There's good news and bad news in a recently completed 37-page report on the traffic impacts of Portland's wildly popular pro soccer teams, the Portland Timbers and Thorns.
The Timbers sell out every game and the Thorns are by far the biggest draw in the National Women's Soccer League. The teams' popularity caused ownership in 2019 to expand the number of seats from 21,144 to 25,218.
As part of a good-neighbor agreement with nearby homeowners and businesses, Peregrine Sports, which owns the teams, presents an annual traffic management report to City Council. That presentation is scheduled for Feb. 26 but the report is available now.
First, the good news: A significantly smaller share of fans drive to games than officials had anticipated.
The bad news, for surrounding neighbors and businesses: A lot more of those who did drive used on-street parking than officials expected.
"Overall, 2,028 fewer fans drove to games than the [Comprehensive Transportation Management Plan] 2019 target," the report says. "However, more vehicles parked on-street in 2019, missing the target by 308 cars."
In other words, the games brought a lot fewer vehicles to the neighborhood than expected—eight percentage points fewer—but the drivers who came chose on-street parking rather than nearby garages and off-street lots.
"Many fans do not use off-street facilities because they do not know there are available spaces, or they are not allowed to park there," the report concluded. "More work is needed to shift driving fans away from neighborhood streets to underutilized off-street parking."
Here's a graphical representation from the report: