By Nancy Tannler

In August 2018, Portland Bureau of Transportation (PBOT) will be sending mailers to residents in the Richmond and Sunnyside neighborhoods to inform them of a proposed parking permit pilot program. The PBOT action is in direct response to the Neighborhood Association’s application for a parking permit program.

According to Dylan Rivera, PBOT information officer, “This pilot program is the first time the city has offered a permit program that is designed to address on-street parking shortages not associated with commuters parking near the downtown area.

“In this case, it can address shortages that occur in the evening and weekends, when popular business districts have many visitors for dining, shopping and housing.

There are currently seventeen areas that issue parking permits throughout the inner city. This program began back in 1981 in response to commuter parking – people driving in from outlying areas and either walking or busing into downtown. This practice put stress on the limited parking spaces in a primarily business and commercial district.

Rivera went on to say that the Sunnyside and Richmond Neighborhood Associations applied separately for the pilot program. Richmond selected Division (between SE 28th Pl. and 34th Ave.) and Sunnyside selected Hawthorne Blvd.

Since Hawthorne had the second-highest occupancy rate of the six neighborhoods where they collected data, it was selected to move forward with the balloting process. Hawthorne encompasses both the Sunnyside and Richmond neighborhoods, which is why both are included in this opportunity to participate in a parking pilot program.

The first meeting was held in June where Antonina Zaytseva, PBOT specialist, explained how the program moves forward.

The first step is for the public to be informed. Then ballots will be sent to every house and apartment, allowing one vote per address or apartment unit. Fifty percent of residents  must respond with sixty percent in favor. The area that will be voting is highlighted on the map above. 

If this is approved, then a Stakeholders Advisory Committee (SAC) is formed that will include members from the neighborhood and businesses.

Meanwhile, a consultant will collect data in the neighborhood to determine how much parking is needed. The general standard is a maximum of 85% occupancy. On Hawthorne, the area is 79% occupied from 5  – 8 pm.

This type of information helps the SAC decide how many resident and business permits should be issued; surcharges on top of the single use permit; and if there needs to be a  cap on the total number of permits.

If the Stakeholder Advisory Committee chooses to introduce a surcharge, the entire surcharge would be returned to the neighborhood for transportation-related investments. This could include transportation safety projects like curb extensions and marked crosswalks.

It could also include traffic demand management strategies, such as discounts on transit passes or free BIKETOWN memberships for people who live or work in the area.

Once these items are determined, SAC develops their recommendations for the parking permit program. If the program is accepted, permits will be issued in November of 2018 and enforcement would begin in May of 2019.

Permits will cost $75. A surcharge would include other fees. There will be daily scratch off permits for guest, 2-hour parking limit with hours of enforcement from 10 am-10 pm Monday through Sunday.

At the meeting, residents living adjacent to these boundaries  expressed their concern about increased parking on their blocks due to drivers looking for free spaces. Rivera addressed the annexation process.

This process exists as a possibility according to City code 16.20.840. This states the City traffic engineer must determine that the resulting permit area will meet the minimum standards for permit areas established in this code.

After this determination, the balloting process would begin with the neighbors in the area.