Comments on Portland’s Transportation System Plan


It’s a bit of late notice, but the Planning and Sustainability Commission will hold a hearing today on Stage 2 of the Transportation System Plan.  The plan, which you can read about here is long and covers a lot of topics.  I’ve scanned the document for parking references and made some comments on those parts of the plan.

There is an opportunity tonight to testify in person:

1900 SW 4th Avenue, Room 2500, Portland, OR Tuesday, March 8, 2016; 12:30 –
5:00 PM* Tuesday, March 22, 2016; 5:00 – 9:00 PM*

You can also modify the following testimony and Email: with subject line “TSP Testimony” this afternoon.

A google document is available here for easier editing.

Re: Comment on Transportation System Plan, Stage 2

Chair Schultz and Commissioners:

Please accept the following testimony for Task 5 of the Transportation System Plan (TSP).  This testimony concerns parking related sections of the TSP.

Section 14: Transportation and Parking Demand Management  

The city should incentivize car-share participation as part of Transportation Demand Management (TDM) programs. Such benefits might, somewhat counterintuitively, be provided to car owners and parking permit holders in an effort to increase the supply of peer-to-peer carshare participation (with services such as GetAround and Turo).

One way to do this would be to partner with peer-to-peer systems and provide priority access to permits, or discounted permit prices, for car owners who make their vehicles available for neighbors for at least a certain percentage (say 50%) of the day.  

Private housing developments should, similarly, offer discounted or free on-site parking (when available) to tenants who, likewise, regularly offer their vehicles for rental.

Integrating TDM and parking requirements is an important mitigation of the harms caused by our minimum on-site parking requirements.  Developers should be allowed to reduce their parking requirement by providing progressively more intensive TDM benefits.  

Centers & Corridors Parking and Transportation Demand Management

The Centers + Corridors Stakeholder Advisory Committee wanted the price of permits to be above cost recovery to make the permit programs more effective.  TDM was one acceptable use of additional revenue, however there was also a strong desire for such revenue to be spent as locally as possible.   Spending revenue generated on permits sold in a residential permit zone on TDM for residents outside of the zone could be politically contentious and appear as more of a tax than a management tool.   TDM paid for with revenue from parking permits should be focused on residents in  the permit zones, for example by discounting transit passes for households with no registered vehicles or purchased permits.  TDM in commercially zoned apartments should be paid for by the property manager or owner.

Section 15: Parking Code Amendment—Commercial Parking in Mixed Use Zones

Mixed Use Zones Project

Parking requirements for residential developments proximate to frequent transit should be removed in anticipation of the Centers + Corridors recommended permit program availability.  These requirements have had a detrimental effect on the production of new housing stock, decrease the affordability of the housing that is created, and contribute to a fractured streetscape with cars driving across our sidewalks..  Furthermore, trends in technology (TNCs and self-parking cars) and vehicle ownership and usage point to a future where we are likely to have an oversupply of parking.

Maximum parking entitlements for residential developments along corridors are encouraged and should be lower than 1.35 stalls per unit, a suggested amount would be the .7 stalls per unit regularly requested by neighbors.

Parking buy-down opportunities for developers should be expanded (assuming minimum requirements stay in place) .  Developers should be able to buy down their entire requirement, rather than a maximum of 50%.  The recently passed inclusionary zoning bill in Salem allows for a buy down of all affordable units in a development, there is no reason mandatory parking should be given a higher priority than mandatory affordable housing for people.

More flexibility in siting any required parking should be allowed.  Shared parking among developments and off-site parking should be encouraged.  Ideally, parking requirements should be eliminated in favor of on-street parking management, in which case there is no need to regulate shared and off-site parking other than enacting a maximum entitlement.

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