On Wednesday, April 13th Portland City Council approved a resolution directing the Portland Bureau of Transportation to develop a Performance Based Parking Management system. A video of the hearing is available (this item starts at 8:52).
The system, which will be city-wide in scope will define data-driven performance targets, such as desired occupancy of on-street parking, and parameters for adjusting rates, hours of enforcement, and other variables to meet those targets.
Commissioner Amanda Fritz asked Senior Transportation Planner Mauricio Leclerc “how will the needs of people with lower incomes and the effects on people of color be evaluated and incorporated?” Leclerc responded that PBOT will be keeping those concerns in mind and has, in other parking related changes, made accommodations for lower income residents. Leclerc did not mention that the average hourly meter rate in San Francisco went down after performance based management was implemented.
A second question from Commissioner Fritz concerned the eventual expected fiscal impact of this program. While the current resolution is revenue neutral, no additional staff will be needed to convene and run the Stakeholder Advisory Committees, the program itself may generate additional revenue.
The resolution passed unanimously. A staff proposal will come back to council later this year for approval.
Charlie Tso says
The question of equity is often brought up during discussions of performance-based parking. People ask how will increasing (they often forget that curb parking prices can decrease too) curb parking rates affect equity, as low-income people will have to pay more on parking. It is a good question but people who ask this question often assume that the status quo is automatically more equitable.
Actually, the current status quo of under-pricing curb parking and requiring off-street parking to be provided for “free” is very inequitable, especially for low-income people. Low-income people are more likely to not drive a car and yet they have to pay for the hidden cost of off-street parking requirement in their rent, food, and everything else they buy. In downtown Portland, less than 10% of commuters who drive to work are considered “low income”. So currently, lower-income people who don’t drive are subsidizing higher income people’s driving.
How Portland spends its parking revenue will also affect equity. The demographics of transit riders tend to be lower income and non-white. If Portland invests its parking revenue to improve public transit, performance-based parking can be an effective tool for equity. While curb-parking may now be more expensive, people will have more transit options to get around town. Higher-income drivers who park at the curb will subsidize lower-income families who rely on public transit. Transit performance will improve because now buses will not be stuck in traffic with cars cruising for a curb parking space.