CORVALLIS, Ore. – Parking around Oregon State University’s campus has been a controversial topic for years: neighbors have been speaking out, saying students, staff, and faculty are taking up their on-street parking. But on Monday night, the Corvallis City Council passed a new parking district plan that will restrict more drivers from parking around campus for free all day.
Corvallis currently has three parking districts, but come September, will have seven.
Kelly Tharp was raised in her family home on NW 28th Street. Now, 62 years later, she is still in the same house and has seen changes in the neighborhood over time.
“Before this was a parking district, you never, ever found a parking spot anywhere on the street,” she said. “The kids would come and park all day.”
Thirty-two years ago, her neighborhood became one of the city’s first parking districts, where today, drivers can park for two hours unless they have a parking permit.
“For us it did wonders,” Tharp said. “We kind of got our street back.”
Starting Sept. 1, more neighborhoods will see similar changes, and drivers will not see as many all-day free parking zones around campus once the ordinance goes into effect.
“It’s frustrating and I wish they had more parking for students and faculty on campus or close to campus,” said OSU Instructor Michelle Huillet.
Huillet says she tries to walk to campus as much as possible, but other days she needs to drive because of her schedule.
“I don’t purchase the faculty parking pass,” she said. “I think they’re too expensive, particularly when there’s not a guarantee that you’ll even find a parking spot.”
Next year OSU will have parking zones, allowing drivers to select where on campus they would like to park. The campus is encouraging more students, faculty, and staff to take alternative modes of transportation to campus, or to park in the outer zones and take the free OSU shuttle around campus. But some argue that the passes are still too pricey, ranging from $95-495.
“I definitely would probably not even consider purchasing a parking permit for one of those zones,” Huillet said.
But neighbors say the districts free up their streets – allowing them more freedom, even just to have guests over.
“Since enactment of the parking district it’s actually been much better,” Tharp said.
Residents can only purchase so many permits depending on their housing situation. In general, each house is allowed to purchase two $20 annual permits, and any additional kitchen is allowed another permit. Residents are also allowed to purchase an additional reusable guest parking pass, also $20, which is valid year-round.
Employers in the districts are allowed to purchase permits for their employees as well, which cost $100 each.
The parking districts also include three “hot spot” areas, where drivers will only be able to park if they have a permit.
To see a copy of the ordinance with a list of all areas that fall under the district plan, click here.