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On SW Corridor light rail line, $100 million could go to garages – or to better options

Posted by on May 8th, 2019 at 1:43 pm

Huge park-and-rides, like this one at the end of the Orange Line south of Milwaukie, convince a few hundred cars to pull off the freeway sooner. But homes and bikeways near rail would make car ownership optional. (Photo: TriMet)

Editor’s note: This piece by former BikePortland news editor Michael Andersen is cross-posted from Sightline Institute. If you’d like to get involved in shifting tens of millions of dollars from parking garages to other ideas like protected bike lanes, affordable housing or bus improvements, there’s an important 15-minute public comment period coming up Monday, 9:10 a.m. at Tigard City Hall.

The people planning the Portland area’s next light-rail line seem to be steering away from a scenario where taxpayers pour $100 million of precious public-transit funding into a series of giant parking garages.

But unless the public speaks up in the next month, it’s possible that a handful of elected officials will push to build the garages along the “Southwest Corridor” through Southwest Portland, Tigard and Tualatin anyway—despite a mountain of evidence that spending the money on bus service, infrastructure for walking and biking, and transit-oriented affordable housing would do far more to improve mobility, reduce auto dependence and cut pollution.

“If we want to maximize transit ridership, park-and-rides are far less effective than other options… The answer is to make transit an efficient and attractive option without requiring auto use in the first place.”
— Madeline Kovacs from Sightline Institute, during a presentation to the project committee last week.

TriMet staffers seem to be looking to “update their approach” to park-and-rides based on a closer look at the factors that actually drive transit ridership, said Ramtin Rahmani, a volunteer on the community advisory committee for the Southwest Corridor Light Rail Project.

Rahmani (speaking only for himself) said last week that instead of pushing multi-level garages at several stations along the new rail line through Portland, Tigard, and Tualatin, TriMet’s staff members are making the case for surface lots, except at the end of the line near Bridgeport Mall. Their theory is that transit funding is better spent elsewhere and the surface lots would preserve the option of adding housing later.

This proposal isn’t perfect. TriMet has indeed redeveloped a few park-and-ride lots over the years, but it’s rarely removed parking spaces when doing so. That said, as I argued in November, surface lots are less bad than free parking garages. Here’s a slightly updated version of what my Sightline colleague Madeline Kovacs told the rail line’s community advisory committee when it met last week:

At $52,000 per stall, free park-and-ride garages are among the least effective ways taxpayers can spend money on public transit.

TriMet records show that 38 percent of MAX park-and-ride stalls sit empty on a typical weekday. But even if we generously assume a vacancy rate of just 20 percent for Southwest Corridor garages and a 45-year lifespan, then taxpayers are spending about $7 for every weekday a space will be used. The region’s taxpayers would be essentially buying more than the equivalent of a free transit pass for anyone who shows up at a garage, on one condition: that they show up in a car.

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If we want to maximize transit ridership, park-and-rides are far less effective than other options. A 2016 King County Metro analysis found that capital investments to improve bus speed and reliability created more than three times as many riders per dollar as free park-and-rides. TriMet’s own analysis projected that even if several new garages are built for the Southwest Corridor, 85 percent of future trips will come from foot, bike or transfer traffic, not park-and-rides.

If we want to minimize congestion and pollution, the meaningful answer is not to convince 200, 300 or 500 cars—out of the 300,000 that drive to jobs in Portland each day—to pull off I-5 a few miles farther south. The answer is to make transit an efficient and attractive option without requiring auto use in the first place.

This can mean improvements to bus, walk and bike connections to rail. $100 million would be enough to install networks of low-stress protected bike lanes for miles in every direction around all 13 Southwest Corridor stops. It can also mean creating mixed-use, mixed-income developments within walking distance of rail stops—something that becomes much harder if you already dedicated the prime land near your rail stop to parking lots and garages. $100 million would be enough to create or preserve 600 more affordable homes along the corridor.

If we want to improve mobility for lower-income people, the solution is not to offer free parking to several hundred car-owning downtown workers in the hope that some of them might be poor. The solution is to spend the money on things we know disproportionately benefit low-income residents: better bus transit and affordable housing near transit. Both of these also boost overall transit use, creating a self-reinforcing cycle that helps improve the system for everyone.

