Port evaluates success of waterfront parking plan

With summer coming to a close, the Port of Hood River’s Board of Commissioners reflected on the inaugural months of its paid waterfront parking plan and agreed that, aside from some minor problems, the plan’s implementation is going well.

Port Executive Director Michael McElwee included an update on the parking plan in his director’s report at the commission’s Aug. 21 meeting.

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Customer feeds a parking meter.

In the month of July, he reported, the port collected approximately $28,000 in gross parking receipts from 7,869 individual transactions. These numbers don’t include penalties, which average about $150 a day, he added.

The port collected a little over $9,000 in parking fines and of the 505 parking complaints issued in July, 465 were for not paying the meter, he said.

The two biggest problems people have had with the parking meters, said Communications Manager Genevieve Scholl, were people putting their license plate numbers in wrong and not realizing that the port requires payment on Sundays.

Scholl also reported a couple instances where people tried to pay their port parking ticket at the city office, and vice-versa.

There have been a couple of infrastructure problems as well: One payment kiosk was reported broken and one handheld had to be sent back, McElwee said. There was a brief discussion on whether additional signing needs to be put in place to make the rules clearer, but that option wasn’t seriously considered.

When the port first approved the parking plan in early June, the commission agreed that they’d have to rely on trial and error in order to enact a successful paid parking plan.

“If this is implemented we will get things wrong, we’ll have to make course corrections and adjustments that will affect parking behavior, and user accessibility of the waterfront will change,” McElwee said at that June 5 meeting, “but the expectation is that there’s some significant positive benefit.”

The port began implementing its paid parking plan on June 15, with the goal of improving turnover in high-traffic locations and generating revenue for park maintenance.

When it came to enforcing the new rules, McElwee said, “We’ve been very lenient going in and less so as the summer goes on.”

People can dispute parking complaints either online or at the port office and more often than not, Scholl said, the port forgives complaints resulting from minor mistakes or misunderstandings.

Summer pricing continues through the end of September and starting Oct. 1, rates will be as follows:

Zone 1 (Nichols Basin): $1 per hour, four-hour maximum

Zone 2 (N. First Street): $1 per hour, no maximum

Zone 4 (Event Site): $5 per day

Zone 5 (West Jensen): $1 per hour, eight-hour maximum

Parking on port-owned sections of Portway Avenue, (Zones 3 and 6) will be prohibited Oct. 1 through March 31.

Parking on city-owned streets, North Second and North Eighth streets and the center blocks of Portway Avenue, will remain free; but the city has enacted a three-hour maximum on the center blocks of Portway, in front of Waterfront Park.



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