Higher parking fees and registration enforcement will help fill PBOT budget hole

Crowded parking in Kerns neighborhood. (Photo: Jonathan Maus/BikePortland)

Portland’s transportation bureau walked slowly away from the edge of a financial cliff on City Council budget work session on Thursday. Battered by years of revenue loss made worse by not charging road users enough for the service of safe streets, and a change in travel behaviors exacerbated by the pandemic, the Portland Bureau of Transportation was an agency on the brink when they approached council for help five months ago.

With a $32.4 million shortfall and the prospect of laying off 118 full-time employees that would have been “gutting to the bureau” (according to its director), something had to give. In a proposal shared for the first time yesterday, we learned that PBOT will plug about one-third of that revenue hole by charging drivers more to park and register their vehicles. Combined with funding from the Portland Clean Energy Fund and the expected (but not guaranteed!) passage of the Fixing Our Streets local gas tax renewal in May, PBOT has chiseled that shortfall down to a manageable $4.6 million and just four full-time positions (which likely won’t result in any layoffs).

PBOT’s budget was presented at council yesterday along with the budgets from the water and environmental services bureaus (it was the first time all three bureau directors teamed up under the “Public Works” banner, a nod to the upcoming change in government that will group bureaus into “service areas” to encourage collaboration).

How PBOT will avoid falling over the cliff.

PBOT Director Millicent Williams laid out the plan (at right) by saying it’s long overdue that the city starts to “more efficiently collect resources” owed by drivers who starve parking meters and have expired tags. “Over the course of many, many years,” Williams said, “PBOT has been quite altruistic and has taken on opportunities to be in service to community without necessarily charging… and that’s part of what has added to where we find ourselves now.”

If this new budget plan is adopted, Williams will hire 28 new parking enforcement officers. Six will be assigned to write citations to Portlanders with expired registration and the rest will patrol parking meters and permit districts citywide. PBOT estimates of the one million previously registered vehicles in Portland, about 460,000 are eligible for renewal. Citations for expired tags and other parking infractions could net PBOT $5.5 million in the coming fiscal year.

To soften the blow, Williams told council that revenue from these citations will help her agency preserve popular services like: pavement preservation, block party permits, snow and ice response efforts, homeless camp cleanups (which PBOT does a lot of these days), staff support for the three modal committees (bike, walk, and freight), street plaza activations, parade permits, 823-SAFE request support, and more.

In addition to writing citations for these violations, Williams said having more parking officers on the ground will help general livability because it, “provides an additional set of trained eyes and ears are situations that arise on our streets.”

PBOT also wants to shift payment of the parking meter credit card usage fee from the city to car drivers and index the parking meter rate to inflation with a 20-cent across-the-board increase in all parking districts — moves they estimate will safe them an additional $5.3 million a year. (The 20-cent increase is to make up for previous years’ inflation rates. In future years, the rate will go up eight cents per hour per year.)

“There will be some political blowback here,” Commissioner Mingus Mapps said during yesterday’s work session. “We haven’t really been in the business of actually ticketing people for not registering their cars, and we’re going to hand out more tickets when you don’t plug the meter.”

Mapps said he’s also looking to add more paid parking districts around the city and framed it as a necessity given how much demand there is on curb space in dense residential and commercial areas. Sounding like a parking reformer who understands that pricing spaces is key to turnover in busy areas, Mapps added, “The dynamics of parking have changed dramatically in the last five years or so… If you are a small business trying to sell flowers or fresh bread and people can’t pull up to their store to facilitate that, we’re really killing business by not addressing this.”

Director Williams assured council that even with these proposed increases, parking rates in Portland are “still quite low” and would bring our prices up to about $2.60 an hour per meter, about 50% less than most major cities.

One new element of PBOT’s budget plan we learned yesterday was how the PCEF infusion will free up $7.4 million in general fund dollars that can be put to other uses. Specifically, PBOT showed a slide that said they’ll use the money to do more street sweeping, harden bike lanes, daylight intersections, and invest in other traffic calming upgrades.

In discussion among council members that followed the presentation, Commissioner Rene Gonzalez and Mayor Ted Wheeler expressed concern that PBOT still isn’t addressing the fundamental problem the bureau faces: that the behavior we want less of (driving) is largely what pays for everything else.

“I think one of the weaknesses in this for PBOT is that this is always such a transactional discussion… this annual fight between downtown business owners and PBOT over what it’s going to cost them to park,” Gonzalez said. He added that it’s easier for him to get business support if parking rate increases are locked-in and predictable year-over-year, instead of cuts one year and increases the next.

And Mayor Wheeler again expressed concern that many Portlanders feel they are being taxed to death already and can’t afford higher prices to drive. “There’s a lot of people who are driving in the city… who can’t afford to drive. And they’re driving even though they can’t afford to drive because the public transit system isn’t adequate,” he said. Wheeler also urged PBOT to move beyond this annual plea for new fees and “convene a community conversation about ‘How to people want the city to function going forward 25 years? What do we want it to look like?'”

PBOT Director Williams could be seen and heard nodding as Wheeler spoke. She assured him that, “There are a number of of intense and intentional conversations that are happening to ensure that we are thinking creatively about how we can move into a different conversation, one that is more centered on problem-solving versus pointing fingers at who’s to blame and what didn’t happen before.” “But,” she continued, “In the interim, there is the challenge that we have to maintain the system that we have.”


PBOT’s final budget request is due February 16th. Then the debates and politics will continue in the coming weeks and months until the Mayor releases his budget in early May and council takes action to approve a final 2024-2025 budget in lae June. Learn more at the City Budget Office website.

Jonathan Maus (Publisher/Editor)

Jonathan Maus (Publisher/Editor)

Founder of BikePortland (in 2005). Father of three. North Portlander. Basketball lover. Car owner and driver. If you have questions or feedback about this site or my work, feel free to contact me at @jonathan_maus on Twitter, via email at maus.jonathan@gmail.com, or phone/text at 503-706-8804. Also, if you read and appreciate this site, please become a supporter.

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Tony Jordan (Contributor)

I am so ready for new government and leadership.

No, PBOT, you do not need to “index parking meters to inflation,” you just need to implement the Performance-based Parking Management policy adopted by City Council in 2018!

You should, by your OWN POLICY, simply monitor occupancy of spaces and adjust prices periodically with the aim that the price should be the lowest price that leaves at least one space available on every blockface.

Indexing parking to inflation makes no sense anyway as the cost of providing the parking to the city has not gone up due to inflation. It’s a stupid message and a money grab and it’s contrary to their own policy.

