Thursday, August 16, 2012

North Broadway Parking Study Open House Tonight - Updated

Tonight at 6:00 PM in Broadway Commons, Grant/Highland Room, the North Broadway Parking Study will hold an open house and community workshop to present the draft recommendations and plan (big pdf, as it includes appendices).

Update Friday - There's a survey out now (and until Sept 10th) to gauge support for each of the recommendations. You can take the survey online here.

In the plan are a lot of short term recommendations, and bike parking shows up in several:
  • Consider strategic placement of bicycle parking at key destinations
  • Continue to include bicycle parking (racks) with Broadway/High redevelopment
  • Provide incentives for business who supply bike parking
  • Revise SRC 133.150 (Satisfaction of Off-Street Parking Requirements through Alternate Modes of Transportation) to include objective standards for allowing a reduction in parking due to proximity to transit, pedestrian enhancements, availability of bicycle parking (including covered bicycle spaces or lockers) or other transportation demand management (TDM) measures. Eliminate the need for special review.
Other short-term recommendations include:
  • Continue the existing programs and practices Residential Parking Permit program
  • Formalize a standard for evaluating the parking supply, the 85% Rule
  • Continue Employer Education for reducing parking needs
  • Establish parking agreements between weekend businesses and those open during the week (only) to offset weekday residential parking
  • Create consistent on-street parking restrictions
  • Put metered parking in unrestricted parking areas in southern section of study area along Broadway/High Street
  • Improve bus stop locations (increase visibility, awareness and amenities)
  • Allow parking to be provided at a greater distance from the development site (e.g., 800 feet)
  • As an alternative to a variance, add a new code section that allows reductions of off-street parking requirements on a case-by-case basis subject to a professional study demonstrating that less parking is needed for a specific use than what is prescribed.
  • Add an “On-Street Parking Credit” so applicants can count on-street parking that is on the block face abutting the subject land use toward their parking requirement.
The medium and longer-term goals contain language about more surface lots and parking garages, but since the current utilization of on-street parking is well under 50%, it seems likely these wouldn't be triggered any time soon.

And, indeed, by the time they might be triggered, it is at least possible that the cultural and political climate around private car storage will have changed to the extent that using land in this way for car storage is no longer perceived as a public good, and a much more robust set of non-auto choices for mobility will render car storage a less pressing need. (For an interesting look at a place farther along in this, see the note on car storage and residential development at BikePortland.)

It is interesting to note that the study looked at trip-end facilities only, and did not undertake analysis of the roadway facilities that might affect mode choice. So, for example, even if there was plentiful and glorious bike parking, if people did not feel comfortable bicycling on Market and High/Broadway, they still might choose to drive a car, and need a car parking stall. Since the east-west cross streets are mostly residential and calm, comfortable bike facilities on Market and Hood might not be critical, but the lack of comfortable bike facilities on High/Broadway is probably a show-stopper for many.

Streetcar on Commercial Street, 1909
As a neat footnote, Statesman reporter Timm Collins tweeted yesterday that the downtown road resurfacing has uncovered the tracks that used to run up High Street!

The Oregon Electric had a branch line that ran downtown along High/Broadway from approximately Mill to Madison. Streetcars and interurbans used it. The OE Station was at High and State in the Hubbard Building.

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