Bridgeport Parking Rage

Regular readers will know that I have a beef with the almost total auto-dependence of the Bridgeport Village “lifestyle center.”

Yesterday’s Oregonian brings word of “parking rage” at the mall. I’m not sure how much of this is a true shortage (Bridgeport has 3.5 parking spaces per 1000 square feet of retail, compared to 4-5 as an industry standard) versus the “bait and switch” parking approach with lots of visible surface parking, when in fact most of the actual parking is in the structure at the west end of the complex.

Word is that 250 spaces will be added nearby. I can’t help wonder what the same investment in pedestrian, bike and transit accessibility might add.

27 responses to “Bridgeport Parking Rage”

  1. Nice job of The O to stick the quoted “lot rage” phrase in there and then never actually report on the claims. It’s definitely all kinds of crowded, but I’ve never seen anything like what that guy describes.

    An investment in ped and bike accessibility would do zero to solve the problem. People drive to malls, even in Oregon–and especially in the LO/WL area. At this point they’re stuck adding parking.

  2. It will be interesting to see what the mode split is at the new Ikea out by the airport…with a MAX station right there and lots of bike parking.
    They do deliver, so you won’t have to carry your new couch on MAX.
    It all really boils down to location…put this same BridgePort project close to good transit and the “problem” resolves itself. I’m sure the developers are crying all the way to the bank…too many customers is a great problem to have.

  3. Nice job of The O to stick the quoted “lot rage” phrase in there and then never actually report on the claims. It’s definitely all kinds of crowded, but I’ve never seen anything like what that guy describes.

    An investment in ped and bike accessibility would do zero to solve the problem. People drive to malls, even in Oregon–and especially in the LO/WL area. At this point they’re stuck adding parking.

  4. Bridgeport is miserable. Especially since the parking garage is ALL THE WAY IN THE BACK and you have to drive THROUGH the complex to get there.

    This place is going to be miserable during Christmas.

    My biggest problem, aside from the fact that all the H2s and Escalades take up two spots – is that there is not any real nice ways to walk around the intersection there, say across to REI or the new shopping center they are making. Or accross to the the other one East of there (BedBath&Beyons? whatever it is over there)…

    So people have to drive around.

    This would have been a great opportunity to build some pedestrian overpasses to all the shopping around there, and the transit center. Ala Las Vegas down by the Luxor and MGM and the like…

    Make it so people can walk from shopping center to shopping center. *help* people spend money…


  5. The article said that the garage does indeed get filled up:
    “Increasingly, the center’s four-story parking garage, intended for those unable to find anything closer, displays a “full” sign.”
    I know Downtown Salem has the same issue: people circle the block instead of using the Parkades.

    Also, I don’t know if parking would still be a problem if Bridgeport wasn’t put in the middle of nowhere transit-wise (there is service, but not the frequency that would attract shoppers), but the people trying to park could/should get most of the blame then.

    And the area is indeed not friendly to pedestrians. There are no crosswalks across Lower Boones Ferry Road from 72nd (SE corner of the mall) to 68th.

    Lastly, if there is a good side to Bridgeport Village, the developers did expand and improve the park & ride lot.

  6. The problem, like someone pointed out earlier, is that Tri-met is pretty much excluded from the LO/WL area because the rich don’t want the poor coming to their neighborhood. Some refer to Lake Oswego as, “Lake No Negro.”

    Sad but true. I loathe BV for the most part because people and their stupid H2’s and other large 2 miles per gallon SUV are there, you can’t get there without a car, and the stores, while good, cater to a crowd that thinks they are better than everyone else.

    BV is everything wrong with suburbia, you have to drive there, you can’t get good parking, and you can’t access it without a car, when oil starts skyrocketing BV will be abandoned.

  7. The site *is* bike accessible – at least one if not both major roads fronting it have bike lanes, and it’s not far from the main route between Tigard and Wilsonville. Investing in Bike/Ped infrastructure for the site won’t do anything to resolve the current issues, but it might bring a very small boost in sales by encouraging cyclists in the area to stop. (I doubt that the increase in sales would match the cost of the improvements)

    The main problem with the “village center” concept is that we’ve taken the european-style integrated community and “cut and pasted” the city center from the integrated community (which is ped and bike-centered in most cases) to a site where it’s fronted by 4-5 lane roads near a freeway. Instead of drawing its shoppers from walking distance, Bridgeport is drawing its shoppers from up to 20 miles away, and 99% of them are driving cars to get there.

    I won’t be surprised to see “REI Parking Only” signs in the REI lot across the street come Christmas-time.

    A good solution to the problem would be to increase alternate transportation options, like Tri-Met, but that’s unlikely given the demographic/political/economic climate of the area and the general reluctance of people to take mass transit.

    -Matt P.

