Why is the city subsidizing private car owners with free on-street parking?
Until the public right of way is managed via neighborhood permits and meters on commercial strips, our streets will continue to be used by local residents as "free warehouse space" for their personal cars.
I and many of my neighbors park on the street for free while our driveways are empty. If we needed a permit (and were charged a fee) to park on the street, many of us would park our cars in our driveways instead, and there would suddenly be more parking available on the street.
Others who rarely drive their cars might well decide to sell them, and instead rely on transit, bikes, their feet and a car-sharing service.
Forcing developers to provide parking adds to the cost of development. That may mean "excess profits" for developers in the short term, but once the rental market drops, landlords who don't have to cover the debt service on parking spaces will be able to lower their rents and stay competitive, whereas developers forced to pay for mandated parking will lose out.
Also, where in a homeowner's title deed does it say that their house comes with a free space to park their personal car in the public right of way?!? If demand for on-street parking starts to exceed supply in our neighborhoods, the city should manage the situation with permits, meters. HOWEVER, at least part of the resulting revenue should be returned to all residents of the neighborhood -- even those who choose not to own cars -- in the form of neighborhood enhancements, etc.
Lastly, Portland now has over 800 car-sharing vehicles (185 Zipcars; 240 Car2go; 380 Getaround cars), vs. only 185 vehicles on January 1. Clearly a lot more people are choosing to carshare, and that trend is accelerating.
Imposing blanket parking requirements on new developments will stymie the redevelopment that's making our neighborhoods more economically vibrant -- and affordable. Change can be painful, but density is reducing suburban sprawl -- and improving our neighborhoods. Don't change the policy.
When I didn't have a car, I didn't pay car insurance, a car payment, parking costs, the occasional ticket, and general car maintenance and repairs. Also, I didn't have kids back then, so not only was I awash in cash, but I also had time to spend it!
Young people who live car-free are a huge stimulus to local business. Can you imagine Hawthorne, Belmont, Division, Mississippi, Williams and SE 28th if there weren't young, child-free hipster slinging their money around? Not only would these neighborhoods be boring, they'd also be commercially blighted.
My wife and I still frequent these strips whenever we go out, and the money we spend, with 4 mouths to feed, is a lot bigger. But now going out is a rare treat, and gone are the days when we'd hit a different breakfast joint every weekend.
The quicker the local business associations realize the value of young, car-free, child-free hipsters and roll out the red carpet for cyclists, the better off they'll be. And the rest of us will benefit, too, because our neighborhoods will stay vibrant, dynamic and at least a bit more socio-economically diverse.
It's great to see the City reclaiming part of the public ROW from privately-owned cars. This space should be managed to maximize public benefit, and it's hard to see how letting people store their private cars for free does ANYTHING for the public. Sure, it benefits the car owner, and perhaps the nearby business, but it's an unfair subsidy -- at the public expense -- of the car owner and/or the private company.
Parking spaces in areas (like SE Division, Hawthorne, Belmont, Broadway, etc.) where there's more demand than supply should be metered, and the resulting revenue should be spent on public services (e.g. maintenance of the public ROW; public schools; community centers).
Creating parklets that are privately-controlled is a lot like giving the same space to a private car driver. Let's hope the City gets smart about this, adds meters nearby, and then charges the restaurants whatever they would otherwise earn in foregone meter revenue.
The City should behave like any landlord: charge whatever the market will bear. The right of way, after all, is PUBLIC property. Why charge sub-market rates to people parking their private cars?
The City should charge variable rates, high enough to ensure that there's typically one space available on any block face. The "ripoff" rates that off-street parking providers offer aren't set by anything other than the market, and if anything, the on-street spaces (which are more convenient) should probably cost MORE than private, off-street parking spaces.
If the on-street prices were to get too high, people would park in the off-street lots, or they would ride a bike or a bus, or walk downtown. For example, you could park at a cheaper place across the river, and get some exercise walking downtown. Or you could simply stay out of downtown. Your choice.
Calls are generally more effective than emails:
Mayor Tom Potter503-823-4120
Commissioner Sam Adams 503-823-3008
Commissioner Nick Fish 503-823-3589
Commissioner Randy Leonard 503-823-4682
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