Northwest's Parking Plan Ready to Move Forward
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- December 6, 2012
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VIDEO: NW Parking Plan press conference held last week (Fri, Nov 30th) at City Hall.
After decades of valuable process and input from neighborhood residents and the Northwest Portland business community, the time has come to move forward with a parking management plan for the Northwest District. Today, I am bringing the Northwest District Parking Management Plan to City Council for its first reading.
Parking has been a toxic issue in Northwest for a long time, and I believe the time has come for one of Portland’s most beloved neighborhoods to move past these conflicts so that the neighborhood can focus on its future.
The need to manage parking in Northwest is poised to become more urgent in the coming years as the already dense neighborhood adds more residents and businesses. Although there are differing opinions about how to best manage on-street parking, there is wide spread agreement that the status quo is not acceptable for businesses or residents. We know from surveys conducted in recent years that 62% of Portland metro area residents avoid the district specifically because of the difficulty in finding a parking space.
The plan I am introducing at Council this afternoon is a very basic parking management plan that represents the best practices for on-street parking management. It will alleviate the congestion in the neighborhood caused by commuters using the free on-street spaces as a sort of ‘Park-and-Ride’ to catch transit to other destinations in the central city. It will also facilitate vehicle turnover on the busy retail spines of the district by implementing paid parking meters NW 21st and 23rd Avenues.
This plan will make it easier for visitors, residents, and workers in the district to find a parking space without circling endlessly in the search for a space by creating turn over and chasing out Park-and-Riders.
The City has also signed letters of intent with the owners of several parking lots in the district to pursue additional off-street public parking that will increase the supply available to the public by over 200 spaces. By comparison, new structured parking costs between $30,000 - $60,000 per space to construct. The cost for a new structure that would accommodate as many new off street spaces as are now being pursued would run between $6,000,000 - $12,000,000.
The current plan was developed with the assistance of a stakeholder committee that consisted of businesses and neighborhood residents, and the guidance of a parking consultant and an urban economist.
Although perceived by some to be controversial, the parking plan is based on professional best practices and recommends the same basic tools for parking management that are used in other Portland neighborhoods and in cities all over the country.
The City of Portland has been in the business of managing on-street parking for at least 73 years with paid meters. Managing on-street parking is a very basic function of local government and we can not turn our back on this responsibility.
After decades of study and public input, the solutions to on-street parking congestion in the Northwest district are clear. I’d like to thank the members of the stakeholder committee and all those who have contributed to the process and helped to develop this effective fact-based plan.