Park Blocks Parking

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Portland Downtown Neighborhood Association - analysis of parking in South Park Blocks

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Park Blocks Parking

  1. 1. SOUTH PARK BLOCKS Concerns about Parking Expansion Portland Downtown Neighborhood Association, Daniel Friedman, 5-9-2008
  2. 2. Resolution Portland Downtown Neighborhood Association RESOLVED: The Portland Downtown Neighborhood Association favors removal of all parking spaces on the inner perimeter of the South Park Blocks upon the completion of the TriMet Transit Mall. Passed by Unanimous Vote of the PDNA Board, April 21, 2008
  3. 3. Concerns Citizen Involvement and Stakeholder Consultation Decision-Making Process Impact on Park Activity and Uses Impact on Public Safety Impact on Pedestrian Safety Aesthetic Impact Compatibility with Existing Planning and Policy Directives
  4. 4. Citizen Involvement and Stakeholder Consultation PDOT sent letters to property-owners along the blocks affected, soliciting comments. Only one reply was received. Aside from letters to property owners, no public announcements were made and no citizen input was solicited.
  5. 5. Citizen Involvement and Stakeholder Consultation Non-owner residents of the Park Blocks were neither informed nor consulted. Civic groups concerned with parkland, trees, and public spaces were neither informed or consulted. Pedestrian and cycling groups were neither informed nor consulted. The Portland Historical Landmarks Commission was neither informed nor consulted.
  6. 6. Citizen Involvement and Stakeholder Consultation The Downtown Neighborhood Association was neither informed nor consulted. Aside from owners of adjacent properties, the only stakeholder contacted was Portland Parks & Recreation. PP&R endorsed temporary use of the added spaces but opposed continued use after completion of Transit Mall construction.
  7. 7. Decision-Making Process ! ! PDOT excluded all discussion of aesthetic impact from it’s deliberations about whether to extend parking to the inner perimeter of the South Park Blocks. ! ! [SOURCE: Ellis McCoy, Parking Operations Manager, Portland, at DNA Land Use & Transportation Committee Meeting, 4/9/2007]
  8. 8. Decision-Making Process Original Decision to Remove Inner-Perimeter Parking 1980-1983 • Extensive interviews with stakeholders • Exhaustive planning process, including preparation of South Park Blocks Framework Master Plan by leading landscape architects [Zimmer Gunsul Frasca]. SPBFMP recommends removal of interior SPB parking spaces. • Public hearings on SPBFMP by Council • Formal vote on SPBFMP by Council [11/5/1980] • Public hearings on parking removal by Design Commission • Formal vote on parking removal by Design Commission [9/1983] If removal of parking required formal approval by Council and the Design Commission, what process should be required for restoration of parking?
  9. 9. Impact on Public Safety Parking was removed in the early 1980s partly to deter crime and reduce public-nuisance activities by enhancing visibility. The intent was to “make the interior of the blocks safer by making them more visually open”. [SOURCE: Doug Macy, Walker-Macy, Design Team, South Park Blocks Renovation]
  10. 10. Impact on Park Activity and Uses Door-opening along narrow sidewalk impedes pedestrian movement
  11. 11. Impact on Park Activity and Uses Door-opening along narrow sidewalk impedes pedestrian movement
  12. 12. Impact on Park Activity and Uses Door-opening along narrow sidewalk impedes pedestrian movement
  13. 13. Impact on Pedestrian Safety Mid-block crossing is inherently dangerous. Both pedestrian and driver views are obstructed by autos and SUVs.
  14. 14. Impact on Pedestrian Safety Inner-perimeter parking increases frequency of mid-block crossing Drivers cross once to purchase parking sticker
  15. 15. Impact on Pedestrian Safety Inner-perimeter parking increases frequency of mid-block crossing • Drivers cross a second time to attach parking sticker to car window • Many cross a third time in order to proceed to destination
  16. 16. Impact on Pedestrian Safety Driver-side door-opening creates hazard along sidewalk.
  17. 17. Impact on Pedestrian Safety Inner-perimeter parking increases backing and maneuvering along sidewalk edges of park
  18. 18. Impact on Pedestrian Safety Passenger-side door-opening creates hazard in right-of-way
  19. 19. Impact on Pedestrian Safety Many children play in the Park Blocks, including toddlers from the St. James Lutheran Church Child Care Center. Backing, parking and door-opening reduce visibility, make crossing more hazardous, and increase risk for children playing near Park edges
  20. 20. Aesthetic Impact Fence Effect: Passersby have difficulty seeing into Park
  21. 21. Aesthetic Impact Fence Effect: Pedestrians on inner sidewalk have difficulty seeing out
  22. 22. Aesthetic Impact Fence Effect: Bench sitters find that their view is greatly diminished
  23. 23. Aesthetic Impact Parking enforcement signs add visual clutter to the park
  24. 24. Aesthetic Impact Unsightly markings disrupt the visual unity of the park design
  25. 25. Aesthetic Impact Markings Detract from Original Grey-Green Design Scheme When the Park Blocks were re-designed in the early 1980s, a deliberate decision was made to heighten visual continuity by using grey pavers and sidewalks rather than, for example, red brick.
  26. 26. Aesthetic Impact Curb striping is visually jarring and radically alters park color palette
  27. 27. Aesthetic Impact Inner vs. Outer Park Outer Park = the entire expanse of space defined by the buildings that surround and form the “walls” of a public square. Outer Park Inner Park
