Portland council changes parking rules on Crescent, Dow and Gilman streets

The Portland City Council Monday night approved schedule changes that shift on-street parking from the left side of the street to the right side on a group of three narrow one-way streets, but not before fielding concerns from some potentially affected property owners and peeling May, Burnham and Cherry streets from the list for various reasons.

Left on the list to be changed by the parking schedule amendment are Crescent, Dow and Gilman streets, where the Transportation Committee and city staff argue moving parking to the right side allows drivers to “park closer to the snow banks and, therefore, maximize the useful width of these streets” for emergency vehicles and plow trucks.

Originally, six streets were proposed by the committee for parking side swaps, but four May Street property owners turned out at Monday night’s council meeting to argue the move doesn’t make sense on their street, where all but one of the driveways on the street are on the left side. One woman said her property does not have a driveway, and moving parked cars to the right side of the road would effectively cut her building off from fire trucks or ambulances if a situation came up in which they would need to pull up close.

So the council unanimously voted to pull May Street off the list. Michael Bobinsky, the city’s director of public services, said Cherry Street is not a one-way street, and should be pulled from the list because the circumstances in question don’t apply to it.

And Councilor Ed Suslovic called for Burnham Street to pulled from the list because it is wider and currently parking occurs on both sides of the street.

The council narrowly approved Suslovic’s amendment, 4-3, with Mayor Michael Brennan and councilors Nicholas Mavodones and John Coyne voting against the motion on the principle that if the list was just going to be whittled down street-by-street by their fellow councilors, they might as well send the whole issue back to the Transportation Committee for review.

But Suslovic, David Marshall, John Anton and Transportation Committee chairman Kevin Donoghue voted to support the Burnham Street amendment, and the rest of the council fell in line for a unanimous vote in favor of the changes as amended.

Seth Koenig

About Seth Koenig

Seth has nearly a decade of professional journalism experience and writes about the greater Portland region.