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Possible Car Ban on OSU Campus

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CORVALLIS, Ore. – As Oregon State University’s enrollment numbers are increasing, community members are expressing concern about the population growth in Corvallis and the increase in traffic.

So what about a car ban?

Oregon State University says within the next ten years, it expects last year’s approximate 23,000 student population to increase to 28,000. The growth in student enrollment means more off-campus housing and more traffic. According to Steve Clark, Vice President of OSU Relations and Marketing, the Corvallis Collaboration Parking and Traffic committee has been working for the last year and a half to evaluate community recommendations to improve parking conditions in Corvallis neighborhoods surrounding the campus.

“I believe the committee will continue to do research first, to see if OSU should enact the ban in the future if other solutions to minimizing traffic and parking impacts do not provide the benefits that are intended,” Clark said.

Clark says if there were to be a ban, it would not happen for at least a year. He says before the Collaboration Corvallis group even officially recommends a ban to OSU, the committee will continue to do research on other campuses around the nation that have car bans, such as Stanford University. He says the research is important to compare to the environment in Corvallis, where there may not be the same amount of public transportation available, or where more students work off-campus or visit their families out of town.

“We have to be very mindful of the impact that a ban on freshmen bringing cars to campus will have,” Clark said.

One student says as a freshman, she did not have a car, and neither did her roommate.

“Her boyfriend lived in Eugene, so they would take the Greyhound back and forth to see each other,” said OSU senior Amber Newman.

Newman says she lived on campus her freshman year, and did not work off campus. She says she was able to get by without a vehicle. Freshmen are now required to live on campus their first year. Newman says she thinks OSU should discourage freshmen from bringing cars, but not necessarily enact a ban.

“I don’t think it’s absolutely necessary to have a car, but it would be nice for the people who are working other places other than campus,” she said.

Oregon State says it is also looking at public transportation access around Corvallis, to Linn-Benton Community College, and around the state. At the same time, the University says it has to think about other situations as well.

“My other roommate didn’t work but she just had a car to go around town,” Newman said. “And she was from Washington, so she would drive to Washington.”

The Collaboration Corvallis Parking and Traffic Workgroup is meeting Tuesday at 5:30 pm at Osborn Aquatic Center. The public is invited to attend and share comments.

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