Shoup Weighs in on NW Parking Plan

A few years before starting this blog in 2005 I channeled my wonkery hours into serving as the lead neighborhood representative in trying to develop a parking plan for NW Portland.

I still have the scars from when that effort crashed and burned. At the time I predicted that we had poisoned the well for another decade.

Well, 10 years have passed and the Mayor is taking another run at it, with more or less the same pathologies at play.

So I was interested to see that parking expert Donald Shoup had expressed an opinion on the plan. Not surprisingly Shoup thinks his approach of dynamic pricing could be part of the solution.

Part of the disconnect in the debate is that the merchants on NW 23rd are convinced that metered parking will drive their customers away to Washington Square or elsewhere. The Mayor and others argue that metered parking will result in greater turnover and more traffic for the shops.

Shoup essentially says yes to both points of view. Pricing will create turnover, but by using dynamic pricing, if the price is high enough to leave too many spaces unfilled, it would be lowered until we hit the magic 85% occupancy point.

It’s actually a pretty reasonable approach to getting the two sides on the same page. Although my gut says that there is sufficient demand that dynamic pricing would not result in a rate much lower than downtown meters anyway.

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