Showers Pass Warehouse Sale

Council pulls parking mandate after affordability advocates pile into hearing

Posted by on July 6th, 2016 at 5:20 pm

Portland City Council

Portland City Council: Steve Novick, Amanda Fritz, Charlie Hales, Dan Saltzman and Nick Fish.
(Photo: J.Maus/BikePortland)

Five days after the city council seemed headed for a vote to mandate garages in larger transit-oriented apartment buildings in the Northwest District, it’s put the proposal on hold.

The decision came after opponents of mandatory parking organized a letter-writing campaign and then outnumbered supporters nearly three to one at the council’s Wednesday hearing.

“We’re going to keep coming up against these choices: do we want a city for people or a city for cars?” said one opponent of the mandate, Rachel Shadoan. “I want a city for people.”

She contrasted Portland with her childhood home of Oklahoma.

“My memories of Oklahoma are of endless driving and miles and miles of parking lots,” she said.

Council says permit changes might better block parking spillover

There were also dissenting voices Wednesday, as well as a general agreement that northwest Portland parking policy needs changes. Among the options discussed were higher street parking permit prices, a cap on the number of total permits issued, some sort of restriction on which buildings could be issued permits or a mandate that applied only to market-rate units.

“As long as parking is cheaper on the street than parking off street, people are going to park on the street.”
— Chris Rall

“As long as parking is cheaper on the street than parking off street, people are going to park on the street,” said Chris Rall, one of many who said parking minimums should be used only as a last resort after other measures are taken.

Four of the five council members seemed responsive to that combination of ideas. Only Commissioner Amanda Fritz said she supported parking minimums for new buildings in the district. But she withdrew that proposal without a vote after it became clear that no other commissioners were eager to endorse it.

“I’ve learned today that there’s a lot of tools at the disposal of NW that we haven’t really explored,” said Commissioner Dan Saltzman. “I don’t want to see this disappear into the ether. I think there’s a sense of urgency, at least in my mind, anyway. I think we owe people in NW one way or the other a decision very soon.”

“This hearing has caused each of us to think about this problem in new and different ways,” said Commissioner Nick Fish. “I love the suggestion that there may be a new and hybrid idea out there that’s worth exploring. I love the idea of looking for a different way of rationing and pricing.”

“Parking minimums are extremely problematic,” Commissioner Steve Novick said. “If you increase the cost of something, you increase the cost of something. There is no way that requiring parking to be built does not drive up the cost.”

Novick said it might be possible to use Northwest to “pilot” new parking permit policies.

Today, the city’s parking permit policy doesn’t cap the number of permits in a given zone. In Northwest Portland, that means a $60-per-year parking permit is sometimes referred to as a “hunting license.” Once it completes a planned expansion, Northwest District’s will have 4,700 spaces available to Zone M permit holders. The city has issued more than 9,000 Zone M parking permits.

As part of Wednesday’s action, the council agreed to make it legal to let institutions like Legacy Good Samaritan Hospital rent out their unused spaces during off-peak hours. That could free up “hundreds” of new parking stalls, a Legacy executive said.

Developer: each parking stall adds $50,000 to building cost

nw portland new units

Each bar represents one building; the vertical axis shows the number of units in each. Buildings marked in orange would have been illegal under the proposed new rule.
(Data: Bureau of Planning and Sustainability. Chart: BikePortland.)

As we reported Tuesday, city data show that most new buildings in the Northwest District over the last eight years that have at least 10 units are being built with more than they would have be required to under the proposed rules.

But a few projects, accounting for 23 percent of the area’s new housing supply over that period, have less. One large project, the Tess O’Brien Apartments that start pre-leasing 124 studios of about 330 square feet next week, has no on-site parking at all.

Some people, such as Northwest District resident Iain MacKenzie, said mandatory parking rules would block such niche projects that cater to lower and medium-income people, most of them without cars. MacKenzie, who covers the development industry on his site NextPortland.com, predicted that on-site parking would force developers to build projects with smaller numbers of higher-end units.

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The one developer who showed up to testify Wednesday said that if the rules were passed, his firm would simply stop building anything with more than 30 units in order to avoid building any new parking.

“The cost of the parking stalls — they’re around $50,000,” said Frank Stock, vice president at MDC Construction. “If you just do the simple math, that’s decades to recover that cost.”

Others testifying in opposition to the minimums included Sarah Iannarone, who finished third in May’s mayoral primary; Margot Black, an organizer of Portland Tenants United who was speaking for herself; and Tony Jordan of Portlanders for Parking Reform, who had worked for weeks to organize opposition to the proposal.

“Northwest Portland has a toolbox full of parking management strategies at its disposal,” Jordan said. “Expanded permit zones, new meters, the recommended shared parking that we’re asking for — and pretty soon we should have better permit programs available as well. So I think there’s much less risk right now in waiting to see how these more flexible and equitable policies play out and then adjust them to work better, rather than applying a policy that might not work very much and certainly would exacerbate the housing crisis.”

Resident: Garages are needed so children can live in Northwest

117 NW Trinity 1912
117 NW Trinity Place, built in 1912, is one of many Northwest District buildings with no on-site parking.

Most of the handful of people who testified Wednesday in support of mandatory parking said they share the civic goals of those on the other side.

“Of course we need more housing,” said Wendy Chung. “Of course we need less cars.”

But Chung predicted that 330-square-foot studios with no on-site parking would become filled with “single professionals.” If all new buildings were required to have on-site parking, she said, then more people with children or disabilities would be able to live in the area because those people, she said, need to own cars.

Chung noted that apartments in MacKenzie’s 89-year-old building, which has no on-site parking, are renting for several hundred dollars less than smaller apartments in the new Tess O’Brien building. She said she wished that new market-rate units like Tess O’Brien weren’t allowed in her neighborhood at all — only buildings that would offer below-market rents.

Many of those backing the mandate, including three members of the Northwest Parking Stakeholder Committee, emphasized that they were asking only to be treated like the rest of the city. In 2013, the city began requiring most buildings with 30 or more units to have parking, even if they’re next to a frequent transit line.

“I see the parking minimums as a little bit of a tourniquet to stop the intense bleeding,” said Karen Karllson, a member of the committee which had voted unanimously to back the plan with new minimums included.

“I don’t remember that kind of unanimity in our past discussions,” Commissioner Fritz noted.

Novick: Citywide permit option might come to council within months

Street fee press conference-1

Transportation Commissioner Steve Novick.

Commissioner Fish, for his part, reminded the room Wednesday that the 2013 citywide mandate was “never meant to be the final product” and tweaks might be appropriate.

“We called it an interim solution,” he said. “We’re long overdue, actually, to take a look at it. … It appears to be creating incentives to smaller-scale development, which is quite contrary to our development plan.”

One possible solution before the city is to move on a proposal that a team at the Portland Bureau of Transportation spent most of last year developing: a new residential parking permit system that would enforce parking overnight, cap the total number of permits, and could charge more than $60 per year.

Commissioner Novick said Wednesday that he had been holding back the permit policy in order to do public outreach on its thorniest question: how to decide who gets to be first in line for the limited supply of street permits. He said he expected it to come to council “within the next few months.”

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

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dan
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dan

Amanda Fritz continues to lead the fight against smart development. Must be hard getting a grip on the issues when you live up in the West Hills.

rick
Guest
rick

She lives in the West Portland Park neighborhood, not SW Patton Road.

Spiffy
Subscriber

which is essentially Tigard…

Eric Leifsdad
Guest
Eric Leifsdad

There’s hope. Soon, she’ll be able to ride her bike on Capitol Hwy’s protected bikeway nearly all the way to Multnomah’s eastbound MUP, then get dumped onto the I5 ramp to Terwilliger on the way to ride through the Barbur woods.

Cory P
Guest
Cory P

Wait?! She has a BIKE?

Hello, Kitty
Guest
Hello, Kitty

Sure! I saw her at Loud and Lit…

Adam
Subscriber

Glad to see city council take a rational approach to parking policy, rather than imposing arbitrary minimums. Though it seems Amanda Fritz is still making up facts to fit her rhetoric.

bjcefola
Guest
bjcefola

Kudos to everyone who worked towards this outcome.

I think the decision embraces reason and analysis, and turns away from the mindless scapegoating that drove the original increase in minimums. It’s a win for Portland.

rick
Guest
rick

Now on to towing abandoned or unlicensed automobiles.

Adam
Subscriber

I say unleash the free market on that one. The towing companies are ruthless.

B. Carfree
Guest
B. Carfree

My cynicism keeps getting fed by things like this. Rather than do their homework and come up with a high-quality policy, our elected officials like to hold hearings and bend to the wing that has managed to organize the best showing. I find this an uninspiring lack of leadership that does not build trust.

BTW Michael, nice job of reporting on this. It’s possible you have helped shape the outcome in a positive way (even if the process is distasteful to me).

Adam
Subscriber

Agreed. Were you watching the hearing? Many city council members were making up ideas about parking management on the spot. We already have an excellent, well-researched plan; why not adapt that instead? Novick at least alluded to starting up the outreach for that plan soon.

Eric
Guest
Eric

I voted for Novick in the primary, but I’m almost certain this dismal showing means I’ll be voting Eudaly in the general.

Social Engineer
Guest
Social Engineer

Yes, what this ordeal has proven to us is that we need more Amanda Fritzes on the council. Because that’s what a vote for Eudaly would entail.

maccoinnich
Guest

I don’t agree with Chloe Eudaly on everything, but on this issue she’s strongly come down on what I think to be the right side.

“I just cannot justify parking minimums in a central, dense, and transit-friendly neighborhood that will drive up rents and drive down supply.”

https://www.facebook.com/chloe4pdx/posts/1562911804010634

Social Engineer
Guest
Social Engineer

This is just one issue. I suspect she and Fritz would align on most others.

soren
Guest
soren

There is no one in Portland more pro-sustainable density than I and I support Chloe Eudaly. Supply proponents need to recognize that we are experiencing a rental housing emergency. People’s lives and well-being are being ruined by the chronic rental housing shortage.

i wear many hats
Guest
i wear many hats

I live in the west hills and Ms Fritz has NEVER represented my interests. Kudos to the rest of City Council for listening to reason and not NIMBYism! Amanda Fritz is so far out of touch with her constituency its amazing. No mountain biking, urban cycling, dense urban development, or logic on her watch.

meh
Guest
meh

Why should she? This is why city commissioners need to be elected by district. Right now they pander to the areas that support them ($$$$) in the elections. Doesn’t matter where she lives, it about who gives.

