Development Charge Issues Emerge

Updated: 9/5/07

I watched the hearing (no vote, it’s going back to Sam’s office for tweaking) on cable today and have two observations.

1) The TOD discount that benefited downtown is going away, probably faster that then 4-year phaseout recommended by the committee.

2) I was disappointed that another discount, one that can be earned by demonstrating that you have proven trip reductions, was not recommended. This one seems like a genuine “green” policy. It would have meant slightly raising the base rate, which appears to be what caused the committee to recommend against it.

Original Post: 9/4/07

A stakeholder committee has been working on recommendations for the next 10 years of projects and fees for Transportation System Development Charges.

As the Council Hearing on Wednesday approaches, the key issue that is emerging appears to be whether the discount for downtown properties will continue. A particularly cogent interview with Rick Williams (chair of the stakeholder committee) in the Daily Journal of Commerce lays out the issues.

There is also coverage in the Tribune.

6 responses to “Development Charge Issues Emerge”

  1. Given all the taxpayer funded transport subsidies downtown receives – Fareless Square, the transit mall, a light rail system designed to be a to and from downtown system rather then one that is truly regional, snail rail streetcars that gum up traffic and now are expected to do the same with an extension to the inner Eastside so Pearl and SoWhat residents can have a subsidized hop to Lloyd Center at the expense of motorists and parking meter revenues rather than paying their own way, etc. – the Transportation System Development Fee structure for downtown, the Pearl and SoWhat properties should be double or triple compared to the amount the rest of the community pays. It is about time downtown stands on its own and becomes financially self-sustainable without raiding funds from the rest of the City. Furthermore, it is the rest of the City that deserve the discounts, not downtown, the Pearl and SoWhat.

  2. Terry Parker:

    I’ve asked you this question before and you’ve never responded it, I’d very much appreciate a response.

    Given that the city of Portland is installing curb extensions at pretty much every bus stop in the city, what makes Streetcar “gum up traffic” any more than buses do? They both now stop in traffic lanes, right?

  3. Curb extensions are not that popular, either, with the more “conservative” contributors. I think they really need to be used with much less frequency.

  4. I’m no big fan of curb extensions but perhaps I can answer your question Doug.

    When a van or pickup parks a little too far from the curb so the streetcar cannot get around it gums up traffic. A bus simply moves 6″ to the left and keeps on going. When a bus has no riders requesting a stop it keeps on going.

  5. I attended the hearing earlier today. No action was taken by the City Council. The overriding themes seemed to be that the Central City area was getting a disproportionate amount of money allocated to it, while also getting the most amount of Transit-Oriented Development (TOD) discount. A specific example presented stated that a 8 unit Multi-family apartment would be assessed $1,435 per unit in Transportation System Development Charges (TSDC). With the lowest level of TOD discount, the amount goes down to $903.50. With the highest level of TOD discount, the amount goes down to $515.50.
    The recommendation from the Citizen Advisory Committee is to phase out the TOD discount over the next 4 years, partially because people want to move to Portland, those people want transportation development, and therefore are willing to pay for it. This wasn’t said directly, but was the gist of the recommendation. They also felt this would not hinder developers, since the TSDC is not the only factor in deciding where to build. This would also mean that Central Portland would be paying more of the development costs associated with the transit being constructed there.
    The other recommendations involved spending the money in the district it was collected in, keep rates compatible with the 2007 rate with allowances for inflation, and also included a list of specific projects to be funded.

  6. Doug: “When a bus has no riders requesting a stop it keeps on going.

    As does the streetcar. The big difference is that the streetcar is very popular and has a lot of people in it, so almost all of the stops are requested in the first place, where as buses aren’t as popular and aren’t carrying as many people per bus, so are less likely to stop at any given stop…

    “When a van or pickup parks a little too far from the curb so the streetcar cannot get around it gums up traffic. A bus simply moves 6″ to the left and keeps on going.”

    Sounds like a problem with the van or pickup truck, not the streetcar or curb extensions. Maybe we should license drivers so they don’t do stupid things like park in the public right of way. And when they do, (like what I did when there was a pickup truck parked 3 feet from the curb, and therefor out into the bike lane this morning,) we should get parking enforcement (823-5195) to write them a big ticket or get them towed.

    Ohh, sorry, that wasn’t the answer you were looking for: Okay, buses are big, if they have to move over even a little bit to avoid a poorly parked car, they are blocking traffic in the lane next to them. And it isn’t just buses that are on our streets, there are semi-trucks and all sort of other large equipment going by every minute…

    Sorry, I just don’t like that answer, personal responsibility is a good thing: people need to learn how to park, or they will pay lots of parking tickets, get a boot or two, and probably lose a few mirrors to people that aren’t as nice as me…

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