South Park Blocks Parking - Portland Downtown Neighborhood Association


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Explains the Portland (Oregon) Downtown Neighborhood Association's reasons for urging restoration of the 25-year ban on parking in the South Park Blocks.

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South Park Blocks Parking - Portland Downtown Neighborhood Association

  1. 1. SOUTH PARK BLOCKS Concerns about Parking Expansion Portland Downtown Neighborhood Association ––––Daniel Friedman––––March 16, 2009––––
  2. 2. RESOLVED: The Portland Downtown Neighborhood Association favors removal of all parking spaces on the inner perimeter of the South Park Blocks upon re-opening of the TriMet Transit Mall. Resolution Portland Downtown Neighborhood Association Passed by Unanimous Vote of the PDNA Board, February 23, 2009
  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. 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. Citizen Involvement and Stakeholder Consultation
  5. 5. 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. Citizen Involvement and Stakeholder Consultation
  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. [PP&R Memorandum, 4/3/2008]
  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. • 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? Decision-Making Process Original Decision to Remove Inner-Perimeter Parking 1980-1983
  9. 9. 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] Impact on Public Safety
  10. 10. Impact on Park Activity and Uses Door-opening along narrow sidewalk impedes pedestrian movement
  11. 11. Door-opening along narrow sidewalk impedes pedestrian movement Impact on Park Activity and Uses
  12. 12. Door-opening along narrow sidewalk impedes pedestrian movement Impact on Park Activity and Uses
  13. 13. Mid-block crossing is inherently dangerous. Both pedestrian and driver views are obstructed by autos and SUVs. Impact on Pedestrian Safety
  14. 14. Inner-perimeter parking increases frequency of mid-block crossing Impact on Pedestrian Safety Drivers cross once to purchase parking sticker
  15. 15. 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 Impact on Pedestrian Safety
  16. 16. Driver-side door-opening creates hazard along sidewalk. Impact on Pedestrian Safety
  17. 17. Inner-perimeter parking increases backing and maneuvering along sidewalk edges of park Impact on Pedestrian Safety
  18. 18. Passenger-side door-opening creates hazard in right-of-way Impact on Pedestrian Safety
  19. 19. Many children play in the Park Blocks, including toddlers from the St. James Lutheran Church Child Care Center. Impact on Pedestrian Safety Backing, parking and door-opening reduce visibility, make crossing more hazardous, and increase risk for children playing near Park edges.
  20. 20. Fence Effect: Passersby have difficulty seeing into Park Aesthetic Impact
  21. 21. Fence Effect: Pedestrians on inner sidewalk have difficulty seeing out Aesthetic Impact
  22. 22. Fence Effect: Bench sitters find that their view is greatly diminished Aesthetic Impact
  23. 23. Parking enforcement signs add visual clutter to the park Aesthetic Impact
  24. 24. Unsightly markings disrupt the visual unity of the park design Aesthetic Impact
  25. 25. 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. Aesthetic Impact
  26. 26. Curb striping is visually jarring and radically alters park color palette Aesthetic Impact
  27. 27. Inner Park Outer Park Aesthetic Impact Outer Park = the entire expanse of space defined by the buildings that surround and form the “walls” of a public square. Inner vs. Outer Park Text
  28. 28. “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.” Aesthetic Impact Inner vs. Outer Park 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 of"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. • 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 "constrain the parking supply to encourage the use of alternatives to the automobile”. Compatibility with Planning Directives
  33. 33. 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 Compatibility with Planning Directives At issue… 91 spaces
  34. 34. • The 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 "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. Compatibility with Planning Directives Almost 700 spaces have been added to the SPB area since Transit Mall construction began––with potential for more.
  35. 35. Parking along the inner perimeter of the Park Blocks increases traffic on SW 9th and SW Park, both of which have been designated as "traffic control zones" for more than 25 years. South Park Blocks Framework Master Plan, p. 20:" Compatibility with Planning Directives "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 traffic".
  36. 36. 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” Compatibility with Planning Directives
  37. 37. TSP: Transportation System Plan The TSP encourages greater utilization of public transit by those traveling to downtown Portland for work, school, and leisure activities Compatibility with Planning Directives Principles adopted by the TSP include: • "demand management and parking management strategies...designed to reduce automobile trips, encourage transit use, and discourage commuter parking” • policies designed to "constrain the parking supply to encourage the use of alternatives to the automobile.”
  38. 38. • 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. Compatibility with Planning Directives
  39. 39. Portland Downtown Neighborhood Association 2009 Conclusions
  40. 40. Spaces were added to the South Park Blocks last year by administrative edict and without adequate consultation. Over Parks Department objections, PDoT reversed a planning and design decision that had been in place for 25- years. The 1983 decision to remove parking was reached with substantial citizen input, including public hearings and formal votes by the city's Design Commission and by Council. Conclusions
  41. 41. 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 ignore the South Park Blocks’ designation as a “traffic control zone”. Conclusions
  42. 42. 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
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  44. 44. Portland Downtown Neighborhood Association 2009