The Portland Timbers'
first home game in a PGE Park
revamped for the team's Major League Soccer debut season is less than three months away. And the Timbers are expecting a big crowd
that night (April 14) and for the rest of their home games. But that all raises the question for stadium neighbors about where those many thousands of fans will park.
This morning, the Northwest District Association
held a public meeting to voice their concerns. So far, PGE Park and City of Portland Parking Management
have come up with several ideas they hope will lower the parking impact in the areas surrounding the stadium.
PGE Park is giving Timbers ticket-holders options to help curb parking overload. Those options vary from all-day, all zone TriMet and Smart Park passes, to charity donations for fans who walk. Officials hope those incentives will help soccer fans think twice before driving to the game.
But with current parking restrictions hovering at 90 minutes, stadium neighbors worry that some fans will "chance it" and try to park close by the stadium for a game. Residents say they would like to see the zone boundaries expanded, with shorter time limits. The NWDA is recommending one-hour parking limits, stricter residency checks for parking permits and more parking enforcement.
"Don't drive here and don't plan to park on the street." said NWDA president Ron Walters.
No real decisions were made today. And neighbors hoping for PGE Park to be included in a TriMet free-rail zone were sorely disappointed.
"It's an economic problem for TriMet," said Ellis McCoy
, head of the City of Portland's parking program. "Typically parking residency programs are paid for by the residents. Sometimes general funding. The city would have to pick up any additional costs and there is no plan in place for this."
The zone modifications for the stadium-area's Zone A and L have been a temporary fix for 10 years. Residents like Tony Cadena say the city is unprepared and he thinks the program should be able to pay for itself through parking violations.
"I think its unfair to say we haven't thought about the parking impact." argued McCoy."We have. We've focused on alternative transportation to parking. We're also willing to implement changes as necessary."
To view the proposed zone changes and/or leave comments see the NWDA's website
and click the parking link.