PORTLAND -- Residents of some Portland neighborhoods are asking, “Where’s the parking?” when it comes to new high density apartment buildings.
There are nearly 20 apartment buildings planned, being built, or already constructed in the past 18 months that do not include parking for tenants. The developments are on the city’s north and east sides.
Some neighborhood groups are balking at the buildings, saying parking is already at a premium.
“I don’t think anyone thinks there needs to be one parking space for every resident," said John Golden, who opposes complexes built without parking. "But there’s got to be a number that’s reasonable for all of us. Is it a parking space for every five residents, ten residents? I don’t know what that number is, but I know that number’s not zero.”
Golden has formed a group called Neighbors for Responsible Growth, made up of members of five neighborhood groups.
The city’s chief planner says zoning allows for parking-free apartment buildings on or near busy mass transit lines. He says it also fits city goals.
“We’ve embraced compact development, we’ve embraced bicycling and car free living. It’s not at the exclusion of everything else but it’s an option we want to offer for the future,” said Joe Zehnder, Chief Planner for the Bureau of Planning and Sustainability.
Zehnder says as many apartment buildings with parking are going up as those without parking,
“But what we are seeing now is change in neighborhoods that haven’t experienced it yet, and that’s a legitimate concern.”
Golden wishes neighbors had more input, whatever the zoning allows.
“If we could say one thing to the developers it would be, "Work with us, please. I bet working together we can create something that everyone would want to be a part of.'”
Zehnder says the city is studying nine apartment buildings without parking, to measure effects on neighborhoods. Results should be available by the end of the month, and could help shape future development.
A new, LEED-certified Pearl District apartment complex took a different approach, relying on a three-tiered car stacking mechanism to park three times as many vehicles as a traditional garage could hold
Cycling advocate Jonathan Maus of bikeportland.org expressed dismay that the media does not emphasize that these apartments will indeed have parking -- for bicycles. He said via Twitter @BikePortland that it was revealing that people consider a building without car parking to have no parking at all.