Evan Manvel
Guest
Evan Manvel

Your cynicism has some overall truth, but in Fritz’s case, you’re mistaken. She largely self-funded her competitive race in 2012, spending more than $340,000 of her own money – an unmatched amount.

In 2016 she didn’t receive contributions more than $750, and overall raised just $25,605.

She’s also been a leader in the effort to restore public campaign financing, as she came in to office in 2008 through that system.
http://www.wweek.com/news/2016/06/08/how-amanda-fritz-could-revive-public-campaign-financing-in-portland/

I strongly disagree with her on this issue, but she’s only beholden to herself for her election.

David Hampsten
Guest
David Hampsten

I live in a city with five wards/districts with a council person each, and 4 elected at-large. What you get instead is the majority coalition gets all the goodies, and the losers (usually the black districts) nothing.

Alex
Guest
Alex

I am not a Fritz supporter, but if you looked at who she was running against, who would you have voted for? There honestly wasn’t much competition. If someone really wanted that position that had good qualifications, I bet they could get it – it just wasn’t there.

rick
Guest
rick

Amanda has helped develop abandoned parks in the outer parks of the city.

Matt S.
Guest
Matt S.

I don’t agree with her on everything, but my girlfriends parents live next to a park that she saved from development. It’ll never be developed and will forever be a lovely green space with a nice hiking/running trail through it.

Eric Leifsdad
Guest
Eric Leifsdad

Needs a bike rack at the trailhead. It takes too much chain to get around a utility pole, mine is only 2.5ft, so she’ll also need 2 u-locks on the frame.

Ted Timmons (Contributor)
Editor

The council seemed to listen intently to all 27 testimonies. They (kindly) asked questions at times.

The issue of mandated parking increasing, or not increasing, the cost of units was debated on both sides, and defended poorly on both sides.

Even Amanda Fritz appeared to have an open mind, though some of her questions and comments belied this; she claimed 2/3rds of SF households have cars and 1/3rd of New York (city) residents, and both they and London all have 1:1 minimum parking ratios on new construction.

Comm. Fritz also said “what you’re saying is you’ve tried anything else”. Interesting, since parking meters and permits have been in place less than six months.

Also I got a laugh for saying “given parking permits are $5/month, we *might* be underpricing the public space”. Mayor Hales echoed that later, saying “five bucks a month is crazy-low”. Unfortunately tough decisions will follow- how do you equitably distribute this public good? There aren’t any easy answers. It’s going to offend, and be tough, on some portion of us.

Eric
Guest
Eric

To be fair, If Fritz said that 1/3 of NYC residents owned cars, she actually understated the percentage quite a bit, as something like 46% of residents citywide own cars. Although it’s true that what most people think of as “New York” (Manhattan and maybe brownstone Brooklyn) car ownership rates are in the low 20s.

Ted Timmons (Contributor)
Editor

Yeah, her numbers aren’t far off (maybe she said 1/2 and we got it wrong). The number is 56% carfree (“access to a car”, define however you please), in SF it’s 31%. She’s entirely wrong on the minimum parking mandates in those cities, and I want to dig into the SF stat a little more to see what (land) it includes.

maccoinnich
Guest

Here is the zoning map for San Francisco (zoom in really close to read the zoning designation on the block): http://default.sfplanning.org/zoning/zoning_map-042816.pdf

According to this site (http://livablecity.org/parking-history-sf/) “all SF zoning districts except RH (residential, house) either require no parking, or permit simple exceptions.” The Northwest Plan District is all zoned high density residential, commercial or employment. Her comparison with San Francisco therefore isn’t really applicable, because the areas of San Francisco zoned to allow apartments don’t require that they provide parking.

Eric
Guest
Eric

Here’s a good map which shows car ownership rates citywide (although they say this is Census data, I’m not sure how they’re breaking it down by neighborhood, which also seems problematic for various reasons.)

http://www.nycedc.com/blog-entry/new-yorkers-and-cars

It’s pretty easy to see that the very low car ownership rates in Manhattan drag the rest of the city down by a significant percentage.

Adam
Subscriber

However, in common parlance, when people outside of NY say New York City, they typically mean Manhattan. Even some New Yorkers don’t consider Staten Island or Queens to be part of the city.

Eric
Guest
Eric

I lived in New York for almost 20 years. I never met anyone that didn’t consider all five boroughs to be part of New York City.

Eric
Guest
Eric

You might be getting confused with the term “the city” which is contextual. Within the the five boroughs, it refers to Manhattan, but it’s just shorthand for “Manhattan.” Outside of New York City, it refers to New York City.

This has been “former New Yorker pedant hour”

Ted Timmons (Contributor)
Editor

On average, myself and a child weigh 90 pounds. That’s the/my problem with the stat that was given.

Adam
Subscriber

New Yorkers think “the city” means New York City, no matter where in the world you are…

Eric
Guest
Eric

To be fair, there are no other cities in America.

Jane
Guest
Jane

I’m from Brooklyn NY and even though many people had cars you couldn’t beat the subway system which runs all night, along with the bus system. Portland has a crappy transit system which requires waiting outside in the cold rain and you could stand until you turn to stone. I lived in Bay Ridge and took the R train which was underground and ran all night everyday of the week. Until Portland increases and improves the transit system and makes it more user friendly people are not going to stop using their cars. Another thing, how are people supposed to do food shopping for the week to feed their families and expect to transport it by bicycle? Back in Brooklyn NY I had a Grand Union nearby on Fourth Ave. & 92nd Street so it was not difficult for me to get my groceries home with a shopping cart.

Hello, Kitty
Subscriber
Hello, Kitty

While I mostly agree with your call for better transit options, I can suggest that with a bike trailer you can carry a week’s worth of shopping and more. I’ve used this with good luck, it folds quickly for compact storage, and can be used without a bike to transport otherwise challenging loads (I’ve carried furniture with mine, and even used it to haul ski gear on a multi-modal trip to a mountain a few years ago).

If your family is bigger, there are other solutions that may also work well; I borrowed a trailer from a friend to haul a cabinet that was far too big for my car.

https://www.rei.com/product/807561/burley-travoy-urban-bike-trailer?cm_mmc=cse_PLA_GOOG-_-8075610017&CAWELAID=120217890000833390&CAGPSPN=pla&CAAGID=15877513840&CATCI=pla-183697361560&lsft=cm_mmc:cse_PLA_GOOG&gclid=Cj0KEQjwnv27BRCmuZqMg_Ddmt0BEiQAgeY1l71ZoDwcJkAEjT0QX_N08jtH-gyN2Xg4VHLIdIaLE-0aAgIA8P8HAQ

Matt S.
Guest
Matt S.

Wait, you own car!!!! Ah oh…

Hello, Kitty
Subscriber
Hello, Kitty

The cabinet incident occurred several years ago when I owned a car I no longer have.

Cory P
Guest
Cory P

Yes car ownership is ubiquitous across the USA. But I like to think we are working towards something different in Portland. Amanda’s approach is regressive and non sustainable.

maccoinnich
Guest

The statement about London is totally incorrect. It’s a little difficult to draw a direct comparison, because the UK doesn’t have zoning in the way that the US does, and development is regulated by 32 London boroughs rather than citywide. Nonetheless, I looked up the policies of a few of the boroughs.

Royal Borough of Kensington and Chelsea (which is generally known for its conservative politics):

“Car parking standards for development are set out in other documents, and are expressed as maxima. These will be revised downwards during the lifetime of this strategy. Low or zero levels of car parking are encouraged in order to minimise the negative impacts of increased car use and traffic congestion. In some locations and for some scales of development car parking will need to be significantly below the maximum adopted standards in order to ensure the impacts of any additional car trips are acceptable.”

London Borough of Islington (a more left leaning jurisdiction):

“H. Encouraging sustainable transport choices through new development by maximising opportunities for walking, cycling and public transport use, and requiring that all new developments are car-free(15). Key proposals to increase cycling and improve safety are set out in the Islington Cycling Action Plan.

15 Car free development means no parking provision will be allowed on site and occupiers will have no ability to obtain car parking permits, except for parking needed to meet the needs of disabled people.”

eawrist
Guest
eawrist

Maccoinnich- will you please run for mayor or council?

maccoinnich
Subscriber

Oh, I don’t think the political life is for me.

David Hampsten
Guest
David Hampsten

Isn’t Fritz from Cambridge?

soren
Guest
soren

Kudos to Tony Jordan and Charlie Tso for helping organize testimony that supports rational and equitable parking policy.

Ted Buehler
Guest

Thanks to all who wrote letters or attended the meeting.

& thanks for the writeup, Michael.

If you want to send a thank-you note to council, or give them any other feedback, their contact info is here:
https://www.portlandoregon.gov/article/224450

Ted Buehler

was carless
Guest
was carless

This cautiously appears to be good news!

bikenpdx
Guest

Portland needs to charge for street parking. We can no longer afford to offer every car a free home on our streets.

Spiffy
Subscriber

get rid of permits and put hourly meters on every block in the city… we’ll need to at least double the parking enforcement budget…

that will have an immediate effect on the habits of drivers and the health of the city…

David Hampsten
Guest
David Hampsten

Why meters or pay stations? A permit system is much cheaper to administrate.

Beth H
Guest

Would you include residential parking in front of someone’s house? How would you deal with the fact that not all houses have driveways or garages? Do you muscle through Yet Another Unilateral Tax on everyone who lives in a house (instead of an apartment, for example)?
I’m pretty sure Portland is not ready for another attempt at taxation simply for the privilege of Being A Portlander.

