Opinion: Parking on campus drives you crazy

Parking+lots+around+OSU+campus+are+full+of+cars+Monday%2C+Oct+3.+Monthly+and+annual+permits+are+completely+sold+out%2C+so+many+students+park+far+away%2C+use+daily+parking+passes+or+adopt+other+means+of+transportation.%0A

Alex Ozeran

Parking lots around OSU campus are full of cars Monday, Oct 3. Monthly and annual permits are completely sold out, so many students park far away, use daily parking passes or adopt other means of transportation.

Leah Kahn, News Contributor

Editor’s Note: This column does not represent the opinion of The Daily Barometer. This column reflects the personal opinions of the writer.

Does parking on campus drive you crazy? Me too! It seems the only places left to park are miles from your next class, and Transportation Services has no intention of creating more places to park. 

In an ideal world, we would all bike to class and take public transport. But we don’t live in an ideal world. Some students live in Albany, way too far to bike to campus, and as far as taking the bus goes, Corvallis Transit just postponed many of the bus routes. Even if you can bike- it rains. Have you ever biked in the rain, in jeans? Yeah, You’d much rather drive. 

Not to mention it’s freaking expensive to park on campus! I don’t know if you’ve noticed the crazy inflation we’ve experienced lately, but many of us can’t afford to park on campus anymore! So what are our options? Park in nearby residential neighborhoods where we have to move our cars every two hours? Schedule classes only before 8am so you can actually get a parking spot? Invest in waterproof pants?

Those are all part-time solutions to a bigger problem (except for the waterproof pants, if you ever go biking those are a life-saver). Transportation services at OSU needs to create more parking spaces for students, and they need to lower the incredibly high prices they charge for parking. 

“I do think it’s a little bit ridiculous how expensive it is,” Gracie Kahl, an OSU student said. “And then sometimes you won’t even be able to find a spot.”

During the pandemic years, we didn’t notice the parking shortage much, but now that everyone is back for school, and with more students than ever before, we’re noticing it, and it’s not great.

There are currently around 1200 on-campus resident parking spaces,” said Bruce Daley, acting director of Transportation Services. “OSU monitors parking based on occupancy rate, which counts the percentage of parking spots that are occupied at peak times.”

Only 1200? Only 1200? How many students are in those resident halls? With three to a dorm this year you’d better believe it’s more than 1200. Even if they don’t all own cars, that’s still not enough parking spaces.

This year another element of stress was added to parking on Campus when Oregon State University Transportation Services ran out of parking permit passes and their site crashed.

Freshman Ana Acevedo was on the parking permit site the first day parking permits were available on September 15th at 12:06 p.m., hoping to be early enough to get a permit. Unfortunately, all the permits were sold out by that time and the site crashed.

“I clicked the button so it charged me, you know, to actually make the payment,” Acevedo said. “Then it said error, so I clicked it again, and then it said error again, and I clicked it again and it charged my card three times. It said that my receipt should be in my email and it wasn’t.”

Luckily for Acevedo, two days later the site came back online and she received her permit and the charges on her card were fixed so she was only charged once.

According to Acevedo, however, those few days were very stressful and it was unclear if her card was going to be refunded or not.

Daley said the site crashing on September 15th was due to the credit card processor system stopping because it detected possible fraud during the sale of permits to on campus students. Transportation Services investigated the issue and found no fraud occurred, so they reopened permit sales at 3pm on September 16th. 

Now all this would be understandable, if the site didn’t crash almost every year. 

Parking on campus is also expensive. According to the website, an annual permit to park in the A zones on campus is $639, the B zones are $432, and the C zones are $135. While the permit price for parking in the C zones seems reasonable, the price for parking in the A and B zones is outrageously high. 

“I think that the parking situation is incredibly frustrating,” said OSU Alumnus Caitlin Walsh-Hester, who graduated in 2022. “If you can’t afford a parking pass, you either have to plan to get to campus an hour early to try to find parking on one of the streets without a time limit (such as 11th on the East side of campus), or you have to schedule your classes so that you can go move your car between 2hr parking zones to avoid a ticket.”

But what caused this parking shortage? According to Walsh-Hester, OSU frequently sacrifices parking lots to build new buildings. Tebeau Hall, Johnson Hall, and The Student Experience Center were all built on previous parking lots. Once OSU builds these new buildings, they don’t add new parking spots to make up for the ones lost to construction, and guess what? They don’t intend to.

The university’s intent is not to provide a parking spot for every student,which would be expensive to build and maintain and would use up land that can be enjoyed by the entire OSU community in other ways,” Daley said.