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Let’s talk about auto parking: Join us at Wonk Night next Tuesday (3/29)

Posted by on March 22nd, 2016 at 10:25 am

For the love of parking lots-1

It’s truly amazing what we sacrifice “for the love of cars” as this advertising mural in downtown Portland says.
(Photo: J. Maus/BikePortland)

Auto parking is in a major state of flux right now. Our city is in the middle of major reform to its parking policies with an eye toward weening people off free and abundant storage of their motor vehicles, while at the same time we are still investing millions into huge parking garages in the central city. For people who care about great cities and quality public spaces, the time is now to get educated and engaged about this issue.

That’s why we’re excited to announce our upcoming Wonk Night. Next Tuesday join local experts and advocates for a night of networking and conversations that will unlock your parking policy achievement badge. Here’s what we’ve got lined up so far:

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— We’ll get you updated on the City of Portland Bureau of Transportation’s latest policies, projects and plans (and tell you how you can impact them).

— You’ll hear from citizen activist and Portland Planning Commissioner Chris Smith about his recent work to convince the city to not create parking minimums in northwest.

— We’ll introduce you to the people behind the Portland Shoupistas, a group that’s pushing to make sure PBOT’s adopts the most progressive parking policies possible.

— We’ll hear from urbanist/economist Joe Cortright who just published an illuminating article on parking in City Observatory.

— You’ll get a behind-the-scenes look at how local company (and event sponsor) Lancaster Engineering is revolutionizing parking analysis for cities around the country.

And of course like always we’ll let everyone who shows up share their questions and insights, all while snacking on great bites and drinks from our sponsors Widmer Brothers Brewing and Green Zebra Grocery.

It happens next Tuesday at Lancaster Engineering HQ, 321 SW 4th Ave, 4th Floor. Doors open at 6:00 and we’ll get things started at 6:30. Here’s the event page and it’s on Facebook too. Hope to see you there!

— Jonathan Maus, (503) 706-8804 – jonathan@bikeportland.org

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

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maccoinnich
Subscriber

With the PDC planning a 425 space garage in the Lloyd District, Kaiser planning a 700 space garage in the Lloyd District and OHSU building a 678 space garage in South Waterfront there should be plenty to talk about…

Travis Fulton
Guest
Travis Fulton

Garages are good right? Stack the cars up rather than have them all spread out?

Tony Jordan (Contributor)
Subscriber

If the private sector wants to build, them, maybe. URA money that could build housing for people shouldn’t be spent on housing for cars.

9watts
Subscriber

“Stack the cars up rather than have them all spread out?”

This is exactly the same dead-end, zero sum logic we here fall back on when it comes to people & housing too: density vs sprawl. Like these are the only two options. No. Let’s talk about enough, too much, reining it in.

Travis Fulton
Guest
Travis Fulton

I see what you’re getting at but I don’t think it’s an either/or. We can still strive for less cars in the world and use urban space much more efficiently in the meantime.

9watts
Subscriber

Theoretically, sure, but in the case of growth (of people, houses, demand for X and Y) that is not presently the case. With parking, it could be, but your framing of the issue did not include any mention of too much, of limits, of the need to look at this wholistically.

Travis Fulton
Guest
Travis Fulton

Well, it was an comment on the internet.

Al Dimond
Guest

This is a viewpoint I’ve come around to with parking. Parking isn’t necessarily smart just because you charge for it. The roads can only fit so many cars, and congested roadways have negative impacts beyond people that drive. For example, if cars are stuck in congestion and bikes aren’t, drivers try to make turns through apparent gaps in traffic and hit cyclists and pedestrian (I’ve witnessed a couple collisions like this, and several near-misses). For another, backed-up traffic often delays mass transit. Finally, new garage entrances on urban streets create new places where vehicles cut across and block the sidewalk, making walking more dangerous, less pleasant, and less convenient (same goes for biking where there are bike lanes).