  8. I’d have to agree with the general sentiment that ped and bike improvements are simply a waste of money in this case.

    As mentioned, BV shoppers are affluent, and probably the least likely in the entire metro area to take transit, walk or bike. These are the committed drivers, the ones that will still drive SUVs when gas is $10 a gallon.

    BV, I think, is an oppurtunity to see what’s wrong with suburbia, and another example of what not to do. Rather than rehabilitate this monstrosity, we should focus on learning from its mistakes.

    The primary flaw with BV, in my opinion, is that it is located at the intersection of a freeway and a large road.
    Instead, this type of development should have been located in a city center, say Durham, Tigard or Tualatin. I think LOs village mall or whatever is a good example of this.

  9. A couple of reactions to the comments:

    1) As Bridgeport attracts more retail around it, we’re going to see people driving from ‘center’ to ‘center’, which with better thought to pedestrian planning might not be necessary.

    2) Downtown Lake Oswego has a similar cluster of retail (indeed the article also calls it a lifestyle center), yet it is well integrated into the street grid and pedestrian network of the downtown core.

  10. For all of the PC crowd that fines the lack of parking not acceptable go somewhere else to shop. This has been a design fit for this location and 98% of the shoppers like it. Nothing is perfect but these people decided to cater to a given crowd/audience, and they are telling them that they like it.

  11. Paul:

    I don’t think anyone is trying to be PC, and no one has argued that BV has not catered to a specific crowd.

    I think the general mood here is that had they planned this better, BV could be making a lot, and I mean a lot, more money then they are.

    Just because people do not own, or wish to own more than one, or even wish to own a vehicle does not mean that they are not affluent, or willing to blow thousands of dollars at the shops at BV.

    The great thing about Portland is that anyone, rich or poor, can, for the most part, get from point A to point B via Trimet. LO and WL’s continued denial of Trimet to help those in LO and WL not to have to drive everywhere is what, for me at least, is at issue.

    As Nathan wrote, the typical vehicle in the parking lot at BV is the SUV (I’ve been there and seen it).

    And before BV these folks were driving downtown to Pioneer Place or Washington Square, if they are going to drive, they are going to drive. What we are discussing is why not let the rest of the non-driving public partake as well?

  12. Let’s be clear – BV is not a creation of Lake Oswego, they actually opposed it (even sued over it at one point). I’ve had the pleasure of working with the Mayor of Lake Oswego and two of its City Council members on various regional activities, and they are very committed to transit, including getting Streetcar to downtown LO.

  13. Actually, BV is one of the highest-grossing ‘lifestyle centers’ per square foot in the entire country (this was in the article). I hardly think they could be making that much more money.

  14. “The problem, like someone pointed out earlier, is that Tri-met is pretty much excluded from the LO/WL area because the rich don’t want the poor coming to their neighborhood” Bogus. I’ve been taking the bus from LO to work for 5 years and to three different work locations. Beaverton, Tualatin and now downtown Portland. You’ve got the 38,39,78,37,35, and 36 (plus who knows how many routes out of PCC Sylvania). That may not be many lines but it’s also not a dense housing area here. LO has every reason to have connections to poor people, who else is going to clean up around here?

  15. What I view here is a double standard. These well-to-do yuppies that do their upscale shopping at Bridgeport Village are probably some of the same people who oppose any new WalMarts that make shopping affordable for the less affluent. The NIMBY syndrome separated by class.

  16. Christopher,

    I support streetcars, LRT, buses, bikes, PED and most anything that gets all of the people out of their cars that is possible and dreasonable to acheive. High gas prices and just the high cost of owning vehicle today makes most all other options then a personal car look better then ever.

    The beauty of the American system is that that we have choices. Free enterprise allows investors to choose where they want to site a center like what we have with the Bridgeport Village complex.

    I personally like what the Bridgeport Village people have done. I have shopped the center at least half a dozen times. My wife has shopped it more times then I care, she really likes it. She is legally handicapped and it is easy her to park her car and go from store to store.

    Someone should tell REI (the most eco friendly retailer) not to put a store out in this complex or at least next to the complex because of a lack of LRT or limited bike access.

    Everyone has to get real, downtown Portland is loosing its exclusive hold on quality retailers.

    TriMet is smart with locating the new LRT Transit Center in Clackamas Center.

    At the same time I have not gone into downtown Portland to shop in 5-years. My wife never goes into downtown Portland to shop. When I go into downtown Portland it is for meetings and I try to park my car next to Lloyd Center and take the MAX LRT into town and back out of town as fast as I can make it happen.

    want to luse these modes of transit

  17. While its a nuisance, running out of parking is a wonderful problem for a retail center to have…consider the alternative. This is acknowledged in the article; even calling this a problem is a bit much. What do you expect if a lot of people want to go to the same place and the only way to get there is by car?
    I think the real issue is the disconnect between our planning folks at Metro and the two significant “centers” in this area…Bridgeport and Kruse Woods. Neither are assigned the “Center” status, but both clearly are, the one retail, the other employment. What to do? Maybe some maps should be redrawn and some transportation resources redeployed.
    Were I the Duke, I would upgrade the commuter rail line into a MAX RedLine extension with stops as close as possible to these two centers.
    For myself, I would never go to such a place…I can easily get to Lloyd Center, numerous local retail streets, downtown, the Pearl, etc by transit, bike, or even car, with no parking problems at all…its not a issue.

