University of Oregon students scramble to find available spots in residential areas
By: Emily Fraysse
While the Amazon Neighborhood looks like your average, perfect start-up family location with its many schools, parks, and play areas, there has been some disruption from the University of Oregon’s students parking habits. Amazon Neighborhood, located between 24th and 30th Ave. and Amazon Park to Agate Street, has been seeing an unusually high number of University of Oregon students parking in residential areas due to limited parking on campus. Students have been left searching elsewhere to park their cars and, consequentially, disrupting the nearby neighborhoods. The Amazon neighborhood residents discussed this pawning issue at the Amazon Committee meeting Wednesday night.
The Chair of Association, the Parking Services Manager for Eugene, the Director of Park & Transportation at the University of Oregon, the Assistant Director of Government and Community Relations at the University also showed up at the meeting to debate the issue and their next strategy.
Amazon neighbor Chris Walkup who lives in the heart of the parking issue on 24th and Emerald Ave. had noticed that over the past 6-8 months a rapid change occurred in the parking situation. With the increase in student population, approximately 1,000 more students every year, Walkup has seen the worst year in parking compared to the past fifteen years.
“We have been the parking lot for the University,” resident Walkup said.
Walkup claimed that there are at least 2-3 accidents per year involving bikes and cars that he has seen outside his own house and it has also been hard to deal with the trash pickup with the number of student cars parked out on the street.
The issue has mainly derived from the increase in the University enrollment. Karen Hyatt, the UO’s Community Relations, said that she is well aware of the student parking issue and sees that the University is “spilling over” into the neighborhoods. Even though 85% of the students use another mode of transportation other than cars, the University continues to grow. But, Hyatt explained that the school does have a breaking point of around 25,000 students.
The streets surrounding the University have either restricted areas, parking meters, require parking permits, or have a 2-hour restriction. The Park Services Manger of Eugene, Jeff Petry, explained that changing the parking regulations in a certain area have to go through a long, tedious process, making it difficult to accomplish and frustrating the residents who have friends over for longer amounts of time. This process has led to residents buying permits and guest passes every year in order to avoid the $16 parking ticket.
Petry explained that while there is a parking garage across from the Sacred Heart Medical Center a few blocks from campus that allows students to pay for a yearly permit, most park elsewhere. “People choose flat land versus a parking structure,” Petry said. “I’ll take a leisurely walk on my iPhone rather than park in a structure and feel unsafe.”
“I was hoping to hear that the city had a plan,” Walkup said. “The best route seems to be 2-hour parking, but I was hoping not to go that way.”