JeffS
Guest
JeffS

What’s the difference between a house without a driveway and an apartment/condo/ADU – or for that matter, the 2nd or 3rd car of a one-car driveway? Nothing whatsoever.

bikenpdx
Guest

Every Multifamily should include parking or developer should be mandeated to invest in public parking within walking distance. Its time Portland invests in car parking technology. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=aVDmfsV_PJw.

bikeninja
Guest
bikeninja

When I was a little kid, my mother would take me to the dentist at the medical arts building on 10th and Washington downtown. It had a lift-and-push parking garage like the one in the video except it went up and not down and had an operator pulling levers instead of a computer running things. It was taken out and converted to a 3 story cement garage because Americans ( other than farmers) started driving pickup trucks, SUV’s and other odd shaped cars that not fit well in such a system. Also in a normal parking garage the operator can blame car damage on other patrons, but in an auto system damage is always the fault of the operator.

Ted Timmons (Contributor)
Editor

There are new automated car storage systems going in in Portland. I assume they are safer to operate and less risky. I know of one in NW and another that is nearly completed. I’m sure I’ve missed some, maybe @maccoinnich knows more.

Hello, Kitty
Subscriber
Hello, Kitty

Safer until the operator neglects to renew their license!

http://www.govtech.com/magazines/gt/Robot-Garage-Hijacks-Cars.html

maccoinnich
Subscriber

I don’t know a lot about mechanical parking, except that it has become much more common over the last 5 years. I assume that the technology has advanced a lot.

q
Guest
q

Why?

bikenpdx
Guest

15 percent or more of traffic on commercial streets is “not traffic that’s going anywhere, it’s just people circling around looking for a place to park.”

eawrist
Guest
eawrist

It may be better to incentivize car for hire parking, rather than general public parking.

Bike Guy
Guest
Bike Guy

Glad to see the for-hire bike advocates dictating policy in my neighborhood, winning by mob rule. Apparently more of you have flexible work commitments and can show up for a Council meeting at 2 in the afternoon than people who think parking is sound policy.

What do you win, exactly? Nothing. Just more cars parked on the street, and a hand out to your for-profit overlords, who have to be splitting their sides over your agenda.

Do any of you even live in NW Portland? If so, do you have friends or God forbid elderly family from out of state who try to visit you? Parking for them is a perfect nightmare, but you agitators can only see this issue from your own perspective – someone who lives life in a 2 mile bikeable radius, who has no need to interact with the world at large.

(Or do you even? How many of you own cars, and simply want the rest of us to give them up to conform to your utopian vision of the City?)

Adam
Subscriber

Can’t your out of state visitors park at Sunset TC and take the MAX into town?

lop
Guest
lop

You’ve mentioned having more people park at Sunset TC before. You know it fills up early in the morning, and has since it opened, right?

q
Guest
q

I used to live in NW in two different apartments that had no parking available on site. When on-street parking got tight, I rented an off-street space in a parking garage, which solved all my parking problems, because I didn’t have to compete for free on-street parking.

I supported having no minimums, but don’t fit any of the categories you mentioned.

Ted Timmons (Contributor)
Editor

Bike Guy: I testified. It was really hard for me to take an afternoon off but I felt it was important. It’s harder to have enough time to attend NWNW meetings and committees and subcommittees (“parking SAC” is a subcommittee of the neighborhood transportation committee). Those positions end up favoring retired folks.

I live in NW, as do others who testified (you can watch the video to verify). I have a car, I’m privileged enough to pay $300/mo extra in rent so I can store it (generally it sits on a charger; it gets loaned out via getaround quite a bit too).

I have friends and family (with disabled placards) who visit; it’s gotten better with permits and parking meters. It’s not a perfect nightmare.

I testified on behalf of myself. Who are these “for-profit overlords”? And “mob rule” is democracy, yes? How about yourself? What’s your story, how has the new parking scheme affected you? Do you live in the ‘stadium’ zone or the new northern zone?

bikeninja
Guest
bikeninja

Let me see, humans have lived on earth for a couple of million years but it has only been for the last 50 or so that we have been able to pull up to the curb in front of the house so someone can get in to the front door in only a few steps. People figured this out in the past, and they can figure it out now. Such excuses are a poor rational for extending the grip that the automobile has on our psyches, our lives and our wallets.

Ted Timmons (Contributor)
Editor

Admittedly, life was pretty dire for the disabled populations until recently.

Adam
Subscriber

So make all cars illegal, then use the money we save in health costs to offer paratransit for everyone who needs it. 😉

Yes, I’m joking.

9watts
Guest
9watts

Autodom has improved things for people with disabilities?
I guess it all depends on how you measure these things. Access and mobility are not the same things, you know.

Ted Timmons (Contributor)
Editor

Institutionalization has nothing to do with autos.

http://archive.adl.org/education/curriculum_connections/fall_2005/fall_2005_lesson5_history.html
http://www.uniteforsight.org/mental-health/module2

With physical limitations, it at least *seems* like we’ve made progress on things like prosthetics, wheelchairs, etc.

9watts
Guest
9watts

But we were talking about our species’ strategies for accessing their dwellings throughout history pre- and post-auto, and lamenting the short memories of those who would like us to institutionalize the proximate-parking-spot as a birthright.

David Hampsten
Guest
David Hampsten

Remember the good ol’ days of riding horses everywhere? Sure, it stank of horses__t, but you could park everywhere! Shoot, even the City of Portland encouraged it by adding horse rings to the concrete curbs! Insisted developers do the same. Yessiree, I wonder what happened to all thar them lasso rings? Buggies everywhere, horse-drawn trollies, livery stables all over town. Yup, those were the days.

Hello, Kitty
Subscriber
Hello, Kitty

Where do you think homo habilis parked their cars, if not outside their apartment buildings? These were far more sophisticated homonids than the Neanderthals that tended to park in municipal lots near the train station, then trudge several hundred meters to their caves, carrying their groceries and Costco purchases in their arms. We have advanced beyond those times, and I, for one, do not support your desire to return to the Neanderthal parking system, with its mechanical chits and tyrannical parking attendants.

We have evolved!

maccoinnich
Subscriber

I testified (I’m the Iain MacKenzie mentioned in the story above). It actually wasn’t easy for me to take a few hours off in the middle of the day, particularly with a deadline coming up next week. Unlike Ted, one of the other Northwest residents who testified, I don’t own a car.

JeffS
Guest
JeffS

Surely you own a parking spot for your, and your friend’s, vehicles if it means that much to you.

i wear many hats
Guest
i wear many hats

I work in NW 4 days/ week. I ride most of the time, drive some, and even walk some. It is insane to give away public space for private car storage. NW is the prime example. We’ve reached critical mass, and there isn”t enough space for everyone to drive themselves everywhere. We all own the streets, and the public space should be used for the public, not just for private car storage. If parking was valued at market rates, there would be a space in front of your house every day. I couldn’t make the meeting but you bet I had a chance to email the council re: parking policy and charging market rates for public space. If your parents want to visit, pick them up from mass transit, and park in your driveway, or drop them at your door and then park. Cheers!

Matt S.
Guest
Matt S.

You drive, right. lets assume (and if you don’t, for the sake of the argument—pretend) you store your car in your garage when not in use. Would you support a measure on this upcoming ballot to impose a tax on your garage for car storage, lets say, 800$ a year. Would you be in favor? I understand it’s your private property, but what we’re penalizing here is car ownership and storage. Essentially, this is what’s going on for residents in the NW when they have to park on the street, they’re being penalized because they have nowhere else to store their car.

I have a friend that lives in SW by PSU, she pays 60$ a year for her parking pass. She lives in a duplex. Is it fair to raise her parking when she doesn’t have anywhere else to store her vehicle. I don’t know? Maybe double would be fair, but to triple, I don’t think so…

She needs her car for work, so not having one is not an option.

JeffS
Guest
JeffS

Parking on the street is a choice, not something that is forced upon anyone.

Some people pay property tax on their driveway. Some buy or lease parking spaces. Others want the city to give it to them for free.

Matt S.
Guest
Matt S.

My friend does not make a whole lot of money. She pays around 1000 for her 2 bd and has a roommate. She’s not rich, far far from it. She has student debt, her car is used and paid for. She does not live in excess. Why does she have to be penalized for not having the luxury of living in a single family dwelling with onsite car storage. I don’t disagree with having to pay for on street parking—she does that already. But what is the price point? 300, 400, 500$ a year. She can’t rent space in a garage because it doesn’t make since for her to have to walk 1 mile to pick her car up when she needs it for work everyday.

These blanket parking reform policies get really complicated when you dissect them and apply the scenarios to everyday, real working people.

JeffS
Guest
JeffS

What, specifically, is the penalty here?

Yes, she was born, made a lot of choices and now… If she doesn’t get to live where she chooses, and park her car for free or low cost on public property it’s a penalty?

Matt S.
Guest
Matt S.

Penalty, her cost of living is going up and she’s not being present with any other options. She must use her car for work, she can’t use public transportation. But you’re right, she could just find a different job, move somewhere else, walk—make different choices. Just that easy, huh? It may be presumptive of me in asking if you’re a car owner?

JeffS
Guest
JeffS

Yea… pretty much exactly like that.

Or, a person may just say that they want to drive; that every decision was made with the assumption that they were going to drive and you stop trying to excuse it. It’s a perfectly acceptable choice.

I’m not sure it’s relevant, but my family does not currently own a car. We occasionally utilize zipcar and are open to the possibility of owning a car in the future. With that expectation in mind, we chose a property with private parking so we’d have somewhere to store it should the time come.

Matt S.
Guest
Matt S.

Watch out for hypocrisy, it’s right around the corner…

Ted Timmons (Contributor)
Editor

of course it’s complicated. sharing public resources is always tough. the “but poor people” argument is difficult for many reasons; it’s hard to stay equitable, it’s often used as a red herring, and the data isn’t clear on how to solve car affordability issues, even though other transportation options tend to be more financially accessible.

http://bikeportland.org/2016/01/25/low-income-households-drive-much-less-than-high-income-households-173261
http://bikeportland.org/2014/12/16/new-census-data-shows-zero-car-households-rise-washington-county-118221

Alternate way to look at it: why am I subsidizing her parking?

Matt S.
Guest
Matt S.

How are you subsidizing her parking? Are you saying you contribute more than she does somehow?

Ted Timmons (Contributor)
Editor

We all pay for public resources (roads, parking, schools, mayor’s salary). $60/year does not cover the cost; the rest comes from taxes.