The huge cost of new rail lines can sometimes make park-and-ride garages seem cheap by comparison. They are not. The cost of building something great, like a new public rail line used by tens of thousands of Oregonians, shouldn’t be allowed to conceal the boondoggle of free garages. Our region desperately needs to spend this money on things that will matter more.

Happily, TriMet staffers made some of the same points themselves to the advisory committee Thursday night. Take a look at this section of their slideshow. (Slide 41, for example: “Parking is expensive.” TrIMet puts it at $52,000 per garage space and $18,000 per surface lot space, plus $1 per space per day to operate.)

TriMet’s staffers also shared this image comparing greenhouse gas pollution for driving alone, for driving alone to a park-and-ride, and for taking bus or bike to a rail station:

Shifting a trip from car to bus-plus-rail is 67 percent better at cutting carbon pollution than shifting it from car to park-and-ride. (Image: Los Angeles Metro. Data from Chester et al, Infrastructure and automobile shifts: positioning transit to reduce life-cycle environmental impacts for urban sustainability goals.

But it’s not TriMet staffers who have de facto power over what ends up in the light-rail plan. The Southwest Corridor Steering Committee, which consists mostly of elected officials from suburban jurisdictions, will effectively decide how many transit dollars and how much transit-adjacent real estate to dedicate to park-and-rides, even within the City of Portland.

The agency could scrap its garage plans and solicit proposals from outside the agency for mixed-income housing developments. If a new building (probably with some shared parking on-site) can generate more transit riders than a parking lot alone, it could be allowed on the site instead.

Another option: The regional 2020 ballot issue that’s expected to fund this rail line could give cities money to install networks of protected bike lanes around each stop. That, along with relatively dense suburban station areas, can be the “secret weapon” of suburban transit ridership.

TriMet’s steering committee will briefly take up this issue at a meeting next week, and will go into depth at its next meeting on June 10.

Free park-and-rides might seem great for transit use. But look closely. They’re not: They soak up money that would be better used making transit better and easier to access. Yes, garages are visible. But that visibility is just a monument to our failure to make transit more attractive than driving in any way but one: free parking.

— Michael Andersen: (503) 333-7824, @andersem on Twitter and michael@sightline.org.

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65 Comments
  • Avatar
    Chris I May 8, 2019 at 1:47 pm

    Build garages if they can use parking income to pay for themselves. If they can’t, they shouldn’t be built. If this compromises the business case for the mass transit project, then it clearly doesn’t include enough upzoning and TOD, and shouldn’t be built.

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      Dan May 8, 2019 at 2:53 pm

      Amen to this. Why spend $100 M on free parking garages? Spend that money on building apartments at the MAX station instead…

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      Matt S. May 8, 2019 at 6:53 pm

      Parking income? Would this come from a fee of parking at the park and ride? Or are you proposing parking fees in general? As of now it’s free for me to park and five dollars for all day transit pass. If I had to pay to park in the park and ride l, say five dollars, I’d just drive downtown and pay $14 to park in a smart park; the four dollar savings wouldn’t be worth my time since it’s faster to drive both directions than taking the bus. I’d like to ride my bike but the return trip from downtown is horrendous (do-able on an ebike!!).

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        Chris I May 8, 2019 at 7:37 pm

        You are ignoring the cost of driving in your analysis.

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          Matt S. May 8, 2019 at 7:55 pm

          The incentive to ride transit is the free parking. Remove that and people will start driving into downtown. People don’t tend to analyze their driving expense on a cost per mile basis. I own my car, pay little in insurance and maintenance, and it’s pretty fuel efficient.

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            nwsw May 9, 2019 at 8:58 am

            What if congestion pricing is implemented? Say $15 one way (so x2) plus $14 parking vs. $5 transit all day (so not x2) + $5 parking. Make it more expensive to drive+park downtown and easier/more efficient/more enjoyable to take public transit. That might change behavior.

