Up Sucker Creek

Up Sucker Creek
Photo Courtesy of the Lake Oswego Library

Sunday, April 24, 2016

Planners try to change human nature

What percentage of people really want to use public transportation, bike or walk to "work and to take care care of their daily needs"?  How far can bureaucrats go in their effort to Manhattanize the Portland area?  How many will keep driving their cars no matter what?

Planners make plans for us - based on what sounds or looks good to them, not on public needs and preferences.   Why do we follow them?  We are being fed only one meal and never get to see or invent the whole menu.

In the Portland Tribune article below (April 21, 2016), residents of NW Portland are being inundated with commuters who park their cars on area streets, making it difficult for locals to park their cars in their own neighborhoods.

A permit system is being expanded to give some relief for the beliguired residents, and city officials hope this encourages commuters to use public transportation instead of driving their cars to work.  Charging more for resident permits may also reduce the number of cars in the city.  Maybe this plan can be used everywhere as density creeps across the corridors and into neighborhoods as infill development.

What's wrong with these plans?


And yet, PLANNERS AND BUREAUCRATS WANT TO DENSIFY THE CITY AND PUSH OUT AUTOMOBILES.  These are the two things a vast number of  people don't want.   A new Comp Plan, new bike lanes and MAX lines that gobble up street lanes, apartments without parking requirements, and now, plans to insert more density into single family neighborhoods.  The density and transportation preferences of METRO have accomplished several things - angry residents that cannot park on their own streets as density creeps in nearby (people in the no-parking apartments still own cars!), and congested roads as bike and MAX lanes push cars out.

Trying to manipulate human behavior has one predictable result: humans get pissed off!  

Parking permits work,
but shift the problem elsewhere
Portland Tribune, April 21, 2016. By Christopher Keizur

Alba Rouse has been in Northwest Portland for 30 years, and until recently she never thought she would have to create a parking petition.

But Rouse lives on Northwest Overton Street and is suddenly one block outside a permit zone that requires cars to have paid stickers on their windshields if owners want to avoid heavy fines for parking all day. This system was created to prevent long-term parking in the neighborhood as commuters were using the streets as places to stash their vehicles.

Zone M permits with two- and four-hour meters were installed in February in an effort to help the local residents and businesses find places to park. The plan was to push back against the growing tide of long-term parking, stemming from commuters who would leave their car on the streets and take public transport to work. 

Before the permit zone was created, it was easy for Rouse to park on her block. But when the drivers became displaced it became common for her to see cars park and the drivers walk away carrying suitcases — gone for days at at time. One neighbor finally had to have a vehicle towed after it sat in front of their house for six months.

“Its the type of place people can enjoy a lively, urban lifestyle without needing to have the expense of a car,” Rivera says. “In the long-term we want people to take public transportation, bike and even walk more to meet their daily needs living in Northwest.”


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  2. Public transportation cannot efficiently (in time terms mostly) move people from their home to their place of work. The reason is simple. Unlike New York City, Portland does not have the concentration of jobs downtown.
    People live various places and work others. Trying to solve that problem with public transport is doomed from the start.
    It is quite easy to see the problem. Mark homes on a map in a zip code and then capture the zip code where the residents work. There will be dots in zip codes all over the map. without a concentration of dots in a "receiving" zip code where people work, public transport will NEVER work.