This article was written by Tony Jordan, founder of Portlanders for Parking Reform. It originally appeared on his website on May 4th and has been re-published here with his permission.
Convenient parking is a problem in parts of Portland, Mayor Ted Wheeler conceded last week. But it’s a smaller problem than housing — and Wheeler says that when the two come in conflict, housing must be the priority.
The mayor’s words came at a Rose City Park Neighborhood meeting April 25th. Wheeler was asked by RCPNA board member Deborah Field what his plan was to “require developers to put in ample parking spaces” with new housing projects.
The mayor’s response was definitive:
“But I want to put a marker down. The debate: Parking vs. Housing? It’s really over. That piece of the conversation is over. When younger families or younger people say they want to locate here, the first thing they’re saying isn’t ‘Boy I wish I had another parking space, or had access to a parking space.” What they’re saying is, “I can’t afford to live in this city.” And, so, the city, meaning the debate that happened over the last three years actually made a choice, and the choice was affordability and housing over access to parking. I just want you to be aware that that is a real dynamic and is a real choice and it was made with full community involvement.”
The mayor told the crowd that, “parking adds significantly to the cost of affordable housing.”[Read more…]
Do you live in an apartment? If so, where and how do you park your bike?
The Bureau of Transportation (PBOT) is refining and updating the portion of our city code that regulates bicycle parking in residential buildings and they want your input. Because this is Portland, they’ve also assembled a stakeholder advisory committee that’s grappling with code revisions that could dictate a new number of new policies such as: whether or not a fee should be charged for bike parking rooms; how high bike racks should be installed; what type of security and signage should be used in bike rooms; the quality of access routes to bike rooms, and more.
The first hearing for the City of Portland’s Inclusionary Housing Zoning Code Project took place at city council today and biking and walking advocates showed up to support the proposal and urge council to pass it.
As we’ve reported for years now, there’s a clear intersection between affordable housing policy and cycling: The most bike-friendly neighborhoods are also the ones where we’ve seen tremendous market pressure exerted — and many of them are now unaffordable to many low and even middle-income Portlanders. And according to the National Household Travel Survey, low-income households drive much less than those with high-incomes.
One way to make neighborhoods more affordable is to require developers to build affordable housing units in their new buildings. Otherwise they’ll sell the units at whatever price the market can bear — and that happens to be a lot of money in Portland’s red-hot housing market. The result is a sort of forced migration of people with lower incomes into neighborhoods further away from the city center.
For the 15th year in a row, a crew of young adults on bikes pulled into Portland Wednesday almost ready to finish a cross-country bike trip designed to change the way they see their country.
Thursday’s time painting part of a new Habitat for Humanity house in the Cully neighborhood was one of 10 “build days” for the 24-person crew affiliated with the national organization Bike and Build. Part charity bike tour and part Americorps, Bike and Build’s mission is to “benefit affordable housing and empower young adults for a lifetime of service and civic engagement.”
This post is written by Neil Heller, a Portland-based planning consultant.
I recently visited a shop to get a new bike. I was shown two options: a gorgeous, yet expensive, custom-built single-speed cruiser and a massive cargo bike with all sorts of gleaming add-ons including an electric assist.
I like both of these bikes but they don’t quite fit my riding style — short commutes but also a bit of recreational road cycling on the weekends. I asked about a more versatile bike, one in between the two I was being shown, but was told road bikes are illegal.
Certainly I had seen some road bikes being ridden on my way over? These types are all an older style, I was informed, and can only be purchased used. No new road bikes are being built right now. Sorry.
By now it’s likely that you already see the metaphor and realize I never visited such a shop. I think this metaphor for housing choice is a good one because it highlights how laughable having such limited options can be.
(Photo: Adam Coppola)
Here’s one way to think about the political battle over housing in growing cities, spelled out Monday at an Oregon Active Transportation Summit panel: it’s got three main interest groups.
One group is social-justice advocates and tenants. These people are generally interested in keeping prices lower one way or another, especially for the lowest-income people.
One group is environmentalists, businesses and the development industry. These people are (for various reasons) generally interested in increasing the number of people living in the city.
The third group is a highly active subset of single-family homeowners. These people are generally interested in maintaining or increasing the value of their property, especially while keeping things the way they were when they bought it.
We’re continuing to track the concerns about people who live outside along the Springwater path, the conditions of the path, and the safety of people who ride bikes on it.
Our two recent stories on the subject — one about concerns from path users and the current state of law enforcement response to them, and the other that shared the perspectives of the homeless residents themselves — has sparked a big discussion.
This issue obviously goes way beyond bicycling. We’re covering it because it impacts conditions on properties managed by the Portland Parks & Recreation and Bureau of Transportation that have transportation corridors running through them (like the Springwater, Waterfront Park, and the Greeley path).
Here are a few updates:
Whether you hate demolitions, love garages, yearn to live in a duplex or just think the rent is too damn high, now’s your chance to let the city know.
All this year, the Real Estate Beat has been writing about the ways that Portland could increase the supply of homes in its bikeable areas without totally transforming its understandably beloved residential neighborhoods.
In March, we shared local microdeveloper Eli Spevak’s prescription for affordable infill, which drew praise from neighborhood association organizers. In April, we explored one of those ideas: charging lower development fees for smaller homes. In June, we looked at 11 medium-density buildings built before Portland’s 1959 zoning reform and asked why they should be illegal.