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              J_R May 9, 2019 at 9:08 am

              If congestion pricing is implemented downtown, the predicable consequences will include some employees seeking employment elsewhere where they don’t have to pay additional commuting fees; some employees will seek compensation from their employers for the congestion fees; and some employers will move to new locations. Obviously, some employees will shift modes to avoid the congestion fees, but accurately predicting the outcome of congestion fees in Portland will be difficult.

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                nwsw May 9, 2019 at 9:44 am

                Two of those scenarios reduces congestion (by moving it to another spot that then becomes more of trouble spot – say 26 or 84). If companies are willing to pay the fee, those dollars still can go into making the alternative (public transit) better. I agree that it is difficult to predict the outcome of congestion fees. And if the alternative to paying to use the freeway and sit in traffic isn’t a better, more efficient option, people won’t change the way they commute (except to exit the freeway earlier and use side streets).

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              Matt S. May 9, 2019 at 6:57 pm

              “…More Enjoyable”

              Sometimes the 44 has standing room only. There’d definitely have to add more buses.

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            Chris I May 9, 2019 at 9:09 am

            Even the cheapest cars are around $0.25 per mile in operating costs. This is a discussion about the merits of providing free parking for transit riders. I’m not really concerned with the fact that most people are ignorant and don’t understand the real coast of driving. People make dumb decisions all of the time, and they will continue to do so even after SW light rail opens.

            Free parking is only a transit incentive if you live in car-dependent areas. We should be building dense, walkable communities around high capacity transit, like they do in the rest of the developed world. Sprawling park and rides are bad policy, because they prevent TOD where it is needed most.

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            • Hello, Kitty
              Hello, Kitty May 9, 2019 at 12:14 pm

              I can say with some level of certainty that it does not cost me $0.25 to drive my car an additional mile. In the city, it’s probably closer to $0.10, maybe $0.15 when the price of gas is near its historical high.

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              • Michael Andersen (Contributor)
                Michael Andersen (Contributor) May 10, 2019 at 9:11 am

                AAA claims the marginal cost per mile for a small sedan is 8 cents for gas, 7 cents for maintenance and tires, and 6 cents for faster depreciation, so about 20 cents. For an electric car they think it’s 4/8/7 (which seems like a suspiciously high maintenance figure to me but I’ve never had one) so 19 cents.

                They also assume you buy a new car every five years and trade in your old one with 75,000 miles. At least in the PNW, that’s the biggest fiction I see in their estimates.

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                Matt S. May 10, 2019 at 9:14 am

                My car is 23 years old.

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              • Hello, Kitty
                Hello, Kitty May 10, 2019 at 9:37 am

                AAA reports averages or “typical” rates. They do not necessarily reflect my (or your) particular situation.

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                Matt S. May 10, 2019 at 5:11 pm

                If I spend $60 on gas, 42 on insurance, and an avg of about 50 for maintenance (usually occurs in one big chunk), and I drive about 500 miles a month, I’m looking at about little more than 30 cents a mile. If I drive downtown and back (16 miles), equals about five bucks and then I pay 14. So I’m paying close to 20 when I drive into work. If I did that everyday, which I know some people do, that’d be close to 400 a month to commute by car.

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              • Hello, Kitty
                Hello, Kitty May 10, 2019 at 5:14 pm

                For most people, insurance is a fixed cost; you’ll pay the same whether you drive downtown or take the bus, so it should not be included in your per-mile cost, unless you are considering giving up your vehicle altogether.

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        Gary B May 9, 2019 at 11:34 am

        Your anecdote reflects your situation, and certainly some others. But it’s not the point: the garages help very few people in your particular situation. Spending that 100 million bucks on other things would cause you to drive downtown, but could get 3 other people to use the max.

        Hell, we could spend a 100 million bucks on e-bikes and both you and other people would be better served.

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    Ramtin Rahmani May 8, 2019 at 1:59 pm

    If you are interested in giving public comment at the Steering Committee meeting this coming Monday, (logistical details at end of comment), the 94 (Express), 12 (freq service), and 45 (local) bus lines all go to Tigard Transit Center which is a 5-10 minute walk from the Tigard City Hall building. There’s a lot of (free) parking if you drive. If someone wants, I’ll send the least-bad bike route to here.

