Finding alternatives to parking on-campus

Kelly Smith

How convenient is it to be able to have a car on campus and having the option to drive to class? It sure beats having to walk to class all the time, doesn’t it?

Unfortunately, having the privilege to park on campus is not so easy. Between limited parking spaces and the price of a parking permit, many people have at least one reason not to park on campus. And quite frankly, that’s not necessarily a bad thing.

First of all, parking on campus is expensive. A parking permit can cost anywhere from $110-$400 per semester, depending on how many credits the student is taking. For some people, it’s worth the extra money. But for others, it’s simply too much. With how many expenses students face to begin with, between tuition and living expenses, an extra couple hundred dollars can be a lot, even if it is for the entire semester.

There’s also temporary permits that cost $6 daily. These might be good for those occasional days where you need it, but it probably wouldn’t be worth the trouble buying one on a daily basis.

In addition to the cost, there’s also the issue of availability. In fact, I believe this is why permits are so expensive. There’s simply not enough room for every student on campus to park in the public lots. But here’s the flip side: with the bus stops in front of the Kirkhof Center and along South Campus Drive, it might be even more advantageous not to have a car to park.

I live in Campus View, which is only about a 10-minute walk from the Kirkhof Center. I like to ride my bike in the warmer weather, which narrows my trip to about three or four minutes. During the winter months, there’s the convenience of the Campus View bus and the Rapid both stopping nearby. Either way, it takes about the same time for me to get to the Kirkhof Center as it would if I were driving, but I don’t have to worry about finding a spot. I can park my bike or get off the bus and walk right to class.

Of course, there is the issue of getting to the other campus. Fortunately, between the Route 50 campus connector, the many stops on both campuses, and the bike rack on the front of the buses, it’s not too hard to go back and forth between the two campuses. Probably the biggest issue is crowded buses, which I’m sure nobody is a fan of.

If you’re looking to get downtown, you could always try finding a nearby street where you can legally park for free. When I go downtown on a weekend and want to park my car somewhere without having to pay, I might go to Seward Avenue. While this isn’t the best alternative, it is another option for those who need a car downtown but can’t afford a pass.

There are so many beneficial alternatives to parking on campus that we should still be able to get to class efficiently without being able to park right next to our next class.