HASSO HERING

A perspective from Oregon’s mid-Willamette Valley

Albany launches downtown parking study

Written February 10th, 2019 by Hasso Hering

At Ellsworth and First, one of the city’s downtown lots where parking is free.

The Albany City Council thinks the city would benefit from a downtown parking study, and it has commissioned one at a contracted cost of no more than $42,803.

The council took the action last month, on Jan. 9, as the Albany Revitalization Agency, the entity governing the downtown urban renewal district known as CARA. The vote was 6-1. The only no vote came from Councilman Dick Olsen. He didn’t give a reason at the time. But I asked him Sunday, and he said it was because the consultant had expressed doubts about the usefulness of parking structures. Olsen thinks a parking structure could be built in such a way as to fit in with downtown.

There are no plans to build a parking garage, but the CARA urban renewal plan lists two such projects, one near the Courthouse and City Hall, the other south of Water Avenue and east of Lyon.

For the parking study the council or ARA hired Rick Williams Consulting of Portland. Williams had talked to the CARA advisory board about this last fall. He especially emphasized the need to collect data.

In his proposal to the city, Williams said his study would yield a final report in about 12 months. It would be based on detailed inventories of available public and private parking stalls as well as actual counts of how many cars — identified by license plates — are parked for how long in which spaces. Along the way there would be meetings with “stakeholders” and city committees, as well as “outreach” to the public. The end result would be a “detailed parking management plan in a near, mid and long-term format.”

Albany owns several parking lots downtown. The city delegates its parking management, including enforcement of parking time limits on the streets, to the Albany Downtown Association and its ParkWise program. How that program works you can check out here.

CARA’s 2001 urban renewal plan estimated the costs of the two parking garages in the plan at $2 million for one and $1.5 million for the other, which sounds unrealistic today. Any chance the Williams study will encourage CARA to pursue either one of those projects? We’ll find out when the study is done and the results are handed in. (hh)

This is the ParkWise map of free public parking lots in downtown Albany.

 

 

 

 

 



23 responses to “Albany launches downtown parking study”

  1. Marsha Manning says:

    Employees suffer when it comes to finding parking. Third St. along Two Rivers Market should be “employees only”, not both. There’s parking for customers all along Broadalbin plus the parking lot at Two Rivers.

  2. Richard Smith says:

    Nice to see the city has tons of money to burn on such frivolous bs! $42,000 to count parking spaces…sure glad we didn’t need anything studied of importance! For starters, how about coming up with a solution to the parking lot known as Hwy 20, at 5:00? 45 minutes to get from North Albany to the freeway is absolutely stupid! Of course, we all know that North Albany is in a different county, and not really represented in the City of Albany. Funny how they sure like our tax money though. Looking more like California here everyday…can’t wait to get out!

    • laot says:

      in regard to Richard Smith’s comment. I agree that the long delays on HWY 20 are annoying. North Albany is a negative step child of Benton County and the City of Albany but a lovely place to live. We pay lots of taxes with a smitten of services provided. Dick Olsen represents us in the Albany City Council.

      • Ray Kopczynski says:

        “Dick Olsen represents us in the Albany City Council.”

        As does Mike Sykes. Regarding the “long delays” with Hwy 20 improvements. It’s not for lack of trying by City Council. Albany has minimal impact with ODOT – who controls all the changes on Hwy 20… All “we” can do is continue to collaborate with Corvallis & Linn Co. to try and influence many-years-down-the-road change…

        • Richard Smith says:

          Maybe the time has come to stop “collaborating”, and instead, have those who (supposedly) represent us actually go to bat and force the issue re the bridge traffic! I’m sure it won’t go far, but I do know where we have $42,000 that is being spent otherwise. It will mean sacrificing the (supposedly) needed parking study. I can do without another study…that problem is NOT parking downtown. Let’s be honest…the problem is there is very little reason to go downtown! There are enough available spaces.

      • Richard Smith says:

        Maybe it is time for North Albany to seriously consider breaking away, seeing that we pay a lot of taxes, with very little to really show for it. When it was decided to “join” the city years ago, I doubt most people really considered that it would evolve into the present mess…isolated across the river, etc.

    • laot says:

      P.S. I also agree that $42,000 could be spent on something more worthwhile to benefit the community rather than on a parking study!!

    • Wendy Benke says:

      Right on Richard.

  3. Pamela Hanson says:

    Some things never change. When I worked for the City Manager 53 years ago, they had parking studies and put parking lots in places where buildings were torn down. Seems to me that there are way fewer businesses downtown now than 50 some years ago. Go figure!

