Back in spring, when it seemed everyone in the city was angry about Portland's parking supply, Alan Durning came to town and chided our electeds.
"It's a little bit like I've arrived in some nightmare alternative-reality version of Portland," Durning, founder and executive director of Seattle-based Sightline Institute, told city commissioners on the verge of imposing off-street parking minimums on developments throughout the city. "I am deeply disheartened to hear this debate today about backing away from Portland's leadership position."
But Durning hadn't come to town to speak out. He was actually in the middle of researching a big project examining parking policy in modern cities. I'm just wading into the product of Durning's work, "Parking? Lots!", but I can already recommend it to those of you who've kept the flames of April kindled in your hearts.
The latest installment, which dropped today, is an interesting explanation of how parking minimums effectively create more-expensive housing—and less of it—while promoting sprawl. These effects "interact and reinforce one another," Durning argues.
They knock the bottom off of the apartment market, pushing working-class people to double up or commute longer distances. They raise the rent for everyone, driving up the cost of living while lowering the price of parking. And they shift parking costs to those who don’t use it.
With Metro anticipating households in the city will increase by between 44 and 57 percent by 2035 [PDF], these are things we need to think about. Give it a read, and either sanctimoniously nod or rail quietly against Durning's wrong-headedness.
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