City Parking – how to make the most out of the space we’ve got

City Parking

I heard of the term “city parking” years ago. What it means is that in most situations, you pull your car up forward as far as it will go – leaving some room between you and the car in front or a driveway. And then the person who parks behind you does the same. This can lead to a lot less parallel parking and a better use of space.Surveys - Belmont Dairy Building

I tried to find something on this online, but have not succeeded – if anyone has a better resource than my simple explanation, please post it here 🙂

Given that we’re growing by 112 people a day in Portland, Oregon (Lynn Peterson, candidate for Metro Council President mentioned this in a speech the other day) – figuring out how to park more efficiently will save us all time/energy/frustration. Give this a try and see what you think.

And – I just figured out the best reason to pull forward all the way: it makes YOUR life easier when you continue driving! Pulling out with no car in front of you is way easier than pulling out with a car in front of you!

I did find this article which has some other ideas possibly worth thinking about.

Cruising around the block to find an open parking space can contribute to as much as twenty-five percent of the congestion, so there is recognition now that if you manage your curb space more efficiently, then you’ll manage your street congestion more efficiently,” says Soumya S. Dey, director of research and technology transfer at the District Department of Transportation (DDOT).”

After posting this on Nextdoor, I got some interesting responses which leads me to think that I should have included in my explanation what not to do:

1. don’t leave a lot of space between you and the car in front of you
2. don’t park in the middle of a block when there are no other cars there – pull up as far as you can to the intersection
3. don’t pull back to the beginning of a block (not sure how to best describe that in urban planning/parking terms)

And, BONUS POINTS for parking close to the curb! 

Right: - pulling up as far forward as possible

Right: – pulling up as far forward as possible

Wrong = not pulling far enough forward

Wrong = not pulling far enough forward

Wrong = not pulling far enough forward

Wrong = not pulling far enough forward


The World Naked Bike Ride

I got to take part in the World Naked Bike Ride last night in Portland, Oregon. I am so thankful to live in a place that allows/encourages such an event. It was the closest I’ve come to having a feeling of being at Burning Man outside of being at Burning Man that I’ve ever felt. Freedom, silliness, purpose, making new friends, fun costumes, and the streets were blocked off for miles to allow the parade of 20K bikers to pass by. There were fans lining the streets, taking pictures and cheering us on. The weather was kind of tropical with low clouds keeping in the heat from a hot day. I love taking over the streets, there’s really nothing like it. Also, big props to my friend, Alex, who brought along a mobile music unit, the chaosolator! Made the ride even more fun! I encourage you to find out more about the various rides that are going on during the Pedalpalooza event. Thanks so much to Shift2Bikes for their organizational efforts and, see you next year!


While in Seattle recently for the Green Festival, I ran into the great folks from – a group in Seattle doing great things.  I signed up for my undriving license, got my photo taken and ended up with this cool undriving license I carry around with me.  I’m trying to bring them to Portland for the last Portland Sunday Bike Parkways, 9/26 in NW Portland.  If this sounds interesting to you, please get in touch.  I’m mainly looking for some sponsorship, and I would be glad to share with you all that I have done so far – we have power, a location, canopies, some volunteers, tables, and they’ll come if they can get some $upport!  Let me know!

Photo gallery:

Note from Mike in Seattle to encourage us:

UNDRIVING’s innovative UNDRIVER LICENSE STATION has proven to be “the”
popular draw at over 45 events in Washington over the last three years.
We issue personalized UNDRIVER LICENSES (over 5,000 at last count) on the
spot to people for making a pledge to reduce their car use, or car use on
the planet, over the coming month.

But what’s really grabbing everyone’s attention is the incredible follow
through of new UNDRIVERS.  Our event surveys consistently show that over
90% of new UNDRIVERS follow through on their pledge, and over 70% develop
a new lasting transportation habit beyond the pledge month! And we’re
documenting some incredible stories of people who got their UNDRIVER
LICENSE and what then followed for them; nothing short of phenomenal. In
fact, we recently received a grant in conjunction with the UW Digital
Media Lab to produce 5-7 video stories of new UNDRIVERS.  We’re in
production now and will be completed in September.

Transportation agencies like InterCity Transit in Olympia, TDM dept’s of
cities like The City of Redmond, WA, neighborhood groups, schools, large
employers like American Medical Response, etc. see that having the
UNDRIVER LICENSING STATION engages their event audience, and also the
benefit of cooperatively tying in UNDRIVING to stimulate participation in
their own trip-reduction programs.

We are a non-profit corporation in the State of Washington, and have been
working towards becoming our own 501c3 for some time. One of our board
members, Cindy Butler, who has taken other non-profits through this
process, has been leading the charge on this and we are in fact close to
having a completed application to submit, meanwhile, we’ve been using
Urban Sparks as our fiscal sponsor.

As we build our organization and it’s fundraising ability, we’ve been
relying mostly on station appearances to fund the program and related
costs, equipment and supplies used to make the licenses, etc.  To come to
Portland we have additional travel costs as well (which we are already
working on creative solutions to), anyway, it’s much more than just
setting up a table with brochures!

This organization’s current goal is to create a more turnkey licensing
station, in order to respond to requests we are getting from outside the
Northwest to replicate what we are doing here. As I mentioned to Albert,
we hope to have the new licensing station for the September Parkways
event, should our participation pan out.

Many of our station appearances have been fully funded by the event host,
in others it’s been combinations of sponsorships from event host,
transportation agencies, neighborhood groups, local businesses, etc. and
on-site donations. So we are looking to get sponsored to come down there,
but at the same time, we want to unleash UNDRIVING on Portland!! Let’s

P.S. It’d be really a great move if you can get TriMet involved as we do
here with King County Metro (they give us “free-ride” bus tickets, each
new UNDRIVER gets 6).  If you can get something similar going with them
it’s a great incentive for getting potential new UNDRIVERS engaged.

Undriving on Facebook

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