Many things escape the Bend City Council. There was no talk of abolishing minimum parking requirements.
What kind of an issue parking is. Personally. Politically. Environment. Unimportant compared to so many things. So very important in other respects.
First an overview. There is no official plan that specifies where the parking minimum will be abolished. At the moment there is only talk. It seems like it’s slated for a new build, possibly a renovation. The abolition of minimum parking spaces does not mean that companies, apartments and houses will no longer have parking spaces. Would you buy a home with no off-street parking? Would you rent an apartment with no off-street parking? Would you go to a supermarket with no off-street parking? Some would. Some wouldn’t.
When we’ve talked to companies and builders, they won’t build parking spaces. If similar changes have been made elsewhere, it does not mean that parking spaces will no longer be built. There is simply more choice.
Parking minimum means less space for apartments. Check out two cars parked side by side in the supermarket. You could put a small apartment in this room. Maybe it wouldn’t be an apartment you would want, but you get the idea anyway.
Russ Grayson, Bend Community Development Director, set an excellent example during the City Club forum. You saw these houses along the Arizona / Colorado Couplet in Bend, near The Box Factory. The clients wanted to convert some of the single-family houses into 3-story residential complexes with mixed use. Commercial space on the bottom. Offices, maybe right in the middle. Maybe housing above. If you’re trying to pack that into one of these parking lots with the city’s current parking requirements, you’ll need 5-6 spaces in the lot. It doesn’t work. The developer is leaving.
More parking space requirement means less intensive development and less backfilling, which means less space for apartments. Real estate prices are already crazy.
If we now have fewer parking spaces in buildings, Bend also has to be smarter when it comes to parking, otherwise there will be problems. Technology can help. Bend is not present. More transit can help. Bend is not present. Safer routes for cyclists and pedestrians can help. Bend is not present.
Cascades East Transit has good plans for better transit. The city’s GO-Bond helps with the bike and footpaths. Will the decline in parking be offset by a perfect crescendo of transport, bike lanes and people leaving their cars? Probably not. But Bend can’t just be what Bend was. State law insists and forces more infill. Wouldn’t it be better to find a smart way to adapt to these limitations? We’ll let you answer that.
Any change in parking conditions must take disabled people into account. The Bend building regulations currently stipulate the requirements for the total number of parking spaces for a building. It also determines the number of ADA storage spaces required. There are diagrams in the code with ratios. If the minimum parking space would be absolutely eliminated in new buildings or even renovations, there would be no technical requirements for ADA spaces, the city announced.
We can’t imagine that would happen. Or at least better not. So what should be the requirements for ADA rooms? What is the right number for a business, an apartment building? Should housing developments have some apartments with off-street parking? If you have any ideas about this or the parking plans, send them to the Bend City Council at [email protected].
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