The Port’s new waterfront parking management plan created a major change on the Hood River Waterfront this past summer, and results show it was successful in increasing parking turnover in congested parking areas during peak summer months. The new parking plan began in early June to more effectively manage limited parking on Port-owned streets, encourage off-street parking for longer visits, and generate new revenue for parks.
After an extensive public information campaign touting the “Park for Parks” slogan, the Port shared comprehensive information on new parking kiosks and fee schedules, parking pay-station locations and methods of payment. Parking zone signage was installed in late May, and parking enforcement personnel trained in early June. Port parking kiosks and schedules differ slightly from the City of Hood River’s paid parking program. The Port’s Waterfront parking plan accepts only credit or debit card payments that correspond with vehicle license plate numbers and collects parking fees from 9:00 a.m. – 8:00 p.m. seven days a week, including holidays. Payments may also be made on the free to download “Way To Park” app, which sends alerts and can be used remotely to extend time.
As with any new parking program, implementation was not seamless. Parking is enforced by officers scanning license plate numbers to check payments. Some glitches involved patrons entering incorrect license plate numbers or issues with parking enforcement handheld devices. The Port worked with providers Duncan Solutions, CivicSmart, and Cale America to resolve issues and saw a marked decrease in ticket disputes during the later months of the summer. Look-up functions for parking fines and disputes are available at portofhoodriver.com – just click the link “PARKING.”
With higher rates of turnover, more parking spaces were generally available to the public in high-demand locations during peak times, and a new revenue stream was developed for ongoing maintenance, operations and improvements on Port-owned recreation areas and open spaces.
Gross receipts from June-October were approximately $58,971, with a total of 19,464 transactions. By far the busiest location was at the east end of Portway Avenue, where the kiosk serves angled parking on east Portway and the Event Site overflow parking on Lot 1. That kiosk had 2,973 transactions for the year with a total of $10,804 collected. A close second was the other east Portway kiosk, located just to the west with $8,738.26 in total payments. At press time, the Way to Park app was showing limited adoption, with only 309 transactions processed via the app totaling $854.24 for the whole summer. Receipts do not include penalties, which average around $150 per day combined.
Peak season rates in high use areas was 1.75/hour with 4-hour maximums, and in lower use areas 1.00/hour with 8-hour maximums.
“Port-owned parks, open spaces, and ramps were built primarily with grant funding but it’s rare to find grant funding for ongoing operation and maintenance,” explained Genevieve Scholl, Port Communications & Special Projects Manager. “Now that the parks are built and in use, it’s important for them to be self-sustaining. Paid parking is one way to achieve that. The expectation is that there will be positive future benefits by not only better managing parking, but by also generating revenue to operate and improve the Port’s parks.”
The Waterfront Parking Plan also addresses truck/trailer parking on west Portway Ave. between 8th Street and The Hook. This area, designated as “Zone 6,” limits parking of passenger vehicles due to the high use for truck trailer parking and associated concerns. Parking agreements have been made with trucking companies to pay monthly fees to continue to utilize the area.
Parking on City-owned streets remained free this past summer, however, the City installed 3-hour maximum parking signs on Portway in front of Waterfront Park.