    I would love to see people showing up and making the case for protected bike lanes. SW Portland generally gets infrequent walk/bike improvements and this is our opportunity to significantly improve walking and biking in SW Portland metro area.

    Tigard currently has 0.0 miles of protected bike lanes. I believe Tualatin in a similar situation. SW Portland only has a short stretch of Multnomah Blvd with a raised, car-mountable, bike lane lip and a sidewalk MUP for another block

    This meeting and next month’s meeting are the only times we have to move the needle on pushing for easy, sustainable, fun access to transit. The parking garage(s) proposed would be free to drivers.

    STEERING COMMITTEE

    Monday, May 13, 2019
    9–10:30 a.m.
    City of Tigard Town Hall
    13125 SW Hall Blvd., Tigard

    Agenda:
    https://trimet.org/swcorridor/pdf/meetings/steering/Agenda_SC_05_13_19.pdf

    SW Corridor Website:
    https://trimet.org/swcorridor/

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    rick May 8, 2019 at 2:02 pm

    but, but TriMet says people are willing to walk 1/2 mile up and over and down hills to get to the new light rail line and give up their old bus route or give up on plans for rerouted buses, per the 2014 SW Service Plan. There is a high cost for free / cheap car parking (cheap on the user side of the coin).

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    Social Engineer May 8, 2019 at 2:16 pm

    Will TriMet commit to shifting funds that would have been spent on building free parking garages towards genuinely useful feeder bus service?

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    Matt S. May 8, 2019 at 5:28 pm

    My dilemma: I have to walk 10 minutes to the nearest 44 stop on SW Capital HWY. I work construction and it’s not very fun carrying 30 lbs in tools to the bus stop. However, I hop in my car and drive five minutes to the Barbur park and ride; there’s only a handful of cars when I arrive. When I return at the end of the day, not a single parking space open. This is definitely not a lot where 38 percent of spaces remain empty. I spend 25 dollars a week commuting versus 70 when I drive and park, not to mention the environmental impacts taking transit.

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    • Michael Andersen (Contributor)
      Michael Andersen (Contributor) May 8, 2019 at 11:24 pm

      I agree, that’s a dilemma. Do you really take 30 lbs of tools to your worksite(s) on the MAX? That’s cool.

      My main answer is that park-and-ride might be for you, but it shouldn’t be free — and indeed it isn’t, because you and every other transit rider are currently paying for that “free” park and ride in the form of crappier transit service. Instead, TriMet (or a third party) should charge several dollars a day for parking. That’d reduce the number of people who use that lot without having reasons as solid as yours.

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        Matt S. May 9, 2019 at 5:19 am

        Not everyday, just when I’m moving sites. See, I work for one company that has multiple sites going on all over the city and since there’s a shortage of help, I’m bounced around from site to site where needed. Just when I feel like I’m getting settled into somewhere — where I can leave my tools and start riding my bike to the park and rides — I get moved. Regardless, I always have my lunch-pale, hardhat, coffee canister, water jug. I’ve thought purchasing a dolly style tool box that I can pull on wheels. Then I could confidently walk to the bus line and not tire out.

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    Dave May 8, 2019 at 8:16 pm

    Sorry but without parking garages you’re going to have a tough time getting federal funding. Maybe some day down the road, people will walk or ride to the train but the ridership will not be there is there is no parking at the stations.

    Or are you just trying to find a way to kill this project?

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      Todd Boulanger May 8, 2019 at 9:24 pm

      Oh Planning God, I thought by now you would have fixed this perverse situation: that the FTA (etc.) makes it sooo easy to build “housing for cars” for drivers to take transit to the City Center but NOT build “housing for people” who ride transit…

      The spatial area of a SOV car commuter parking stall + access stall at a transit hub is similar to the space for a human living in SRO housing…

      https://www.slideshare.net/ToddBoulanger/2016-presentation-housing-for-cars-or-people-spatial-demonstration-2-59109448

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    • Michael Andersen (Contributor)
      Michael Andersen (Contributor) May 8, 2019 at 11:03 pm

      This is a myth. TriMet calculates that even if they built multi-level garages at FIVE of the SW Corridor stations, with more than 3,000 spaces total, parking would only generate ~15% of daily trips. I was surprised to learn that the current ratio for the MAX system is the same: park-and-rides account for only about 15% of daily Portland-area rail trips.

