A Primer on Portland’s Possible Permit Programs
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:
- Residential permit zones will be drawn around 20 or more contiguous block faces (4000 sq/ft) in residential (R) zones. Permit zones will not encompass commercial (C) or mixed-use zones (MU). Many of the higher density apartments with little or no on-site parking are built in commercial or mixed-use zones.
- Residents in mixed-use or commercial zones may not be able to buy permits. Priority access to permits will be given to residents inside the zones. Since zones can’t surround C or MU property, residents in those zones may be excluded.
- The number of permits sold will be limited to less than the number of estimated on-street spaces. This is fairly novel in permit programs in the USA. Most permit programs sell 2-5X the number of permits as spaces. These permits are often pejoratively labeled “hunting licenses.”
- The price for a permit will include non-administrative fees. Nearly all permit programs charge a very low rate. Portland’s area permit programs cost only $0.16/per day ($60/year). Portland’s permits will probably be more than people are expecting. For one, selling a limited number permits means the per-capita administrative costs will be higher as fixed costs will be divided among less permits. Furthermore, the committee recommended that PBOT collect additional money to pay for Transportation Demand Management (think: bike maps, discounts for car share, discounts for bus passes) and small local safety improvements. At this point (1/2/2016), no one knows how much they will be, any claims to the contrary are false.
- People with driveways could pay more. People with multiple cars pay more, too. Permits will be progressively priced, the second will cost more than the first, etc. Residents with off-street parking will pay a higher price for their first permit.
- Neighbors will be able to customize the program. With staff assistance, neighbors and business representatives will decide how many permits to sell, whether to sell any guaranteed permits to residents outside the zone, desired hours of enforcement, and length of visitor hours.
- Permits will be sold in multiple rounds. A first round of permit sales will be open to households in the permit zone, plus any others as decided by the permit committee. It is possible households will be limited to one or two permits in this round. A second round of sales will be offered which would be open to the wider community, as well as households in the zone seeking additional permits.
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.