60% and jog to work 40%).

ethan
ethan
6 years ago
Reply to  SilkySlim

Ah yes, people work from home in my office as well.

Broken down (by percentage of days commuted) it would be about 65% transit, 25% bike, 9% walk and 1% driving / other.

Transit wins by a landslide when comparing days commuted by mode and time spent travelling. Biking makes up about 25 of the days, but much less of the time.

My personal breakdown this year was about 45% bike, 30% bus, 10% working from home, 10% bus + train, 2% working abroad, 2% carpool + train, 1% driving.

Everyone but one person at my office lives within 7 miles from work. The remaining person lives within 15 miles. On average, we live withing 5.5 miles from work. I’m at just over 5 miles from work so I must be pretty average 🙂

RH
RH
6 years ago

This is actually a very interesting article. Now that I think about it, about 90% of my friends who are servers, bartenders, etc… downtown either walk, bike, or take the bus.

Social Engineer
Social Engineer
6 years ago

Where was Fritz’s compassion for low-income populations when transit services kept getting cut and fares kept getting raised since 2009?

Hello, Kitty
Hello, Kitty
6 years ago

Did Fritz vote for that?

Social Engineer
Social Engineer
6 years ago
Reply to  Hello, Kitty

No but she could have used her megaphone on City Council to bring light to the issue and maybe work with TriMet to institute low-income transit passes like ORCA Lift in Seattle. It seems like she doesn’t empathize with the transit advocacy community.

Chris I
Chris I
6 years ago

She doesn’t because she lives in SW and drives everywhere. Her kids went to high school with me, so I know why she doesn’t get it.

alankessler
alankessler
6 years ago

I don’t think she should get a pass on this. Transit will always be substandard when there is not sufficient density to support it. Buses will always suck when they’re forced to compete with untolled SOVs. She doesn’t actually support transit unless she supports the policies that will make it viable.

Hello, Kitty
Hello, Kitty
6 years ago
Reply to  alankessler

You’ll never find a candidate who passes this test.

dan
dan
6 years ago

9watts
She misses the forest (largely public good) for the trees (individual person in wheel chair who she imagines needs to have on street parking, ergo apartment buildings without offstreet car parking are a bad idea. Or here, a good idea is floated but she tries to shut it down by essentializing from a poorly understood social demographic category.Recommended 0

Could say the same thing about cars (forest) vs. bikes (trees) arguments.

Scott H
Scott H
6 years ago
Reply to  dan

Nah, that’s all the same forest, just different species of trees.

9watts
6 years ago
Reply to  dan

I think I’m missing something. What is the public good represented by cars that attention to bicycling is obscuring? Do we live in the same country?

Lester Burnham
Lester Burnham
6 years ago

Time for Fritz and the entire city council to go. Leadership is so stagnant in this city.

Captain Karma
6 years ago

Seems odd that in America we have to talk about subsidizing bus rides and parking because so many workers are low income.

9watts
6 years ago
Reply to  Captain Karma

And only a few weeks before another State of The Union speech in which we hear 113 reasons why we are the greatest nation with the most promise bla bla bla.

kittens
kittens
6 years ago

The other half of the story which is not getting any attention is that they are eliminating 1hr time zones and replacing them with 2 and 1.5hr zones after a study found people were overstaying their time at the 1hour spots.

So let me get this straight, although the point of metered parking downtown is to encourage parking turnover of a limited supply, the city plans to decrease turnover by lengthening stays? So that they can avoid tickets. Huh? That is like raising the speed limit so that people can avoid getting tickets.

If the intent of the change was to increase revenue and turnover, they should raise rates and perhaps eliminate some longer time zones. This plan does neither. It is an obvious giveaway to the downtown business alliance to allow more people to drive downtown. There is plenty of parking downtown. The garages never fill up.

