Strategize and criticize, help make Portland better by passing great parking policy!
January 10th, 2016 – 12-2pm at the Lucky Labrador on SE Hawthorne
See you there!
Portland is one of the most liberal cities in the country, on paper. Our neighbors are Democrats, Greens, Working Families Party members, anarchists, socialists, and the like. We garden, subscribe to CSAs, ride bikes, and talk plenty of talk.
But what happens when you suggest that we’ve got to increase the number of car-free households in the city (and the country) if we want to slow the rate of CO2 emissions?
“Not everyone can ride a bike.”
“Cars aren’t going away any time soon.”
“I need to get my kids to 3 after school activities in 3 quadrants 3 times a week.”
Are our neighbors who say these things environmentalists or not?
Is their identity as nature lovers, liberals, as “Portlanders” enough to convince them that they need to change, or at least stop opposing environmentally focused reforms (like upzoning, no minimum parking, parking permits)?
Should we push people to either accept and support the post-Paris agreement reality, which was the reality all along, or to stop identifying as an environmentalist?
Should we worry about alienating supposed allies if, when push comes to shove, they won’t actually stand up for what they say?
What do you think?
Recently an advisory committee tasked with making advising City Council on parking management tools for Portland neighborhoods finished up and made a recommendation.
The recommended program design, which passed unanimously, has several key features:
Nothing is set in stone with this proposal, but a unanimous committee recommendation is a great first step. Join PDX Shoupistas to help pass the best policy possible.
On Thursday December 17, 2015 the Portland City Council will consider an increase of $0.40/hour to downtown parking meters, effective the end of January 2016.
I encourage Portland Shoupistas to support this increase in person or via email testimony.
When: Thursday, December 17, 3-4 PM. Time Certain.
Where: Council Chambers, 1221 SW 4th Ave, Portland, OR 97204
You may also submit written testimony in advance of the hearing. To be included in the official public record, email written testimony to the Council Clerk at: firstname.lastname@example.org
Testimony sent to this email address will also be forwarded to City Council members and their staff.
Several members of the committee will be giving invited testimony to support this increase. If you come down in person, be sure to say hello! If you’re wondering why we support this, or looking for some talking points, read further.
Why should we raise rates now?
The Central City Parking Policy Update SAC is likely, on 12/14 to recommend that the city develop a performance pricing policy. If council agrees, we’ll see a committee formed next year to develop policy with PBOT staff. We have a good chance at making a really good recommendation. In the interim, parking occupancy surveys show that many areas of downtown experience peak occupancy that is greater than 85%, meaning there aren’t any spaces open on the block. Since we don’t have an easy way to only raise rates on those blocks, we’re recommending an increase all over.
But won’t this destroy businesses and hurt our service employees?
Next time you are in a restaurant downtown, ask your server where they park. It’s probably not on the street near where they work. After you ask that, consider who is likely to tip more after a meal, someone who was willing to pay $2/hour to park nearby, or the person who decided they were going to Denny’s to save $0.40/hr. Employees have access to overnight parking in SmartPark garages for $5 a night, right now, and the city will be exploring monthly overnight passes for service employees.
As for business in general, we’re trying to provide the best experience possible for consumers with the finite on-street parking we have. I believe there will be areas of downtown where the rate will be too high, all the more reason to fast-track performance pricing.
Isn’t this just a revenue grab?
It could be! We should submit and give testimony that demands the additional revenue be used in a smart way. One thing the Council could do is direct that PBOT undertake some pilot programs in the areas most likely to be over/under priced. Implementing some performance pricing in these areas over the next 12 months could provide PBOT with invaluable data for developing policy. This is probably NOT on their radar and would be a great thing to mention.
What should I say in my testimony?
That’s up to you, but some things to consider:
The city of Sacramento is raising parking meter rates $0.50, from $1.25 to $1.75 this week. Additionally they are starting a pilot project to allow for progressive pricing in some zones. Progressive pricing allows parkers to pay higher hourly rates in exchange for staying longer in time-limited zones, rather than getting a ticket. The price after the second hour goes up, first to $3 for the third hour and then $3.75 each hour after that.
Oddly, a two hour stay at the cheapest garage in downtown Sacramento will cost you $6 or more, compared to $3.50 for a two hour meter stay… so there is still work to be done there.
While this, and the potential for changes to hours of enforcement have local business districts predictably concerned, city officials are trying to promote the message that higher turnover and a better parking experience are good for business, not bad.
Portland is a few months behind Sacramento on this track. Next Thursday, December 17, city council will consider raising downtown meter rates $0.40 from $1.60 to $2.00. One of the reasons given is to bring on-street parking rates into better alignment with the city owned SmartPark garages, which, after an increase, will be cheaper than the more convenient on-street parking.
City staff seem somewhat reluctant, at this time, to press their luck on the hours of enforcement. Some members of the committee that made the recommendation advocated for longer hours of enforcement, particularly considering that the highest observed occupancy was from 7-9pm downtown, right after enforcement ends.
Nevertheless, changes are in the pipeline for the city of Portland to consider performance pricing on downtown meters, and possibly progressive pricing as well.
We should keep a close eye on how things work out for Sacramento on this front. It’s interesting they aren’t looking into performance pricing, but the progressive pricing model for long stays is one that holds a lot of promise.