Having trouble finding a parking space is far from the worst thing that can happen. But thanks to the efforts of state government, finding a parking space could go from hassle to misery.

A state committee is revising the “transportation planning rule.” That set of regulations is already designed to squeeze out automobiles. The plan is to crack down even harder.

Drivers would be in an uproar if the state openly started banning cars. So instead, the state is sneakily making cars less useful.

Last week, the committee targeted making changes specifically for smaller cities that aren’t considered metropolitan areas. On this side of the Cascades, that includes Redmond and Klamath Falls. It also includes Coos Bay/North Bend, McMinnville, Roseburg and Woodburn.

State officials are considering that the small cities should:

• Purposely set off-street parking maximums below peak daily demand. If peak demand is 10 spaces, the state suggests setting it at nine spaces. In other words, plan to make it hard for people to park.

• Not require off-street parking for developments in some or all areas of a city. That would compel drivers to park on the street, increasing competition for spaces.

• Count on-street parking or shared parking spaces toward any parking requirements for developments. More parking misery.

It’s as if state planners assume “cars are a scourge that need to be driven away, or perhaps just not driven at all,” as Bend Councilor Bill Moseley put it.

Moseley is on the committee and is critical of many of its suggestions.

But unless more people speak out about what the state is doing, increased parking misery could become the law in Oregon.

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