Renters subsidize homeowners; I’ll leave that as an exercise to the reader.

Hello, Kitty
Subscriber
Hello, Kitty

We all pay for tons of things we don’t use. Why does this one example, out of the thousands you could choose from, stick so firmly in your craw?

9watts
Guest
9watts

I understand the temptation to bring specific current examples to bear on these kinds of speculative subjects, but there is a risk: You end up invariably reifying the present and obfuscating the dynamic quality of any policy that seeks to establish a new set of parameters. A chief point of upsetting the current parking situation–at least as I see it—is to re-level the playing field, make it possible for those who currently don’t own, or would rather do without a car, to find other ways of getting around; shift the incentives, shrink the troubles that follow from too much free space given over to just one activity, the collective action problems. And of course the upshot is that those with cars (who else is complaining about the current situation?) will do have an easier time of it too, though not without paying a price.

“These blanket parking reform policies get really complicated when you dissect them and apply the scenarios to everyday, real working people.”

Only sort of. The real problem is when you focus on the (frozen) individual case and thereby miss the potential (dynamic, evolving) win for society.

Hello, Kitty
Subscriber
Hello, Kitty

What is this unlevel playing field people keep referring to? Is there some restriction that prevents certain people from renting or buying properties that meet their needs? If you need parking, rent a place that either provides parking or has access to on-street parking. If you don’t need parking, then it isn’t a requirement for you, and you have more options.

You might argue that some buildings exist on an uneven playing field (due to choices made by their developer, in the time and place they chose to build), but when residents can choose where to live, this doesn’t extend to the people level. It is very hard for me to get worked up about unfairness to an inanimate object.

9watts
Guest
9watts

Unlevel playing field = all the subsidies, pork, free public right of way are flung at those who own and use cars.
If this did not preclude other ways of being, of getting around, of using the public right of way I wouldn’t care half as much, but as it is this penchant for tilting everything toward the car-bound is a real zero sum tradeoff. Donald Shoup’s tome isn’t called the High Cost of Free Parking for nothing.

Hello, Kitty
Subscriber
Hello, Kitty

So for you, this isn’t about parking at all, but rather the dominance of autos in our transportation system.

I happen to agree with you, but I don’t think that the parking issue is really part of the picture (because opponents of requiring developers to deal with parking are simply shifting costs onto the public, making the problem worse).

The way forward is to improve alternatives to driving, and steadily ratchet up the cost of making trips, to reduce those marginal trips while still allowing the essential ones.

Parking minimums is a complete side-issue.

q
Guest
q

There’s no “penalizing” of car ownership or storage going on with asking people to pay for on-street parking, any more than the City is penalizing swimsuit ownership because it charges people to swim in public pools, or penalizing TVs by charging for electricity.

So why should a private garage be taxed (beyond the property taxes already being charged)? In fact, if you tax private garages, then people have an incentive to not have them, and instead park on the street, making things even worse.

So yes, it’s fair to charge your friend more for parking on the street, when the public resource she’s using is worth more and in demand by other people.

Matt S.
Guest
Matt S.

You’d tax street parking just as much as the garage, thus eliminating the affordability of car ownership altogether.

q
Guest
q

Yes, exactly, if the goal was to discourage car ownership altogether. But we were talking about charging people like your friend more for using on-street parking, and the reason for doing that isn’t to make car ownership unaffordable. And taxing people who have off-street parking isn’t going to help your friend, it’s going to make it worse.

And first you were saying how bad it would be to make her pay much more than $60/year for a permit, and now you’re saying to tax on-street parking as much as the garage, for which you mentioned $800/year?

Adam
Subscriber

It’s worth remembering that the only reason that car ownership is even affordable in the first place is because of massive public subsidies. I’m paying for car infrastructure even those I don’t own a car.

Hello, Kitty
Subscriber
Hello, Kitty

We all pay for stuff we don’t use.

Matt S.
Guest
Matt S.

All I know is, when my surgeon is called in at three in the morning, I don’t want him/her to have to wait at the max station for twenty minutes…

Hello, Kitty
Subscriber
Hello, Kitty

I’d love a 20 minute wait for a Max train at 3AM!

q
Guest
q

Matt–your surgeon example is a great argument for allowing onsite parking without the massive taxing you mentioned, and for making sure people pay enough for on-street parking.

Matt S.
Guest
Matt S.

The surgeon lives on the east-side where parking is free and has free parking at the hospital downtown. This hypothetical wealthy person never has to pay to store their car…

Hello, Kitty
Subscriber
Hello, Kitty

But other hypothetical wealthy people do.

Adam
Subscriber

True, but cars impose a negative cost to society. Whereas things like education benefit everyone even if they don’t have kids, because an educated public is better for society.

Hello, Kitty
Subscriber
Hello, Kitty

Cars permit a great deal of mobility. They’re certainly not the optimal transportation solution, but I don’t think I accept your assertion that they are a net loss to society.

Matt S.
Guest
Matt S.

Yes, but it’s an extremely small percentage of their overall annual income.

Adam
Subscriber

Cars only permit mobility because we’ve designed our cities around universal car usage. Go visit a old European city or even an old American city like NYC and tell me that a car increases your mobility there.

Matt S.
Guest
Matt S.

I agree with you Adam on Europe and NYC. I’ve never been to either location, but I’m probably not too far off base when I assert the claim that both locations have significantly better public transportation than Portland.

Ted Timmons (Contributor)
Editor

it hasn’t been mentioned, but the surgeon has other options- car2go, carshare, taxi, lyft/uber, etc.

And oncall doctors are at the hospital, at worst they are asleep in an oncall room. (at some hospitals, they may be working 30 hours, then handing off in rounds for another few hours). Not the point of parking/driving discussion, but the more you know(tm).
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/On-call_room

Hello, Kitty
Subscriber
Hello, Kitty

>> Cars only permit mobility because we’ve designed our cities around universal car usage. <<

I disagree, but, regardless, the cities are already built, and changing them requires incremental change, with political approval from the general population.

Adam
Subscriber

Matt S.: So instead of making it easier to drive and park in Portland, wouldn’t it be better to use NYC and other European cities as examples and work towards better public transport? Especially in one of the densest neighborhoods in Portland.

Adam
Subscriber

Hello, Kitty: I call BS on that one. Cities in the 50’s and 60’s cleared away entire neighborhoods to build highways against massive outcry. The only reason highways in cities exist is because of lack of public outreach (not to mention racism of course, but that’s a separate issue). Incremental change is not good enough to undo this damage.

Hello, Kitty
Subscriber
Hello, Kitty

Should we work to improve public transit? Of course! Does that automatically mean that we need to make driving worse? No! Are there places where space currently allocated to autos needs to be repurposed?Absolutely!

Adam
Subscriber

I can’t think of a single city that has excellent public transport and is also easy to drive and park in. The same things that make transit work well (density, walkability, etc.) make driving worse.

9watts
Guest
9watts

“Should we work to improve public transit? Of course! Does that automatically mean that we need to make driving worse? No!”

This is one of your favorite assertions, but I’d like for you to flesh this out, give an example. Because I’m with Adam H., I see the two as competing for the same resources, the same space. I don’t think you can maximize both of these (or any) variables simultaneously; you have to choose.

Hello, Kitty
Subscriber
Hello, Kitty

Examples: Run buses and trains more frequently and later.

I’m not saying there is never a conflict, and when there is, I’m almost always on the side of transit (or bikes, or whatever). I’m just saying that when there is the opportunity to improve transit without degrading car travel, that should be seen as a win-win, not as a sub-optimal outcome. Degrading auto travel is not, in itself, a positive outcome, though it may be the cost of getting a more positive outcome.

q
Guest
q

Incremental change that happens is a lot more effective than major changes that don’t get approved.

q
Guest
q

9watts–HK’s running buses and trains more frequently and later are good examples of improving transit without making driving worse. Improving routes and scheduling, adding better lighting and weather protection at bus stops, making it easier to purchase tickets and passes, and making buses and stops more accessible are a few others.

And sure, buses take up the same space (roads) as cars. But unless nobody on a bus would be driving if the bus wasn’t running, the bus is reducing the number of cars on the road. It only takes 3 or so cars to take up the space of a bus, so the bus can dramatically free up space on roads. That doesn’t hurt driving, it benefits it.

You can’t maximize both, but so what? The goal is improvement, not maximizing both.

9watts
Guest
9watts

“Run buses and trains more frequently and later.”

With all due respect, that is nonsense. Buses and cars are not equivalent, not substitutes. They are inherently different things, and as such cannot be expected to be patronized just because they run a bit more often or later at night. This is a big topic, but if you’re hoping to get more people to ride the bus or train (not saying that is my objective but this is implied here) you need to throttle the temptations that the car provides. Running more buses up Council Crest will do nothing. You *also* need to make it so that driving is too much trouble for the mostly wealthier folks who live up there and who have no experience riding the bus.

q
Guest
q

9watts–How ironic your example is. I used to live in Arlington Heights–not Council Crest but pretty similar. Bus service was infrequent after about 6 PM. When I would be working standard hours, I took the bus. When I knew I’d be working late, I drove. My decision was based 100% on the lack of later buses. Many of my bus riding neighbors did the same thing–drove when not working hours well served by the bus. And lots of my neighbors who didn’t take the bus would have if service had been better.

So my answer was not nonsense.

q
Guest
q

and 9watts–of course running a few buses or trains later and more frequently isn’t going to transform transportation. But do that along with other incremental things–that don’t need to involve making driving “too much trouble”–and you definitely will have people switching from driving to taking the bus or train. That’s true for Council Crest and undoubtedly even more true for many less wealthy neighborhoods.

soren
Guest
soren

give that automobile traffic has and is contributing significantly to climate change, degrading automobile use should have been a societal priority.

Hello, Kitty
Guest
Hello, Kitty

9watts – you asked for an example, I gave you one; I didn’t claim would fix all our problems. Good luck getting people on board with a “throttle their temptations” platform. I just don’t think people will go for that.

Hello, Kitty
Guest
Hello, Kitty

Soren – it’s not cars that are leading to global warming, it’s carbon-based fuel. Raise the fuel price, and the market will find alternatives, either to lower carbon fuels or to bikes. A well implemented, steadily-increasing carbon tax will address the problem far better than residential parking changes.

