ODOT proposes fees for Gorge waterfall corridor

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xrp
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Re: ODOT proposes fees for Gorge waterfall corridor

Post by xrp » December 25th, 2018, 1:40 pm

retired jerry wrote:
December 20th, 2018, 12:42 pm
Let people know when it's over crowded so they can go somewhere else

You could have alternate parking and transit to trailheads. Or transit from regular Portland mass transit. At some point there are so many hikers it's difficult.
How would you let people know when it is over crowded? People go somewhere else when they get there and find the parking lots full.

Or maybe people could carpool.

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retired jerry
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Re: ODOT proposes fees for Gorge waterfall corridor

Post by retired jerry » December 25th, 2018, 2:29 pm

how would you let people know?

keep track of which times it's over crowded and let the media know so they can communicate, they could put it on their website,... It may be sufficient to just say if it's a summer weekend it's going to be crowded.

develop more areas - parking, trails. If it's a summer weekend it'll be more like an urban experience but that can be fun too.

I'll agree MAX isn't really the best idea. The only way to make that work financially is when there are lots of people commuting to work every day. I think they already have a shuttle that goes from the MAX terminal to Hood River with several stops.

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Splintercat
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Re: ODOT proposes fees for Gorge waterfall corridor

Post by Splintercat » December 25th, 2018, 7:50 pm

Nat said:
Because all these strategies - timed parking, variable rates, reservation systems, "revenue generation" - were proposed by Tom Kloster in a 2016 blog post. I think many of us here would like to know what role TKO played in these ODOT proposals.
These are all basic tools for managing parking and congestion and are being used elsewhere in the country where overuse and crowding has become unmanageable and destructive. While I'd LIKE to think ODOT is hanging on every word I post in my blog :D, they really just came to the same conclusion via their consultants who looked at the same examples elsewhere in the country. The real news is that they're taking a serious look at tackling the problem, not so much the tools, themselves, which are very standard in transportation planning. And as John and Cheryl have already mentioned, the TKO board has not taken a position. I will certainly be advocating in support of something more than status quo for the HCRH (see my blog!), but I'm just one vote among 12 people serving on the board.

While TKO was on ODOT's radar enough to include us in their "stakeholder" workshop, fact is that the Historic Columbia River Highway Advisory Committee will have far more sway on whatever happens than any of the stakeholders out there, including TKO. If you're passionate about the issue, you should definitely plug in to that ODOT committee of appointed citizens:

https://www.oregon.gov/ODOT/Regions/Pag ... ittee.aspx

One thing I have read in this thread and on a couple of posts on the TKO Facebook page is an assertion that ODOT attributed support for a particular parking policy on the HCRH to TKO. Unless I missed something, the only reference I've seen is to a generic "stakeholders", and indeed, many of the non-profits that participated in the early scenario-framing workshops did encourage ODOT to look at solutions to the current weekend/holiday crush that are working elsewhere among the scenarios to be tested. That's the whole point of the ODOT study -- to explore some alternatives to simply doing nothing. That's good science and they should be commended for taking the lead. It doesn't mean they will choose a particular option (and again, unless I've missed something, they have not proposed anything beyond some pilot projects to test different approaches), it just means they are trying to make a decision based on the best facts and practices available.

BTW, I've not been tracking this very closely since the scenario-scoping workshops last spring, mostly due to lack of time due to some family demands -- wish I could, but I really don't have the time. So, I'd encourage folks who have the time and passion to dig and and post what you learn here!

BTW, if you haven't made your year-end donation to support TKO and become a member, now is a great time! See the buttons at the top of your screen -- that's how we keep this forum up and running!

Tom :-)

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Guy
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Re: ODOT proposes fees for Gorge waterfall corridor

Post by Guy » December 25th, 2018, 8:51 pm

These are all basic tools for managing parking and congestion and are being used elsewhere in the country where overuse and crowding has become unmanageable and destructive.
Yes the Gorge Western Gorge is busy on weekends and during the Summer months. It's not busy a majority of the time. After the Western Gorge opened up again we had no problem parking at Multnomah Falls 3 weekends in a row. Before the closure we used to do midweek evening hikes from the most popular trailheads in the Gorge. Parking was never an issue. I've never gone for a hike in the Gorge and not been able to park is a designated Parking spot. True I know better than to show up at 12:00 on a Saturday!

So I guess I disagree with the premise that over use and crowding have become unmanageable and destructive in the Gorge.

I'd like to believe it when agencies like ODOT say they are only looking into alternatives but all to often we see that the writing is already on the walls and the investigation is little more than lip service. (Re the USFS Central Cascades plan as an example).
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Bosterson
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Re: ODOT proposes fees for Gorge waterfall corridor

Post by Bosterson » December 25th, 2018, 8:56 pm

Hi Tom,

Please note my question was asked prior to John and Cheryl responding about TKO's (non) position in this. (Previously John had only said he hadn't heard about it, and no one else from TKO has responded yet.) Given the similarities between your blog post and ODOT's proposal, and their unqualified reference to TKO being involved, it seemed like a fair question, especially considering that no one here had heard about this proposal until right before the comment period ended. I don't know what else is happening on Facebook because I don't use it, but thanks for clearing things up here.
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Re: ODOT proposes fees for Gorge waterfall corridor

Post by romann » December 25th, 2018, 11:49 pm

:? ??

At first this news seemed like a joke or something. We just talked about the possibility in another thread less than 2 weeks ago, and now this..

Isn't just enforcing parking rules sufficient to limit crowds? There's not a lot of legal parking available at Historic Hwy, if they prevent "overflow" parking on the shoulder. So many other ways to "fix" it without charging a fee. And why's this assumption that crowds are a problem (I mean.. if you want quiet on the trail, just go extra mile or two - so easy).

