Bend▶️ Bend City Council proposes eliminating off-street parking requirements

▶️ Bend City Council proposes eliminating off-street parking requirements

▶️ Bend City Council proposes eliminating off-street parking requirements

▶️ Bend City Council proposes eliminating off street parking requirements

How much parking should developers be required to install in new developments inside the Urban Growth Boundary? None, if a Bend City Council proposal passes muster.

This week, the council held a first reading on a proposal to do away with minimum parking requirements for new developments.

The theory is that will reduce the cost of new housing, reduce vehicle emissions and encourage walkable communities.

We asked how the council thinks that’s supposed to work.

“When we require a certain amount of it to be parking with arbitrary mandates, that’s taking away space that could be used for housing,” said Mayor Melanie Kebler. “Maybe space to save a tree or provide an amenity for that housing development. What we are doing is offering flexibility so developments can be more focused on the people they are going to serve instead of just how many cars they need to fit on the lot.”

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Kebler says removing the minimum off-street parking requirement will allow for denser housing developments. She says that will encourage residents to walk where they need to go without using a car every time, which in turn should reduce emissions and traffic congestion. 

Kebler say one example is in the Old Bend neighborhood.

“Those were built before we had a development code or any of these parking minimum requirements. What you see is a really natural neighborhood that feels really great to walk around and to be in because its built for people first. That’s a lot of the idea. What are we building for? People who live here and people who need to live in houses, or focusing on car storage?”

People I spoke with expressed skepticism about the concept, given the amount of on-street parking congestion in parts of Bend where new development is occurring. 

“I think the response to that is to take the next step in a whole suite of parking lot reforms and say, yes, this is one thing to take away a parking requirement for off street parking. We also need to do things like we’ve done in the Old Bend neighborhood and have rules and regulations to help us manage curbside parking,” Kebler said.

“How long are they parking? Are they paying for it? That can help manage that congestion you see in some spots in town.”

A second reading of the proposal to eliminate minimum parking requirements will be held in February. If approved, it could take effect in March.

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