PORTLAND, Maine — All advised, amongst road-side spaces and multi-story garages, the city boasts somewhere close to 15,000 downtown parking areas.
Nonetheless, lots of have a two-hour limit and nearly none are free, generating them a lot less than excellent for individuals performing all day in Portland.
But a software administered by the Portland Downtown business association and funded by City Hall is aiming to support low-wage earners by providing free parking, up to six hrs a day, when doing work their shifts.
The subsidized parking plan has run for the better portion of a decade but is not properly regarded. Only a handful of people today now make use of it just about every month. That’s why Portland Downtown is generating a press this thirty day period to enable folks in on the key.
“Our purpose is to help reduced-wage downtown staff,” mentioned Portland Downtown Government Director Cary Tyson.
Portland Downtown enterprise and neighborhood growth nonprofit funded as a result of an added tax evaluation paid by home proprietors within just the downtown district overlay zone.
The automobile-stowing method, recognized as “Park and Operate,” is open to downtown personnel generating considerably less than fifty percent the local median profits as outlined by federal Housing and City Development suggestions.
This calendar year, in Portland, the median, 4-particular person loved ones residence profits is $112,700. To qualify for the parking method, a equivalent household needs to make significantly less than $55,850 for every calendar year. A one worker would require to make fewer than $39,100 for each 12 months to qualify.
Portland’s latest hourly minimal wage is $13. A one particular person, creating that wage, 40 hrs a week, for a 12 months, helps make $27,040, effectively under the threshold for the method.
When skilled, personnel or their employers can obtain stamps applied in lieu of cash at town-owned parking garages on Spring Street and Elm Avenue.
Each individual stamp is excellent for 3 hours of parking and they arrive in guides of 48. Entire stamp books charge $100 and are good for 144 hours of overall parking time.
The hourly parking rate at equally the Spring Avenue and Elm Road garages not long ago increased from $2.50 per hour to $3 for each hour.
Devoid of the stamps, 144 several hours of parking arrives in at $432. That’s a $332 cost savings from the common cost — or can be believed of as 110.6 hours of cost-free parking.
Employees might only use two stamps for every day, even so. If their shifts are more time than six hours, they’ll continue to will need to fork more than some of their wages to park a vehicle.
The stamp publications can be acquired with exact modify or by test only at the Portland Downtown places of work at 549 Congress St. To get skilled, businesses should get in touch with Portland Downtown and vouch for their employees’ wage and business enterprise spot.
That is it.
“We have not had any individual abuse it as of nonetheless,” Tyson mentioned. “Just get in touch with me or the team here.”
Tyson mentioned he’s not certain how lengthy the software has been running, but it predates his tenure at Portland Downtown, which began five several years back. He estimates only 20 to 30 people today for each thirty day period are now utilizing the system.
“It’s not a ton, and we’d like to see more,” Tyson said.
He admits that the plan is a tad cumbersome but believes it’s well well worth the exertion.
Tyson also suspects much more folks will commence to use the system as the number of out there on-road parking spots shrink with the return of tourism in a post-pandemic Portland.
He stated he’s informed some persons are hesitant to use a parking garage that’s not shut to their workplace, generating a sizeable walk.
“That’s much more of a going for walks trouble than a parking dilemma,” he said, “but it is a good way to get our actions in.”