Phone: 503-823-PLAY (7529)
1120 SW Fifth Ave., Suite 1302, Portland, OR 97204
To find out the latest on Washington Park Parking,
check out WashingtonParkpdx.org/parking
Washington Park is one of the crown jewels of our nationally-recognized Portland Parks & Recreation system. The park suffers from problems, which have been widely recognized for two decades. Now is the time to face these challenges to ensure that Washington Park remains a Portland treasure for many generations to come.
With more than 3 million visitors a year, we realized that a world-class system for parking, transportation, and access is our best option for the park, its venues, and neighborhood livability.
An essential step in this process was taken on December 5, 2012, when the Portland City Council unanimously voted to authorize the Washington Park Transportation and Parking Management agreement. The ordinance had unanimous approval by both Metro and City Councils; and City Council requested two first readings, allowing two extra weeks for even more time for public comments and input. Portland Parks & Recreation has authority under City Code to charge for parking as needed, but the Council authorization puts a comprehensive strategy in place, one that allows for a new nonprofit entity to manage transportation-related concerns.
To get to the park, visitors can walk, bike, and ride the bus or MAX, but most still drive cars. Currently, to help defray the costs of parking operations and security, the Oregon Zoo, World Forestry Center, and Children’s Museum non-members pay $4.00 to park in the south parking lot, using a pay-at-the-gate honor system. We will be changing this honor system in favor of a network of pay stations. Because all of Washington Park suffers from the problems described above, a park-wide paid parking plan for all visitors will be in place.
All of the parking lots and roads in Washington Park are owned by Portland Parks & Recreation. Current funding sources for maintenance are simply inadequate to keep them in proper condition.
Neighbors and park/venue visitors have long recognized serious challenges, including:
After nearly two years of public process and negotiations, perhaps the greatest achievement is that for the first time the venues, public entities, and many of the neighbors have come together around an action plan - and most importantly, a reliable way to fund the solutions: The Washington Park Transportation Management Association, or TMA. The new Washington Park Transportation and Parking Management Plan includes this TMA, a nonprofit entity, to manage transportation-related concerns. One such concern we’ve heard is about getting around the expansive park.
Before they even leave home, visitors need to be able to go to the web for up-to-the-minute information on alternate transportation options and parking. People who choose TriMet should be able to get off at the Zoo MAX stop and take an easy, free shuttle to the famous International Rose Test Garden or Japanese Garden a mile away.
In an era of limited funding for transportation, the fact that the park has its own transportation network created a unique opportunity. By City Council approving paid parking for approximately 1,400 parking spaces throughout the park, we will now have self-sustaining revenue for improvements the public have asked for, and that they deserve.
Representatives from each of the popular attractions in the park, PP&R, TriMet, as well as board members who are neighborhood association members, will remain deeply involved to implement the new Washington Park Transportation and Parking Management Plan. The TMA will be a one-stop decision-making forum where anyone can bring their park transportation-related concerns and ideas.
The TMA board brings together organizations which are committed to maintaining the best visitor experience at the park. It includes nine directors, with representatives of Portland Parks & Recreation, Metro/Oregon Zoo, World Forestry Center, Portland Children’s Museum, the Portland Japanese Garden, TriMet, the Hoyt Arboretum Friends, and one independently-selected member from both the Sylvan Highlands and Arlington Heights Neighborhood Associations.
The interim Board of the TMA is now recruiting an executive director for the TMA.
One hundred percent of the estimated $2 million of yearly revenues will be reinvested in Washington Park.
City Council has established priorities for revenues, including:
The new pay-to-park system will be up and running as early as summer, 2013. Proposed rates for paid parking throughout the park are $1.60 per hour, with a $6.40 all-day maximum during the peak season and $4.00 all-day maximum during the off-peak seasons. This will allow visitors to pay a flat rate and enjoy their time without having to watch the clock and go back to the pay stations to “feed the meter.”
All meters will have a 30 minutes “free” button to allow for short visits and for parents to drop off and pick up their children from the park and its venues.
The TMA will consider programs to encourage visitors, staff, and volunteers alternatives to driving (and parking) to Washington Park, impacts on the surrounding neighborhoods, and other issues. It will help ensure that volunteers working at the park and attractions have equal or better access to the park.
Please visit the PP&R website for continuously updated Frequently Asked Questions.
I hope I’ve been able to address some of your concerns and questions as we move forward with vast improvements to our unique and world-famous park and its attractions.
Director of Portland Parks & Recreation
Please submit your comments here; the City is compiling all comments and will submit them to the new Washington Park Transportation Association once it is formed.
The City is compiling all comments and will submit them to the new Washington Park Transportation Association once it is formed.