portland parking reform

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

Michael Andersen (Contributor) by on December 18th, 2015 at 10:27 am

Screenshot 2015-12-18 at 9.01.09 AM

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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Parking reforms could include paid permit zones in neighborhoods near main streets

Michael Andersen (Contributor) by on December 7th, 2015 at 1:47 pm

parkinglead

Parking can be tight on N Michigan, just one block west of the popular commercial district on Mississippi Ave.

People who live on mixed-use corridors might be banned from parking their cars in nearby residential zones under a set of recommendations last week from a citizens’ committee.

After one small change, the committee unanimously approved the city’s proposal.

The committee, which consisted almost entirely of homeowners in residential zones, recommended that the city give its 95 neighborhood associations new powers to regulate curbside parking in their areas.

Neighborhoods would have to opt into the new permit program, and a majority of addresses in the area’s residential zones would have to vote for it. Residents of buildings in adjoining mixed-use zones wouldn’t get to vote.

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Very few poor people drive to work downtown

Michael Andersen (Contributor) by on November 24th, 2015 at 1:49 pm

The Portland area has invested $4.8 billion in a regional public rail network, and currently spends $313 million a year to hold down ticket prices on the system.

Another several million dollars each year go toward expansions of the region’s biking network.

Despite that investment, at least one Portland city council member has been arguing in the lead-up to a hearing next month that the public should also be subsidizing downtown car trips.

His reasoning: some of the people who drive downtown are poor.

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A backwards incentive in Portland, where bus rides cost more than parking spaces

Michael Andersen (Contributor) by on November 17th, 2015 at 10:07 am

Bike-Bus leapfrog -1

We’ve made driving both cheap and convenient even though it causes a whole lot of problems.
(Photo © J. Maus/BikePortland)

Though lovers of bikes, transit and walking hate to admit it, driving a car is often the most convenient way to get around Portland. Until we start reconfiguring our roads to give more space to bicycling and dedicated transit lines, that will likely remain the case years into the future.

An odd thing about driving is that not only is it usually convenient; it’s also usually pretty cheap.

The question is, why are we also going out of our way to make driving so cheap?

At least, that’s the question asked Sunday by Tony Jordan, a member of the committee that’s currently advising the city on whether it should raise its downtown parking rates from $1.60 to $2 per hour.

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As Portland’s housing shortage boils over, its mandatory car-housing policy seems safe

Michael Andersen (Contributor) by on October 9th, 2015 at 12:14 pm

Justin Buri of the Community Alliance of Tenants tells Portland city council that Portland renters have a “right to the city” that is being denied by rising prices.
(Video: City of Portland)

At City Hall on Wednesday, a searing picture of what it means to be a low-income renter, looking for space in Portland’s housing crisis.

At City Hall on Thursday, a seemingly earnest discussion of whether it’s fair to charge cars more than $0 for taking up space.

Nobody is claiming that an opt-in neighborhood parking permit system — the main measure the city is considering — is anything close to a solution for Portlanders searching for housing amid one of the country’s worst housing shortages. Still, it was odd this week to watch Portland’s City Council lament as if capitalism mandated that even the very poor must pay for 130 square feet of bedroom, and then 21 hours later debate whether the government should continue to guarantee free 130-square-foot parking spaces almost everywhere in the city.

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How much should parking permits cost? Four ways the city could find out

Michael Andersen (Contributor) by on October 1st, 2015 at 10:07 am

Space is valuable. But who wants to vote on what it’s worth?
(Photos: M.Andersen and J.Maus/BikePortland)

Last year, Portland hired a top-dollar consulting firm for advice on the best way to manage the auto parking that’s become increasingly scarce in a few neighborhoods.

Twelve months later, the city is taking steps toward some of its recommendations: for example, proposing an opt-in parking permit system that would let residential neighborhoods block their street parking spaces from being used by people living or shopping on commercial corridors.

But at the moment, Portland is on course to ignore a different suggestion made very clearly by the firm, Nelson\Nygaard: that elected officials should “never, ever” be the ones to set the price of parking.

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Task force likes proposal to restrict main-street residents’ curbside parking rights

Michael Andersen (Contributor) by on August 6th, 2015 at 11:57 am

morehead with centers corridors committee

Portland Bureau of Transportation planner Grant Morehead discusses parking policies with the city’s Centers and Corridors parking stakeholder committee.
(Photos: M.Andersen and J.Maus/BikePortland)

Central-city apartment dwellers might want to start looking into that whole car-free thing pretty soon.

An advisory committee composed almost entirely of residents of residential zones gave a general thumbs-up Wednesday night to a city proposal that could let residents of residential zones vote to prevent people who live on commercial streets from buying overnight parking permits in their neighborhoods.

Because most of Portland’s commercial main streets are zoned for mixed-use or employment, the proposed parking permit system — which would also charge residential permit holders a yet-to-be determined monthly or annual fee for curbside parking — would effectively let residents just off of commercial corridors remove curbside parking rights from residents of most nearby multifamily buildings.

The city’s idea is that such a system would lead developers of buildings on commercial corridors to include more on-site auto parking in their new buildings, or else to market their buildings more successfully to car-free residents.

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City parking reform proposal would limit apartment dwellers’ access to parking permits

Michael Andersen (Contributor) by on July 31st, 2015 at 1:52 pm

housing+construction+ankeny

Under the concept, residents of the mixed commercial zone along Southeast Ankeny Street wouldn’t be allowed to buy permits to park cars on nearby residential streets unless there were spaces left unused by nearby residents.
(Photo: M.Andersen/BikePortland)

After months of research and discussion with a massive stakeholders’ group, the Portland Bureau of Transportation on Thursday circulated its first concept for how to deal with shortages of free on-street car parking in some neighborhoods.

The proposal, which the city described Friday as “preliminary,” combines two main ideas:

1) Neighborhoods would get the option to vote to start charging themselves a yet-to-be-determined amount for overnight street parking, and

2) people who live in most of the buildings along commercial corridors wouldn’t get to park in permit-parking areas overnight unless people who live in nearby residences don’t want the space.

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Large crowd at City-sponsored symposium learns evils of free parking

Michael Andersen (Contributor) by on June 29th, 2015 at 4:35 pm

parking crowd

The crowded auditorium at the Portland Bureau of Transportation’s parking symposium Monday.
(Photos: M.Andersen/BikePortland)

“Our cities have minimum bedroom requirements for cars but not minimum housing requirements for people.”
— Jeffrey Tumlin

If anyone needed evidence that parking policy matters to Portlanders, it arrived at the Portland Building Monday in the form of 130 people, many armed with pen and paper, to attend a five-hour “symposium” on the subject.

The event organized by the Portland Bureau of Transportation drew a who’s-who of neighborhood association and city transportation officials. One was Transportation Commissioner Steve Novick, who said that parking was the transportation issue he hears about more than any other.

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What would bike-friendly auto parking reform look like? Seven ideas

Michael Andersen (Contributor) by on February 26th, 2015 at 12:26 pm

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Squeezed on Northeast Alberta Street.
(Photo: J.Maus/BikePortland)

As the City of Portland continues public meetings with its two massive parking reform committees, most attention has been on parking prices: how much permits and meters should cost and how the money should be spent.

But another issue has, so far, mostly escaped notice: The many ways that parking spaces can conflict with biking improvements.

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