All Choked Up Over Parking in Old Town, Portland, Oregon
The notion of taking the internal combustion car into city centres, prioritising cars over people, and polluting the air — we will look back and think, “How was this possible?”
–Hendrik Jan Laseur, Founder, Lead the Change.
The above quote is from the latest publication of Sustainability, a global consulting firm, entitled, Business Impacts Insight,: Sustainability Trends for 2018.
Let's take a close look at this notion now. Maybe then 'looking back' by future citizens of Old Town Chinatown will be one that recognizes the forward thinking of the leaders we have in place in our neighborhood in 2018.
What's In Writing
The Attachment to my 2015 Position Paper on Surface Parking Lots includes relevant excerpts on parking from Prosper Portland's $58M Five Year Action Plan for Old Town Chinatown, the Old Town Chinatown Community Association (OTCT CA) strategic plan, Portland's Climate Action Plan, and the West Quadrant Plan.
If the redevelopment mindset and local business owners and developers rule, as they have done, Old Town Chinatown will reflect in the years to come, not 2018 realities, but the 1950's version of urban planning with the dominance of the gaseous automobile in growing business in the urban core and ferrying well paid employees to and fro from the suburbs.
Replacing surface parking lots with structured parking will help with reducing the blight of surface parking lots, but reinforces some very bad habits as reflected in global warming and, as but one example at the neighborhood level, consequences of climate change to include heat islands and further degradation of the environment.
As to business interests, the problem with falling in the middle of or near the end of a "trend" is that all competitive advantages are lost. This lesson continues to be learned the hard way by businesses in the many industries disrupted by information technology and is becoming more obvious in terms of the energy sector.
How much of what is not happening in Old Town caries over to other neighborhoods, will negatively effect the ability of Portland and Multnomah County to "meet a 40 percent reduction in carbon emissions by 2030 and an 80 percent reduction by 2050 (compared to 1990 levels)."
Video, 2015, Portland’s climate action leaders talk about bold policy, benefits and the road ahead.
Big Challenge and Opportunity
The demand for "more parking" may be popular, but in the end is deadly. Public education and involvement at all levels of city government is another 'not happening' in our neighborhoods - not funded at a sufficient level and unsophisticated when it comes to using database, customization and personalization communication tactics.
Citizens, particularly those living and working in Old Town, who are not represented in the decision-making process deserve better.
A near car-free environment in a neighborhood with a balance of commercial and residential properties (healthy connected communities), green infrastructure (environmental protection), and a diversity of race, income, and gender among both residents and employees (prioritizing people) is more what I have in mind for Old Town Chinatown.