I spent MANY MANY hours on committees as a volunteer for the city to craft these policies and it is insulting and demoralizing to see them attempting to reinvent the wheel over and over and over and over.

Michael Andersen
4 months ago

Thanks for typing this so I didn’t have to, Tony

Wooster
Wooster
4 months ago

Doesn’t indexing to inflation simply keep the cost consistent in real dollar terms? I don’t see why you would want to do what you’re talking about without also indexing to inflation. Otherwise the actual price is constantly declining and that will warp demand on its own. What you want is to study changes in the actual parking demand, how much people want to park in that area, and then adjust the price. But you can’t get an accurate reading of that unless you keep the price in real terms consistent.

HJ
HJ
4 months ago
Reply to  Wooster

Wooster, the problem with your logic is that incomes have not been going up indexed to inflation. As a result the financial burden of a parking fee indexed to inflation is artificially elevated. In effect the “actual price” as you put it is disproportionately higher.

Wooster
Wooster
4 months ago
Reply to  HJ

That’s not how inflation works. Indexing to inflation keeps the price the same in real dollars.

Lisa Caballero (Assistant Editor)
Editor
Reply to  HJ

I’m really itching to talk about economics, I guess. National averages show that wages have been growing faster than inflation as we’ve emerged from covid disruptions: https://www.americanprogress.org/article/workers-paychecks-are-growing-more-quickly-than-prices/

Now, a national average doesn’t necessarily reflect what is happening in Portland, I get that, and I don’t know what the Portland stats are.

But relief checks from the federal government helped many people weather a bad disruption without the nation plunging into a depression.

Pegging a charge to inflation is a way of automatically adjusting a fee. Liberals tend to be in favor of it, it means funding stays apace with costs.

Tony Jordan (Contributor)
Reply to  Wooster

I don’t really follow the concern here. If the city monitors the curb, they will know when and where people want to park. If there is congestion because the parking is in high demand at a certain time/place then they raise the price. If there is lots of empty parking because there is nothing open (or the price is too high) lower the price. No inflation indexing is needed (other than perhaps if the city sets a floor/ceiling on rates) because if the price is too low, there will be more congestion and the city raises the price.

The purpose here is not to raise maximum revenue, it’s to provide access to the city and reduce congestion. But it does work hand-in-hand with other policies to reduce car trips. Repurposing curb for other uses than car storage will likely lead to an increase in prices for remaining stalls, which will make a bus trip more in line with a car trip.

How we spend the revenue is critical too, and another place the city is failing. Getting hooked on downtown meter revenue for general funds is a paralytic for fixing our streets. Earmark net revenue to improve access for other modes and/or to offset the impacts of pricing on impacted and vulnerable populations (ideally in the form of a low-income cash transportation benefit). But it’s worth pointing out that ease of access (a parking space where you need it when you need it) is valuable and low-income folks also deserve the agency to decide if it’s worth a buck or two to get in an out of an errand faster, or if they’d rather park a little ways away and walk to save a buck.

All of this is already the city policy, it’s just not been implemented properly because PBOT has been passed around like a hot potato for 10 years.

Watts
Watts
4 months ago

Earmark net revenue to improve access for other modes and/or to offset the impacts of pricing on impacted and vulnerable populations

Earmarks are only good as the politicians who want to raid them. Just ask PCEF.

Wooster
Wooster
4 months ago

I’m just saying that if you don’t index to inflation, you are artificially skewing demand and that would force you to change the parking rate more often. By having an automatic annual increase for inflation, the “real dollar” price stays consistent, allowing you to actually see what’s happening with intrinsic parking demand with no change in the price variable.

Evan Manvel
Evan Manvel
4 months ago

Tony, Have you heard of the Parking Reform Network? They’re a great organization that works across the country (and beyond) on nerdy parking issues, and might have some other folks who can advise you about this issue.

Look into them! 🙂

/s

Mx. Manners
Mx. Manners
4 months ago
Reply to  Evan Manvel

Your comment is a crappy way to recruit for PRN. Try posting in good faith next time.

David Hampsten
David Hampsten
4 months ago

PBOT estimates of the one million previously registered vehicles in Portland, about 460,000 are eligible for renewal. Citations for expired tags and other parking infractions could net PBOT $5.5 million in the coming fiscal year.

In other words, PBOT is basically admitting that it hasn’t been doing its minimum job for years. 1,000,000 vehicles/638,000 people = 1.57 vehicles per person, presumably including commercial vehicle fleets, junk cars, etc. – 46% of those are up for renewal.

I wonder how many other services PBOT will admit that they haven’t carried out like they were hired to do so? What other revelations will we see in this budget?

Michael Mann
Michael Mann
4 months ago
Reply to  David Hampsten

This also benefits the state coffers. A quick napkin calculation of 46k cars needing tag renewals (approximately $180) nets the DMV about $83 million. And that’s just from Portland in one year.

Nick
Nick
4 months ago
Reply to  David Hampsten

I hope they’ll do something about cars with no plates. I’m sympathetic to people needing a place to live in sometimes, but I also see a fair number of cars with no plates driving poorly in my neighborhood, and it makes me worried how impossible it would be to report a hit and run without a plate number. Just a really bad situation all around.

John V
John V
4 months ago
Reply to  Nick

I saw someone yesterday with a Tesla that had an entirely unreadable plate. I don’t know if it was some cover that added deliberate glare, or if there was just no plate there, but it looked like a solid grey rectangle where the plate was.

So it’s not just people living in their cars, for sure. That kind of thing drives me nuts, what is this Tesla-owning person doing with their car that they feel they need to drive around with a blatantly illegal plate. This person can definitely afford to renew their registration, and frankly should pay extra for driving such a heavy car.

PS
PS
4 months ago
Reply to  John V

Completely agree that Tesla is the new BMW, but realistically for every Tesla without a plate there are 48 Altimas with no plates and completely bald front tires that hasn’t stopped at a red light since people wore masks in their cars by themselves.

SolarEclipse
SolarEclipse
4 months ago
Reply to  Nick

They need to do something about people who break the law, regardless of housing status. Laws should apply to all. If they are enforced for only certain people then that leads to anarchy. And who gets to decide what laws apply to who? You? Me? I sure wouldn’t want that task.
If you don’t like a law then work to have it changed or repealed, but part of the vast problems that Portland has right now revolves around not enforcing laws or only enforcing the ones convenient for the latest social justice cause.

Pkjb
Pkjb
4 months ago

This comment is not spam. Please don’t auto reject comments with filters.

