My idea is to develop internally-funded, neighborhood-based Transportation Demand Management programs. Portland State University and OHSU have shown us the way. Both institutions collect parking revenues from those who drive into their “neighborhood” and recycle these funds to reduce parking demand. They do this by:
- Subsidizing transit
- Investing in bicycle infrastructure
- Subsidizing car sharing for non-SOV commuters
Any employee who gives up their parking space at PSU or OHSU gets a free transit pass and/or a safe place to park their bike, and free daytime use of Flexcar. Why play Robin Hood? Because it saves everyone money – even those who drive to work and pay to park. PSU and OHSU avoid building more structured parking, which costs anywhere from $25,000 to $40,000 per space, and continually drives up everyone’s parking fees. In other words, it’s cheaper to subsidize alternatives than it is to accommodate more cars with new parking structures.
For PSU, at least, this approach has worked incredibly well. According to Dan Zalkow, PSU’s Transportation and Parking Manager, since the year 2000 PSU’s campus population has grown by 7,000 people (42%) and its classroom and office space has increased by 1 million square feet, but the campus has added fewer than 350 new parking spaces. Why? More people 42% (vs. 35% previously) are riding transit and bikes, and since daytime Flexcar use is free for non-SOV commuters, there’s no longer any need to drive to campus.
My question to the Portland Transport readership is simple: how about trying this on a neighborhood scale?