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Levi Beckman of Hood River purchases parking time on an Oak Street machine. The city is seeking input on long-term downtown solutions including adding on-street and off-street parking.

“Future capacity” — is there enough parking? — drives all discussions of the long-standing issue of parking in Hood River.

The City of Hood River is hosting its second open house to present findings and recommendations from the 2019 Downtown Parking Study on Dec. 4 from 6-8 p.m. at the Hood River Hotel. The public is invited to share feedback and learn about the study’s draft strategy recommendations.

At City Council on Monday, Planning Director Dustin Neilson presented a project status report that covered future supply and “policy crossovers,” and next steps.

He called future supply “the most expensive and contentious of the parking issues. The city is examining parking management elements: Policy and code, management and administration, on-street parking, off-street parking, acess and integration with other modes, residential parking barriers and new capacity.”

Neilson noted that future supply must be harmonized with other city policies and goals, including housing, historic preservation, urban design and “balanced responsibilites of existing development and new development.”

In other words, who will pay for or provide new parking downtown?

According to Neilson, in a spectrum ranging from nationalizing all supply to unregulated market-driven supply, the answer will probably lie somewhere in the middle, with options such as public providing supply with private funding partnership or private provides supply with public subsidy.

Neilson cited a finding in the study that states, “It is clear, that additional capacity will be needed over the next 20 years to meet growing residential, commercial and visitor trip demand.

“Capacity can be provided through new parking, improved transit and alternative modes (bike, walk, rideshare) or a combination of these. New growth cannot be accomodated within existing public supply,” Neilson said.

He said the poicy issue comes down to identifying who is responsible for adding to the parking supply and what role the city will play.

The city’s council parking subcommittee meets on Dec. 3 and again on Jan. 7, and council will hold a parking workshop on Jan. 13, 5:30 p.m. at City Hall.

The Strategy Summary and Implementation Outline is available on the planning department’s web page,  cityofhoodriver.gov/planning/current-planning-department-projects/downtown-parking-study

During the open house, city staff and its consultant will present the proposed strategy and implementation options, review information received from earlier community outreach efforts and will be available to answer questions.

The Hood River Hotel is located at 102 Oak St. Input from the open house will help finalize recommended strategies that will be evaluated by City Council.  For details on the open house, contact the City Planning Department at 541-387-5210.

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