9watts
Guest
9watts

“Good luck getting people on board with a ‘throttle their temptations’ platform. I just don’t think people will go for that.”

This is perhaps our most basic disagreement, Hello, Kitty. You are focused on preferences (consumers); I am focused on constraints (citizens). When we are dealing with constraints, the challenge shifts from one in which we are on the hook to address people as consumers, find ways to entice them, to one where the circumstances demand a change in behavior, a shrinking of possibilities. We still need to think about how we pull this off (politically), but the challenge is not to win their approval but to get through to them that this is unavoidable.

Hello, Kitty
Guest
Hello, Kitty

In a democracy, those two groups are not completely different. It would be a lot easier if we had a dictator.

9watts
Guest
9watts

I disagree. Democracies are perfectly capable of facilitating principled actions and policies. This approach is sometimes called the bully pulpit. Steve Novick, whose approach I don’t generally hold in such high regard, employed it on a related topic last year. Let me see if I can find it.
http://www.portlandoregon.gov/novick/article/535389

You can (as a public figure) appeal to people as consumers, in their role as choosers among alternative goodies, or you can appeal to them as citizens, where very different values come into play. Invoking dictators/a dictatorship as necessary to appeal to non-consumer values is a cheap shot.

Hello, Kitty
Guest
Hello, Kitty

It’s not a cheap shot at all. We don’t exactly have a strong track record at this… look at Obamacare… even many who directly benefited it hate it because of “government meddling”. Here, with far fewer clear winners, I’m really not sure how you get consent from the governed.

9watts
Guest
9watts

You are confusing two different issues: (1) our leaders’ poor track record in recent memory of using the bully pulpit, and (2) the kinds of political systems that facilitate principled (as opposed to pandering) policies. Parliamentary systems, to take just one example, appear better positioned to deliver these sorts of outcomes. There is no need to jump all the way to dictatorships just because our particular, money-drenched version of democracy is such a poor performer.

Hello, Kitty
Guest
Hello, Kitty

I’m not confusing them, just skeptical that our leaders are ready or able to lead a radical shift on our culture, “for our own good”. Maybe they’ll surprise me.

bikeninja
Guest
bikeninja

I am tired of the argument made by Wendy Chung that no parking apartments are only for single professionals. My son lives in Washington Heights in NYC in an old apartment building with no on site parking and no overnight street parking within 6 blocks. It is no closer to the subway than nearly any block in NW is to the streetcar or a bus line. His building is mostly filled with Dominican families who have lived there for decades including small children and the elderly. But they craft a lifestyle that works within that situation. If enough people in an area are car free then small business’s spring up to serve their needs within a few block distance.What does not work is no-parking apartments within Automobile Ghettos where most people park in garages or on the street thus not attaining the foot traffic density to support local business. We have to have the vision to create these zones now, every parking garage or cheap public parking space we create now just gets us farther away from our goal of a human scaled, low energy neighborhoods.

Adam
Subscriber

They make this argument because they don’t want renters in “their” neighborhood because that means potentially more minorities and lower-income people. The “rich white single tech worker” is a red herring to distract from their true motives. Let’s not forget that single-family neighborhoods were specifically built to be unaffordable by minorities, primarily Black Americans.

Hello, Kitty
Subscriber
Hello, Kitty

Or, just possibly, they are being honest about not wanting more competition for an already scarce resource, and want those who increase the pressure on this resource (i.e. developers) to help provide solutions to the problems they are adding to. I mean, you’re probably right that those you disagree with are just racist, but there is at least the possibility that there is a more obvious and less sinister explanation.

Adam
Subscriber

“Not wanting more competition” for “their” parking space because they were there first and “those damn renters” are parking in it?

Hello, Kitty
Subscriber
Hello, Kitty

Essentially yes; when a neighbor does something to make an existing problem worse, it’s not unreasonable to ask them to help mitigate the damage. That’s the underpinning of a lot of city policies, such as the SDC charges we require developers to pay. This has nothing to do with renters vs. owners — a condo building would be exactly the same.

Why do you have to be so insulting and paint false caricatures of those you disagree with? Aren’t your arguments enough? Do you really need to call people racist or anti-renter or NIMBY to make your point? Can’t reasonable people disagree and still be civil?

Adam
Subscriber

Those who live in privilege see anything that levels the playing field as infringing upon their rights.

Hello, Kitty
Subscriber
Hello, Kitty

Are the people moving into the new apartment buildings the underprivileged in your scenario?

Adam
Subscriber

Why force an idea of privilege (plentiful parking) on someone without even giving them the choice?

Hello, Kitty
Subscriber
Hello, Kitty

I’m sorry — I’m having a really hard time following your argument. Who is forcing “plentiful parking” onto whom?

Adam
Subscriber

The people asking for parking minimums are asking for people to be forced to pay the cost of parking whether they use it or not. As it stands currently, someone without a car can save money by living in one of the no-parking buildings.

Hello, Kitty
Subscriber
Hello, Kitty

This sounds like the same old canard that increasing development costs will increase rents. This is simply not true. Rents are based on market values, not on development costs.

Or are you suggesting that buildings with no parking are currently renting for less than those that offer it? I’ve not heard anyone substantiate such claims, which have been discussed here before and dismissed.

One way to get a building to have lower rents is to not allow residents to own a car. That would lower the market value of such units, giving people without cars cheaper housing options.

As it stands currently, there is no “car-free discount”, and the Council’s action/inaction yesterday will not change that at all.

Ted Timmons (Contributor)
Editor

So if you were building an apartment building with parking, you could also buy every tenant a Chevy Aveo without increasing rent. Right? Putting in a pool, a gym, and a skydiving simulator are also not going to increase rent. I wanna live there. I’ve always wanted a skydive simulator and an Aveo.

Hello, Kitty
Subscriber
Hello, Kitty

Yeah, sounds pretty sweet! There are plenty of relatively new, modern buildings that have gone in recently, some with parking, some without. There should be plenty of evidence to establish a connection between parking availability and rent. When this was discussed here a few months back, the general consensus was that there was no connection.

Ted Timmons (Contributor)
Editor

How does that line up with “This is simply not true. Rents are based on market values, not on development costs.”?

Hello, Kitty
Subscriber
Hello, Kitty

Is there a contradiction there? Why would a landlord rent a unit for less than what people are willing to pay just because her development costs were lower?

Ted Timmons (Contributor)
Editor

..because the market is more diverse than that? Why would a developer put in parking if they can’t recapture its costs? They’re willing to take a substantially lower margin? Something is missing here.

Adam
Subscriber

More parking typically means less units are built which restricts supply which means higher prices, given that demand hasn’t lowered at all.

Matt S.
Guest
Matt S.

I believe Hello, Kitty is lamenting on the argument that developers are going to construct apartments with zero parking and voluntarily charge a lower rental fee, I’m hard pressed to believe this will be the case. With such high demand, a unit will be expensive and a unit with parking will be even more expensive. I don’t think omitting parking automatically creates affordable housing unless the city is involved with price control mechanisms of some sort.

I’m pro not having parking minimums on complexes, but I anticipate that it will do nothing for affordability.

Ted Timmons (Contributor)
Editor

There are plenty of buildings, Matt, that are being built well above the minimum parking requirements. It hasn’t been a race to the bottom.

Hello, Kitty
Subscriber
Hello, Kitty

Developers are generally required to provide parking, no? And in some areas of the city, you really couldn’t rent a unit without parking.

I think if you really want to provide lower rents, car-ownership-restricted buildings are one way to do that; otherwise, developers will just be capturing value by externalizing their costs onto neighbors.

Adam
Subscriber

Every single dwelling in this city has parking. Some of it happens to be shared with others in the street. Some people clearly value parking, so why are we giving it away for free?

Hello, Kitty
Subscriber
Hello, Kitty

Since that seems to be directed at me, have you missed the hundred or so comments where I proposed an annual auction of individual parking spaces, so use of each space is assessed at its peak market rate? No one else likes that idea, but it’s the best way to maximize revenue from currently free parking spaces.

David Hampsten
Guest
David Hampsten

Not intending to contradict either of you, but market value and the bid-rent of any particular location may or may not be significantly dependent upon the availability or non-availability of convenient car parking, given numerous other factors, such a proximity to reliable frequent transit, good neighbors, surrounding land uses, etc. All things being equal (and they never actually are), on-site parking could in certain scenarios or designs be an actual detriment to a site (location for drug dealing; dark car parking garages as rape locations and/or car break-ins; etc.)

Ted Timmons (Contributor)
Editor

to summarize your position, HK, as I understand it:
– mandatory minimum parking has no relationship to rental prices

That implies:
– developers (unless they are kind-hearted?) will build at whatever the minimum is- 0.3 or 0.0.
– we would never expect to see things above that ratio, unless rent is increased enough to capture it.

Which I playfully explained with:
– if a developer builds more parking than the minimum, and doesn’t capture value (in fact, loses value) from it, I want a swimming pool and skydive simulator and a pony. Those will be at the same price for rent.

My point is not all of these statements/implications can be valid. If no value is captured from ‘overbuilding’ parking, we shouldn’t see it at all in the market, with the possible exception of a truly premium building (and associated rent prices).

Hello, Kitty
Subscriber
Hello, Kitty

I think developers will build parking on their own if they think they need it to make their apartments rentable.

The question is easily testable… compare rents from apartments with parking to similarly appointed apartments without it. Is there a rent difference?

My main objection is to developers externalizing their costs onto the neighborhoods in which they build. Parking minimums are not the only way to address this, and nor are they my favorite. But it is, unfortunately, the only solution under serious discussion.

Ted Timmons (Contributor)
Editor

Right, HK, comparing anecdotal rent data helps a little, there’s still the mismatch in logic (my ‘skydiving’) I’m using to test the theory.

So, real fast, per Zillow, units in the same small section of the neighborhood, large buildings, effectively new (Savier being the oldest, 2013):

Savier Street apartments are $1500 for studios and 1brs. No parking. (I don’t know/don’t care why they are the same price).