    • Ray Kopczynski says:

      “Some things never change.

      Bingo! We’ve had several parking “studies” done over the past few years. Every one of them came up with the same basic results: There is a *perception” of a parking problem that is not borne out by the results of the study…

      • L. LaRosseau says:

        This begs questions.

        How many of these unnecessary studies have been done down the decades?

        Given that Councilors seem to remain on that sacred dais for lengthy reigns, then how many parking studies has the current batch of leaders overseen?

        • Ray Kopczynski says:

          “How many of these unnecessary studies have been done down the decades?”

          P.O.V. for sure, but in the time I was there, a minimum of two (and possibly 3) although not all of them were done by paid out-of-town consultants as I recall.

          “Given that Councilors seem to remain on that sacred dais for lengthy reigns, then how many parking studies has the current batch of leaders overseen?”

          More than 3…

          • J. Jacobson says:

            Given the history Mr. Kopczynski so graciously spelled-out, one can only reach a very few conclusions.

            1. This is a solution looking for a problem.
            2. Someone somewhere is making money under questionable circumstances.
            3. There is a sort of “Groundhog Day” effect in play whenever the serious matter of downtown parking is at stake.
            4. There may be one of those hand-scrawled marks located on Albany’s City Hall facade, akin to the marks “hobos” scratched on stoops of houses to indicate an “easy mark” lived in this or that domicile. Parking Consultants, the vultures of the professional classes, troll small town governing centers looking for the Soft Touch indicator.

  4. Gordon L. Shadle says:

    I’m not against studies, but $42K and wait a year?
    For yet another parking study?
    When the CARA Plan, submitted by another consultant, is pretty clear on what is recommended?

    CARA needs another study – How Not to Waste Money by Overcoming the Analysis Paralysis of Decision Making.

  5. Gordon L. Shadle says:

    Here is the Shadle Plan, free of charge.

    Eliminate free street parking downtown. Instead, make all street parking angled back in and charge obscenely for this privilege. Everyone pays. No playing favorites.

    The millions flocking towards downtown will then be motivated to park in two new, historically appropriate, covered structures. The parking rates in these structures should be slightly less than street parking to maximize the herding effect. Again, everyone pays. No playing favorites.

    The magnetic attraction of existing downtown services/entertainment will overcome the short term pain of paying through the nose for the privilege to park downtown.

    Mission accomplished: Millions more in revenue (the real objective) and adequate amounts of available parking spaces (secondary).

    How consumers “feel” about this plan is irrelevant. This is about money, not feelings.

  6. thomas cordier says:

    The study is funded with a purpose. Purpose is to prove we need an expensive multi-storied parking garage; because we all know the reason downtown has no customers is because there is no parking? Heritage mall and the other big box stores have plenty of parking so downtown is relegated to hobby businesses and antique shopping. Just get over it and stop spending taxpayer money foolishly

  7. Donna Forrest says:

    hh, would you share with me who gets the revenue from the parking tickets issued down town, they have a office with staff and scooter guy where does his wages come from?

    • GregB says:

      My wife mistakenly parked in a 30 min zone in front of the now gone Wells Fargo last year. Bingo, $25 parking ticket. That struck me as a very expensive trip to downtown Albany to frequent their merchants. B.S. Gave us a bad taste in our mouth when we revisited down town.

  8. Russ Tripp says:

    What a waste of money, the options could be determined in one meeting by locals who know the situation better than some
    “expert” from Portland.

  9. Delfina Hoxie says:

    Have they changed the parking regulations for in front of the Post Office? I was leaving Loafers last week and noticed that every car was parked face-forward rather than backing into the space. Let’s remember that the Carousel has brought many more cars downtown daily and the last time I was as Heritage Mall people were jockeying for parking spaces. No one wants to park out back. A parking structure would be a great addition there. Downtown it would be an eyesore, IMHO.

  10. Delfina H Hoxie says:

    Have they changed the parking regulations for in front of the Post Office? I was leaving Loafers last week and noticed that every car was parked face-forward rather than backing into the space. Let’s remember that the Carousel has brought many more cars downtown daily and the last time I was as Heritage Mall people were jockeying for parking spaces. No one wants to park out back. A parking structure would be a great addition there. Downtown it would be an eyesore, IMHO.

  11. Cheryl P says:

    I don’t have a problem parking downtown, but then, I’m fine with walking a block or so if need be.

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