It’s insane that going back to a basic level of parking enforcement is being presented to council as some kind of radical, major rescue plan, and that pbot has already been engaged in advanced talks to raid tens of millions of PCEF revenue along with other bureaus before they even started thinking about trying to generate revenue the old fashioned way. 118 pbot staffers have been on the edge is layoffs for six months because of outright refusal on the part of the bureau to collect revenue.

The only reason pbot has been financially sound for the last four years is a bonanza of one time money that was handed out by the federal government in COVID relief packages which has finally dried up.

Imagine if pbot had actually rehired parking enforcement staff that were laid off in 2020 and if the police had been enforcing registration violations at the same time that pbot had been feeding at trough of free federal grants… Imagine all of the bike infrastructure that could have been built with four years of forgone revenue… Imagine all the potholes that could have been filled…

Maybe they would have done the Broadway bike lane correctly in the first place instead of value engineering it. Maybe they could have put a proper diverter in on ne 72nd instead of a couple of signs. Maybe they could have replaced the stolen bollards on naito.

I know people who work downtown, commute a mile or two by car, park for eight+hours in areas with parking meters and two hour limits, and don’t even bother to pay because enforcement is still nearly nonexistent.

Lisa Caballero (Assistant Editor)
Editor
Reply to  Pkjb

Your comment ended up in spam, I don’t know why, or why this comment got through, it seems like the same comment.

We couldn’t survive without spam and trash filters (unless you want to volunteer to help me?). I check trash regularly, but not spam. If one of your comments is not posting within a half hour or so of submitting during the day, just send me or JM an email, and we’ll look into what went awry.

pkjb
pkjb
4 months ago

I understand. It’s just frustrating to have comments blocked.

Are y’all hiring moderators?

Lisa Caballero (Assistant Editor)
Editor
Reply to  pkjb

JM calls the shots, you should ask him! But, just so you know, it is not the kind of pay that is going to let you quit the day job.

dw
dw
4 months ago
Reply to  Pkjb

I know people who work downtown, commute a mile or two by car, park for eight+hours in areas with parking meters and two hour limits, and don’t even bother to pay because enforcement is still nearly nonexistent.

This is really the crux of it. I was hanging downtown with some friends last week, and after we split up my buddy and I walked together. They were going to a show on the east side and explained that they wanted to wait 30 minutes for Uber surge pricing to go down. I thought about suggesting the bus, but I try really hard not to be “that guy” so that I can maintain friendships. I just said goodbye and hopped on my bus home.

When I got home I looked at the specific trip they were making – 10 minutes on the bus and then maybe another 10 minutes walking if you’re walking slow. 3 bus lines that will get you there. Driving the same trip takes about 10 minutes, same with biking. So they spent like 45 minutes and $20 on an Uber when they could’ve spent $2.80 for the bus, or maybe $5 on Biketown. Both the bus and bike get you there quicker. Hell, they could’ve probably just walked the whole way. This is a very able-bodied person who hikes and runs.

Michael Mann
Michael Mann
4 months ago

“There’s a lot of people who are driving in the city… who can’t afford to drive. And they’re driving even though they can’t afford to drive because the public transit system isn’t adequate.”

I’ve got almost zero sympathy for Wheeler’s sentiments here.

When you subsidize driving with cheap parking, low gas taxes, lax (read: zero) enforcement, you get car addicts who can’t afford their habit.
Could better transit help? Sure. But to blame the problem on the quality of transit is a red herring. Wheeler proposed a moratorium on parking fee increases if I’m not mistaken. He of all people should know you can’t have your cake and it too.

pkjb
pkjb
4 months ago
Reply to  Michael Mann

Strongly agree. Part of the reason that transit isn’t great in Portland is there are too many cars getting in the way of buses. Cars that are subsidized by unenforced parking and registration fees. Also, it’s pretty hard to hire and retain transit operators if you can’t enforce basic safety rules. Also, people regularly walk into buses, streetcars, and the Max without paying fares with zero enforcement. Hard to fund a good transit system of you aren’t collecting revenue.

Watts
Watts
4 months ago
Reply to  pkjb

Part of the reason that transit isn’t great in Portland is there are too many cars getting in the way of buses.

Most of the reason is that it’s fundamentally very difficult to provide decent service using a 19th century transit model. Cars slowing buses is an issue, but the bigger issue is that people don’t want to spend an hour dealing with the bus to get to the grocery store when they have an alternative that will take them there directly and will help transport all the stuff they’ve bought. In a different world, transit might work great. It doesn’t (and probably can’t) in our world.

Hard to fund a good transit system of you aren’t collecting revenue.

People not paying fare is probably not even a rounding error in TriMet’s revenue picture. Farebox revenues are just a sliver of what it costs to run the system.

Pkjb
Pkjb
4 months ago
Reply to  Watts

I’d say the main problem is late 20th century sprawl that built a whole lot of housing that was located in places that are difficult to service with transit. The parts of the city that were built out before Portland annexed most of unincorporated Multnomah county over the last fifty years are all well served by transit.

Also, there are very few grocery stores in parts of Portland where street parking fees are actually charged. So making people pay to park in places that are metered will have little to no impact on the grocery buying habits of the car dependant.

Lisa Caballero (Assistant Editor)
Editor
Reply to  Pkjb

The parts of the city that were built out before Portland annexed most of unincorporated Multnomah county over the last fifty years are all well served by transit.

I wish that were true! Portland Heights (the city’s eponymous neighborhood) has a bus which runs a couple hours in the morning, a handful of hours in the late afternoon, and no service nights or weekends. Because the line operates basically as a school bus, I’m not able to participate in Portland’s transit system.

You can even see the rail tracks of the Council Crest trolley (built as part of Portland’s 1905 Lewis and Clark Exposition) poking through Vista right now. How I wish it still ran.

Pkjb
Pkjb
4 months ago

Okay. Good point. Older inner southwest neighborhoods have some major transit deficiencies. If only we could do like Medellin and build a transit system in the hills using gondolas.

HJ
HJ
4 months ago

Exactly Lisa! When my parents purchased their home in 79 there was a bus that stopped on Cornell near the county line. 6 months later it was discontinued and has never come back. And that was when the hillside was still forest, not covered by housing developments. Cycling is no longer a safe choice either as traffic volumes have increased, several large sections of paved shoulder have been eliminated from Cornell when new developments were built, without requiring they put in bike lanes, and drivers overall are more distracted. But the speed limit is still 45mph. And you can forget about walking because not only is it over a mile to the nearest stop, there are no sidewalks either.
Once you’re in your car, which you pretty much have to be, you’re not likely to switch modes.

