Reduced Rate Swing Shift Pass for SmartPark Garages to Provide Improved Access for Low-Income Downtown Workers
A new Reduced Rate Swing Shift Pass Program for the City of Portland Bureau of Transportation’s SmartPark Garages starts on April 1, 2016. The new parking pass will give people with an annual income of less than $35,000 and who work a swing and/or evening shift a reduced rate at SmartPark Garages between 3 p.m. and 7 a.m.
The new reduced rate is $35 per month and will apply at all SmartPark Garages except for the O’Bryant Square Garage, which is closed in the evenings. The non-reduced swing-shift rate ranges between $90 and $100 per month.
The Reduced Rate Swing Shift pass is a direct response to stakeholder concerns about the impact of new downtown on-street parking rates on lower-income workers. On February 1, 2016, the City increased the on-street parking rate in Downtown from $1.60 to $2.00 per hour. During the discussion of this increase, stakeholders focused attention on how this increase could negatively affect downtown employees earning low wages, working swing or evening shifts and who are not well served by available transit options. To mitigate this impact, the SmartPark Program developed the new monthly pass. The program will provide a reasonable, low-cost option to lower income workers while leaving readily accessible on-street parking spaces available for evening customers and visitors.
“When I learned from the Committee that on-street parking occupancy had reached 95% in some areas of the Central City, I agreed that something needed to be done,” said Commissioner Steve Novick. “During this process, committee members asked PBOT to consider the effect on workers earning low wages and working swing and evening shifts. This new monthly pass shows the importance of an effective committee.”
Said PBOT Director Leah Treat, “As our city grows and parking demands increase, we must ensure that the needs of all Portlanders are taken into account. This new program creates additional flexibility for downtown Portland parking, while supporting the employees who are so important to our city’s economy.”
“Folks that work downtown doing janitorial and similar work simply can’t afford the cost of parking on the low wages we make. It costs us over $100 per month, which is more than any of us can afford. I personally have had to pay over $5000 in parking costs, just to be able to work!” said Joe Huggins, Lead Janitor for ABM Janitorial at the Pittock Block and Member of SEIU 49. “Increasing the cost of parking again could have been a real hardship. I appreciate the city officials working with us to make this pass a reality. It is encouraging to see our City stepping up and doing the right thing for low wage workers across Portland.”
A downloadable application for the Reduced Rate Swing Shift Pass Program can be found on the City’s SmartPark website under “Monthly Parking”. Applications can also be obtained by visiting the Portland Bureau of Transportation offices at 1120 SW 5th Ave, Suite 800; or by contacting the City’s contracted parking garage operator, Central Parking, at 503.790.9302 ext. 111 or by email.