      Obviously those 15% of riders would be nice to have, other things equal. But (as the post above notes) there are other things you can do with $100 million that could be expected to boost ridership by more than that 15% (while also having lots of other good effects).

      Another issue not discussed here: the number of cars expected to come in and out of park-and-ride garages in rush hour would trigger requirements to install new turn lanes at nearby signals, which adds even more expense and make the station areas way less walking-friendly, which makes it harder to get shops and apartments there, which cuts long-term ridership.

      Finally, a related point: the Federal Transit Administration offers a 50% match on local dollars, most of which would presumably come from a regional 2020 ballot measure. But if the King County Metro figures cited above are correct and every dollar spent on bus lanes and signals is 3x as effective as a dollar spent on parking garages, then it would be better for us to pay for the bus lanes and signals entirely out of local money than to build the garages even if they’re half off thanks to the feds.

      The path to healthy ridership is human-oriented station areas like Orenco, one of TriMet’s best-performing stations.

      https://twitter.com/andersem/status/1067115995305730048

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        Let's Active May 9, 2019 at 7:33 am

        Michael, great story. Question for you: does the prospect of congestion pricing on I-5 from south Portland to north Portland make you think any differently about transit parking garages? There could very well be much higher demand for light rail along Barbur once tolls are in place. Is there value in getting them off the freeway and onto transit by offering up parking? I certainly don’t have the answer — just something I’ve been thinking about.

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        • Michael Andersen (Contributor)
          Michael Andersen (Contributor) May 10, 2019 at 9:20 am

          Good question! I do think a decongestion charge in the central city could increase demand for parking outside it. If it does, all the more reason for TriMet to *charge people to park at its existing facilities.* If it doesn’t, then it’s awarding increasingly valuable parking spaces to whoever is able to show up first in the morning rather than to the people who would actually get the most benefit out of them.

          As for new parking facilities, I basically think the public should get completely out of parking construction, because it’s premised on continued demand for parking for the next 45 years, and if we have the same parking demand in 45 years then our society/species are going to be completely fucked. If there’s enough demand for the private sector to build garages and charge for them, then it’s free to take on that risk.

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    Todd Boulanger May 8, 2019 at 9:26 pm

    The new Portland [Area] slogan is no longer “put a bird on it” but put a “solar panel on it”…and you can greenwash any parking garage…

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    Dan A May 9, 2019 at 8:39 am

    Is anyone talking about better bike parking at Max stops? You can fit 10 private bike lockers in a single car space, instead of putting it in a huge locker where it’s waiting to be stripped down by any rando with a $20 BikeLink pass.

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      Chris I May 9, 2019 at 9:18 am

      We could build a lot of protected bikeways radiating from each new station, and thousands of private bike lockers with the $168 million saved by not building car parking at $50,000 per spot…

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    nwsw May 9, 2019 at 9:18 am

    I believe this has already been decided, but why not consider an efficient rapid transit option ($1 billion?) instead of light rail ($2.8 billion?)? Seems like that might save/free up more public funding. A lot of the infrastructure is already in place to start this (in some form) much sooner than 2027 and then spend the time until 2027 making improvements to that infrastructure (barbur bridges, protected bike lanes, sidewalks, barbur/I-5 crossing, etc).

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      Chris I May 9, 2019 at 10:11 am

      What do you mean by “efficient rapid transit”?

      For the SW corridor, BRT could be done, but there are problems:
      1. Congestion. Barbur and I5 are both very congested during peak hours. We know that ODOT won’t allow transit to take a general purpose lane, so your BRT won’t be efficient or rapid.
      2. This leaves expanded lanes as the only option. Adding a 3rd lane to Barbur, or a 4th lane to I-5 would cost just as much as building light rail, if not more.
      3. Operating costs on BRT systems are higher than LRT, because you need more drivers and more vehicles for the same levels of service. BRT also wouldn’t tie in with our existing LRT network.

