Collaboration group hears from city staff on parking issues

2013-01-09T09:30:00Z Collaboration group hears from city staff on parking issuesBy JAMES DAY, Corvallis Gazette-Times Corvallis Gazette Times
January 09, 2013 9:30 am  • 

In the continuing effort to unravel issues of parking and traffic related to Oregon State University’s growth, the questions still outnumber the answers.

Tuesday night the parking and traffic workgroup of the Collaboration Corvallis project between OSU and the city brought in high-level city staff to participate in a meeting at the Osborn Aquatic Center.

Police Chief Jon Sassaman, Public Works Director Mary Steckel, Finance Director Nancy Brewer and Community Development Director Ken Gibb added their expertise to the pool of knowledge and answered questions forwarded to them by the workgroup.

And the city staffers came prepared with questions of their own.

Key topics addressed were parking enforcement, costs associated with creating new parking districts, permit strategies and whether parking meters or permits are more cost-effective.

Questions city staff posed concerned the size and location of expanded or new parking districts and systems for permit allocation.

Some highlights:

• The city issues about 18,000 parking tickets a year.

• It costs $120,000 to hire, train and equip a parking enforcement officer, including $26,000 for the scooter.

• The city hopes to receive a federal grant that will enable it to begin issuing citations electronically by January 2014.

Workgroup members agreed that expanding parking districts and working on paid off-campus parking issues were their highest priorities — and the ones that they will focus on as they approach a Feb. 28 deadline to come up with their next set of recommendations.

The parking and traffic workgroup is one of three that is meeting to work on neighborhood issues that have intensified along with OSU’s explosive growth in recent years.

The parking and traffic workgroup has set up an online survey that residents and business owners are requested to fill out and submit.

All homes and businesses within a mile of OSU’s center should have received a postcard with instructions on how to complete the survey.

Project manager Eric Adams said that some residents had reported difficulties calling up the survey. Adams has added a direct link to the survey at the collaboration website. See and click on Parking District Survey on the right side.

The deadline to participate is Jan. 16.

Contact reporter James Day at or 541-758-9542. Follow at or


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(2) Comments

  1. jeff100
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    jeff100 - January 09, 2013 11:09 pm

    I know there are many ideas being discussed around how to address parking. I like the proposal to begin charging a monthly fee to rental property owners for each bedroom they've built that doesn't have an associated parking space provided. This isn't punitive, only recognizing the fact that these renters are, by definition, reliant on alternate transport. For many this would be public transport, while others bike and foot paths. This parking-space-exception tax would go to funding these types of services as well as parking enforcement in the OSU areas. Think about it, for new developments, given the alternative of paying this fee vs. the need to provide each bedroom a parking space, the fees the more attractive option as the developer actually gains revenue over the option of reducing a bedroom due to no room for parking spaces.
    With the gps technology most of us have in our phones the parking system could be upgraded to allow by-address parking permits. This would allow each residence to park only as many cars on the street as the number of on-street spaces that front their property. Parking enforcement could be done by accessing a license-plate/gps-coordinate database (or dashboard permit with unique ID associated with address). From a privacy perspective, if a residence didn't want to take part they could opt out. They just wouldn't be guaranteed an on street parking space as there would be no enforcement in front of their property. Same would go for visitor permits (each residence gets as many as can fit in front of their property), only in the form of address specific dashboard permits.

    While this would have the benefit of turning neighborhoods back into places where people live (as opposed to places where people park), I think the real motivator for this is the future. It's commonly agreed upon in city planning (larger cities anyway) that making parking scarce or expensive increases the use of alternate transportation. In response to this many cities are reducing parking availability in areas well covered by mass transport services. The benefit is less congestion, reduced street upkeep, fewer accidents and a better environment. Yet in Corvallis we're passing code to increase the amount of parking. The parking surveys in OSU neighborhoods show, if they bring it to Corvallis, they use it. What we're doing with the code is backwards. I support it only to stop the rash of poorly planned development that's been occurring. It also provides the default alternative allowed to developers not wishing to pay the fee. My guess is they would be few and far between though.

    We should be pursuing a city that de-emphasizes the car and shutting down the free parking lots in the neighborhoods would be an enormous step in that direction.
  2. gadfly
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    gadfly - January 09, 2013 4:23 pm
    Is Oregon State the university in Corvallis that doesn't pay property taxes? I wonder who is paying all those public servants at these meetings? Oh... I suppose Ed Ray was at the meeting? Since Ed moved to Philomath, all these problems seem so... well, unimportant. And anyone who's anyone has a reserved space at Kerr. Parking Smarking.
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