Lisa Caballero (Assistant Editor)
Editor
Reply to  HJ

Thanks HJ! What is more damning is how bad — or no — service changes a neighborhood. We bought our house in this location in 2001 because it had bus service and was near downtown. And was a short walk to a grocery store. We were moving from NYC and didn’t want to live in a place that was car-centric.

But for anybody who has moved to this neighborhood since 2007, access to a bus obviously was not in their basket of considerations. And expanding the bus service in isn’t going to change that collective value overnight, it might require a 20-year change-over of residents. When you kill a bus line it doesn’t just spring back.

Watts
Watts
4 months ago
Reply to  Pkjb

I’d say the main problem is late 20th century sprawl that built a whole lot of housing that was located in places that are difficult to service with transit.

Although Lisa pointed out why this isn’t true, even if it were, it wouldn’t matter, because that’s what we’ve got, and we have to deal with that reality. People aren’t going to just walk away from their homes and lives.

We have a lot of sprawl that is hard to serve with transit. Agreed. The question is how do we move forward to create a world where people don’t depend on cars, beyond just lamenting past decisions. Whatever we do, it has to fit within our very real physical, political, and economic constraints.

Pkjb
Pkjb
4 months ago
Reply to  Watts

I’m sure transit in parts of the west hills was a lot better 100 years ago than it is today. At least in the near in neighborhoods. There were multiple streetcars that climbed into the hills. But low density areas with winding streets and steep grades are always going to be difficult edge cases for transit. That hardly means that transit can’t be very effective across most of the city. There are oodles of cities of a size and density that are comparable to Portland in Europe that have much better transit than Portland does. Heck, there are cities up and down the east coast that do transit better than Portland does.

Watts
Watts
4 months ago
Reply to  Pkjb

But low density areas with winding streets and steep grades are always going to be difficult edge cases for transit.

What proportion of the trips folks make could be categorized as an “edge case”?

The transportation system in even the best east coast non-NYC cities, like, say, Boston, are still very much dominated by cars. They may do transit better than we do, but they still have the problem of being dominated by edge cases.

John V
John V
4 months ago
Reply to  Watts

You press on this tautological point like we’ve painted ourselves into a corner and there is no alternative, but we haven’t. We’ve painted a corner and stood in it, we can just walk out and continue painting. Humanity isn’t some incompatible species from what it was in the 19th century, the solutions then all work, we’ve just done terrible planning and de-funding so they work less well. There is a way forward.

Sprawl is a problem that is solved by increasing density (and NEVER expanding the urban growth boundary, Tina Kotek should be recalled for ever suggesting it). While doing what it takes to make it attractive to build multi-family units within the city in the ample available space we have (be that subsidies, regulatory change, public housing (the good option (sorry for nested parens)), whatever), we can also improve transit service. This obviously makes it pencil out better to have more grocery stores (which isn’t actually a problem in most of the city even now), more doctor’s offices, etc etc. And suddenly, you don’t need to make three transfers across town to get to your appointment, food, job, etc.

Pkjb
Pkjb
4 months ago
Reply to  Watts

19th century transportation modes work GREAT for the Portland neighborhoods that were built around transit in the early twentieth century.

Watts
Watts
4 months ago
Reply to  Pkjb

19th century transportation modes work GREAT for the Portland neighborhoods that were built around transit in the early twentieth century.

They do work well if you are commuting downtown during normal work hours, or following a few other specific patterns of travel.

They work less well if you are going between my early 20th century inner SE neighborhood to, say, Hollywood, another early 20th century neighborhood. According to Google, that trip will take almost an hour in the middle of the afternoon on a weekday by transit, which is twice what it would take to ride a bike.

So sure, 19th century transit works great if you are willing to limit yourself to the trips that it’s designed to support.

Pkjb
Pkjb
4 months ago
Reply to  Watts

Yes, well back before they poured asphalt over all the old streetcar tracks, there used to be a line that ran North/South into the Hollywood neighborhood in 28th Ave. Probably would have been a faster transit trip in 1920 than it is today.

Watts
Watts
4 months ago
Reply to  Pkjb

It’s a long tail phenomenon:comment image

TriMet can serve those high-demand trips in the green area pretty well (like going downtown during rush hour); if you want to take a less popular trip, or travel at a less popular time, you’re in the yellow portion of the graph. It doesn’t really make sense for a bus to serve you; a car would probably be more efficient on almost every level. But even though each trip is not that popular individually, there are a lot of them, so we end up with a lot of people driving around.

This is one of the inherent problems with the concept of fixed route transit; you put the routes where people want to go, and everyone else is on their own. 28th Avenue was probably in the yellow, so not worth dedicating a line to.

If I want to see a movie at the Hollywood, I can’t reasonably go via transit, and will probably never be able to. Luckily, I’m healthy and fit and confident enough that I can ride my bike there at night, but most people are just going to drive.

jakeco969
jakeco969
4 months ago
Reply to  Michael Mann

I’ve got almost zero sympathy for Wheeler’s sentiments here.

Completely agree with a slight twist. Metro/Multnomah and Portland need to quit taxing the crap out of people for goofy nonsense so people will have enough money to properly register their vehicles, so the money goes where it needs to go to have a functioning infrastructure. If Wheeler is so against people being poor then 1. he needs to remember whos been Mayor these last too many years and
2. he needs to work to end taxes that benefit only a few outlier people or groups and instead tax people to create a working public use infrastructure.

Pkjb
Pkjb
4 months ago
Reply to  jakeco969

Taxes that only benefit a few outlier people? Please do explain what taxes you wish to eliminate… You trying to axe school bonds? Parks? Gas tax? Transit tax? Supportive housing for homeless people? People love to complain about Portland taxes being too high, but they don’t like to give specifics about what programs they hope to cut or think too deeply about what the consequences would be if the services that are funded by those taxes were to go away.

SolarEclipse
SolarEclipse
4 months ago
Reply to  Pkjb

ALL voted for taxes and bond measures. Art, preschool, green, library, zoo, etc.

ALL of them. Is that specific enough?

Our government has plenty of our money, they have a spending problem. Maintenance? What’s that? Only buy shiny new things where a politician can do a photo op.

