By Brady Antonelli /// Managing Editor
Between the hours of 10 a.m. and 2 p.m. on weekdays, students and faculty living off campus are forced to compete with a horde of other cars to find parking. To make matters worse, “Classzilla” is officially going to be of sophomore standing, which means they too will be able to buy parking passes.
Fortunately, the section of Lewis & Clark Facilities that handles Transportation and Parking has come up with a way to change the payment structure in order to initiate a switch from single-occupancy vehicles to more spatially and environmentally friendly options such as car-pooling, biking, or public transportation.
This switch comes at a price for those intent on keeping their car on campus, but not at as high of a price as one may expect. For an annual parking pass on campus, the price will be rising from $330 to $346. However, with that revenue, the cost of a monthly Trimet bus pass will be cut in half to $25 per month instead of $50.
Furthermore, to keep the number of cars parked on campus low, there will be “park and ride” lot at the Portland Christian Center just north of the Burlingame Fred Meyer, which offers faculty and students to pay a smaller parking fee and only have to ride a shuttle roughly 15 minutes to campus.
One of the staff members in charge of instituting the changes is Sustainability Manager Amy Dvorak. “Right now [the Portland Christian Center has] 100 stalls reserved for us, but we could potentially get 200 in the future if we need them,” Dvorak said.
The obvious question students and faculty may ask is why they can’t just build more parking on campus, such as a parking structure. “We’re restricted to .475 parking stalls per student,” Dvorak said.
Marilyn Sbardellati, the LC Transportation and Parking Program Manager has also been working closely to solve the problem of parking overpopulation. “We’re almost at our max. [A parking structure] would take us to the max and then we would have spent millions of dollars and eventually having the same problem,” Sbardellati said.
There will also be an added incentive for biking and walking to campus, though the details of which are not yet decided. “[The incentives may be] bike gear, or maybe transit passes. [We are] trying to get people’s feedback on what would make sense to them, like what would be an incentive for you to not drive here if you could potentially bike or walk,” said Dvorak.
The changes are too fresh to accurately gauge how much of the LC population will be utilizing the new transportation incentives, but Joe Gantt, Director of Forensics and Instructor, is optimistic. “[If I were to take public transportation, it would take me] an hour and 45 minutes per day from the bus stop nearest my house to the college. It’s like three buses and two different Max stops is the quickest route,” Gantt said.
With new and viable options though, Gantt may soon consider other options than driving directly to school. “I still have to evaluate [the park-and-ride option] and see. I think the idea of a park-and-ride, given a lot of the limitations Lewis & Clark has when it comes to the land around and trying to develope parking solutions, is a really intriguing option and I think a lot of people will take a close look at it,” he said.
Regardless of whether or not it is an end-all solution, Dvorak, Sbardellati, and their team have set two goals.
First, they want to reverse the incentives. “The big picture goal that we had with parking here is that our parking financing structure was all kind of flip-flopped, so people were really incentivised to drive rather than take the bus, just because the bus was more expensive than just driving by yourself everyday,” Dvorak said. “So one of the big things that we’ve been trying to do with this is flip it around. That’s why Trimet is the cheapest, then carpooling, then driving alone.”
Second, they hope to get 150 cars off campus next year. “Right now sometimes you’re driving around looking for parking spaces, we’ve had students who were late to class because they couldn’t find a place to park, or faculty and staff even,” Dvorak said. “So we’re trying to get 150 cars off campus for next year. That’s the goal.”
The new parking system is a huge step towards their goals, but it may be an uphill battle.
“What we’re trying to do with this next year, and we’ll do more in the following years, is sort of adjust the culture to make it easier for people to get here without a car, rather than focusing on the cars specifically. We’ll see if we can do it,” Dvorak said.