The ODOT proposal specifically cites "revenue generation" as one of the goals of this project. Implementing a system that loses money would be asinine (again!) if they're losing money to run a system that does nothing except increase demand (due to scarcity), as many of us have noted. If they simply want to limit the number of people who access the waterfall corridor, they simply have to redesign the roads and parking areas, limit available parking spaces (no more overflow parking on the shoulder!) and actually enforce existing parking laws. If the lot is full, you go elsewhere; if the lot requires a reservation, everyone reserves in advance for every day. Please see what has happened to the Enchantments.Splintercat wrote: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. ...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.
Guy, your "transfer of money" argument sounds like some fiscal conservative voodoo economics (the last few decades of this country have exemplified that effect in precisely the opposite direction, on a massive scale), however I agree with you that the size of the fee does not bear on the merits of the equity question. I have seen many people contend (including Tom in his 2016 blog post) that a "small" parking fee is harmless, that capital is already required to get to trails so adding on small fees doesn't matter, etc etc etc. As you note, every $5-15 someone spends on a parking fee is $5-15 they can't spend on something else, whether it's food, coffee (hello! Portland has many small coffee businesses that depend on your patronage to support their jobs!), or even saving for a rainy day.Guy wrote: ↑December 27th, 2018, 8:07 amA few thoughts on the Equity part of this.
...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 [losing] government parking scheme.
The argument that one already has to have a car and gas to get to the waterfall corridor is similarly spurious. People already own cars to commute to work, and even very low income people have cars. I do not think that someone who breaks their back for minimum wage in a service job could be thought of as being awash in disposable income simply because they own a car. Similarly, the gas argument also doesn't hold water: if you take Multnomah Falls as being 30 miles from Portland, and a car gets 25mpg, and gas is $3/gallon, that is a whopping $7 in gas round trip. One could argue the parking fee is similarly negligible, but at present a car is required to get to Multnomah Falls for most people (especially once you factor in time for those who can't wait around for public transportation) so the gas cost is a baseline requirement, whereas the parking fee is not.
If a movie costs $50 for the "family of four" demographic, a trip to Multnomah Falls (to see nature, which I think we all support) would therefore cost... $7. Once you add in a $5-15 parking fee, we're at $12-22. That difference matters to some people.
Also, recall the furor over the NWFP, which has a $30 annual pass option. Presumably there will not be an "annual" option for Gorge parking, so if you hypothetically go to the Gorge once every weekend for a year, that's $250 in parking fees if it costs $5. At $15 to park per trip, it's close to $800 per year - the cost of an annual gym membership, or an annual cell phone plan. Plenty of people would forego a gym membership because it costs too much, so if we want to ensure/encourage visitation to public and wild lands, shouldn't we be sure it's absolutely necessary before imposing that level of burden on the public? And as noted previously, we currently have other tools at our disposal.