Pkjb
Pkjb
4 months ago
Reply to  SolarEclipse

Okay. Let’s close the library. Close the zoo. Not replace 100 year old high school buildings. Stop trying to build affordable housing to address the housing crisis. I don’t care much for the arts tax, but you aren’t going to retain those other services without bond measures. That’s how most American cities do infrastructure.

jakeco969
jakeco969
4 months ago
Reply to  Pkjb

Oddly enough, if there was a tax proposed to shut down the animal cruelty horror that is the zoo, I would pay it with a smile.

prioritarian
prioritarian
4 months ago
Reply to  Michael Mann

you get CAR ADDICTS who can’t afford their habit

The car “addicts” (e.g. a single parent family, immigrant family, or low SES family) who were economically evicted from their inner Portland home and now live in a more affordable neighborhood that is very poorly served by alternative transportation modes?

SD
SD
4 months ago
Reply to  prioritarian

Do you think that the transportation system that helped create economically disadvantaged suburban refugees should be protected and promoted?

prioritarian
prioritarian
4 months ago
Reply to  SD

First of all, many of this metro’s neighborhoods, with high populations of low SES households, are either in Portland or are close to Portland’s borders. I’m so very tired of YIMBYs using the relative wealth of Beaverton, Lake Oswego, or Hillsoboro as a cudgel to dismiss the misery of being poor in this utter shithole of a city.

Secondly, if this were a moral city, we would tax the living f*** out of privileged middle-class and upper-class household and use these revenues to reduce socioeconomic injustice in the suburbs (the horror!) and in the inner city.

SD
SD
4 months ago
Reply to  prioritarian

If this were a moral city, we would… require rich people to ride the bus. 
If this were a moral city, we would not require low SES households to tithe the fruits of their labor to the automobile economy.

prioritarian
prioritarian
4 months ago
Reply to  SD

we would not require low SES households to tithe the fruits of their labor to the automobile economy.

And how do you think we could fund the massive social programs and deep structural changes in our built environment needed to effect this change without taxing the living f*** out of middle/upper-class?

Urbanists want Paris-style change but without the socialism and communism of Hidalgo’s coalition government.

Oh sorry…my mistake…I forgot that all the changes implemented by Hidalgo’s government came about via zoning deregulation and parking reform.

Could it just be parking???

SD
SD
4 months ago
Reply to  prioritarian

The “taxing the living f*** out of middle/upper-class” ballot measure has an appealing ring to it, but in addition to generating revenue, we could stop spending on massive car infrastructure expansion and focus on maintenance and depaving unnecessary SOV infrastructure. It requires a ton of resources and effort to keep our species-ending transportation system in tact. We are like Sisyphus fretting over whether or not he will be able to push a lighter boulder.

Our current system is socialism for the profiteers of the car-based economy. Parking is zoning is structural disparity. One of the most expensive things that rich people buy is time away from other people’s cars. They could spend that money on a bus system that removes cars and benefits other economic strata of society.

BTW, they just legalized neighborhood cafes in Washington, so most of the inequities that you are concerned about will not exist in a few years.

prioritarian
prioritarian
4 months ago
Reply to  SD

BTW, they just legalized neighborhood cafes in Washington, so most of the inequities that you are concerned about will not exist in a few years.

With all due respect, this comment is a lovely and kind of pathological example of epistemic closure.

Pkjb
Pkjb
4 months ago
Reply to  prioritarian

Nothing wrong with targeted transportation subsidies to people that are income restrained and who face hardships. If you are earning less than the median income and a car is your only transportation option, reduced parking and registration fees might be warranted. Considering that the easiest way to pay for parking is through apps, it should be easy to create a tiered fee structure that reduces rates for those who qualify. But turning the whole transportation network into a free for all is not an efficient way to help out the needy.

prioritarian
prioritarian
4 months ago
Reply to  Pkjb

There is the approach you describe and then there is the demeaning dismissal of of people who are not fortunate enough to be able to live in close-in, resource-rich Portland

Watts
Watts
4 months ago
Reply to  Pkjb

Nothing wrong with targeted transportation subsidies to people that are income restrained and who face hardships.

If you’re willing to do that, just give people the cash, and let them decide if transportation is the best way to use it.

Pkjb
Pkjb
4 months ago
Reply to  Watts

Sure. I’m all for UBI.

Watts
Watts
4 months ago
Reply to  Pkjb

I am too, if we can figure out how to pay for it.

prioritarian
prioritarian
4 months ago
Reply to  Watts

This is why I support a basic income guarantee, instead of the fundamentally right wing concept of an UBI.

Watts
Watts
4 months ago
Reply to  prioritarian

basic income guarantee

How does this differ from the earned income tax credit?

prioritarian
prioritarian
4 months ago
Reply to  Watts

I’m a huge fan of progressive taxation* where lower-income people get tax credits proportional to their lack of income but these tax credits currently do not provide a basic income guarantee (e.g. a guarantee of a basic livable income for all those that need it).

* Federal income taxes should be more progressive but Oregon has disgustingly regressive income taxes.

Watts
Watts
4 months ago
Reply to  prioritarian

Right — I’m just trying to understand the difference. Is it that you have to be employed to get the tax credit, whereas you want something for those who are not employed (and not, presumably, covered by unemployment)? Or is it a question of the credits being too low?

dw
dw
4 months ago
Reply to  prioritarian

TIL I’m a bike addict

Michael Mann
Michael Mann
4 months ago
Reply to  prioritarian

I never claimed addiction doesn’t also involve suffering, or that like other addictions it’s partly driven by economic factors. But It doesn’t negate the fact that it’s an addiction.

Watts
Watts
4 months ago
Reply to  Michael Mann

car addicts

No, people for whom transit doesn’t work (too slow, bad schedule, too methy, whatever).

Better transit infrastructure is the solution, if it’s actually possible. Dismissing people as addicts for making the decisions they do is not particularly empathetic or helpful. You can’t change people’s behavior if we don’t understand why they do what they do.

PS Michael, in another comment you said you had gained some understanding of the constraints around the 82nd redesign by talking with others in the community. Do you write them all off as addicts too, or do you find that as you talk with more people, you actually get a better understanding of their perspective?

Michael Mann
Michael Mann
4 months ago
Reply to  Watts

I guess I’m a little mystified by people latching onto the word “addict” like it’s an accusation or character flaw, when anyone who knows anything about addiction knows otherwise. So let’s say “dependency that causes suffering “ instead.
And I’m entirely sympathetic to anyone who finds themselves in a situation where they are car dependent. I’ve been there. It sucks.
And yes, a much greater investment in transit (back 82nd discussion) is part of the solution to the “Car Dependency That Causes Suffering.”
My hope would be that everyone commenting here has the same goal I have; that driving a car is one transportation option among several for everyone in the Portland metro area.

