For students with cars, finding parking can be difficult with or without a pass, leading many students to explore different options in their search for the best parking spots on campus.
Parking passes are available to students on a first come, first serve basis, with the request period opening up at different times based on a student’s credit hours. Some of the most sought after spaces are in the commuter parking decks, which offer convenient locations near the heart of campus.
The Coliseum Deck (CD) permit, appropriately named for its location next to Reynolds Coliseum, is one of the most popular parking spots on main campus. With close proximity to Talley Student Union and easy access to the rest of Main Campus, students lucky enough to obtain this permit enjoy its many benefits.
“I really like it because it’s actually closer to some of my classes that are over on campus,” said Bailey Thomas, a fourth-year studying business administration. “It's just really nice being able to drive from my apartment and have the option for the Wolfline and parking deck.”
For students wishing to park on Centennial Campus, the Centennial Campus Deck (CC) permit offers a similar convenience.
“This is a great spot if you want to pay 200-some bucks for it at the beginning of the semester,” said Isaac Weber, a fourth-year studying aerospace engineering. “All of my classes are on Centennial now, so I might as well park over here. … I’ve got no reason to go to Main [Campus] anymore.”
To purchase a CD or CC permit, students must pay a $210 fee and have at least 75 or 60 credits hours, respectively. These requirements, coupled with a high demand, present a barrier for most students wishing to secure these spots. Luckily, there are other parking options that students can take advantage of to meet their unique needs.
One option students have turned to is the fringe lot (F) permit, offering parking on the north, west, and south ends of Centennial Campus. For students with a majority of their classes on Centennial, this is a no-brainer, but interestingly enough, the fringe lot serves students who travel to Main Campus as well.
“I was actually super late on getting a parking spot, so this was like my last option, but I like it,” said Hillarie Bara, a third-year studying sports management.
One of the northern fringe lots where Bara parks is located behind Mission Valley Apartments and features a shortcut to the intersection of Avent Ferry Road and Centennial Parkway. From there, students can access multiple Wolfline bus stops serviced by routes 40, 41, and 50, which all take students to Main Campus.
“Because it’s super close to that [bus stop], it can get me to Talley really quickly and then it’s only a 15 minute walk to Jordan Hall, so it makes it super easy,” Bara said.
The west lot (W) permit is another popular option among students, providing access to spaces off Sullivan Drive, near Fountain Dining Hall, as well as spots north of Greek Village. These spaces require a slightly longer walk to the middle of main campus than the CD, but nothing more compared to the distance from Sullivan, Lee and Bragaw residence halls.
“Generally I like it, it's convenient,” said Katharine Clark, a graduate student in the food science program. “If I have anything on Centennial, or in the library, then I end up taking the Wolfline, which isn't a huge hassle. And after 3, I'm allowed to park in the decks.”
Clark is referring to a helpful policy where students with commuter passes, including the CC, CD and W permits, are allowed to cross park in other commuter decks after 3 p.m. Clark said this is a perk she takes advantage of whenever she can.
For students living in on-campus housing, there is an opportunity to purchase a residential permit. While it is not necessary for these students to drive to class every day, it is still useful to have a place to keep their vehicles should they need to go anywhere else.
“I use [my car] mostly like once a week, I usually take it to go home, or to go to church, or I'm taking it to the game this weekend,” said Kate Nickolson, a first-year studying business administration.
“I’m the one that drives [friends] around mostly,” Nickolson added with a laugh.
Residential permits are available depending on the area in which a student resides. There are specific lots for Wolf Ridge (RC), Wolf Village (RV), east campus (RE) and west campus (RW), among others.
Even without a parking pass, students can still park on campus in numerous paylots found throughout the area. Here, students can pay for parking on a daily or hourly basis in notable locations including the Coliseum Deck, the Partners Way Deck on Centennial Campus, outside of Bragaw Residence Hall, and even some spaces in North Campus near the Belltower.
For students who wish to avoid paying, most parking restrictions are lifted after 5 p.m., giving students free reign to park where they please. During this time, employee (C) lot spaces near Talley or Carmichael Gymnasium are quite nice for students, if there is a spot available.
“We’ll come [to the gym] usually and try to find a spot if we can,” said A.J. Beckman, a second-year studying electrical engineering. “Also up in front of Talley and down Cates Avenue, we’ll see if we can find employee parking over there after 5.”
There are also some lesser known spots that become available after 5 p.m. as well, if you know where to look.
“Right by the Belltower, the faculty and staff lot… that’s a good hidden spot,” said Clark. “Otherwise, if I know I'm gonna be in the library all day, sometimes I'll do parking along like Vanderbilt [Avenue].”
Finding the perfect place to park on campus can be tough. Students must consider factors such as class locations, academic standing, willingness to pay and others. No single spot will work every time, but it’s nice to know there is a variety of options that cater to different situations. When you find your spot, just make sure to keep it between the lines so others can find theirs next to you.