  28. 28. Aesthetic Impact Inner vs. Outer Park “Visionary park planner Frederick Law Olmsted's idea of the 'inner park' and the 'outer park' is just as relevant today as it was over 100 years ago. The streets and sidewalks around a square greatly affect its accessibility and use, as do the buildings that surround it … An active, welcoming outer square is essential to the well- being of the inner square.” SOURCE: “Ten Principles for Creating Successful Squares”, Project For Public Spaces, 2007
  29. 29. Aesthetic Impact Fence Effect Instead of the outer square of the Park Blocks being defined by the surrounding buildings, a wall of parked cars cuts the blocks off from their surroundings, redefines the edges and proportions ofquot;the park, separates the inner park from the outer park, and creates a constricted sense of space.
  30. 30. Aesthetic Impact BEFORE: !No cars, no curb markings, no signs. Consistent grey/green color palate. Inner Park continuous with Outer Park.
  31. 31. Aesthetic Impact AFTER: !Cars, curb markings, and signs disrupt visual unity, violate color scheme. Wall of cars fences Inner Park off from Outer Park.
  32. 32. Compatibility with Planning Directives • SPB spaces lie within easy walking distance of the Streetcar, the Transit Mall, and the MAX. No place in Portland is better- supplied with public transportation links. • The Transportation System Plan commits the city to policies designed to quot;constrain the parking supply to encourage the use of alternatives to the automobile”.
  33. 33. Compatibility with Planning Directives At issue… 91 spaces Parking currently available to the general public in the downtown core [Market to Burnside, Waterfront to 11th]…# ! 7,400 on-street spaces 13,400 off-street spaces
  34. 34. Compatibility with Planning Directives Almost 700 spaces have been added to the immediate area since Transit Mall construction began ––with potential for more. • The recent completion of the Park Block 5 garage added 677 spaces of underground parking in the South Park Blocks area. • When finished, the Transit Mall will put into service additional curb-side spaces in pull-outs along 5th and 6th Avenues. • An unknown number of spaces could be reclaimed from the more than 400 downtown spaces which are currently quot;reserved for construction activities” [PDoT press release, 11/15/2007]. It isn’t clear how many of these spaces are actually essential for ongoing construction activities.
  35. 35. Compatibility with Planning Directives Parking along the inner perimeter of the Park Blocks increases traffic on SW 9th and SW Park, both of which have been designated as quot;traffic control zonesquot; for more than 25 years. South Park Blocks Framework Master Plan, p. 20:quot; quot;The parking concept for Park and Ninth adjacent to the South Park Blocks proposes that all segments of Park and Ninth from Market to Salmon between intersecting east/ west streets be eventually developed as traffic control zones, discouraging through trafficquot;.
  36. 36. Compatibility with Planning Directives South Park Blocks Framework Master Plan • Mandated removal of parking from South Park Blocks CCTMP: Central City Transportation Management Plan “The CCTMP is the principal planning document guiding transportation policies in the Central City” Goals include: • “minimize congestion” • “increase transit use, walking and bicycling” • “improve air quality” • “enhance Central City's overall environment and attractiveness”
  37. 37. Compatibility with Planning Directives TSP: Transportation System Plan The TSP encourages greater utilization of public transit by those traveling to downtown Portland for work, school, and leisure activities Principles adopted by the TSP include: • quot;demand management and parking management strategies...designed to reduce automobile trips, encourage transit use, and discourage commuter parking” • policies designed to quot;constrain the parking supply to encourage the use of alternatives to the automobile.”
  38. 38. Compatibility with Planning Directives • While a three-hour limit keeps Park Block spaces from being used by commuters, it makes them an attractive nuisance for “short-hop” parking. • Increased availability of short-hop parking downtown and in the PSU area discourages use of public transportation by students and shoppers and increases traffic congestion. • Many city planners argue that “you can't build your way out of a parking shortage” because greater availability of parking only has the paradoxical effect of heightening demand.
  39. 39. Text Text Text Text CONCLUSIONS
  40. 40. Spaces were added to the South Park Blocks by administrative edict and without adequate consultation. Over the objections of the Parks department, PDoT reversed a planning and design decision that was made 25-years ago. The original decision was reached with substantial input from the public, including public hearings and formal votes by the city's Design Commission and by Council. CONCLUSIONS
  41. 41. The disputed spaces compromise public safety, impede mobility, interfere with park activities, and increase hazards to pedestrians. The aesthetic impact is substantial, violating the guiding principles of the 1980-3 redesign of the South Park Blocks and diminishing the attractiveness of one of the country’s most acclaimed and successful public spaces. CONCLUSIONS
  42. 42. Located in the city’s most transit- rich zone, the South Park Block spaces add to traffic congestion downtown, encourage short-hop trips, and undermine the city’s efforts to promote transit use. The spaces undermine the South Park Blocks’ designation as a “traffic control zone”. CONCLUSIONS
  43. 43. Portland Downtown Neighborhood Association 2008

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