Watts
Watts
4 months ago
Reply to  Michael Mann

My hope would be that everyone commenting here has the same goal I have that driving a car is one transportation option among several for everyone in the Portland metro area.

That’s not my goal at all. Mine is to minimize the internal and external costs of our transportation options, including time, cost, accessibility, flexibility, pollution, safety, comfort, carbon emissions, cargo capacity, and other factors.

Our current mostly car based system does great on some of these points and misses big on others, and almost certainly performs much better overall than an all-transit system would. I don’t think either of these systems, or even a more transit-heavy variation on today can really meet my goals for a successful system.

I am personally completely agnostic in the “war on cars” — if we can find a transit model that works better, great. If we can find some way to reduce the negative aspects of cars, great as well.

I’m for whatever works.

Fuzzy Blue Line
Fuzzy Blue Line
4 months ago
Reply to  Michael Mann

“CAR ADDICTS who can’t afford their habit”

This just drips with hypocrisy of some recent BP comments I read on topics like people’s addiction to cars and M110. For many it’s encouraged or even celebrated to forcibly take a vehicle away from people “addicted” to their mode of transportation. But it’s downright inhumane to FORCE someone into treatment for drug or mental health treatment that has led to the deplorable conditions on Portland streets. The irony of such hypocrisy would be downright hilarious if it wasn’t so sad.

qqq
qqq
4 months ago

If some commenters say things, and other commenters say different things, that’s not hypocrisy.

Michael Mann
Michael Mann
4 months ago

Connecting imaginary dots.

surly ogre
surly ogre
4 months ago
Reply to  Michael Mann

For a bro from a rich family with an MBA from Columbia, and an MPP from Harvard, does Ted understand poverty? If you can’t afford to drive AND you’re single then get a bike and ride to the bus, or car pool, sell your blood, etc….. If you can’t afford to drive and you have to take kids to school, then sell your car, get an electric cargo bike and demand that PBOT add more bicycle infrastructure…
I understand it is a very complex issue, but I find it hard to believe that people are driving when they can’t afford to drive. If driving is no longer affordable, you need to stop driving and start bicycling, or give up something else like booze, cigarettes, prescription drugs, etc. People are demanding better transit and better bicycle infrastructure, but Portland City Council mostly ignores these demands

HJ
HJ
4 months ago
Reply to  Michael Mann

That’s easy to say transit isn’t the problem when you live in an area with access to alternatives. When you don’t however the picture looks very different.
Much of the west hills is fully unserved. Even if people want to do a park and ride the zoo station has expensive parking fees (at that point you might as well just drive in) and sunset TC is notorious for not having any parking available as they didn’t build the garage there big enough to meet future demand.
Much as I rarely agree with him Wheeler is right on this one. They are trying to push for a return of business to downtown and high parking costs coupled with lack of public transit to the areas the workers for those companies live paired with the sky high tax rate very quickly makes the area rather distasteful for businesses.

SD
SD
4 months ago

The “culture” that Mapps was pining for starts with PBOT carrying out one of their basic functions.

jakeco969
jakeco969
4 months ago

Amazing how PBOT is suddenly very close to being out of the red when it decides to do it’s job and collect the revenue it’s due. The habit of begging for general funds is clearly detrimental and with any luck this lesson will be remembered next budge year.
Also…..

“There will be some political blowback here,” Commissioner Mingus Mapps said during yesterday’s work session. “We haven’t really been in the business of actually ticketing people for not registering their cars, and we’re going to hand out more tickets when you don’t plug the meter.”

What an embarrasing admission to make. Saying that my predecessors and I haven’t directed PBOT (and the police) to due a basic function of government because we’ve all been concerned about political blowback?!? From whom?? and for what?? It’s a basic function of the government. It’s not even big or over reaching government to expect to collect revenue thats it’s due.

David Hampsten
David Hampsten
4 months ago
Reply to  jakeco969

“There will be some political blowback here,”

In my experience from serving on the PBOT Bureau Advisory Committee 2009-15, this refers to several issues:

First, there are downtown and inner neighborhood associations and business associations (plus their freight allies) who are trying to re-attract customers to downtown, events, and so forth – the physically closer a group is to city hall, the more convenient it is for them to lobby city staff and city council.Second, there are internal divisions among staff at PBOT, including from engineers (who ultimately make the key decisions at PBOT), as to what the price of parking should be from a financial versus social engineering perspective. They use parking controls for traffic calming, crowd control, raising revenue, trying to get the community to care about the city, to encourage folks to bike and use transit (or not), providing free versus paid parking for freight deliveries, free versus paid parking to justify certain kinds of projects, and so on.But the biggest threat comes from City Council itself. Any revenue that PBOT can raise that City Council can redirect for pet projects, City Council has a solid reputation of rapine of any PBOT revenue streams they can get their sticky fingers on. The 1988 Utility License Fee or ULF is the classic case, a revenue stream whereby the city charges utility companies to cut into the street (your cable company, the phone company, power, water, sewers, fiber optics, etc), money that should be used for street repairs and rebuilds, at a rate that is more than enough to maintain all of Portland’s streets including weekly street sweepings, parking regulation, monthly Sunday Parkways, and so on – at first it was all for PBOT – but the Council took 40% for other services, then later 60%, then 80%, now it’s at least 97% – less than 3% actually goes to PBOT. And so no matter what PBOT does on raising revenue, if City Council can divert it, they will.

David Hampsten
David Hampsten
4 months ago
Reply to  David Hampsten

JM, you guys need to fix the bullet function on this site. It just merges 3 huge paragraphs into one blob.

Watts
Watts
4 months ago
Reply to  David Hampsten

Utility License Fee, I’d like to introduce you to the Portland Clean Energy Fund. You two have a lot in common.

Andrew S
Andrew S
4 months ago

The slides say that street sweeping is part of the reinvestment plan. I think there is an opportunity here to double up on the efforts with parking enforcement. I lived in some East Coast cities for a little while that had weekly street sweeping. As part of this, the city strictly enforced no parking zones on street sweeping days. Most streets alternated, on my street one side was swept on Wednesday and the other on Thursday. If you left your car on the street on that day, you were 100% getting a ticket. If there were any other issues with your car (registration, plates), you better believe you’d have multiple tickets. The parking enforcement basically rides ahead of the sweeper. Seems like an efficient way to improve street sweeping (actually cleaning to the curb), and crack down on illegal vehicles and illegal parking.

Has PBOT approached something like this in the past?

