Parking in College Park proves difficult for students on a budget

By Sydney Fazio

Bringing a car to the university is expensive, and not an affordable option for everyone. On-campus parking is loaded with rules and specifics about where and when a car can be parked, and for how long.

Plenty of off-campus apartment complexes have resident parking garages that seem nice and convenient, but these apartments can charge up to $150 a month to park a vehicle inside the garage. Most of the time, residents are stuck signing a year-long commitment to these parking garage permits too, which totals to a hefty $1,800 just to park a car.

Given that this is out of most student’s budget, bringing a car to campus can be a bit of a dilemma. There are many factors that go into deciding where to keep a car—safety, cost, distance from home are just a few.

Kate Harrison, a senior environmental science and policy major, said that while the price is extremely affordable in comparison to her apartment complex’s garage, the process to get a permit is inconvenient. Harrison parks in zone 11/11A, a zone that offers approximately 100 spots designated for Terrapin Row and Graduate Gardens residents.

“It’s inconvenient because you’re not able to do it remotely or over the phone or through fax,” Harrison said. “If you live out of state like I do, you have to show up on a specific date and time to make sure you get permits before they run out. I had to drive five hours just to buy my permits for the semester.”

City parking permits aren’t available for sale until the last Monday of each month, according to the city of College Park’s website. Some zones allow the purchase of up to six months at a time, while other zones are only sold on a month by month basis. The zones range in price from $40 a month to $125, depending on the zone. The Calvert lot is $40 a month, while the Ledo’s Restaurant parking garage is $125 a month.

Emily McCarron, a university alumna from the class of 2017, said the hassle of standing in line on the last Monday of the month each month was a hassle. McCarron parked in the Calvert lot zone, a zone only available for month-by-month purchase.

“I remember waking up at, like, 7 a.m. to get in line before they opened at 8 a.m. so I could get one,” McCarron said. “If I waited until after my classes were over, they would definitely be sold out. The parking situation in general in College Park felt like a way to make extra money from students who were desperate for a parking spot.”




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