LL Hawkins, a block away, shows as $1500 and $1700 on Zillow, $1700 and $2000+ on their own website. Unsure if that includes parking in their garage or if they charge extra. Will edit this post when I have that info.

2240 Pettygrove (no name yet, finishing construction) shows prices $1300 for both. No parking.

These are the only ones in that section of neighborhood listed on Zillow.

bjcefola
Guest
bjcefola

“My main objection is to developers externalizing their costs onto the neighborhoods in which they build.”

Hello, Kitty, developers aren’t externalizing the cost of parking. The people who own and park cars on public streets are doing that. And that externalized cost doesn’t depend at all on whether someone lives in a house or an apartment. A parked car might not belong to a neighborhood resident at all, as business employees and patrons also park cars. All of those costs are equivalent. An employee’s car, a shopper’s car, a homeowner’s car, a renter’s car- what’s the difference? Can you tell when you look at a car who owns it? Does one type take up less space than another?

Given that, why is it that the only people singled out by city policy with a mandate to pay for off-street parking are renters? Why is it bad when they externalize costs but not bad when everyone else does it?

Hello, Kitty
Subscriber
Hello, Kitty

In other areas of city policy, having developers deal with their incremental impacts is not controversial. Take storm water for example; all new developments need to address storm water onsite, while older buildings happily dump their storm water into the sewer, even as we acknowledge that it is not ideal for them to do so.

You ask why only renters should pay for off-street parking. That is a straw-man. New condo developments, single family housing, and other owner-occupied developments have the same requirements, and, in come cases, are even more stringent.

We’re really talking about developers bearing the costs they are incrementally imposing on others. This does not differentiate between long-term and new residents, as some have declared. It is not unconstitutional or racist. The only reason people are upset by this is because it involves cars, and is therefore more politicized than storm water.

I would like to see developers address the parking issue with solutions other than building parking, such as a requirement that residents do not own cars. I want to see more creativity in addressing these issues; I do not want developers to impose costs on their neighbors that will turn them against future development.

maccoinnich
Subscriber

The costs associated with complying with Portland’s stormwater regulations are in no comparable with the costs associated with building parking.

Hello, Kitty
Subscriber
Hello, Kitty

The principle is the same, even if some of the details aren’t.

bjcefola
Guest
bjcefola

People who indulge in the legacy system by not disposing of their storm water on site pay for it. The 2016-17 monthly charge for single family homes is $9.60 or $115.20 per year. Rates vary by building type but everyone- new or old, single family home, large multi-family or commercial- pays. And they’re all eligible for a discount on that charge up to 100% if runoff is handled on site. The city explicitly recognizes that putting storm water in the sewer is shifting a cost and charges those who do it. A parking equivalent would be to charge all residents, including specifically people in old homes built without parking, an extra fee of about $115 per year if they have a car without dedicated off-street parking.

Storm water isn’t really comparable to parking. For one thing, people don’t bring their runoff and dump it when they go to work or shop in other neighborhoods. For another, all residents of a property are to some extent responsible for the storm water. Common roofs, common sidewalks, etc. That isn’t so with parking, if someone doesn’t own a car their use of parking is zero and their cost of parking should be zero. But if city parking policy moved towards the storm water method- charging people for their use of a public asset and not charging them if they don’t use it- I’d like it. I don’t see any similarity between that and parking minimums, quite the opposite.

Hello, Kitty
Subscriber
Hello, Kitty

The similarity is that if you build a development that degrades an already strained resource, you need to mitigate. It’s not a perfect analogy, I agree, but that’s not the point.

lop
Guest
lop

People moving into new construction in rich areas like NW generally aren’t underprivileged.

lop
Guest
lop

@Ted
Zillow has Montessa at 2010 Pettygrove starting at 1450 for a 508 sqft studio, built with parking, charged separately. Unnamed 2240 pettygrove starting at 1370 for a 456 sqft studio, built without parking. Both built 2016.

https://www.pdx.edu/sba/sites/www.pdx.edu.sba/files/05%20Multifamily%20-%20Terry_0.pdf

Average rent in NW is $1.74/sqft. Both of these new buildings are about $3

For parking minimums to drive up costs they have to reduce development. Per unit minimums kill micro units/small studios. Those rent for more per square foot than larger units, so developers like to build them. They rent for more can be taken to mean that there is a shortage of those smaller units. Easy fix, change parking minimums to per square foot, not per unit and you stop distorting the size of the units that get built. Another problem is that there are site specific issues. Average parking spot might cost $50k, but it can vary a lot. To deal with that let developers pay a fee to the city equal to 80% of the average parking spot and provide bike parking/transit passes/subsidized car share to residents instead. At a parking minimum of 0.2-0.33/unit, you’re looking at an extra $10-16.5k/unit in development costs. Does that kill many projects? In NW Portland higher development costs lowers demand for land. Does the price drop enough to make up for that regulatory cost?

Maybe in NW. I don’t know. Would be nice to see a good study of the issue.

http://www.portlandchronicle.com/historic-1880-home-and-former-quimbys-at-19th-building-slated-for-demolition/

~3 million in land for 88 units plus retail. Figure ~30k a unit for land. That $16.5k for parking sounds big, but how much is recoverable when you charge $150+/month for parking?

Whether or not parking minimums hurt development, is this the most important thing for the city to force developers to subsidize? Would it be better if the city made developers rent X units for below market, at a comparable regulatory cost?

9watts
Guest
9watts

Are we still doing comments of the week? Lop’s on a roll here.
His comment above is my nomination.

soren
Subscriber

the “in group” that discriminates often demands that “those people” be civil.

Hello, Kitty
Subscriber
Hello, Kitty

Is Adam H. in the “in group” or is he one of “those people”? Is asking him to be civil a sign of discrimination? In all honesty, I am confused by what you are trying to say.

For the record, I think all people should be civil to one another, even when (perhaps especially when) they differ. Do you disagree?

q
Guest
q

There, you’ve just done it (saying people should be civil) again!

Hello, Kitty
Subscriber
Hello, Kitty

I’ll admit I discriminate against the rude.

soren
Guest
soren

Civil disobedience is rarely “civil” because civility is generally defined as adherance to the societal norms of the “in group”.

Hello, Kitty
Subscriber
Hello, Kitty

Are you saying insulting people on this forum a form of civil disobedience? Which oppressed groups in our society find insults and rudeness acceptable?

soren
Guest
soren

those who have economic or personal reasons to exclude others (housing nimbysm) hate to be called out on their selfishness and/or bias. a case in point is the fact that yimby is not an insult.

your incessant objection to the use of nimby has led me to the realization that i should not refrain from using this word just to be “nice”. when someone is acting in a bigoted manner i rarely refrain from objecting to their behavior. why should nimby behavior be any different?

Hello, Kitty
Guest
Hello, Kitty

When your best argument is a dismissive insult, it’s a sign you don’t have a good argument.

Adam
Subscriber

And for the record, I am not accusing everyone I disagree with as being racist, but the historical context of opposing measures to make it easy for people to rent in a neighborhood is based on racism.

q
Guest
q

Yet you couldn’t have been much more blatant in accusing a large group of people you disagree with as being racist. You’re right about policies that had racist motivations in the past, but I agree with HK, there are legitimate–and certainly non-racist–motivations for supporting parking minimums. The arguments aren’t persuasive to me, but the better approach is to attack the arguments that people are making, not the people making them.

Adam
Subscriber

I fail to see how being racist differs from benefiting from racism and not wanting things to change.

q
Guest
q

What does that have to do with opposing parking minimums?

Adam
Subscriber

Because imposing parking minimums affects housing affordability, which is inevitably tied to race in this country.

Hello, Kitty
Subscriber
Hello, Kitty

Affordability affects people of all races.

q
Guest
q

Adam–that doesn’t make people who support parking minimums racist, or any equivalent of racist.

Adam
Subscriber

Hello, Kitty
Affordability affects people of all races.
Recommended 0

That’s an easy cop-out that completely ignores the massive wage gap between white people and people of color.

Hello, Kitty
Subscriber
Hello, Kitty

I don’t want to rehash the whole race vs. class argument, but I think saying that parking minimums are an issue of race is a very radical argument.

Following your logic, a gas tax, Trimet fares, the cost of electricity, really anything that imposes a cost on anyone is an issue of race. That’s just not how I see the world.

And I don’t even accept your basic premise that, in this market, provision of parking affects rents.

Adam
Subscriber

We live in a society founded on racism. Unfortunately this means that nearly everything is about race in one way or another. For example, we are still feeling the effects of racist federal housing policies from the first half of the 20th century. Perhaps this a topic better discussed elsewhere, but in my opinion, addressing racial issues is a fundamental part of city planning topics like housing and transportation that is often overlooked.

Hello, Kitty
Subscriber
Hello, Kitty

How do you propose addressing racial issues with parking policy? Would people with certain racial heritages benefit or be harmed by a policy of asking developers not to externalize their costs?

q
Guest
q

An example of why I don’t like people questioning others’ motivations: My elderly friend opposed locating a Holocaust Memorial next to her house. She was labeled an anti-Semite. But she was a Jew who’d fled Germany as a child when most of her family were killed in the Nazi gas chambers. She opposed the siting because she didn’t want the first thing she saw each morning from her bedroom window to be a reminder of all that.

Opposing Holocaust memorials is tied to anti-Semitism. She opposed a Holocaust Memorial. That did not mean she was anti-Semite, benefited from anti-Semitism, etc. This parking issue is similar.

David Hampsten
Guest
David Hampsten

You are confusing personal racism with institutional racism. Supporting parking minimums may or may not be institutional racism from the reasons Adam cited, but the person(s) suggesting or supporting that argument (or refuting it) may not necessarily be racist themselves, nor are the arguments necessarily racist either.

q
Guest
q

David, that’s exactly what I’ve been saying.

