New UO parking phone application seeks to decrease citations and congestion

A new app is giving those who drive to campus more control. (Google)

Correction: A previous version of this article stated that the UO bike program receives some funding from parking tickets as well as students and faculty parking fees. It also stated that the money resulting from the UO parking department’s bike donations to Brasher’s Northwest Auto Auction also helps fund the bike program. According to the UO Outdoor Program Director, Margaret Hoff, the bike program — part of the Outdoor Program — does not receive money from either source.

The University of Oregon campus community now has access to a phone application allowing students, faculty and staff to pay for campus parking from wherever they are.

UO Department of Parking and Transportation enabled the application to work for campus parking meters, most of which only accept coins. The Parkmobile app allows the community to pay for a parking spot, as well as extend hours by credit card. The app also sends notifications when time is running out in order to give drivers a chance to extend time or move their vehicles before a parking employee leaves a ticket.

This year, university parking, managing 3,700 spots, earned $400,000 from parking tickets. The department also received $525,000 from student permits and $900,000 from faculty permit parking. The total $2.7 million revenue goes towards paying the department’s employees, maintaining parking lots and meters as well as building new ones and supporting the university police.

The UO’s parking department encourages community members not to drive cars to school.

“Here at the University of Oregon, that is our focus, we want to make sure that we make getting to and from campus as easy as possible,” said UO Department of Parking and Transportation Director Gwen Bolden. “That doesn’t include bringing in a vehicle to campus to sit there all day.”

Parking spaces around the UO are charged due to an unavailability of parking spots for the 24,125 students who are enrolled. In addition to the parking spots managed by university parking, the city of Eugene controls 622 parking spaces on the street around campus.

“The charges provide incentive to not drive,” said City of Eugene Parking Manager Jeff Petry.

In 2015, a team of UO economics students sent Petry a proposal (as part of an honors thesis), in response to complaints by residents that they were getting rejected for parking permits due to city-imposed quotas on how many could own one.

“For people living in large apartments, only the first people who registered for those spots got it or you are out of luck,” said senior economics student John T. Bird, who was on the team. “Also, for people who did have permits, it was so congested that they weren’t even able to park near their residence.”

The team recommended, as part of the proposal, to decrease two-hour parking to a single hour to decrease congestion. The group also suggested to increase parking tickets from $15 to $32 to avoid drivers feeling that getting ticketed would be cheaper than buying a permit. 

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