Parking: The solution is not just up to the city

The idea of a thorough, methodical review of parking needs and practices in downtown Hood River is a great idea (story, page A1).

Tuesday morning, the day after City Council discussed addressing parking, two prime spots in front of City Hall were taken up by vehicles owned by city employees.

It should be acknowledged that they might only have been planning to park there briefly, but it points to the central factor in any resolution of the “Parking Issue” in downtown Hood River:

It’s not about geography, it’s about behavior.

It’s not about construction, it’s about choices.

The city is right to enlist interim city manager Ross Schultz in proposing a plan to monitor and document the use of on-street and off-street city-owned parking. A regular and continual method of recording when and where people park is a critical part of the solution, yet council members who asked for minimal staff commitment to the venture were also right.

There is no need to spend a lot of money on a solution that can involve literally hundreds of people all making small contributions.

We encourage the city to also look at its partners in doing a parking review:

n The merchants and their employees, who are major stakeholders

n The Chamber of Commerce as an organization, which provides outreach and education

n Property owners, including churches, with weekday space to spare,

n The County Transportation District, which is in the business of getting people from one place to another.

The fact is that at any given time, there are spaces that could be available in the downtown core, if people who own or work in businesses would free them up.

Granted, sometimes merchants need a car close at hand, that’s understood. But routine, long-term occupation of spaces next to their own business, or next to one of their neighbors’, is behavior every individual should assess for his or herself. (It’s also an issue on the Heights, though metered parking is limited to four spaces on 11th Street.)

Where one parks needs to be looked upon this way: what is the best use of a public resource that is intended for service to the general and commercial community welfare?

This is where organizations including the chamber can help: What are solutions the business community, and other downtown Hood River tenants and stakeholders, can work together on at the same time the city gears up to gather numbers and assess the overall picture?

It’s going to take a couple of years of data to develop future options, but things can be done in the meantime to ameliorate the situation.

Maximizing the parking situation is the city’s responsibility, but the community has a role.

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Parkdale third graders sing "12 Disaster Days of Christmas"

Welcome to your sing-able Christmas gift list. What follows is an emergency rendition of “12 Days of Christmas” – for outfitting your home or car in case of snow storm, earthquake, flood or other emergency. Read it as a simple list, or sing it to the tune of “12 Days” – you know, as in “ … and a partridge in a pear tree…” Not to make light of it, but the song is a familiar framework for a set of gift ideas that you could consider gathering together, even if the recipient already owns items such as a bunch of coats, tire chains and flashlights. Stores throughout the Gorge are stocked up on all these items. Buying all 12 days might be prohibitive, but here are three ideas for checking any of the dozen off your list (notations follow, 1-12.) The gift items needed to stay warm, dry and safe are also coded to suggest items in your abode (A) in your car (C) or both (B). 12 Gallons of Water (A) 11 Family meals (B) 10 Cans of propane (A) 9 Hygiene bags (B) 8 Packs of batteries (A) 7 Spare coats (B) 6 Bright red flares (C) 5 Cozy blankets (B) 4 Tire chains (C) 3 Flashlights (B) 2 cell phone chargers (B) 1 And a crush-proof first aid kit (B) Price ranges? Here’s a few quotes for days Three, Two, Four and Nine: n A family gift of flashlights (three will run $15-30, Hood River Supply, Tum-A-Lum) n Cell phone chargers (two will run $30-60) n Tire chains (basic set, $30, Les Schwab, returnable if unused for the winter) n Family meals ($100 or so should cover the basics for three or four reasonably well-fed days) n The home kit should be kept in a handy place near an exit, and remember that water needs to be replenished every few months. If you have a solid first aid kit already, switch out the gift idea with “and-a-sto-o-u-t- tub-for it-all …” Otherwise, it’s a case of assembling your home or car kits and making sure all members of the family know what the resources are and how to use them (ie flares and propane). Emergency situations are at worst life-threatening, at best deeply uncomfortable if you and your family are left without power for an extended period, or traveling and find yourself in a situation where you need to wait out a storm, lengthy traffic delay, or other crisis. Notes on the 12 gift ideas: 12 – Gallons of water: that’s one per person in a four-member family to last for three days, the recommended minimum to be prepared for utility outages. 11 – Easy-open packaged goods, energy bars, dried food and nuts are good things to include for nutrition. Think of what your family of four needs for three days to stay fortified and hydrated (see number 12). Can-opener also recommended 10 – If you have a propane camping stove, keep extra fuel handy. 9 – Hygiene bags: put packaged moistened towelettes, toilet paper, and plastic ties in large garbage bags (for personal sanitation) Resource list courtesy of Hood River County Emergency Management, Barbara Ayers, manager/ 541-386-1213. The county also reminds residents to Get a Kit, Make A Plan to connect your family if separated, and Stay Informed. See www.co.hood-river.or.us to opt-in for citizen alerts. Enlarge



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