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        nwsw May 9, 2019 at 10:35 am

        Efficient would include the use of a general purpose lane. The city and region need to be thinking way bigger picture, as you allude to in a previous comment on communities. ODOT is obviously an issue in all of this.

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          Chris I May 9, 2019 at 10:39 am

          Have you ridden the 12, or the express busses in this corridor? They use general purpose lanes and are incredibly slow and frustrating to use during peak hours. You are advocating for a no-build solution here.

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        Todd Boulanger May 9, 2019 at 1:43 pm

        Since BRT was mentioned…And if future BRT lines are considered for the Portland region, please take a critical eye to the experience and [very serious] design compromises that C-TRAN and City of Vancouver took during its Fourth Plain line (removed dedicated lanes and placed transit shelters in the middle of narrow sidewalks)…they are about to make the same poor long term decisions for the Mill Plain line, as I have been told by community planning participants.

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          Chris I May 9, 2019 at 4:11 pm

          And we saw the same thing wit the Division St. debacle. I will never back a BRT project, because it is too easy to kneecap it late in the process. They promise dedicated lanes, platforms, queue jumps, and usually just end up with new bus stops spaced further apart. You can’t take away dedicated space from a MAX line.

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    billyjo May 9, 2019 at 9:39 am

    unfortunately, any housing that gets built along the line would be expensive since that’s just how it is now. People who can afford $2,000 a month for a 1 bedroom can afford to drive into work and pay to park.

    Just building the line will see an increase in property values, and an increase in rents as it opens more options.

    Someone needs to think way bigger picture here and create a new zone around these stops that places severe restrictions on the housing and the neighborhoods built there.

    Somewhere along the line there needs to be an accessible grocery store. We have the green line that ends at a mall, but you need to get off and go for a hike across a parking lot and take your life into your own hands to cross traffic. Transit just needs to be better integrated into life, instead of being there for people that have no other options.

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    Jason E Start May 9, 2019 at 10:06 am

    Here is what I KNOW. They built 1 garage at the end of the orange line & it’s maybe 1/2 the size it needed to be – overloaded on commute days. The other lots around Milwaukie are typically full by about 8am. This has discouraged a lot of would be Orange line riders from using MAX b/c they can’t find parking (this includes my household). These lines extend into the suburbs. We’re not in Chicago or NYC where the practical urban density extends out 10 – 15 miles. Lots of people will absolutely be happy to ride MAX into the city as long as they can park to ride. Most people from King City or Sherwood aren’t going to ride their bikes to the MAX station. It’s just not going to happen. They’re also not going to “double inconvenience” themselves with a Bus schedule tied to a Max schedule…most people really despise transferring in mass transit unless they live in a dense urban zone.

    You want maximum riders on MAX? Give them a place to park. Think of it this way: Would you rather add another lane to a freeway or add a couple more parking garages? What has the lowest carbon footprint over time?

    Sometimes you need land on a practical win vs an idealistic loss.

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      Chris I May 9, 2019 at 10:14 am

      Park and riders only account for 15% of MAX ridership. At $50,000 per spot, it just doesn’t make sense to build parking garages. See Michael Anderson’s in-depth link above for more info.

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        Austin May 9, 2019 at 11:06 am

        But would that percentage be higher if more people had a place to park? All of the Beaverton park-and-rides seem to fill up by 7:30 or 8. How many cars could we get off of the road if they had a place to park at a max station?

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          Jason E Start May 9, 2019 at 12:53 pm

          Yup. There is the rub. At the end of the day we can bemoan $50k a parking spot (also – can’t we please amortize that over 50 years? So $1K a year / approx 250 heavy commuting days a year = $4 per day over the lifetime of the spot…) or we can get more cars off the freeways & stop building more freeway capacity. It’s like people don’t understand the behaviors of the majority of commuters. If you think that the instant that a mass transit transfer is required to complete a commute that an extremely high % of commuters won’t abandon the mass transit system then you haven’t spent much time in Los Angeles.

