Council pulls parking mandate after affordability advocates pile into hearing

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Portland City Council

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

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

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

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City weighs parking rule for NW that could block a fifth of new homes

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~1950 Pettygrove.

The Tess O’Brien Apartments on NW 19th and Pettygrove, built with no on-site parking, are the largest project that would have been illegal under a proposal going before city council tomorrow.
(Photo: Ted Timmons)

Portland’s City Council will meet Wednesday to consider a new mandatory parking requirement that, if it had existed for the last eight years, would have illegalized 23 percent of the new housing supply in northwest Portland during the period.

The Tess O’Brien Apartments, a 126-unit project that starts pre-leasing next week and will offer some of the cheapest new market-rate housing in northwest Portland, couldn’t have been built if they’d been required to have 42 on-site parking spaces, its developer said in an interview.

“Do the math,” Martin Kehoe of Portland LEEDS Living said Friday. “The apartments at the Tess O’Brien are between $1250 and $1400 a month. If we were required to build parking, you’d be between $1800 and $2000 a month. … It probably just wouldn’t have been built. And then what’s that going to do to the existing project that’s out there and has been built? It’s just going to drive the rents of those up.”

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Multnomah County’s drop in auto ownership since 2007 would fill 287 acres of parking

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Everyone knows Multnomah County is growing, and that most new residents are buying or bringing in cars, too. In all, state records show, 8,709 more passenger vehicles are registered in the county than there were in 2007.

But a review of car registration statistics shows that if passenger vehicle ownership were still as popular in the county as it was in 2007, it would have had to find room for 38,501 more cars and trucks instead.

How many cars are we doing without? Well, if we built a parking lot to hold the 38,501 cars that didn’t show up and assumed a standard 325 square feet per space, we’d need about 287 acres of land. For the sake of scale, that’s everything between NE Killingsworth, Skidmore, Rodney and 16th:

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New Seasons on Williams Ave pays undisclosed sum for 47 more auto parking spaces

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Parking at New Seasons on Williams

A sign at New Seasons Market on Williams Avenue.
(Photos: J. Maus/BikePortland)

The costs of “free” parking have been hidden inside the price of almost everything we buy, but it’s rare to see an example as straightforward as this one.

The New Seasons Market on Williams Avenue, which like virtually every grocery store in the city doesn’t charge you to park a car on their property, recently started renting 47 parking spaces from an apartment building across Ivy Street that charges $175 a month for resident parking.

New Seasons won’t disclose what it’s paying to rent the new spaces — “we keep our real estate transactions confidential,” spokeswoman Mea Irving said Wednesday — but if they were paying the same $175 per month as residents, those 47 spaces would cost $98,700 a year.

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Street Roots survey turns up differing priorities in mayor’s race

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Portland Mayor Debate-20.jpg

Mayoral candidates Ted Wheeler, left, and Bim Ditson.
(Photo: J.Maus/BikePortland)

Street Roots, Portland’s first-rate paper about homelessness and housing issues, sometimes asks questions about the closely related subject of transportation.

A questionnaire distributed to the mayoral candidates and published last week includes a quick window into the ways different candidates think about mobility issues.

The question:

Please place the following items in order of priority as mayor.

• Increase parking
• Bike infrastructure
• Low­ or no-fare public transit

Here’s what they said:

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Average apartment building costs fell sharply during no-parking apartment boom

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Southeast Ankeny Street.
(Photos: M.Andersen/BikePortland)

In 2013, when the Portland City Council began requiring most new apartment buildings of 30 or more units to include on-site parking garages, housing watchdogs warned that this would drive up the prices of newly built apartments.

Because the city still lets anyone park for free on public streets, they predicted, landlords wouldn’t be able to charge car owners for the actual cost of building parking spaces, which can come to $100 to $200 per month. So the cost of the garages would be built into the price of every new bedroom instead, further skewing new construction toward luxury units.

Three years later, rough data suggests that this could be exactly what happened.

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

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For the love of parking lots-1

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

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

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

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Guest opinion: To make paradise, stop putting up parking lots

kielparkinglead

The planned parking garage and hotel are shown in green. All the whited-out areas are spaces where there is an existing above-ground parking lot. This does not include on-street parking or below-ground parking.
(Image: Google)

This is a guest post by Kiel Johnson, a resident of the Lloyd District who operates the Go By Bike shop and valet.

The Portland Development Commission’s startling new approach of publicly financing massive parking garages to pay their future operating costs should concern any citizen who does not want Detroit-style bankrupt public spaces.

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Why does Multnomah County allow auto parking on the Morrison Bridge bike path?

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bridgeparkinglead

Not a parking spot. Or is it?
(Photo: Jason J.)

Have you ever noticed a car parked on the Morrison Bridge bicycling and walking path?

As one of Portland’s precious few pieces of physically protected, non-motorized travel space it sure seems like a bad place to park. It would be one thing if this was a rogue private citizen, but in this case the cars belong to Multnomah County employees.

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City wants taxpayers to finance $26 million hotel parking garage next to light rail

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An architect’s rendering of the proposed six-story parking garage in the Rose Quarter.
The viaduct on the left is Interstate 5.
(Renderings via NextPortland)

The city’s economic development agency agreed this month to have city taxpayers make an eight-figure bet that driving to the Rose Quarter area is going to remain popular for decades.

The Portland Development Commission voted Feb. 10 to borrow $26 million from one of its property tax funds to build a new 425-stall parking garage on public land between NE Holladay Street, Multnomah Street, 1st Avenue and 2nd Avenue, across the street from the Rose Quarter Transit Center.

Fifty of those stalls would then be resold to TriMet for an estimated $8 million, and the other 375 would be set aside for rental to the publicly subsidized 600-room Hyatt Regency Convention Center Hotel that’s supposed to go up across the street.

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Parking meter hike approved Wednesday will mean $4 million a year for local streets

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parking pass

Costs and benefits.
(Photo: M.Andersen/BikePortland)

After a decade of struggling to pay for a street network that is in some parts dangerous and in other parts crumbling, Portland’s city council voted 4-0 Wednesday to do a small something about it.

The $4 million annually that’ll be raised by hiking downtown parking meter rates from $1.60 an hour to $2 is a far cry from the $53 million that might have been raised by last year’s original street fee proposal, and even further from the $100 million that the city would need each of the next 10 years to prevent any of its paved streets from gradually turning to gravel.

But the meter rate hike will mean that it’ll no longer be cheaper to spend three hours parked along a public curb than to take a three-hour bus trip or to spend three hours in one of the city’s off-street garages.

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Starbucks manager backs parking meter hike, says all his workers bike or walk

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Kraig Buesch, Starbucks manager and downtown
retail committee chair.
(Image: City of Portland)

As the Portland City Council debates whether to raise downtown street parking meter prices from $1.60 an hour to $2 and allow paid hours to extend into early evening, there’s been a lot of talk about the costs to a very specific category of person: a low-wage downtown worker who drives to work.

At the council Thursday, Commissioner Amanda Fritz said she was worried about downtown commuters who “have to park there because they can’t get to their job on transit at 5 o’clock in the morning or whatever it might be.”

Those concerns have drawn criticism from others who say, based on Census data and a city-conducted survey, that preserving cheap or free parking downtown would help almost no poor people, because virtually no low-income downtown workers arrive by car.

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