The city of Eugene released a proposal that would raise parking prices around campus from $1.80 to $2 an hour. According to the proposal issued by Eugene City Manager Jon Ruiz, the 11 percent increase would take effect on Feb. 1.
The rest of the city would also receive a 15-cent raise, going from $1.20 to $1.35 an hour. Also potentially increasing are the various monthly parking passes available to community members living in the downtown or campus area.
Jeff Petry, parking and services manager for the city of Eugene, says that it’s been over three years since parking prices were last raised.
“It doesn’t happen annually. It’s usually every three to five years,” he said.
According to Petry, the parking meters around the University of Oregon campus are already more expensive than anywhere else in the city. This is because of the high demand for parking around campus and also to encourage active transportation options for students, such as walking or cycling.
“We know that students that live near the university will choose to walk or bike if there are meters around campus,” he said.
Petry also confirmed that more parking tickets are given in the streets surrounding campus than anywhere else in the city.
“It’s a small life lesson. It’s a learning opportunity. Nobody likes them, but it’s a way to remind people that there are rules to follow,” Petry said.
UO junior Lucy Neubeck drives to school every day she has class, and last term she received three parking tickets. Neubeck says the risk of getting ticketed is better than paying full price for a university parking pass.
“For low-income college students, getting a parking pass is out of the question,” Neubeck said. “And if you want to park even a little close, you have to pay the meter. There’s no other option.”
In the past, Neubeck has bought a parking pass only to find that there still weren’t parking spots available.
“If I’m not at school by 8 a.m., I won’t find a parking spot closer than 15 or 20 minutes away,” Neubeck said. “Not everybody has that kind of time in the morning.”
While walking or biking to school would be preferred, Neubeck doesn’t always have the time for alternative transportation every morning.
“I would 100 percent bike or bus to campus,” Neubeck said. “But I have a job and an internship in Springfield and I have to be at class right after. I need to drive in order to make it on time to everything.”
In the past, profits collected from parking meters and the monthly parking permits have been used to pay for updated infrastructure, police services and parking garages. Unique to Eugene is the use of parking meter money to help fund events and city art exhibits, such as the 20X21 Mural Project.
“We fund a lot of events,” Petry said. “Like Sunday Streets or Lineup Downtown. We’re one of the only groups in North America that has a parking reinvestment program that focuses on community events.”
Petry encourages community members to comment on the proposal. Comments and suggestions will be accepted through Friday, Jan. 18.