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Those old parking lot blues...
Attending high school in downtown Portland comes with many benefits, unfortunately parking isn't one of them.
Unlike your typical high school, Lincoln does not come with a designated parking lot for teachers and students. With the campus' downtown location, those attending Lincoln often are required to find limited public parking spaces and pay the city's parking fees.
Due to limited parking, many members of the Lincoln community have become reliant on public transportation. Each student receives a Hop Fastpass that provides free access to TriMet and Portland Streetcar for the entirety of the year. This is a privilege that a typical high school student is not afforded. However, self transportation remains a preference for many.
With the new Lincoln campus scheduled to open in the fall of 2022, people have been curious about parking availability.
Senior Project Manager for the Lincoln rebuild, Erik Gerding, revealed that Lincoln's new campus will barely provide enough parking for teachers. Therefore parking will not improve for students who drive.
"We don't have enough space on this site to create enough parking for everyone and certainly not additional parking for our students," Erik Gerding said.
Once "Phase 2 Construction" begins in the fall of 2022, the current staff parking lot will be inaccessible until its scheduled completion in fall 2023. This construction will further limit parking availability, especially for teachers.
Through the Portland Bureau of Transportation, limited seniors are provided parking permits for a semester, allowing them to park in specific zones surrounding Lincoln.
"Unless or until PBOT decides to change that system, those (parking) spots will still be available for students," next year, said Business Manager Jill Ross.
Amid the preparation and construction processes of the new building, members of the community proposed a variety of ideas that would provide easy access to parking. Although the impacts on the community were considered, other factors were prioritized.
"It (new Lincoln building) creates more opportunities for the athletic programs to have an onsite facility to use," Gerding said. "People thought it was more important to provide opportunity for the different programs to use a practice space on site … versus just making the parking lot bigger."
Amy Hendrikson, a junior at Lincoln, drives about two times per week to school, and emphasizes that the only parking available isn't accessible to all students.
"For students, the only option is really street parking unless you get a spot in a garage. And the street parking is pretty expensive. It's like $15 to $16 a day depending on when you arrive in the morning and leave in the afternoon," Hendrikson said.
She also reflects on the recent growth of construction near Lincoln.
"It's also complicated this year because of the construction and that's closed a lot of roads and parking areas, so it's been more limited," she said.
The new Lincoln campus will support more environmentally conscious options of commuting to school.
"If people have an e-bike they'll be able to charge that and provide secure bike parking for staff and right there near the front door, really accessible," Gerding said.
Hendrikson also agrees that we should strive to improve our eco-friendly transportation.
"I think the larger issue is just the lack of transportation aside from cars. I don't necessarily want to drive to school but the way that our transportation system is structured, there's not always other ways to get around. And so ideally we would have a place where we don't need to have parking lots for cars and paying for parking wouldn't be an issue but that's not really where we're at right now," she said.
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