Bend’s Parking Requirements

On June 17th City Club of Central Oregon held a forum regarding the proposed changes to Bend's parking requirements. Below is information about the presentations made during the forum and a link to the video from the event.

Bend’s Parking Requirements

Rebuttal to proposed elimination of parking minimums

Both opponents and proponents of eliminating parking requirements AGREE on:

  • Bend has a housing shortage and a housing affordability problem
  • Bend residents should have more choice of housing type and price
  • Making ADUs easier to build was a good thing
  • Allowing duplexes and triplexes in single-family zones was a good thing
  • Creating opportunity areas with more density and the transit & walkability infrastructure to support it was a good thing
  • HB 2001, expanding middle housing opportunities, is a good thing
  • Bend needs parking reform

We DISAGREE on the approach to parking reform:

  • Current standards are arbitrary and unfair
    • Households own vehicles; bedrooms don’t
    • Average Bend household owns 1.9 vehicles
    • Commercial parking relates to the nature of the business, not the size of the space
  • Imposing a total elimination of parking minimums would also be arbitrary and unfair
  • Bend should follow its own policies for adjusting parking standards and use several methods that have proven successful in other cities

BOTTOM LINE: Bend should follow its own official policy:

Policy #38 in the Transportation System Plan requires adjustments to parking standards be based “on changes in behavior and parking demand”

  • Parking reform should be data-driven, right-size parking
  • The latest parking studies in 2017 did not find an over-supply of parking in Bend
  • Restaurants and some industrial uses had too little parking

MYTH #1: eliminating parking minimum requirements is the ONLY method available

  • Most cities use a whole toolbox of strategies

  • Non-pricing strategies

    shared parking agreements, unbundled parking (parking spaces leased separately), parking maximums, reduced parking minimums, improved bicycling and walking infrastructure, improved public transit and micro-mobility options, peripheral parking lots, and employer incentives

  • Pricing strategies

    dynamic or variable rate pricing, performance-based pricing, park-once-and-walk public parking lots & garages, coordinated on-street and off-street pricing, and parking benefit districts

  • Bend should explore all of these, not use one as a blunt instrument

MYTH #2: many cities have ELIMINATED parking minimums

  • About 120 cities have eliminated off-street parking requirements in specific areas

  • These are mainly downtown cores and frequent transit corridors

    Bend has a small downtown and no frequent transit corridors

  • Only three cities have eliminated parking minimums citywide

    • Buffalo, NY; San Francisco, CA; and Berkeley, CA
    • All had a history of over-supply and extensive public transit
  • Bend should explore eliminating parking minimums downtown and maybe in the Bend Central District

MYTH #3: the disabled and elderly BENEFIT from housing without parking

  • Eliminating off-street parking requirements actually discriminates against those very people

  • If a dwelling unit doesn’t have onsite parking, people who need it couldn’t live there

  • That would literally build discrimination in to housing for the next 100 years

MYTH #4: construction costs affect sale and rental PRICES

  • Arguments about the cost of building parking spaces are almost all based on structured parking (e.g., $24K – $34K)

  • A surface space costs about 1–3% of the construction cost of a residential unit (about $4,000 – $8,000)

  • Housing prices are based on supply and demand in the market, not construction costs

    • Rents in Bend have increased 33% in the last year, including on years-old apartments and houses
    • Home sale prices continue to escalate in spite of code changes to reduce the cost of regulations

MYTH #5: Professor Shoup favors eliminating parking minimums citywide as a SINGULAR STRATEGY

  • In his landmark book, “The High Cost of Free Parking”, Shoup focuses entirely on parking in commercial areas

  • He calls for two important steps prior to eliminating parking minimums:

    • first, charge fair-market prices for parking using dynamic pricing (price increases with demand)
    • second, establish parking benefit districts (revenue collected is returned to the district)
  • Only then should parking minimums be eliminated

  • Shoup supported a California law requiring 1 space per dwelling unit

For more information, please see the Additional Reading section on the Background page.

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