Parking fees high enough to ensure some availability (a common “smart parking” strategy) only solves one problem on one block, and the negative impacts of too much parking in a neighborhood or a city apply more widely. The only way out is to cap the total number of spaces. The thing that must be capped most urgently is the number of spaces available to office workers in congested areas, since each additional space available to an office workers equates to one more car on the road during each daily rush hour. In areas that are already congested during these times of day the cap clearly must be set below the current level of availability. Lot operators would then bid on the right to operate parking spaces, up to the limit.

jeff
Guest
jeff

the OHSU parking spot is for patients and RV parking for family members of people undergoing non-ambulatory surgery and cancer treatment at the new Knight oncology center. yeah, lets attack the needs of the families of societies most vulnerable, right?

maccoinnich
Subscriber

The vast majority (over 400) of the spaces being built at the new OHSU garage are for the use of staff.

Jeff
Guest
Jeff

and its a single block from the year-round bike valet. mixed use patient/employee parking just like the current underground garage.

Tony Jordan (Contributor)
Subscriber

There are certainly a large number of people who drive to any particular medical facility who could either take another mode or pay for parking when they are there. Hospitals can very easily validate or pay for alternative transportation for those who need it.

But you know who is truly vulnerable? The family who can’t afford a car and needs medical treatment and has to travel on an underfunded transit system and walk on streets that are unsafe because we cater, almost entirely, to car travel.

Jeff
Guest
Jeff

um, OK. we’re talking about parking spaces however.

Stephen Keller
Guest
Stephen Keller

This is probably an ironic question, given the topic: Is there somewhere near this event where I can securely park my bicycle? I’m very reluctant to leave it untended for a few hours locked to one of the downtown staples.

Gerald Fittipaldi
Guest
Gerald Fittipaldi

I’m not sure about “secure” bike parking, but if there’s nothing that suits your hopes maybe use two u-locks? FWIW I’ve parked all over downtown and PSU countless times, sometimes overnight, for 1.5 years and my bike has yet to be stolen. Most thefts involve cable locks or cheap chains.

Theft is bad in Portland, and the Lancaster office certainly isn’t in a low-theft area, but imo the theft problem in Portland is blown way out of proportion. I’ll lock my bike up anywhere in Portland over locking up in NYC or San Francisco, just to name a couple cities that have worse theft problems.

It kills me that the hysteria over theft causes people to be so anxious and sometimes avoid biking. This fear seems to be worse in Portland than in any other city. Maybe get a beater bike for certain occasions if the fear is so persistent? Biking should be care-free, including leaving a bike locked to a staple rack.

Gerald Fittipaldi
Guest
Gerald Fittipaldi

P.S. If you’re worried about thieves cutting through the staple rack, or lifting the rack out of the ground, feeding your lock through your wheel and frame makes this type of theft much less appealing as the thief wouldn’t be able to ride off with the bike.

9watts
Subscriber

Thanks Gerald. My sentiments too.

mh
Subscriber

This kind of fear (and I have it, too) has to good for bike share. I’ll be using it probably exclusively for trips downtown.

spencer
Guest
spencer

I cringe every time my bike is left outside downtown, maybe its because I cycle through camps full of stolen bikes and bike parts on a daily basis. Where there is smoke, think fire.

Granpa
Guest
Granpa

The event flyer wants participants to bring “a good attitude”. Does that mean being pleasant and informed, or does that mean being in agreement with the prevailing group-think of the evening?

Tony Jordan (Contributor)
Subscriber

Ironic framing.

Granpa
Guest
Granpa

“irony: the use of words to express the opposite of what one really means”

No irony, candor

Kathryn
Guest
Kathryn

Please stop holding these parking talks on band practice nights! I’m offended that no one consulted MY schedule. 🙂

Britt Conroy
Guest
Britt Conroy

Looking forward to reading your recap. Will you also be posting a recording of this event? Thanks

Martha
Guest
Martha

Most ( all?) downtown parking garages have bike racks. No guarantees, but locking your bike in a garage instead of on the sidewalk reduces the opportunity for a casual thief since it’s more out of sight.

9watts
Subscriber

That can cut the other way too. If your bike is ‘out of sight’ then so too is the thief inclined to fiddle with it.