Patty Giffin has tried everything she can think of to deal with the cars that park bumper to bumper on her residential street most weekends. Giffin, a Bend psychologist, moved her mailbox closer to her driveway and added a sign asking people to avoid blocking it.
She keeps a set of sticky notes to leave for people who do block the driveway or mailbox, and she’s tried calling Bend police and firefighters about cars blocking intersections and fire hydrants. She’s even considered moving away from the NW Fresno Avenue home she’s owned for more than 20 years.
“People pull into our driveways,” Giffin said. “Once I came out, and my van’s bumper was lying in the road.”
Giffin’s street, a block from Galveston Avenue and busy Bend businesses, including 10 Barrel Brewing and Namaspa Yoga & Massage, could be one of the prime candidates for a residential parking permit zone.
The zones, which limit parking on some streets to residents and their guests, are common in larger cities where parking from nearby businesses or institutions bleeds into neighborhoods, but they don’t exist in Bend.
That may change in the next two years as the city of Bend updates its transportation plan. A state rule requires cities to reduce parking spaces per capita by 10 percent or meet six other criteria — including allowing residential parking districts — when they update their transportation plans.
Bend has met five of the six criteria, Bend Senior Planner Karen Swirsky said.
“Most people who live in cities have seen a residential parking permit zone, but it’s a new thing for Bend,” she said.
The city would create a policy detailing how permit parking zones work, but it wouldn’t create the zones, Swirsky said. Instead, residents in an area would choose to create a permit zone and work through their neighborhood association to establish it.
If residents decide they want to live in a parking permit zone, the city would provide permits and guest permits and install signs. Residents would pay fees to cover the cost of enforcing the permit area, and nearby businesses could buy permits for their employees.
A residential permit program would be another tool Giffin and her neighbors could use.
Giffin’s next-door neighbor has taken to parking in front of his driveway to prevent other drivers from blocking it.
Residents up and down the street worry about what will happen if the vacant house on the corner catches fire because cars regularly park illegally in front of a fire hydrant, she said.
Giffin said she loves the idea of permit parking, but not the idea of paying for it.
“I really think residents who own and live in their home should be rewarded for being here and paying taxes,” she said.
On 12th Street, Mark Pengilly said he sometimes misses mail delivery because of strangers parking in front of his home.
“Parking is bad here in a lunch rush up to just about a block,” Pengilly said. “People park in front of your mailbox, and then, they won’t deliver the mail.”
But Pengilly said he wasn’t sure that a permit district or towing business customers are solutions.
He said he’d rather see the city focus on how to make the neighborhood — which has heavy traffic, unlit crosswalks and intermittent sidewalks — safer for pedestrians.
— Reporter: 541-633-2160; email@example.com