Social Engineer
Guest
Social Engineer

Please don’t compare the A or the 1 lines in NYC to the #15 or #77 buses or Portland Streetcar. The two cities are worlds apart when it comes to service levels and ridership. The transit service we have in NW Portland is not good enough, and while there will never be an underground metro here, we could at least have better frequency, coverage, and span of service than we do now.

bikeninja
Guest
bikeninja

The same buildings exist, with families and elderly on the upper upper east side (NYC) where they do not have any subway service and will not get it for at least another 5 years. The point is that we can only acheive such frequency of service and ridership if we develope denser neighborhoods with riders who depend on the service not just casual users who only take the bus to go to a Timbers game and drive their car in and out of the parking garage the rest of the time. Many Portland urban dwellers have drunk deeply of the koolaid of convenience and self importance and feel that urban living is fine if it does not inconveniance them or keep them from making a Costco run in a short enough time to satisfy their short attention span.

lop
Guest
lop

UES Manhattan has much better bus service than NW Portland, and you’re still at most a mile walk from the Lex. A mile isn’t far to walk.

Eric
Guest
Eric

There really should be a Max tunnel from Lloyd Center to Goose Hollow, though. I have issues with the routing of many Max lines (the Orange Line is particularly bad, made even worse by the fact that it’s the newest routing) but constructing a tunnel for trains would do a lot for reliability, frequency, and speed.

Hell, let’s start by removing some stops downtown. There’s no need for the Red and Blue lines to stop every two blocks downtown. Why does the transit mall have a stop at Madison northbound? Etc etc. It’s a 10-minute walk at most from Montgomery to Pioneer Square, which means at the midpoint it’s a 5 minute walk to a Max station. I don’t get it.

bikeninja
Guest
bikeninja

Perhaps a cheaper and future-centric option would be to block all cross max streets in the downtown except for a short funky tunnel for the yellow and orange and buses to get under the blue and red at 6th and a another short car tunnel for 12th and 13th crossings. Then we could cut down the number of stops and the Max would fly through with minimum delays.

Chris I
Guest
Chris I

Because downtown was originally the terminus for the MAX system. It wasn’t until the blue line expansion to Hillsboro that this became a problem. That doesn’t excuse the fact that Trimet doesn’t do anything about it. In my opinion the following MAX stops should be closed immediately:
– Kings Hill/Salmon: massive waste of money on this one. Trimet knew it would have terrible ridership, but the monied interests at the MAC demanded it.
– Pioneer Square: Galleria needs to be kept for transfers to the streetcar, and Pioneer place is close enough to the bus mall for transfers.
– Morrison/Yamhill and 2nd: only two blocks from Pioneer Place
– Skidmore Fountain: two blocks from Old Town/Chinatown
– Convention Center: ONE BLOCK from the Rose Quarter. This one is really absurd.

Mid term, we need a spur off of the Orange Line that runs down Powell to intersect the I-205 line. This would permit a re-routing of the green line onto Powell and away from the Steel bridge cluster. Another line would be created running from Clackamas to Gateway with similar frequencies to the green line; and at some point could extend to the airport for inreased PDX service levels. This would be a good investment for the system, as it adds a lot of operational flexibility and serves a huge population along the Powell corridor.

Long term, something will need to be done about the Steel Bridge bottleneck. Moving the east/west lines into a tunnel would be the best solution, but would be expensive, with at least 3 or 4 subway stations needed. But that doesn’t mean we shouldn’t do it at some point.

Ted Timmons (Contributor)
Editor

Chris for Trimet Czar.

lop
Guest
lop

>spur off of the Orange Line that runs down Powell

What frequency does that leave for trains to Milwaukie and SW corridor trains that would be sharing the transit mall with the Powell/Green line? Any impact on projected bus service levels ten years out when the project might be finished? Or should we just take a couple lanes on 3rd and 4th for another bus mall? Does that impact the ability to make room for more bike space downtown?

lop
Guest
lop

NYC might be the only city in the country where a majority of car free households have more than one person.

http://i.imgur.com/bhorByf.png

The A or 1,whichever line your son is near, is much more useful than the streetcar.

Matt
Guest
Matt

What is that bar graph attempting to show? The Y-axis has no label (what is being measured and in what units), and the X-axis has neither label nor scale.

Mark S
Guest
Mark S

I do not know if this has been addressed above, since I am not interested in reading 106 posts, but I call BS on the developer’s comment of each parking stall adds $50,000 to the cost of a project.

Where is your proof?

Ted Timmons (Contributor)
Editor

Mark, here you go:
https://www.portlandoregon.gov/bps/article/420062
http://shoup.bol.ucla.edu/HighCost.pdf
http://bikeportland.org/2016/03/28/average-apartment-building-costs-fell-sharply-during-no-parking-apartment-boom-179149

Naturally, YMMV. In northwest there isn’t room to have surface parking or tuck-under. (because the latter is a little odd- gtfs “Dingbat Architecture”)

David Hampsten
Guest
David Hampsten

From the academic study, it looks like in 2012 a surface space in Portland adds costs of $26,000 per unit, and $34,000 for underground parking, both of which are close to the national average for big cities. The $50,000 figure seems to come from BPS, who don’t state their sources.

There also seems to be a conflict between the financial cost of building the parking space, in terms of material, labor, and a reasonable return on capital, versus the market value of the parking space as part of a finished project.

Mark S
Guest
Mark S

Ok, the portlandoregon.gov article says $55,000. The shoup.bol.ucla article says $35,000 for Portland. The bikeportland article does not quote a total $ estimate but says it would increase rents by $100-$200 per month.

I find it humorous that the owners of these no parking provided projects say they are targeting renters that do not have automobiles. Of course, in reality, they will rent to anyone, regardless of what type of transportation the prospective renters own.

If the city would like to get out of providing free parking to renters, they can restrict parking on city streets between the hours of 11:00 pm & 6:00 am. Of course, the police bureau would have to increase members of the traffic bureau to enforce this. But hey, that is job creation.

Matt S.
Guest
Matt S.

I don’t know how relevant this is, but somewhat informative I suppose. My girlfriend and I live in a 50 year old modest apt complex off Weidler street on the east sit. It’s 14 units and has underground parking with 14 spots. We pay 50 dollars for the spot in addition to our rent. If we didn’t pay, it either sit vacant or one of the other tenants would pick up the spot.

So if we’re operating under the assumption that construction costs have only increased since 50 years ago and we’re being friendly to the figures reported in this article, we can set the original construction price for each one of those spots at 50k and then times 14 spots = 700,000$ just in parking construction fees. Hmm, maybe…

q
Guest
q

Stepping back–when designing something, you start with listing the needs your design is addressing, without skipping ahead to thinking of solutions. If you want a living space with lots of light, you say “I want lots of light”. You don’t say, “I want big windows” unless it’s really the windows you want and not just the light, since big windows are just one of several solutions to making a room light.

If you list “big windows” as a need, you’ve locked your design into providing big windows as the only way to meet your needs.

It seems the parking issue was that there’s not enough on-street parking. There are lots of solutions to that. Saying “new projects need to include parking” is jumping ahead to one of many solutions for freeing up on-street parking.

You can even make the case that “there’s not enough on-street parking” is already jumping ahead to a solution, since the underlying issue is transportation, and there are other alternatives for achieving better transportation (all the way to reducing the need for it) than freeing up on-street parking.

It seems like City Council and many people jumped way ahead into focusing on one solution, mistaking it for a need.

Racer X
Guest
Racer X

Too bad Mayor Hales more recent “leadership” on undermining his earlier (pre 2000) transit supportive housing policies painted himself into this policy corner in the eyes of the NW.

lop
Guest
lop

Here’s a census table (B08201) for vehicles available by household size for NYC, SF, and Portland.

http://i.imgur.com/bhorByf.png

The bigger the household the higher the rate of car ownership in all three cities. But the sort of parking mandates that get talked about would have the Tess O’Brien studios mandated to build just as many spots as a building three times the square footage consisting of modest sized units for families.

Beth H
Guest

Hello Kitty wrote: “So for you, this isn’t about parking at all, but rather the dominance of autos in our transportation system.”

Well, it’s been about that for me all along. Our landscape, built and enforced for automobiles, is choking is all to death slowly and painfully. I stopped driving years ago because I couldn’t embrace the dominant paradigm. Has it limited choice as regards where and how I live, play and work? Absolutely.
What if, instead of seeing limitations as always negative, we considered that limitless choice — and, moreover, limitless access — may actually hurt our ability to create sustainable communities where we live?
What if I am not meant to make the whole world my oyster?
I gave up car ownership in 1990. I sold my car because I couldn’t afford to keep and maintain it. I continued to eschew car ownership because my life was easier, more affordable, and happier without it. To this day, I have no regrets about the decision.
So yes, fewer cars on the roads IS my agenda, and I don’t apologize for it.

9watts
Guest
9watts

Hear, hear!

Hello, Kitty
Guest
Hello, Kitty

Hi Beth,

I don’t actually see limitations on auto use as a negative, per se. I do not think making residential parking more painful is the way to do it, however; I am a proponent of a carbon tax that would raise the price of fuel, making marginal trips less attractive, and reducing auto use where it is most easy to reduce. I am also a proponent of improving alternatives to driving, such as better biking conditions, better transit, and, hopefully soon, automated cars.

I too want to see fewer cars, better alternatives to driving, and a less auto reliant society. The question is how do we get there without incurring a backlash that will make further progress more difficult? The parking issue seems a low-gain, high-backlash-potential endeavor, which is a big part of why I disagree with building new buildings that require their tenants to park on the street. It is also why I am skeptical of 9watts’ “take your medicine” approach.

9watts
Guest
9watts

Staying with the metaphor you are attributing to me, if the patient is sick—and it seems that we here, generally, agree that he is—what is your rationale for not exhorting him to take the medicine?

Oh, I know, you think there are kinder, gentler ways to return the patient to health. But what sort of track record have we established chasing after those?

Hello, Kitty
Guest
Hello, Kitty

I think we would agree that while Portland (and society as a whole) has made some progress, it is too little, and too slow. We’ve discussed this before, and you think we can do what we want through political channels, and I think we’re going to need technological advances.

Back to the metaphor, I think pushing more parking onto the streets is actually the wrong medicine, but even if it is not, the patient needs to be willing to take the full course, not rebel after the first dose.

9watts
Guest
9watts

I’m sure you realize that this kid-gloves approach we here seem to favor is not how it is done in other countries to whom we (here) like to compare ourselves: Denmark, The Netherlands, Germany… when a basic insight such as cars are wrecking our country and the planet can no longer be denied they draw conclusions, draft legislation, change course…. and they get results, results that their voters are able to recognize as necessary because they can see what is going on around them, have a media and a political class that aren’t paid for through advertising.

