Editorial: State says it should be harder for you to park

Speaking of parking, the state of Oregon is going to make finding a parking space worse.

If you think you are having a hard time finding a space now, the state wants to make it more of an inconvenience. State law requires the city to reduce the number of parking spaces by 10 percent per capita.

We happened to find a discussion of that state law in a state document called “Parking made easy.” Some state bureaucrats really do inhabit an alternative reality.

The policy is designed to encourage people to get out of their cars and use alternative transportation. We can understand why the state would have that goal. But the policy also seems certain to have the unintended consequence of hurting downtown businesses across the state.

Parking is already a problem in downtown Bend, and Bend’s population is growing fast. People hogging spaces more than the allotted two hours adds to the issue.

The city has tried many things to fix that. It has written tickets. It’s booted repeat offenders. For a while, it jacked up fines. It’s going to apparently have more ability to tow vehicles, if the Bend City Council approves a change this week.

But some of the problem also seems to be that on some days and at some times, there are not enough spaces. How is the goal of reducing spaces going to help? Through frustration comes happiness?

The city is trying to find some answers. Last year, the Bend City Council awarded a $555,250 contract to Portland-based Rick Williams Consulting to do a parking, traffic and access study of the city. That is not a misprint. $555,250. We can’t wait to see what a $555,250 study buys.

Our suggestion: Legislators should tell the state to stop dictating the number of parking spaces. Surely, city and county governments can figure that one out for themselves.

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