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This page contains a single entry from the blog posted on November 4, 2011 2:17 PM. The previous post in this blog was Tall skinny come-on. The next post in this blog is There goes another one. Many more can be found on the main index page or by looking through the archives.



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Friday, November 4, 2011

Why Portland's so desperate to stick parking meters everywhere

When Portland's unique mayor comes around to tell businesses why he's going to ram parking meters down their throats, it's always because he's helping them. Meters prevent people from taking up a space all day, and that encourages more motorists to come shop there, because they know they'll find a space.

Uh huh.

Even if that prediction about shopper behavior were true -- and one can certainly debate it -- it's hard to believe that that's the city's motive. Look at what the city's money people are telling the transportation bureau in that new report that Beth Slovic of the O showed us yesterday:

Discretionary Revenues. Parking garage and on street parking revenues represent approximately 30% of the bureau’s pure discretionary revenue stream. Although a primary goal of Parking Operations is encouraging parking turnover downtown rather than revenue generation, the program also represents an increasingly important revenue source. It is important for PBOT to focus strategically on increasing this revenue base as Highway Trust Fund resources are dwindling. The bureau currently does not have a published performance measure to track the link between existing marketing strategies and related parking revenues. PBOT is encouraged to develop formal systems in order to implement the most effective methods for increasing the customer base and strengthen these revenue streams.

It's all about your money, folks -- a dollar here, a five-spot there. Go by streetcar!

Comments (18)

"Go by streetcar!"

Funny and useful in so many contexts!

Most of the SoWhat meter money goes to the streetcar. It was the major source of funding to build it. They even "borrowed" from other parking meter districts of Portland to pay for the construction.

Jack, your "Go by Streetcar!" is payed by vehicle parking. But others here will tell you that streetcars, lightrail, bikes are proportionally underfunded. "Go Figure".

Here is a money quote from a recent article on parking meters in NW Portland:

Adams [says business owner Tom Ranieri] “has not allowed any discussion whatsoever on off-street parking at those meetings because he is hell-bent on using permits and meters; he likes the idea of revenue.”

The whole thing is here.

One irritating sidelight to parking downtown is the micro-managing with all the little signs. You see one big sign saying "90 Minute Parking" on the machine, and you find a spot on that block and it's contradicted by a "15-minute only" sign in that one spot, or restricted by a "Trucks from 7a.m. to 7-p.m. M-F", or shutdown completely with a temporary "Do Not Park" for whatever construction scam is going on around the corner.

My question is if we're not supposed to read text messages behind the wheel, why make us read dozens of little signs from the city while we drive around downtown? Sometimes finding a parking place feels like you won a prize.

My guess is that the signs are placed in a micro-managed effort to maximize parking revenue so the city has more funds to play with as they shutdown more parking for their next spending scam.

Of course, the way it's going, they may need the funds for bail.

Fines are nice, too, for the revenue they provide.

By the way, the cabal at Bike Portland are furiously sending letters to PBOT urging them to cut any and everything but projects benefiting those piloting two-wheeled non-combustion engine vehicles. You could send emails stating the opposite opinion here:

It likely won't make a difference, but at least you could say you tried.

Another tax to which the citizens have no vote. What's next? Pay to Poop?

Desperate they are, and eventually many of the citizens will be too if they continue to pick-pocket for every thing possible.
What a financial mess we are in and the worst of it is that they are not stopping with the spending...
insisting yet to go by Milwaukie light rail and I consider it crazymaking to bring up another Barbur Boulevard MAX when the funding isn't even available for the Milwaukie rail.
I imagine the solution then is to just receive less and less services.
That every other week garbage pick up might just be a trial run and if people don't put up too much of a fuss, we can expect more of the same in other areas.

My guess is that some reiteration of aDam's "street maintenance fee" is looming on the horizon. Maybe his swan song?

Another tax to which the citizens have no vote. What's next? Pay to Poop?

You already pay that tax, unless you use a Portland Loo (registered trademark of the City of Portland Water Bureau).

A dollar, five-spot nothing... their machines take credit cards.

Mr. Grumpy,
I see you're still at it too, as I am.
It helps me to write about it and communicate with others,
it is sad what has happening to our city, our once beloved livable city.

The only store I visit downtown anymore is Powell's. That neighborhood is a parking apocalyse. The Powell's parking garage is too confined for a full-sized vehicle, so you have to make endless circuits around that crowded hood looking for street parking. If there were a larger Powell's on the east-side, I would NEVER cross the river to go shopping.

Puh-leeze the only streets where they get a lot of foot traffic (SE Hawthorne, NW 23rd, NE ALberta et al) all seem to be just fine WITHOUT parking meters.

These "leaders" really have no respect for our intelligence.

Bwaahahaha! If they insist on driving their smelly cars into MY downtown, then we'll just have to make it more difficult and expensive for the riff raff to park. Yes! And we'll collect more money for our slush funds for other projects at the same time. Just think about how many miles of streets Portland owns! Life couldn't get any better than this. Pass out the ear plugs and then let's watch 'em squirm.

I finished with Powell's last week. They completely fouled up my order. Very frustrating.

Let Powell's die. Use online. They are great and the price of a delivered book (I buy used) is often a third of what Powells charges.

Beyond that, for years Powells staff was very rude to its customers and Powells ate the little bookstore guys alive. Portland had many good used bookstores at one time.

Don't spend a dime in Multnomah County. Don't do it.

I have worked downtown for over 20 years. It has gone from thriving to desperate in the last 5 years. You used to be able to run downtown, grab a parking place on the street and shop for a while or, go to Livingroom Theater and see a film or grab a bite. Now, there are less and less parking spaces and it costs too much if you do find one. The monopoly parking garages are off the scale.

The only vision Adams has is tunnel vision. He doesn't seem to get it that if everyone rides a bike downtown there will be no parking revenue.

There is nothing left to go downtown for. Skip the parking debacle and go to the mall.

I'm sure the build out of the meters suits the contractor furnishing them just fine.
I'm also willing to bet there is a build out agreement in place with a pre-determined timeframe, and associated penalties if not met.
A quick perusal through Red Light Camera vendor contracts would display how the new municipality business relationships are designed to secure residual revenue.


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Maria Dermoȗt - The Ten Thousand Things
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