BY JOSH REYNOLDS
As the city of Medford considers the installation of parking meters downtown, Rogue Community College students continue to express concern over parking space.
Mattea Hagglund, a first year student, is not impressed with parking at RCC.
“It sucks. It’s horrible. We should have stickers to put on our cars and designated parking spots for students to use. It’s a pain to go out and move my car every three hours between classes,” she said.
Sophomore Jeremy Buell had similar feelings. “Parking here is atrocious. I find parking under the bridge,” he said, referring to the parking lot on the east side of Bear Creek across Riverside. “There’s no time limit there. It’s free and you can park there all day.”
The city recently paid a consulting firm to present options on how best to increase funding for repairs to parking garages downtown. According to the minutes for the City Council study session of November 30, 2009, consultant Dan Brame estimated that $2.3 million is still needed to resolve delayed maintenance issues.
The proposal calls for the installation of pay and display machines on street blocks and in parking lots, said Errin Constantine, executive support specialist for the city. The city council has ordered that other options be explored, Constantine said. No dates have been set for any formal decision.
While examining other options, the city is attempting to address utilization of the Evergreen parking garage, located on Main Street and South Fir Street, and the Middleford parking garage, located on Bartlett Street and 6th Street.
According to Grant LaGorio, RCC director of facilities and operations, RCC buys 100 parking passes from the city each term for the Evergreen parking structure and sells all those passes to students. Of those 100 passes, between 25-50 students actually make use of the garage.
LaGorio is working with the city to obtain parking permits for the Middleford parking garage. Bartlett Street runs directly from Middleford to the RCC campus and has very good street lighting, he said.
LaGorio said, by far the most complaints about the Evergreen parking garage from RCC students is that it is too far away and is seen as being unsafe. However, there is no evidence to suggest it is unsafe.
Parking space for students, businesses, and customers is already tight and the enrollment of RCC has increased significantly over the past couple years. When asked about parking space available for growth, LaGorio replied, “There is what there is.”