The 37 undersigned residents of various close-in neighborhoods in Portland have established Portland Neighbors for Sustainable Development to support the City of Portland’s carbon-reduction efforts, including compliance with State and regional requirements to reduce auto travel and auto parking spaces in the city.
We do not believe the perceived parking crisis in our neighborhoods can effectively be addressed by imposing minimum parking requirements on new developments. In fact, we consider such requirements counter-productive, as they simply attract more vehicles. Parking requirements also result in higher rents and raise prices for everyone, even those who don’t own cars and therefore don’t need off-street parking. Car ownership rates are declining across the developed world, as more people are telecommuting and/or living “car lite” and relying car-sharing services, public transit and bikes.
The existing on and off-street parking supply should be actively managed in accordance with modern parking management principles as outlined by Donald Shoup in his well-known book on the subject, The High Cost of Free Parking. Such principles include optimally-priced parking meters and neighborhood permit programs that fund local Parking Benefit Districts. We should also legalize the rental of un-used residential driveways.
Increased demand for housing is a compliment to our neighborhoods. This increased demand will result in more investment and development, better local services, higher property values and a larger tax base. Demand for affordable housing should be accommodated via steady, market-driven increases in the local rental housing supply including well-designed, high quality apartment buildings, condominiums and townhouses along high frequency transit corridors.
The parking problems confronting our neighborhoods are not inevitable. They are management problems with readily-available solutions that have been successfully implemented in cities around the world. With modern parking management techniques and technologies a supply-demand balance can be achieved nimbly and thoughtfully with price-nudges, rather than with the blunt, counter-productive tool of minimum parking mandates.
A more complete version of this letter was submitted to the City on December 19, 2012.
David Aulwes, Sean Barnett, Rob Bennett, Erik Brakstad, Tom Brennan, Rex Burkholder, Catherine Ciarlo and 30 others
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