Agree with other posters here, it looks like another tiered access system in the making - it wouldn't discriminate in word, but will price out most of us. Either that, or "bureaucracy breeds more bureaucracy" - someone out there will be promoted to manage new fee system - I don't think this new job will be posted on head-hunting sites for $15 an hour.

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Re: ODOT proposes fees for Gorge waterfall corridor

Post by Splintercat » December 26th, 2018, 8:29 pm

Thanks for pointing that out, Nat -- apologies for not tracking the sequence!

Responding to Roman -- and again, this is my opinion, alone -- the Gorge management is very fractured, so while I think there's a good chance that ODOT will try to address congestion and parking problems along the HCRH in the Waterfall Alley section where ODOT operates the right-of-way, but most trailheads and parking in the Gorge are operated by the U.S. Forest Service and Oregon State Parks. That's why it's such a crazy quilt now, with NW Forest Passes required at some USFS trails but not others and some State Parks have a use fee while others are free. A coordinated plan across these agencies would take all three entering some sort of agreement to work together -- and throw in Washington Dept. of Ecology if you want to extend to the Washington side. In other words, it's a big lift and any changes are likely to be very gradual, despite the crowding and impacts.

Most here know that I'm a transportation planner in my day job, so with that in mind, I thought I'd offer a couple of thoughts for those tracking the ODOT proposal, just for context. The first is that ODOT is trying to serve all visitors to the Gorge using their facility, not just hikers. So if you look at the parking areas at Wahkeena and Multnomah Falls, in particular, hikers tend to consume a lot more of the parking spaces per/capita as measured in time. Most visitors make a short stop (30 minutes, maybe an hour) while hikers are likely to fill spot for several hours or even a whole day. If you were to ask me to figure out a plan to serve both user types at Multnomah Falls, I would put a de-escacalting Friday-Sunday price (let's say $2 for the first hour, $0.50 for each hour beyond that) on a set number of 8-hour spots located away from the Lodge and simply put 1 and 2 hour timed limits on the rest of the parking lot (1 hour closest to the lodge, followed by a ring of 2-hour spots, then the long-term spaces). That would force some turnover of timed spots for the tourists but also ensure that hikers have a few paid spots open on busy weekends. It would also encourage hikers to park in the less convenient, long-term spaces even when the meters are off, since the timed 1 and 2 hours spaces for tourists would still be in effect. That's just an example to describe some of the dynamics that ODOT is trying to sort through.

The other thought I would put out there is that any sort of actual pricing on parking in the Gorge is likely to be a money-loser for ODOT. It costs money to administer meters, so while the City of Portland has enough meters to benefit from economic of scale in operating them (and enough demand to have fairly hefty parking rates), the number of trailheads that ODOT manages parking for in the Gorge is really unlikely to generate more than what it might cost to actually run the system -- with the goal being to spread out demand and reduce impacts on the Gorge, not raise money.

A couple folks have mentioned equity, and that's a major concern for any public agency putting limitations on access. That's why timed, free spaces are the safest way to begin managing parking, whether in the Gorge or in an urban area that is currently unmanaged. But even if meters were added to a place like Multnomah Falls, the cost of parking is still very small compared to the overall cost of simply getting to the Gorge (owning or renting a car, buying gas, buying overpriced coffee somewhere along your trip). This is why a meaningful transit option is such a good equity strategy, as it allows anyone to access the Gorge with very low overall cost. It's not a perfect solution, but actually removes some of the barriers that already exist for many who might otherwise want to visit the Gorge.

Okay... enough opining for now... ;-)

Tom :-)

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Re: ODOT proposes fees for Gorge waterfall corridor

Post by Peabody » December 27th, 2018, 7:21 am

Or you could just add more parking.................

Government builds it (with our tax dollars) and then goes away. No fees, fines, or complicated make work.

Here's my plan, took about 10 minutes to put together and adds 100 parking spots. I've named the concept the "Peabody Parking Expansion Plan" P-PEP for short. The plan is free for anyone to use as long as they call it P-PEP :D
Multnomah parking lot.jpg
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Guy
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Re: ODOT proposes fees for Gorge waterfall corridor

Post by Guy » December 27th, 2018, 8:07 am

A few thoughts on the Equity part of this.

Demand is so high that if pay for parking is introduced it will still be maxed out as often as it is now but Revenue will be collected 5 -15 million dollars in the current ODOT report.

It's true ODOT or whatever Government agency is put in charge of running the parking scheme will manage to loose money on it, necessitating fee increases over time.

It's not just a question of equity in being able to afford to park. It's a transfer of money from the the private to the public sector. Less people will be able to buy a coffee or a sandwich during the day because of the parking fee. I'd argue that buying the coffee does more good than paying into a money loosing government parking scheme.

If an all day hike from anywhere between The Womans Forum and Ainsworth will come with a $15.00 parking fee then that will affect the number of people who can afford who are willing to pay. Reducing the number of hikers on these trails. Perhaps that's viewed as a side benefit by some people / agencies (not me).

Too show I'm not without compromise though, I would support turning the Parking lot next to the Multnomah Falls Lodge into free short term only parking. Forcing hikers to use the freeway lot.

Also another vote for the P-PEP plan :)
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retired jerry
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Re: ODOT proposes fees for Gorge waterfall corridor

Post by retired jerry » December 27th, 2018, 8:17 am

Good ideas

Also, you need more parking than that. Maybe Rooster Rock or Sandy River Delta. Shuttle along HCRH.

If there was better security, maybe hikers would prefer to park there.

Fee for parking would discourage users, but then where will we go? Better to have an alternative that attracts users away from congested areas.

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