Survey Seeks Your Opinions on Parking and Design of New Apartment Buidings

Amid growing concern over the lack of parking requirements for new apartments being built around town, the Citywide Land Use Group has prepared a survey on the subject and is now seeking public input.  There are only a few days left to fill out the survey, but it is important that city leaders understand how new apartments, however much-needed, are having a major impact on Portland’s traditional neighborhoods. As an example, we will soon be losing two classic homes over on Hawthorne, all in the name of density. Streets like Division and Williams Avenue have also been seriously impacted by new apartment construction.

But this issue is not just about the parking either. Some of the survey questions get at other issues related to design and zoning and how new construction impacts adjacent and nearby neighborhood buildings.

If you are concerned about such issues, please take a few minutes and complete the survey.

The deadline to fill it out is Saturday, November 10th.



1 Comment

Filed under Historic Preservation, Infill Development, Sustainability

One response to “Survey Seeks Your Opinions on Parking and Design of New Apartment Buidings

  1. I think the working assumption of this survey (mirroring irate neighborhood groups) is that we all have concerns regarding apartment developments which are built without parking requirements. This is not true – I am very much for this. Single-family homeowners, in my view, need to be more adaptive to change.

    We live in a growing city which needs to incorporate people who do not own cars. Simply increasing the available supply of off-street parking does not fix the problem, which I see as the demand for driving. If we continue to build for cars by adding off-street parking, we increase the cost to developers to develop dense housing, thereby increasing the incentive to drive and increasing the need for more parking in other areas of the city.

    In my view, enforcing parking minimums where the private market doesn’t plan for it works to the detriment of public transportation and tends to enforce homeowners’ perceptions that the city should be built to fit their transportation needs. This is is an equity issue. Why should I, as a renter, and someone who doesn’t plan to own a home, be forced to spend more on my housing to fit the lifestyles of those who can afford to drive their own cars?

    To me, arguments positing enforcing parking minimums will somehow retain design standards and “character” of existing neighborhoods is a weak argument, especially if the “character” of your neighborhood doesn’t take into account different lifestyles – such as those of renters. If one doesn’t appreciate the fact we need to share public resources (public streets) with other members of the public, should I really stick my neck (and take my pocket book) out to protect the street in front of someone’s house from market forces?

    What is more, when developers are not pushed by neighborhoods to incorporate parking, building designs in these districts are actually more pedestrian oriented. By not enforcing the building of off-street parking, preservationists can work with developers to develop more friendly designs at the street level which are not confined by structural engineering questions of how to incorporate a parking garage in the planned structure.

    In short, I commend preservationists for their efforts to keep historic neighborhoods historic, but I urge activists to be more inclusive of other lifestyles and critical of assumptions as we move forward.

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