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            Chris I May 9, 2019 at 1:09 pm

            Sounds like we can charge $4 per day and these things will pay for themselves…

            At any rate, I think the bigger concern is that we are eating up valuable land with parking. The land immediately surrounding transit lines is extremely valuable for TOD. Building a parking garage next to the station precludes thousands of potential housing units. There are some exceptions, of course. Transit lines build on interstate right-of-ways are less desirable. No one wants to build a 10-story apartment building right next to I-205 or I-84. The SW corridor will mostly go down 99W, which is far more desirable. Would people still park in the garages if we put them 4 blocks away from the station?

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              rainbike May 9, 2019 at 1:23 pm

              People park in front of my house all the time and walk 4 blocks to the station.

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              soren May 9, 2019 at 3:21 pm

              “The land immediately surrounding transit lines is extremely valuable for TOD. ”

              Valuable for whom?

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            Todd Boulanger May 9, 2019 at 1:46 pm

            Jason, please do not forget the monthly O&M costs of parking garages…something like $100 to $250/ stall / month. AND the lost opportunity costs of using the land for car housing (typically 1x use of a stall per day).

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            Todd Boulanger May 9, 2019 at 1:48 pm

            Michael Anderson or Todd Litman: any recent research about local jurisdictions instead using these federal funds to pay for the first mile ride via taxi / Lyft in similar x-urban areas?

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        rainbike May 9, 2019 at 12:58 pm

        What percentage park on neighborhood streets, for lack of a parking structure near the station? See the increase in neighborhood street parking in the blocks around the Orange Line Bybee station.

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      Gary B May 9, 2019 at 11:56 am

      More park-and-ride spaces certainly would increase ridership, no one has indicated otherwise. The point is that they aren’t the best way to increase ridership. So no, they can’t acheive “maximum riders” for a given dollar spent. And comparing with a freeway lane doesn’t make any sense–the amount of commuters parking garges can serve is drarfed by the carrying capacity of a highway lan (or a rail line, or a bus line…). We’d have to spend billions on parking.

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      Matt S. May 9, 2019 at 7:03 pm

      Here’s what I know, not everyone wants to live in a dense urban environment. Like you said, this isn’t Chicago or NYC. I don’t want to live on Williams St in a 650 sqft apartment with no room for anything. I have a friend, him and his wife just moved to Sandy and he drives to the nearest park and ride and takes the Max in. I work with people who live in Washington and drive to the Expo Center park and ride.

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      AndyK May 10, 2019 at 11:27 am

      I live very close to the Sunset Transit Center, TriMet’s most popular TC. All 620 car parking spots are filled up by 7:15AM on weekdays. There are also 200+ cars are parked south of the freeway, and a permit requirement for on-street parking on Woodward and Muirwood.

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    soren May 9, 2019 at 1:36 pm

    Transit oriented development (TOD) and “mixed income” are code often words for market rate housing with — perhaps — a few token faux-affordable units. The Portland area has an excess of housing available to those who can afford market-rate rents. Unless TOD creates a substantial amount of housing affordable to people making <50% of MFI it's more about about real estate deals than meeting this region's housing needs.

    The path to healthy ridership is human-oriented station areas like Orenco, one of TriMet’s best-performing stations.

    Orenco Station is a classic example of the use of transit-oriented development to create exclusive neighborhoods for wealthier folk. This project included no “affordable” housing and it took over a decade for the first genuinely affordable units (via federal grants) to be built in this twee neighborhood.

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      turnips May 9, 2019 at 2:29 pm

      would you prefer parking garages? that’s not rhetorical, I’m asking sincerely.

      there’s clearly a lot wrong with current incarnations of TOD. solve those problems, though, and TOD seems to have a lot more potential for good than parking garages. building truly mixed-income housing, for example, that includes meaningful numbers of actually affordable units would be good, no? easier said than done, I suppose, but it would be hard to do worse than parking garages.

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      Chris M May 9, 2019 at 2:59 pm

      I don’t have exact numbers, but some poking around indicates that 80-90% of people live in market rate housing. Building more market rate housing gives those people more options! I know a lot of people want us to get to like a “Red Vienna” type situation where the housing stock is 40-50% government owned or subsidized, but we’re so far from that… what is the point of blocking market rate housing (that middle class people would live in-there are many very new 1 bedroom units available at around $1500/month) in favor of parking lots?