Hello, Kitty
Guest
Hello, Kitty

This may be in part because America has no left leaning party to push such an agenda… the Democrats are pretty centrist, and the Republicans are waaaay over there on the right.

Ted Timmons (Contributor)
Editor

HK- you might like this rant from Taibbi, asserting that the Dems are basically defined by being not-(trump/palin/etc).
http://www.rollingstone.com/politics/news/ralph-nader-bernie-sanders-lesser-evilism-20160620

q
Guest
q

I agree those other countries do have some major differences in their political systems from ours. That, along with other differences, is why approaches to solving transportation issues that will work best here may not match what works best there.

And while you’ve told me that my and others’ examples of beneficial incremental change are nonsense, and not worth pursuing because they’re ineffectual, it’s also notable that those other places we all admire have had a thousand-years-or-more head start on us in how to create dense, livable urban environments. In other words, much of their current success is due to the same types of incremental changes that you dismiss.

9watts
Guest
9watts

excuses, excuses.

It would behoove you to read a bit more carefully what I said. I didn’t dismiss incremental change per se as nonsense, but rather what Hello Kitty and you were suggesting, which was that adding more buses by itself would be salutary, without doing anything to throttle the temptations of the automobile.
As for the thousand year head start, let’s try 50 years. Those countries I listed may be more densely populated than much of the non-urban US, but it is my understanding that in the 19sixties and -seventies they had comparable traffic problems that we did; the difference being that they succeeded in doing something about it, starting back then.

q
Guest
q

I know what you wrote. I also noticed after you said our examples were nonsense, and I told you why they were not, you never replied.

And I stand by the thousand year head start. When the automobile was invented, those countries already had huge, very dense cities, all designed around non-auto transportation. In contrast, much of the urban areas of most American cities didn’t even exist prior to the auto. That makes the solutions much different. Those cities had to reduce the presence of autos in cities designed around walking, biking and mass transit. We have to reduce the presence of autos in cities designed almost entirely around them.

And a huge factor in transportation issues is city design. Huge numbers of Americans have grown up in single-family homes in neighborhoods designed around auto transportation. They’ve never lived in dense urban areas, or in a family without a car. The reverse is true in much of Europe. Some of the incremental changes here involve getting people to accept concepts–living in apartments instead of houses, living without cars, living in neighborhoods where commercial and residential uses mix, etc.–that are standard concepts elsewhere.

9watts
Guest
9watts

There are many ways we could proceed. One I favor, and that does not require any top-down persuasion, is to think of ways to give those who already don’t live with a car here in our city/state/country some visibility. Right now those without cars are either invisible, or we have our pet theories about who they are: poor and therefore uninteresting in a policy sense. If we chose to highlight those of all backgrounds who get around without a car, asked them what they think of their situation, how they manage, whether they’d do anything different, instead of chasing after the next subsidy for some high tech (and always auto-oriented) transport system dream (digital signboards, that city challenge we recently lost, electric car manufacturing, etc.) we might actually start to gain on this problem. But unfortunately that isn’t how we go about this here.

9watts
Guest
9watts

“I also noticed after you said our examples were nonsense, and I told you why they were not, you never replied.”

You offered an anecdote, which was on point but hardly a rebuttal of my claim. Bus service is not and never will be a substitute for the automobile, no matter how many people we know enjoy it and use it instead of the car. In a two way race with reasonable assumptions about the frequency, relative cost, fixed vs. variable costs, and last mile problems, the car (or bike) will in most cases win, and for a host of reasons. The best argument about why this is I’ve found in the wonderful book The Greening of Urban Transport, edited by Rodney Tolley. After a lifetime of championing mass transit as a solution to the automobile I realized the error that had been clouding my judgment. Bikes and cars and feet all offer point to point, cheap transport (access), free of schedules and fares and all the travails of the actual mass transit systems we know and love. We should be focusing on those. And to the extent that we are trying to make buses work better; get more people to use them we need to keep their inherent limitations in mind. That was my earlier point.

q
Guest
q

9watts
There are many ways we could proceed. One I favor, and that does not require any top-down persuasion, is to think of ways to give those who already don’t live with a car here in our city/state/country some visibility. Right now those without cars are either invisible, or we have our pet theories about who they are: poor and therefore uninteresting in a policy sense. If we chose to highlight those of all backgrounds who get around without a car, asked them what they think of their situation, how they manage, whether they’d do anything different, instead of chasing after the next subsidy for some high tech (and always auto-oriented) transport system dream (digital signboards, that city challenge we recently lost, electric car manufacturing, etc.) we might actually start to gain on this problem. But unfortunately that isn’t how we go about this here.
Recommended 0

I think the way to proceed is to improve transit service, make biking and walking safer and easier, design neighborhoods to reduce the need for driving, commuting, travel for groceries, etc. I don’t think the problem is that those without cars are invisible, or that people think they’re poor, so I don’t see why making your idea a focus would make sense.

Look at all the discussion here and within City Hall and elsewhere about development and parking. Lots of people are aware of people who don’t have cars, and I don’t think many people are assuming they don’t have them because they’re poor.

I also disagree that we are chasing after transport system dreams that are “always auto-oriented”, or even that they are dreams. We are already pursuing all the things I just mentioned–improved transit, safer and easier biking and walking, better neighborhood design…NONE of these are auto-oriented, and all are making positive impacts. Just because SOME things being pursued are auto-oriented, and SOME are “dreams” doesn’t mean all the realistic, non-auto-oriented things that are being done aren’t really happening.

9watts
Guest
9watts

“improve transit service”

is not a means to getting people to jettison their car. It is a great alternative for certain trips by certain demographics, especially during rush hour (CBD commute trips being only the most obvious) but it is not and never will be a substitute for the car. European governments appear to be realizing this, which is one of the reasons they are now prioritizing around bicycling and walking.

Hello, Kitty
Subscriber
Hello, Kitty

Biking and walking are not substitutes for cars in many cases, either. Note that a great many Europeans own and use cars, even those living in cities.

I know Germans who, in Germany, drive their kids 200 yards to the school bus stop, or a half mile to soccer practice. Europe is very far from a car-free utopia, and is, by some measures, as bad as the US.

9watts
Guest
9watts

“Europe is very far from a car-free utopia, and is, by some measures, as bad as the US.”

Exactly. But this in no way suggests this:

“Biking and walking are not substitutes for cars in many cases, either.”

For most trips they are excellent substitutes. I think we already know this. The average car trip is, what, 2 miles or something like that? Habituation and the heavy bias toward auto-related costs being mostly fixed are real, but that in no way undoes the fact that, in principle, most of the trips we now habitually take with the car could instead by accomplished by foot or by bike.

q
Guest
q

Exactly–transit IS a “a great alternative for certain trips by certain demographics”. And it shouldn’t be controversial to believe that improvements to service can be made to make it a great alternative for additional trips. And in every case that the person taking transit chose it as an alternative over using a car, it IS a substitute for the car. Nobody is arguing that it’s an equivalent overall, or that you can improve transit to the point that nobody will want to drive, or any other extreme view.

And while European cities may be prioritizing biking and walking, I bet every one of those cities has a significant transit system. In fact, having a transit system that allows people to get to places without a car when those places aren’t convenient to get to by bike or foot complements biking and walking places when those modes are convenient.

q
Guest
q

9watts
“I also noticed after you said our examples were nonsense, and I told you why they were not, you never replied.”
You offered an anecdote, which was on point but hardly a rebuttal of my claim. Bus service is not and never will be a substitute for the automobile, no matter how many people we know enjoy it and use it instead of the car. In a two way race with reasonable assumptions about the frequency, relative cost, fixed vs. variable costs, and last mile problems, the car (or bike) will in most cases win, and for a host of reasons. The best argument about why this is I’ve found in the wonderful book The Greening of Urban Transport, edited by Rodney Tolley. After a lifetime of championing mass transit as a solution to the automobile I realized the error that had been clouding my judgment. Bikes and cars and feet all offer point to point, cheap transport (access), free of schedules and fares and all the travails of the actual mass transit systems we know and love. We should be focusing on those. And to the extent that we are trying to make buses work better; get more people to use them we need to keep their inherent limitations in mind. That was my earlier point.
Recommended 1

“Bus service is not and never will be a substitute for the automobile, no matter how many people we know enjoy it and use it instead of the car.”???

I don’t think you realize how ironic that sentence is.

9watts
Guest
9watts

You are correct. I don’t see the irony. Why don’t you explain.

I can think of hundreds of examples where the car (or bike) fits the bill, solves a problem, gets someone to where they want to go, and no matter how many billions we throw at mass transit it will never pull even with these for point-to-point efficacy. Even if one hundred of our friends switch for some of their trips to the bus, this thing you appear to be chasing is a pipe dream.

q
Guest
q

The irony is that if people use the bus instead of a car, that IS a substitute. And if everyone substituted using the bus for using a car (since you said “no matter how many people” ) then there would be no car use at all.

Beyond that, you’re again arguing with me about things I never said. What I said that started all this was that I disagreed with your idea that bus or train service can’t be improved without making car use worse. You wanted examples, so I said running buses later and more frequently were two good examples. Then you said that was nonsense, so I told you it wasn’t nonsense in my case and that of my neighbors. Then you said that didn’t count because it was an anecdote.

Now you’re trying to tell me that I’m wrong about buses being a better option than walking or biking, even though I never said they were. Again, I said bus and train service can be improved without making car use worse, and running buses later and more frequently are examples. That is not a pipe dream. And it has nothing to do with ranking buses above or below biking or walking as a transportation solution.

9watts
Guest
9watts

“The irony is that if people use the bus instead of a car, that IS a substitute. And if everyone substituted using the bus for using a car (since you said ‘no matter how many people’ ) then there would be no car use at all.”

The point you’re missing is there is a ceiling; substitution of the bus for the car comes up against sharp limits, irrespective of how much money we may choose to throw at the issue.

q
Guest
q

I’m not missing any point. I never said there wasn’t a ceiling.

Again, please stop arguing with me about things I never said.