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Bend campus parking plans spark debate

By Wanda Moore
Published On: Apr 07 2014 10:58:56 PM CDT
Updated On: Apr 10 2014 10:50:44 AM CDT

NewsChannel 21's Wanda Moore found out that the increase in student population at OSU-Cascades over the next years has many worried.

BEND, Ore. -

"It's pretty much horrible. Every day all three terms I've been here I drive around here and it takes forever to park," OSU-Cascades student Stephen Horne said Monday.

For those who believe parking at OSU-Cascades is bad, it might be getting even worse.

The university is expanding and is expecting an increase of 800 students in coming years, to nearly 1,900 total at full build-out of the new Westside campus.

"I believe we've set a parking number that will be sufficient to meet our campus needs," said Kelly Sparks, associate vice president for finance and strategic planning at OSU-Cascades. "It has a 15 percent range on either side, so we will always be in monitoring mode."

OSU-Cascades hired an external consultant firm to calculate the exact number of parking spots needed.

They say the actual number of students on campus varies dramatically, since students' schedules differ.

But the numbers make little sense to those on campus.

"I'm a bit worried about the parking, to be honest, because already people line the streets and park in the neighborhoods.," said student Sydney Scout.

University officials say they already have a plan in place to prevent students from parking ob business or residential streets.

"To monitor the parking on the public streets and to build a monitoring program in those business parking lots," said Sparks.

The future at OSU-Cascades is pointing at alternative transportation methods, away from cars, to bikes, walking and public transportation.

"Not everyone can walk or bike like," Scout said. "We have a lot of students from Redmond or Prineville or something just driving up here."

OSU-Cascades is working to expand bus and shuttle services to campus.

In the winter months, they are making sure sidewalks are cleared. They also want to encourage students to carpool, all in the name of sustainability.

"It reduces emissions, it reduces the amount of concrete that you put on a natural landscape," Sparks said. "So we really started with setting our visions and our goals around sustainability."

Sparks said  they believe the number of parking spots will be enough but they plan to constantly monitor the situation.

They also say are open to comments from the community -- and if there is a need for additional parking, they will add more.

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