  18. It looks like we all pretty much agree that BV is what it is … and it serves a marker.

    But I think this article brings up another issue, which is the fact that many Portland Metro residents do not live, work, shop or play in Portland.

    The Bay Area is a great example of a megalopolis where employment centers and residential areas are spread throughout the region. of course, san francisco is the glue that holds that region together, but for many Bay Area residents, going to San Francisco is a trip rarely taken.

    I wonder if, as Lenny hinted, our planners at Metro and Trimet would take the example of the Bay Area into consideration. That is, it may well be inevetible that Portland Metro will grow as a regional area, similar to the Bay Area or the Puget Sound Region, and that we might as well plan our tranpsortation around that premise.

    Do we need to expand our focus on the suburbs? Trimet is already planning for town centers and such, but maybe we need to do more.

    After all, maybe part of reducing the length of trips is getting people to take transit to downtown Tigard or whatever, rather than getting everyone into downtown Portland.

  19. I don’t mind that people shop at Bridgeport instead of downtown. The whole “Centers” concept in 2040 says that we’re going to distribute services around the region.

    My gripe is that it’s so auto-centric. Centers are intended to be relatively dense, multi-modal-friendly places. The center in downtown LO is a good example. It’s not the Pearl District (and shouldn’t be that dense), but you have options to get around by other means than a private car, and it’s got much of the same high-end retail, along with housing, employment, etc.

    Creating ‘point clusters’ of one use type that can only be reached by car is what’s discouraging.

  20. The Lake Oswego Transit Center is served by 4 bus lines. None of them is a frequent service line, but that’s TriMet’s call. The leaders I know in LO would love to have more frequent service.

  21. If I were a business at Bridgeport I would be more worried about gas and housing prices than parking. As one goes up and the other down, the parking problem may solve itself. Meanwhile, I wonder if the developers are looking for a way to better link to transit and whatever bike/walk network there is out there. Also, how is adjacent property zoned….could higher density housing evolve in that neighborhood?

  22. I’m not that familiar with the area, but it looks to me like Bridgeport Village could very easily host a transit center for lines 36, 37, 38, 76 amd 96. In fact, it probably could host a couple more lines if Tri-Met chose to create a more complete bus network in the outer southwest Metro area.

    Of course, all of these lines offer crappy service right now — 76 is the best, with 30-minute service on weekdays and Saturdays, and one-hour service on Sundays. The other lines are weekday-only, and a couple of them are rush-hour lines.

    Chris is right — service frequency in areas like this is Tri-Met’s call. If Tri-Met doesn’t provide reasonable transit options, people won’t use them. If Bridgeport Village really is a popular destination, people will take the bus there — as long as bus service is convenient, reliable, and frequent.

    I’m with Lenny — Tri-Met should extend the Red Line down the commuter train corridor. They could do it in phases, if necessary: Washington Square, Tigard, Bridgeport Village, Tualatin.

  23. There’s already a TriMet park and ride across the street, but the street is very intimidating to cross. No thought appears to have been given to either aligning the bus service to stop at the mall or facilitate the pedestrian connection.

  24. Paul – the REI store was there long before BV was built.

    General comment – LO works because it’s fully integrated with residential housing, and residents cross low-volume streets (the main exception to this, A Ave, has a 25-mph speed limit. BV borders Lower Boone’s Ferry / SW 72nd and Bridgeport Rd, both of which IIRC are 35 mph streets. That 10mph speed limit difference may not sound like much, but it’s a tremendous inhibitor of pedestrian traffic, as is the wide road and large setback of the buildings, compared to the smaller setback of the shops in Lake Oswego. As long as BV remains separate from the surrounding spaces, traffic in and out of the center will be primarily automobile with little or no pedestrian traffic.

    BV suffers from the same problems as the outlet malls like Newberg – popular stores without competing locations in the metro area, and a large concentration of retail square footage per given parking area. Bridgeport has the draw of a major mall with only 70% of the parking space (per square foot of retail space)

  25. Even after gas hits $10/gallon, people will still be living in the suburbs. BV may or may not survive when that happens…

    However, the suburbs and retail areas like BV will have to change to cope with the changes in energy cost. Places like BV will have to add mid density housing and frequent transportation, as well as ped enhancements in order to contue thriving.

    Maybe TriMet and Metro should recognize BV and the surrounding area as a Town Center now, and plan for enhancements in transportation and development…
    After all, the market has apparently chosen this are as “destination”. We should go with that and plan the whole area now.

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