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Off Street Parking and Neighborhood Livability: photo essay


Over 20 years ago, the City of Portland removed off-street parking requirements for residential development along streets served by transit. Done to encourage the construction of more affordable units (parking stalls can cost up to $20,000 per), use land more efficiently and as part of the City’s climate action strategy, this innovative idea had few takers for years. A combination of banker unwillingness to finance developments without parking and partly a reflection of the market where the majority of people owned cars and wanted a place to put them. With the growing interest in urban living and demographic changes to smaller, car-free households, in the last year there has been a spate of new projects proposed and being built along commercial, transit-served streets in Portland’s inner city taking advantage of this policy.

And, surprise, neighbors are upset and are trying to change the rules. Somehow, allowing new neighbors to park on public streets is an attack on neighborhood livability and tradition. Check out this photo essay on how off-street parking (for years required by cities) disrupts the “traditional” neighborhood character, community interaction and aesthetics.

With Required Parking (post 1960)

Pre-Car Traditional Housing Development

5 Comments so far
  • Pingback: Ugly by law: Check out how parking requirements shape our cities | Grist

  • neighbor98

    Rex, you omit the fact that those apartment residents once parking in parking lots. Those parking lots were built out. Tell us about your plan to put fire engines on bikes, and also beer trucks full of PBR.

    • urban citizen

      You haven’t see the two beer cycles in town? Hopworks has one. It has a bartop with taps, and carries two kegs. Portable beer!

      • neighbor98

        I did see one. Pretty crazy. No bike ambulances yet.
        I hear that that public safety gave up on trying to have an impact on the deliberate congestion that our planners love so.

  • Kim Silva

    Those garages sure are ugly compared to those beauties without the garages.

About Gettingto2100

Why Getting to 2100? The next century will be a test: can humans use their intelligence and foresight to successfully transition from our consumption-fueled economy to one that balances the needs of humans with the Earth’s available resources. Getting to 2100 aims to be a forum for sharing of good ideas and good works. Got a good example or a new idea? Share it with the world!

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