When Portland City Council decided not to extend minimum parking requirements into Northwest Portland in July 2016 the Northwest Portland Parking Stakeholder Advisory Committee (NW Parking SAC) began looking at other options to manage parking. The district had recently installed parking meters in the most congested parts of the zone and had a permit program which allowed for an unlimited number of annual on-street permits to residents and businesses for $60/year. According to a 2016 survey, there are 5,264 metered or permit on-street stalls in the parking district and 8,558 annual permits (employee, resident, and guest combined).
At a meeting on April 19th, the NW Parking SAC, which is made up of neighborhood and business representatives, recommended changes to their permit program which would increase the price of permits, limit availability through attrition, and provide incentives for residents who choose not to renew their permits.
The cost of permits will increase from $5/month to $15/month ($60 to $180 annually). Verified low-income residents will keep paying the original rate (a $120 annual subsidy). Low-income residents currently without cars will receive no transportation subsidy.
The revenue from the increased fees ($10/month) will be spent locally on incentives for residents who don’t renew permits to take other modes of transportation, this is referred to as transportation demand management (TDM). Non-renewing residents will have a choice between a $100 TriMet HOP card, an annual BIKETOWN membership ($144 value), or a 50% discount on an annual TriMet pass ($550 value).
All current permit holders will be allowed to renew their permit, there will be no lottery or auction to reduce the number of permits sold. Residents of multi-family housing, however, will be subject to attrition. A new building with 100 apartments would receive 40 permits for distribution and an existing building with 100 apartments would be entitled to 60 permits. These limits will apply to all buildings with 30 or more units. Residents of condominiums, smaller apartments buildings, and single family homes, however, will not be subject to limits.
A wealthy homeowner with 4 cars will still be able to get 4 permits.
These programatic changes are a step in the right direction and the incentives for not renewing a permit are a great use of permit revenue.
Will it work? Time will tell, but given the high cost of off-street parking in the neighborhood these measures probably don’t go far enough. Future changes will have to find ways to encourage people with rarely used cars to either share them, sell them, or garage them off-street.
This is one of two programs in the city testing out progressive parking management. Unfortunately, NW Portland and the Central Eastside Industrial District are the only neighborhoods currently empowered to test these methods and try to solve their parking problems. Commissioner Dan Saltzman should work quickly to pass the parking permit program developed by the Centers + Corridors Stakeholder Advisory Committee in 2015 and allow PBOT to work with neighborhoods to discover the most effective and politically palatable solutions.