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News Blog: How Parking Management is Like…

Blog Post
New video series highlights vital role parking management plays in maintaining quality of life in Portland neighborhoods.  
Image of excited people around an ice cream vendor in a tree-lined park.
PBOT's "How Parking Management is like..." series shows how parking management contributes to neighborhood livability while encouraging people walk, bike, roll, or take transit.

(March 9, 2023) How does parking improve livability? Two new videos from the Portland Bureau of Transportation (PBOT) show viewers how the bureau is working to better manage parking across the city of Portland. By collaborating with neighborhood associations and businesses, PBOT can implement parking management programs that are catered to the specific needs of neighborhoods. Effective parking management contributes to economic vitality, improves air quality, and can help encourage people to choose other forms of transportation while being less car dependent.  

To highlight the benefits of parking management, PBOT has developed two videos that explain the basic goals and principles of parking management programs. PBOT’s video “How Parking Management is Like Selling Ice Cream” explains why parking management is necessary and the important role it plays in preserving access to the shared resource of curbside parking.

It's not quite an apples-to-apples comparison, but in this video PBOT explains how selling ice cream is a lot like managing parking.

The video uses demonstrations from an ice cream vendor to explain parking management concepts. In one scenario, an ice cream vendor has a difficult time dealing with a rush of customers when offering up “free ice cream.” As PBOT’s parking management host explains in the video, “when everyone wants something and it’s free, it’s really hard to get those goods and services to the people that need it most.”

The second video in the series, “How Parking Management is Like a Mechanic Inspecting Your Car” aims to show the different strategies PBOT can take in managing parking in a neighborhood. PBOT works with residents and businesses to tailor its parking management strategies to the specific needs of the area.

PBOT explains how its Parking Management team works with residents and businesses to find a parking management program that's tailored to their neighborhood's specific needs.

As PBOT's detailed data collection shows, as Portland’s population grows residential streets experience a spillover of cars parking on their streets from drivers who are visiting nearby commercial districts. This is due to low turnover rates for on-street parking in some commercial districts. By implementing parking management programs, the city is able to encourage regular turnover of parking spots near commercial districts, which provides a steady stream of customers for nearby businesses. If there are available spots along main streets in commercial districts it helps ensure shoppers don’t park on residential streets, which can make it more challenging for people to find parking near their homes.  

Parking districts empower neighborhoods to choose how parking revenue is used 

In some neighborhood parking districts, like the Northwest Parking District, 51% of parking revenue generated by parking meters goes back into a fund for neighborhood improvements. PBOT manages those funds in partnership with recommendations from a community advisory committee, which helps ensure the public funds are used for the community’s benefit. Committee members and PBOT staff work with the community to identify improvements in their area, such as better street lighting or adding bike parking with revenue earned by the parking district.  

A beehive color scheme on a curb extension for a tree-lined street.
The NW Parking District Advisory Committee used some of its available parking funds to create murals to beautify temporary curb extensions along NW 23rd Avenue.

Parking districts also provide incentives for people in the area to take other forms of transportation and reduce their car dependency. In the Northwest and Central Eastside Parking Districts, PBOT offers the Transportation Wallet, which is a bundle of credits and discounts for transportation options like TriMet, the Portland Streetcar, and BIKETOWN. As Portlanders continue to pay more for household items due to inflation, the Transportation Wallet has increased the incentives it provides while not budging from its price of $99. The Transportation Wallet is free for residents and employers in Parking Districts M, G, N who trade in their parking permit.  

PBOT works with people to find parking solutions that work for their neighborhood 

Over the past decade, some Portland neighborhoods have experienced rapid development, and are impacted by the increased demand for parking. PBOT is working with two inner-North Portland neighborhood associations to find the parking management solution that works best for their neighborhood’s specific needs.  

In June 2022, the Boise and Eliot neighborhood associations agreed to take a coordinated approach in addressing their specific parking management needs. PBOT has been working with the Eliot Parking Task Force for more than six months to help identify a parking management solution that will balance the neighborhood’s competing needs for on-street parking. 

The bureau's Boise Parking Stakeholder Advisory Committee will meet about once a month starting April 2023 through approximately June 2024. Sign up for email updates to learn more as their work progresses.

Parking on the street? Avoid getting a ticket with these simple tips! 

Parking Kitty is a great way to easily pay for parking in metered parking zones. Just remember to input your license plate information correctly, including any stacked letters shown on vanity plates. Learn how to download and use Parking Kitty here.  

Read all signage around the space you want to park at. If signs are followed correctly, you will avoid a ticket. For people going downtown, avoid the stress of street parking and grab one of the more than 20,000 available spots in PBOT’s five SmartPark parking garages

Check for what’s around your car. Once you’ve parked and checked out any signage, check to see if you’ve parked near fire hydrants, ADA ramps, driveways, bike lanes, or crosswalks. Blocking any of these could result in a ticket and could impact the safety of others.   

Register your vehicle! Minor citations for things like expired vehicle registration tags can add up. These fines can range from $70 to $145. Make sure to visit the DMV to update your registration if it’s expired.  

Pay the meter no matter how long you will be using the spot for. Only park for the maximum time listed on the signage. If you’re parked in a two-hour parking spot, you cannot continue paying the meter after your two hours are up. Additionally, if you have time remaining and leave your parking spot to park in another spot, you need to pay via Parking Kitty for your new parking spot.  

Interested in learning more about the ins and outs of parking management in Portland? PBOT’s Performance Based Parking Management Manual is a great place to start.