Hello, Kitty
Hello, Kitty
6 years ago
Reply to  kittens

I would expect businesses would want to encourage turnover, so the shortest feasible parking time would be best (it’s why most downtown owners would oppose offering unlimited free parking in front of their stores). Maybe the fact that so many people overstay the 1-hour just means that it takes more than an hour to transact whatever business brought the driver downtown in the first place.

Heck, if you don’t drive, why do you care?

kittens
kittens
6 years ago
Reply to  Hello, Kitty

That is an interesting point. I imagine the tension is with retail versus office. Retail wants turnover. Obviously if you are working in an office you are going to want longer time zones. I have lived and worked in downtown. Most of my colleagues would drive and street park and just move when the meter was up.

Hello, Kitty
Hello, Kitty
6 years ago
Reply to  kittens

I would be surprised if there are many office-type businesses out there arguing for longer parking stays so their employees could park on-street. I think the businesses that are most concerned with on-street parking are those who feel they’ll have fewer customers because some would go elsewhere if parking were too much of a hassle.

I don’t think it’s really in anyone’s interest to encourage people who care enough about parking that it would change their destinations to drive elsewhere (probably further) to do their business. I’d rather those people be downtown supporting businesses their than spending their money in a suburban mall.

Scott H
Scott H
6 years ago

That doesn’t make an ounce of sense. That’s like raising the speed limit because so many people were speeding and getting tickets?

9watts
6 years ago
Reply to  Scott H

It is called pandering. Smearing honey in their ears. A very shallow model of governing.

alankessler
alankessler
6 years ago
Reply to  Scott H

Time limits are a clumsy tool and they should be removed entirely. If the meters were dynamically priced to produce 85% occupancy, people could stay as long as they were willing to pay for, and nobody would need to circle to find a space.

Hello, Kitty
Hello, Kitty
6 years ago
Reply to  Scott H

It makes sense if an hour isn’t long enough.

Sigma
Sigma
6 years ago
Reply to  Scott H

So the city should set time limits they know aren’t long enough to serve the needs of people parking downtown, just to maximize citation revenue? Is that really how you want your government to approach things?

Scott H
Scott H
6 years ago
Reply to  Sigma

No, citations should never be an intended/dependable form of revenue, let me be clear on that. but at the same time, it’s not hard to follow the rules that are spelled out on signs. Don’t want a speeding ticket? Don’t speed. Don’t want a parking ticket? Set your watch and move your car after 60 minutes.

If you need more time to shop or sit down to eat, why not use one of the many garages that have no time limit? Some people just need to stop and grab a coffee or a sandwich and they’re forced to drive in circles because others are abusing the 15/60 minute zones, and those abusers deserve tickets, not pandering politicians.

Tony Jordan (Contributor)
Reply to  Scott H

I don’t think the comparison to speeding is appropriate. Speed limits should be set for safety, the practice of raising them because of non-compliance should stop, imo.

Parking stays are arbitrary. We shouldn’t encourage people to drive over other modes, but if they are driving, needlessly antagonizing people is a good way to drive business out of your downtown. In this case, 60 minute stays don’t seem to be serving anyone very well. 90 minutes isn’t that much more and was more appropriate in these cases. Allowing people to pay for the time they are parking is better than losing 30 minutes of pay on most of these stays and not ticketing many people for them.

Alan K is onto the right track with progressive pricing. Sacramento is experimenting with zones that do away with time stay limits, but jack the price up a lot for the 3rd and 4th hour.

http://pdxshoupistas.com/sacramento-a-preview-of-short-term-parking-politics-in-portland/

Scott H
Scott H
6 years ago
Reply to  Hello, Kitty

It’s easy for people who don’t drive to care about parking because that’s valuable square footage in an area where real estate is hard to come by. It could be used for sidewalks, bike lanes seating areas, anything other than a car that paid for an hour and stayed for two.

9watts
6 years ago
Reply to  Hello, Kitty

“Heck, if you don’t drive, why do you care?”

Where did that come from???