Watts
Watts
4 months ago
Reply to  Andrew S

PBOT sweeps most streets once or twice a year (and maybe not at all at the moment), so coordinating sweeping with parking prohibitions would be a challenge.

PBOT won’t even tell when they’re going to sweep a particular street so that you can move your car even if you wanted to.

dw
dw
4 months ago
Reply to  Andrew S

I’d be ok with this as long as it was either 1) clearly posted, or 2) you could get automated text reminders that it was a street sweeping day. I have a car that I park on the street and only drive about once a week, so I’d hate to get it towed because I just don’t know when to move it.

Pkjb
Pkjb
4 months ago
Reply to  dw

That’s technically against the law in Portland. Cats cannot be parked on the street in the same location for more than 24 hours.

David Hampsten
David Hampsten
4 months ago
Reply to  Pkjb

Meow!

Solar Eclipse
Solar Eclipse
4 months ago
Reply to  Pkjb

I’ve seen cars parked in my neighborhood sit in the same spot, growing lots of moss on and under the car, for YEARS.
The City could get tons of money in fees if they’d just get off their rear and enforce the current laws! Wait to think up new schemes AFTER the current ones are being enforced.
They are like tech companies, abandoning a product when the new shinny one comes along.

Jim Calhoon
Jim Calhoon
4 months ago
Reply to  Pkjb

So ordinance 16.20.170 (Storing Property on Street Prohibited) could apply to a cat. I have no confidence the feline would still be there after 24 hours. I am fairly sure that enforcement of this ordinance is slim and none. And I for one am ok with that. There a many more violations that that need to be enforced. No vehicle large or small is dangerous until a driver gets behind the wheel. So other than a vehicle parked too close to a intersection it poses no risk to a bike rider, unless they run into it.

Mike H
Mike H
1 month ago
Reply to  Jim Calhoon

Also it is discriminatory in that poor people are more likely to live in crappy rental housing where they have to park on the street.

Jay Cee
Jay Cee
4 months ago
Reply to  Andrew S

Yes, regular street sweeping and no parking during that time actually pretty standard for much of this country and bare minimum service for most functioning towns. Not sure why we can’t have nice things too. We definitely pay enough taxes for it

qqq
qqq
4 months ago
Reply to  Andrew S

PBOT does do it for fall leaf sweeping on some streets in some areas. I don’t live in one, but I’ve seen (in NW and in Ladd’s Addition) signs that are put up, and everyone moving their cars off those streets. I believe there’s also notification to households and towing.

So PBOT already has a system in place, meaning they could expand it, versus having to create a system from scratch.

PTB
PTB
4 months ago
Reply to  qqq

Well, they wouldn’t be doing anything other cities don’t already do. And seeing as how there are only a few of us here that are from here, I’d guess there are people at PBOT that are from cities that do what Andrew S and you are describing. Does PBOT/Portland want to do this though? Surely not.

Watts
Watts
4 months ago
Reply to  qqq

Those leaf cleanings are generally scheduled on weekends, so I’m guessing they work more like special events (probably with overtime) than like routine 9-5 street sweeping. I don’t know if you could extend the one system to cover the other.

Steve
Steve
4 months ago
Reply to  Watts

They’re scheduled on weekdays.

Watts
Watts
4 months ago
Reply to  Steve

In Ladd’s Addition, Leaf Days were scheduled on 11/11/23 and 12/3/23, which are both weekends. In some places they do appear to be scheduled during the week.

Charley
Charley
4 months ago
Reply to  Andrew S

My street in Milwaukie is a bike boulevard and I see the street sweeper come through at least once a month.

It’s one of those little things that makes me feel welcome and cared for in my community. I never knew it could be so nice.

Regular no-parking days for street cleaning would force the issue with a lot of abandoned/immobile cars in Portland. It would be a great livability program.

City Slicker
City Slicker
4 months ago

Indexing parking fees to inflation makes a lot of sense. However I would like to see more about PBOT’s long term funding strategy. Their current maintenance backlog is over ten years of the budget allowed for that purpose — and growing. We’re going to have to have hard conversations about either dramatically increasing user fees or reducing our infrastructure.

ROH
ROH
4 months ago

I support this increase in parking fees and crackdown on registration (why hasn’t this been happening???) But, I would love to see the increased cost of driving paired with a decrease in the cost of public transit. When the cost and convenience of transit is favorable to driving + parking, more people will choose transit. For a great example look at Timbers games. Max trains are packed because it’s way more convenient to get off right in front of Providence Park than it is to drive, park at Northrup and 21st, walk the 15 blocks to the stadium and then after the game get stuck in traffic trying to get out of downtown.

PS
PS
4 months ago
Reply to  ROH

Where will the additional subsidy of transit come from?

David Hampsten
David Hampsten
4 months ago
Reply to  PS

The decreased cost for transit will come when TriMet hires ununionized robot drivers with A.I. technology who will literally “learn on the job’, and will, I’m sure, be as cynical about it all as BP readers in 0.26789 seconds.

dw
dw
4 months ago
Reply to  ROH

They should run more trains & buses after events. The 15 gets pretty packed too.

Hank
Hank
4 months ago

Why are our parking fees 50% less than other major cities? Something like 40% of PBOTs revenue comes from parking, so filling that gap would more than make up the budget shortfall.

Pkjb
Pkjb
4 months ago
Reply to  Hank

Mapps and Gonzalez are falling all over each other to see who can be the most “business friendly” to try to get campaign cash and support from the organization that was formerly known as the Portland Business Association. Apparently, gleaning what can be heard in mapp’s statement, the businesses don’t want high, or even reasonably parking fees. So the fees will stay low, it seems.

Brandon
4 months ago
Reply to  Hank

Exactly! It’s also worth noting that the vast majority of parking meters are located in parts of the city that are very well served by transit. Increase the cost and enforcement for parking and people will start looking at the other options for getting to those places, most of which are less harmful than driving, and cheaper to boot.

surly ogre
surly ogre
4 months ago
Reply to  Hank

if I recall correctly, Portland Metro Chamber / aka Portland Business Alliance does not support higher parking fees. And my guess is that’s who donates to city council and mayoral campaigns…

mark
mark
4 months ago

In addition to expired registration, I hope they will also ticket cars not displaying a front license plate. It’s been hard enough to get any photo enforcement of moving violations, and ensuring that drivers who are guilty can be identified would be huge.

Can we also boot and tow parked cars with no plates at all?

