Archive | Parking

Safety vs. Convenience

A few months ago, a pedestrian was tragically killed on NW 23rd not far from my home. The immediate response from the neighborhood was to ask for lower speed limits and striped crosswalks at all intersections.

The Tribune reported yesterday that the business association has withdrawn their support for the crosswalks. Apparently they are concerned that this would force parking removal at the corners.

There are a couple of aspects of this that I want to explore:

1) I think we could figure out how to provide crosswalks without changing the parking, and we should separate the issues.

2) There is a real safety problem at the corners because of the visibility issues created by the parked cars. I’m teaching my 16-year-old step-daughter to drive, and skill #1 to get off our block is to learn to look between and through the windows of parked cars to see if it’s safe to turn out onto NW 23rd. Removing parking is one solution, but probably not a popular one to any group in the neighborhood. Another option would be to enforce the existing regulations that prohibit tall vehicles within a certain distance of the corner (kudos to anyone who can find the code section for me).

How do other neighborhoods feel about this problem and potential solutions?

Electronic Parking Markets

Todd passes on this info from Springwise.

SpotScout claims to be the world’s first mobile exchange marketplace for parking spots, connecting parking spaces with drivers that are desperately seeking them.

Urban planners estimate that as much as 80 percent of traffic on some city streets comes from motorists aimlessly circling blocks in search of a place to park. Which is why a number of cities have launched online parking reservation services in recent years, making information available about available spots in parking lots and public garages.

SpotScout takes it one step further, by not only offering real-time availability information to spot-seekers, but also allowing private, home parking space owners to make their spot available to other motorists. These ‘SpotCasters’ set their asking price and the time they wish to make their space(s) available, and can instantly place the information on SpotScout’s network for others to see. Both reservations and payment take place online or via web-enabled mobile phones.

Those of you who have read’s latest trend briefing will immediately recognize that SpotScout cleverly caters to infolust – consumers’ insatiable desire for relevant information, wherever and whenever. SpotCasting could also be a nice side-business for minipreneurs, who can monetize sleeping assets by not only offering their own space, but coordinating availability of other private parking spaces on their block. With the owners’ permission, of course.

SpotScout will launch in Boston and New York any day now. So if you’d like to jump in this space on a larger scale, send a message to and start up a partnership in a parking-starved city near you.

Would You Like Parking with That?

Yesterday’s Wall Street Journal (sorry, their links require a subscription) had a piece about a hot new trend: reserving your parking space in advance (online or by phone).

One of the systems mentioned is ParkingCarma, which provides reservations at high-demand BART stations in the Bay Area.

XM Satellite Radio is also said to be getting into the act. Apparently the technology can go so far as to include sensors in individual spaces to track which are available.

The article suggests an overall transportation and environmental benefit by reducing the amount of driving around to find a space.

I’m not quite sure what to think about this. Is it an additional facilitator for more driving, or an information system to improve efficiency?

Let’s Untangle the Neighborhood that Tried it First

Anna Griffin reports in the Oregonian today that Sam Adams would like neighborhood business districts to consider paid parking, funneling the revenue back into their neighborhoods.

I couldn’t agree more. For 18 months I served on a Citizens Advisory Committee that arrived at the same conclusion for my neighborhood in NW Portland.

But that was only the beginning. Neighborhood businesses would not accept the plan without adding off-street parking, and the key developer involved insisted on a parking structure location that required rezoning a residential lot and tearing down a house. You can imagine the flap that ensued.

When the dust settled, the parking structure was approved, and the rest of the plan was still on the shelf. And two years of court cases followed.

So, Sam, how about we fix the mess in NW Portland first, then use that as the example to other business districts?