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Meters will drive away business

Readers' Letters
by: L.E. BASKOW, Some letter writers worry that forcing people to pay for on-street parking along Northwest 21st and 23rd avenues will hurt stores and send customers to other shopping areas.

As one who has spent much time shopping along Northwest 21st and 23rd avenues, I can assure the mayor that I too have endured many frustrations in that area looking for a parking space (Parking stall, Oct. 7).

I can also assure him that, if this area becomes metered like the rest of Portland, I will quite simply not return - ever - to those streets. Why pay for parking when there are shopping malls outside of the downtown area where parking is free? Why trade one hassle (finding a parking space) for another (dealing with the new print-your-ticket meters that are a much greater frustration than the standard meters we once had) when the 'trade' costs more - and gains less - and going elsewhere does not?

If the city is that urgently trying to squeeze money from its visitors, how long will it be until it imposes parking fees on local malls so they too will be forced to charge for parking? What about charging for parking in the lot at fast-food restaurants? Perhaps there could be a fee for driving across any of Portland's bridges? Or should a walking permit be required for pedestrians who wish to use Portland's sidewalks?

This line of thinking in the case of Northwest 21st and 23rd avenues will eventually lead to exactly what any forward-thinking person can easily already guess: the death and abandonment of Portland's businesses in this area.

I realize that my feelings on this do not matter to the mayor and that he surely does not care what I think, since, with nearly every issue he encounters, he appears to concern himself only with his own unguided opinions.

Roy Wilson

North Portland

Why not meter all shopping areas?

As an owner of a hair salon since 1991 on Northwest 23rd Avenue, I find the constant 'threat' of parking meters/permits on Northwest 23rd and Northwest 21st avenues a cop-out and an annoying flaunt of power by whomever is mayor that year (Parking stall, Oct. 7).

We all know that Portland will continue to grow, especially Northwest 23rd and 21st avenues - Northwest Portland is one of the ONLY areas in Portland that has pretty much kept its real estate value since the downturn. Northwest Portland has proven itself, and I see the city trying to capitalize on this continued growth.

If Sam Adams and his 'experts' truly believe that parking meters/permits help increase shopping and therefore revenues for vendors in those newly metered areas, then why wouldn't these meters be installed in every shopping area, such as Mississippi, Alberta, Hawthorne, East Broadway and Southeast 82nd?

With the slowest economy in decades in Oregon, it is hard to believe that installing these 'revenue-producing meters/permits' will truly keep shoppers shopping longer. From my experience of almost 20 years in Northwest Portland, it will NOT help businesses increase revenue; it will in fact annoy shoppers, especially when they get parking tickets.

Gabriela Kandziora

Owner, Pravda

Northwest Portland

Keep parking meters local

The current (City Hall) administration keeps installing impediments for local business and siphoning money out of the local community. These parking meters are yet another way to pump money far away (Parking stall, Oct. 7).

Use your credit card to pay for parking? Well, the Delaware and North Dakota banks just slurped 3 percent off the top. And we have to pay for maintenance and revenue sharing for the kiosks. And the parking slips? If not printed locally, yet more money leaves (the state). The way the current administration could help most would be to help least.

Charles Osborne

Southwest Portland

If meters appear, shoppers will leave

How many times have I driven to Northwest (Portland) only to find two cars parked where four could fit (Parking stall, Oct. 7)?

It would be much cheaper to maintain white parking lines perpendicular to the curb than installing meters. If meters go in, shoppers will leave. How is the problem worse now than five years ago?

If people choose to live in that area of Northwest, then the lack of parking goes along with the housing. That area was developed before cars. If one wants parking, then it would be wise to secure housing where cars can be parked.

Obviously, the city is broke and looking for revenue any place it can find it. This is just the latest excuse for a tax.

Nancy Casey

Southwest Portland

Hollywood shows folly of city's plan

Adding parking meters in Northwest Portland will only harm small neighborhood businesses (Parking stall, Oct. 7).

In the 1960s, the city of Portland installed parking meters on the streets in the Hollywood District. Even with good bus service on Sandy Boulevard, Halsey and 42nd, businesses moved out. Variety stores such as Rogers disappeared - and with a real loss of customers, the Hollywood District went into decline.

In the following decades, on-street parking on Sandy Boulevard in the center of Hollywood was removed, negatively impacting the small businesses that line the street. Fred Meyer moved out, taking customers with it, and the once famous Yaw's Restaurant closed.

On the flip side, the city withdrew the parking meters a few years after they were installed, one- and two-hour parking signs were added, and in 1986 the Hollywood Transit Center along with MAX opened.

Fast forward to today and the Hollywood District is still recovering from the huge mistake the city made in the 1960s. Slowly, new development is creeping into the area, some of it with free parking. However, if development overtakes the need for that free customer parking, the Hollywood District could abruptly reverse a now positive direction.

For many small businesses, economic success comes by way of the automobile. To survive and attract customers from outside the immediate area, free parking is a necessity. Therefore, instead of spending huge amounts of taxpayer dollars to subsidize the misaligned mindset that endeavors to get people out of their cars, the automobile needs to be viewed as a development tool that can be driven on a road to prosperity.

Moreover, instead of alternative modes of transport continuing to receive financial life support from motorists, the 'not if, but when' needs to be when these transport modes such as bicycling and pubic transit can become, at the very least, as financially self-sustainable as driving.

Terry Parker

Northeast Portland

Walk, don't drive in downtown area

Driving in downtown Portland is not only crazy, it is unnecessary (The Portlander's Guide to Urban Guerrilla Driving, Oct. 14).

Park your car and use MAX. Before the whining starts, just consider a suburban shopping mall. Do you drive up to each and every store in the mall? No, you park some distance from the store of choice and then walk. Why can't anybody realize that downtown Portland is similar to a mall. Park, walk or use MAX.

Samuel R. Ganczaruk

Northeast Portland