Marty Ponnech
Marty Ponnech
4 months ago

But just a few weeks again Dylan Rivera (PBOT spokesperson) said the ticket revenue doesn’t ever cover the cost of writing one. How much are we paying the parking enforcement officers?

“Rivera said that the City of Portland does not consider these tickets as a source of revenue because the funds are shared with the state and often don’t cover the costs of the labor and equipment needed to write the tickets.”

I don’t understand how they can’t make a profit on writing tickets.

https://www.koin.com/news/portland/pbot-still-writing-half-as-many-parking-tickets-as-it-did-prior-to-the-pandemic/

Michael Andersen
4 months ago
Reply to  Marty Ponnech

I think there are a lot of collection costs involved. But (as with public transit) the money to be made isn’t from the fines themselves, it’s from increasing the number of people who bother to pay.

Wooster
Wooster
4 months ago
Reply to  Marty Ponnech

The point is not to give tickets. The point is to use the threat of tickets to get people to pay the damn meters and pay for their permits and register their damn vehicles! It’s exactly the same as how TriMet enforces fares. They don’t make money from the citations, they make money when people start paying their fares like they’re supposed to.

Nolan Nez-Berger
Nolan Nez-Berger
4 months ago

Imagine if the PPB actively enforced moving violations, speeding, and actually monitored for vehicles displaying ‘probable cause.’ Perhaps the traffic fatalities and injuries and skyrocketing car insurance costs accompanying them would decrease. I say no more money to PPB or PBOT until enforcement efforts are actually made and that revenue stream is fully realized.

Charley
Charley
4 months ago

I was reading the quotes in the article and couldn’t believe myself nodding along with Mapps and Williams, while Gonzalez and Wheeler’s contributions seemed merely vibes-based.

I’m all in favor of the push to enforce our laws.

Lois Leveen
Lois Leveen
4 months ago

PBOT should invest in 100 GoPro cameras and distribute them to bicyclists and pedestrians who promise to use them for at least 1 hour per day on Portland streets. Then PBOT can cite every vehicle that is parked illegally (including the delivery vehicles and “ride share” vehicles that double park, etc.) or that commits a moving violation. They could make a huge amount of revenue AND make the streets safer. Given the interest in improving road safety, we could likely find 100 pedestrians and bicyclists who travel different areas of the city daily who would provide this service for free.

dw
dw
4 months ago
Reply to  Lois Leveen

I volunteer

PS
PS
4 months ago

parking rates in Portland are “still quite low” and would bring our prices up to about $2.60 an hour per meter, about 50% less than most major cities.

Denver has smart meters that alter pricing depending on the location, couldn’t quickly find a range.

Salt Lake City is $2.25 per hour

San Diego is $0.50 to $1.25 per hour

LA is smart meters at between $0.50 and $6.00 per hour

SF is also smart meters at $0.25 and $6.00 per hour depending on occupancy on the street.

Seattle is between $0.50 and $4 per hour with half the city at $2.50 or less.

Portland is certainly not on par with the places in LA and SF getting $6 per hour, so we are not 50% less than other major cities, we are about 20%-40% more than our peer group cities, which is what matters. But yeah, raise the prices even more, lets see what happens.

Pkjb
Pkjb
4 months ago
Reply to  PS

Portland should strive to charge more for street parking than San Diego and salt lake city. Definitely don’t want to stoop to the level of cities that are actively promoting more reliance on single occupancy vehicles.

PS
PS
4 months ago
Reply to  Pkjb

Haha, been either place lately? Downtown Portland would kill for the foot traffic and hotel rates both of those cities are benefitting from. It’s this misplaced superiority complex that has us in the position we’re in.

Pkjb
Pkjb
4 months ago
Reply to  PS

I’m sure it’s the street parking rates that’s driving tourism in San Diego and SLC.

PS
PS
4 months ago
Reply to  Pkjb

Not sure expensive parking and no tourism is the win you think it is…

Pkjb
Pkjb
4 months ago
Reply to  PS

You’re just doubling down on a classic false dilemma fallacy. Parking fees or the lack thereof are not driving tourism in San Diego or SLC. People go to salt lake city to ski. They go to San Diego for the beach. Low street parking rates are not selling points. People aren’t getting in planes or going on road trips to these destinations for the purpose of taking advantage of cheap parking.

Portland has effectively been charging $0 for street parking for the last four years, and a lot of good that his done the city. The period of unenforced parking fees has coincided with the cratering of Portland tourism.

Prior to 2020, the hourly street parking rates in the central city were more than $2/hour, and Portland tourism was doing pretty good, comparatively.

If the relative difference in street parking rates charged in various cities on the west coast actually made a difference to people that are planning vacations, you’d expect Portland to have done pretty well at attracting tourists during periods when parking is effectively free. But that hasn’t been the case at all, which suggests there’s something at play other than parking rates.

Portland doesn’t have world class destination ski resorts or famous beaches, and it doesn’t enjoy San Diego’s reputation for ideal year round weather. Portland is not directly competing with those cities for tourists, and even if it was, a higher marginal hourly parking rate will not move the decision making needle one iota for prospective tourists, regardless of how many times you beat that dead horse.

Sigma
Sigma
4 months ago

“ And they’re driving even though they can’t afford to drive because the public transit system isn’t adequate,” he said. ”

If Wheeler is even remotely serious about this, he will order all planning on the Montgomery Park streetcar line to stop immediately. Instead of spending hundreds of millions of dollars on a new streetcar route that will only line developers’ pockets and further contribute to PBOT’s structural funding problems ($6M every year is already spent subsidizing streetcar operations, money that could be spent on literally anything else), he should order this money to be allocated to improvements to the bus system, which will have a far greater impact on operational efficiency and will reach many, many more people.

I hereby declare that anyone who supports streetcar system expansion is forbidden from saying the word “equity,” ever again.

Solar Eclipse
Solar Eclipse
4 months ago
Reply to  Sigma

will only line developers’ pockets

Last I checked, Oregon is still a state that doesn’t limit the amount of profit a company doing a public works project can make, so literally, the “skies the limit” on these unneeded streetcar/MAX trains. People also forget, Goldschmidt, who was instrumental in bringing MAX to Portland, didn’t do it for the citizens but so he and his buddies could make huge profits, which they did.
As you say, the money could be spent better on flexible buses.

Michael Mann
Michael Mann
4 months ago

Or we could actually take the problem seriously and stop pandering to the business alliance like they just did in Paris.
https://www.autocarpro.in/news-international/paris-votes-to-triple-parking-charges-for-heavy-cars-suvs-and-evs-119075