The Federal Highway Administration (FHWA) last month released two documents – “FHWA-Parking Pricing Workshop Summaries” and “FHWA Sponsored Parking Pricing Projects Update 2017” – on parking management and pricing initiatives in several U.S. cities including Seattle, Denver, and Portland.
Since FHWA sponsored the Portland Parking Symposium in June 2015, the City of Portland has made notable changes in its parking policy and management programs such as (1) raising downtown meter rate to $2.00; (2) developing an on-street parking toolkit for NW Portland; and (3) removing parking minimums for housing projects under the Inclusionary Housing Zoning Code near frequent transit.
The workshop summaries document also noted a neighborhood on-street parking permit system in the works:
“few neighborhoods currently have parking permit programs, and the city is looking to enact new policies to address parking shortages where they exist. Everyone who lives in those residential districts will be entitled to parking; however, it will not be free”.
However, the highly anticipated permit program never came to fruition. After a year-long public process and receiving support from both neighborhoods and city staff , the residential permit program was blocked from even getting a vote by Commissioner Amanda Fritz. Subsequently, all documents and information about the residential permit program were removed from the project website.
The FHWA report shows many other cities, such as Boston, Denver, Houston, and D.C., use neighborhood residential permits to help manage on-street parking. There is no reason why Portland cannot implement this tool. It is unclear whether City Council plans to revisit the residential permit program this year, but the pressure for residential permits will continue to grow as some neighborhoods may resist new development under Inclusionary Housing and increasing housing infill due to fear for more competition for on-street parking.