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        soren May 9, 2019 at 3:51 pm

        I generally oppose parking development and none of my comments addressed parking.

        Creating a modest amount of new affordable housing is hardly a “Red Vienna type situation”. Given that governments are leveraging a billion dollar transportation project to allocate new land for housing (a direct and/or indirect subsidy), why would we not use a large portion of this land to build desperately-needed low-income housing?

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          Chris I May 9, 2019 at 4:15 pm

          I think we’re on the same side here. None of us want to see the land used to store cars. Kill the parking garages, then debate about the types of units that are built. $160 million can subsidize a lot of low-income housing.

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            billyjo May 9, 2019 at 11:35 pm

            For those few people who win the lottery and get to live there, good for them, but when people are complaining that we will spend $50,000 subsidizing a parking space that over the coarse of it’s lifetime will be used by thousands each vs subsidizing “affordable” housing that gets used by 2 or 3 households over the course of it’s life at likely a cost of $300,000 per unit…..

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              Chris I May 10, 2019 at 7:37 am

              The subsidy isn’t the full cost of the unit. You could subsidize it at $100,000 per unit and it would create just as many riders as a parking space. Each unit has multiple residents who will likely ride transit, since they now live next door to a station. A parking space typically is used by 1 driver per day, perhaps 2 if someone doesn’t leave a car there during the whole business day. This is not free housing, it is subsidized housing.

              I think you are overestimating the benefit of the parking spaces. TOD creates more transit riders. There is really no debate on this point.

              https://humantransit.org/2014/10/basics-the-math-of-park-and-ride.html

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                Matt S. May 10, 2019 at 9:13 am

                Now we just have to ask 1000’s of people to live in 650 sqft with no car. Yup, you’re stuck in the city and there’s no room for your stuff. It’s cool though, you can walk to get your $7 beers and $5 cups of coffee 🙂

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                John Lascurettes May 10, 2019 at 8:28 pm

                I walk, ride, bus, Lyft, or Car2Go to go get beer all the time. And then walk, Lyft or bus home. I just did that this afternoon. That’s the WHOLE point of urban density and walkable neighborhoods. So what’s your point, Matt?

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                Matt S. May 10, 2019 at 8:47 pm

                That’s my point, it comes as a sacrifice. I’m focused on good schools, jobs, and housing people can raise a family in. I’m not concerned about over priced services that I can ride my Surly to.

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                Hello, Kitty May 10, 2019 at 8:59 pm

                Density is great for those who want it and can afford it. It’s less good for people who play the drums or like to garden.

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                soren May 11, 2019 at 12:17 pm

                This city has economically displaced low-income people (many of whom are black or brown) to transportation deserts where they are forced to use cars. Arguing that these folk should use non-existent buses or spend money they do not have on Lyft or Car2Go (which is only available in bougie neighborhoods) is implicit classism.

                This is why cycling is increasingly seen as the preoccupation of upper-class white people.

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      John May 13, 2019 at 9:42 am

      And Milwaukie is joining the TOD bandwagon. The new construction next to the Orange Line station will open this year. https://www.axletreemilwaukie.com/ 110 new apartments and only 77 parking spaces (available for a fee probably)
      Studio (500 sq ft) for only $1,300/month
      1 br (~625 sq ft) for $1,500/month
      2br (1,045 sq ft) for $2,150/month

      Main street milwaukie is changing for the better. A few good restaurants, a taphouse, and wine bar are all within walking distance.

      It may be market rate, but I don’t call it affordable. By comparison our 1,700 sq ft home (in milwaukie) is on about a 1/2 acre and our mortage payment would get you the 1 br apartment at this place.

      The other problem is you will need to drive, cargo bike, or take a uber/lyft/taxi to get groceries.

      My problem with all this light rail developent is I don’t want to go to Portland. I need to get to Hillsboro most days. Over 2 hours on transit each way doesn’t work. And even the new SW corridor line is Portland centric. And even when I lived on the West side, commute by bike vs bike/transit or transit only was the same amount of time. The only reason to use transit was to get out of the weather.

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