Oregon State University presented its new zonal parking plan to the Corvallis City Council Monday evening. The proposal, which would take effect Sept. 15, would get rid of student and staff parking permits and replace them with zone passes. Students and staff could purchase a zone permit to park closer to campus – which could cost up to $550 – but they would be more likely to find a parking spot.
The cheapest parking passes would cost $100 for outside zone areas. OSU says it would help spread out where drivers park and would promote students to take public transportation or ride their bikes to campus. Right now, the University says thousands of spaces on the periphery of campus are unused.
“What this really allows people to do is choose where they would like to park,” said Steve Clark, Vice President of University Relations and Marketing. “Some people may only be interested in parking in one area of campus. And this way they will be more likely to find a parking space.”
However, concerned residents say more students will look to park off campus in surrounding neighborhoods if permit prices increase.
“It destroys convenience for a lot of people, particularly people who do not have as much income and cannot afford the higher level parking places,” said Elaine Cull, who lives near campus.
Cull is also worried that the plan disconnects the University from the public.
“People like me – older people like me – cannot get to central campus to watch concerts, or to go to the craft center, or to go to the library – all of these things that are central to us,” she said. “And we’re kind of cut off from that.”
Councilors expressed concern about the cost of the parking permits, as well as the accessibility to campus for anyone who is handicapped. However, councilors praised the University for discussing the plan with them and for encouraging the use of public transportation. Several councilors also said the plan would only work as long as the city is able to implement some sort of residential parking district plan to compliment it. The Urban Services Committee will meet Tuesday to discuss its latest developments.
The University will announce its revised parking plan this week, then will reach out to the community for a second round of input.