On May 9th, Members of the Amazon neighborhood met to discus multiple issues including, most notably, a parking issue where too many students are using the neighborhood streets leading to less space for residents and increased concern over safety.
The meeting of the Steering Committee, which took place in the Hilyard Community Center, served as a place where city and university officials, members of the neighborhood and anyone else could come together and discus the issues at hand. Though no official solution for the parking issue was reached, future meetings, as well as continued communication between the city, university and neighborhood, will continue to work towards a resolution.
The issue of parking was first raised by a member of the community, Chris Walkup, who lives on 24th Avenue, and was explained to the rest of the meeting members. Though Walkup came to simply discus the issue he was quoted saying he “hoped the city had a plan” and was concerned with both the safety of the community members and children who attend a school near his home. He also went on to bring up the issue of overly-cluttered roads which makes it more difficult for trash collecting and emergency vehicles to operate.
Jeff Petry, the Parking Service Manager of Eugene, handled most of the questions directed towards the parking issue, and explained how the influx of students in the area had began. He said that although there are parking structure spots available, students do not want to pay for spots and would rather drive to the neighborhood to the south of the campus and enjoy the short walk. Petry went on to say that the Peace Health Lot is not an option due to it being privately owned, and that the city –though does not have a solution yet– is working towards one in conjunction with the University.
Gwen Bolden, the Director of Parking and Transport at the University of Oregon, was also present at the meeting and explained the problems the University is experiencing with parking and what is being done to combat the issue. She said that there are only 200 parking permits issued to freshman every year, and that all students, particularly freshman, are encouraged to not bring their car to school with them. She expressed how there are options that have not yet been looked into, and was quoted saying “it’s very important to make sure neighbors’ concerns are being met.”
Other issues discussed at the meeting included flooding on the running trails and in the dog park, upkeep of trails and paths, and a possible repaving of the skateboard area. Future meetings will discus these, and of course, the ongoing problem of parking in the Amazon neighborhood.