Parking problem demands a long-term solution

For Camas High School students and residents of neighborhoods surrounding the high school, parking seems to have been a problem almost since the facility opened in 2003. Each year, it has continued to grow and mutate into the ugly circumstances that exist today.

In 2005 and again in 2015, citizen complaints led the City Council to approve parking time restrictions, limiting on-street parking to two hours on school days in some of the neighborhoods adjacent to the high school. This unfortunately shifted the problem to the Waterleaf neighborhood, where residents on Aug. 1 described a situation where wall-to-wall parked cars create a “parking lot” on their streets. This is in addition to other issues ranging from littering and loitering to car accidents and verbal confrontations.

On Aug. 15, the City Council will vote on whether to add the streets of the Waterleaf subdivision to the list of restricted parking areas.

City officials rightly say, however, that this isn’t a fix. Not even close.

While the future addition of 191 new parking spaces at the school and re-configuration of traffic flow on campus will help, the real solution is in the hands of Camas School District and high school officials who must put rules in place that will reduce the demand for parking. Offering on-campus parking only to seniors is one option suggested by a citizen that could work in tandem with a carpool program, similar to one used by Union High School where groups of three to four students agree to drive to and from school together, and are assigned a permit to park in a specific location on campus for doing so.

There isn’t going to be an easy fix, but students and especially the surrounding neighborhoods’ residents deserve an adequate long-term solution.