Hello, Kitty
Hello, Kitty
6 years ago
Reply to  9watts

Touche.

kittens
kittens
6 years ago

If they were serious about tackling downtown congestion and parking, ALL the revenue from meters would go toward enhanced transit. Be it a new Fareless Square or just system-wide improvements.

Allan
Allan
6 years ago

Everyone-
We’re having the wrong debate about the parking rate hike. The only debate we should be having is how much to raise prices. $1.60 to $2 isn’t going to get us to where we need to be. Its only $3.20 a day extra to park- that isn’t nearly enough. Parking on the street is the best parking, should also be the most expensive.

Bring on the $3/hour parking

Hello, Kitty
Hello, Kitty
6 years ago
Reply to  Allan

Until you know what the goal is, it’s hard to set prices to achieve it.

We’re really having several debates that we’re pretending are the same, using the proxy of parking price as our talking point. Some want to maximize parking efficiency (ensuring there is one spot available per block), others want to price it as if it were downtown office space, and still others want to eliminate it altogether.

resopmok
resopmok
6 years ago

Maybe I’m missing something here, but if I were to drive downtown for work, I doubt I would want to park in a metered spot where I would be forced to leave my job and feed the meter at least once every two hours. Is this common practice? Is $12.80 for 8 hours of parking cheaper than a garage or lot? I don’t even understand how raising parking meter prices affects people who drive to their jobs downtown.

9watts
9watts
6 years ago
Reply to  resopmok

See, now that is thinking!

licnuoc ytic rof resopmok

Hello, Kitty
Hello, Kitty
6 years ago
Reply to  resopmok

Since this conversation was in the context of people working off-hours, and I believe meters are free at night, I think the idea is that people working low-wage jobs at night currently get free parking, and Fritz is objecting to extending paid parking hours so that this is no longer so.

I agree it makes less sense in the context of someone parking during the day.

mark
mark
6 years ago
Reply to  Hello, Kitty

If you are coming east of the river, it’s pretty easy to park in a number of neighborhoods or even retail zones and then commute by bus or train downtown. It takes a little bit more time…but it’s free. Anyone working late at night should have no problems finding on street parking.

Some politicians speak as if Portland has NYC level parking problems.

Hello, Kitty
Hello, Kitty
6 years ago
Reply to  mark

As do some commenters here!

Mark
Mark
6 years ago

Some city parking is a hot commodity. The city should price it that way and price less desirable parking accordingly. Then…make that info public. Let the private market handle the interface.

Mark
Mark
6 years ago

9watts
“…The cycling community seems to be doing little or nothing to educate riders or reduce these dangerous behaviors.” portland city commissioner amanda fritz, quoted on bikeportland.Is Fritz correct on this point, or not? What visible efforts are biking advocates making, to manage certain bad behaviors of people biking, that undermine support from city residents in general, for investment in superior biking infrastructure?Thanks for the belly laugh.Let me try this: “…The auto community seems to be doing little or nothing to educate drivers or reduce these dangerous behaviors.”What visible efforts are driving advocates making, to manage certain bad behaviors of people driving, that undermine support from city residents in general, for investment in superior driving infrastructure?Sounds funny doesn’t it?Recommended 4

Yes…where is the auto community?! Ha-ha.

Although.. Maybe she is saying that this website doesn’t do enough to speak out against the immortal sin of using the roads as they are intended without being tied down by car signals. We have signals because of cars. No other.

Although…it seems like Fritz gets called out more than other council members. I am wondering if it’s because she is a woman? The other men do and say just as tone deaf things.

I respect her for the willingness for straight talk and backbone. She doesn’t love bikes…but who does?

3rd street is still a murdering one way. How does the council feel about that?

9watts
6 years ago
Reply to  Mark

“it seems like Fritz gets called out more than other council members. I am wondering if it’s because she is a woman? The other men do and say just as tone deaf things.”

I hope not. I voted for her, twice. If her colleagues are suffering from f

9watts
6 years ago

…foot in mouth disease, I’ve missed it (Novick excepted, who has gotten more pushback from me than Fritz).