How to Avoid Parking Citations on Campus

For many students at UAF (especially the commuter students like myself), parking can be a serious pain in your day-to-day campus experience. If you've ever visited a college campus before, you've probably noticed all the cool stickers and mirror hangers with the college's mascot all over the vehicles on campus. UAF is no different. Just the other day I spotted a Subaru that had 8 different polar bear images stuck to the lower corner of their windshield. It reminded me of a veteran, donning a chestful of medals and pins that indicate years and years of dedicated service. These polar bear stickers are parking decals; your best way to avoid parking citations on campus. 

Parking decals can be good for a semester or full year, depending on each student's needs. It will give you access to a dozen or so parking lots throughout campus. Some up behind the science buildings on West Ridge, some beneath the Student Rec Center (SRC), some lining the sidewalk of faculty housing. The few spots this decal won't allow you to safely park in include handicap spaces, metered lots, and gold decal lots. Gold decals are more expensive than general decals, but will allow you to park in more exclusive lots, closer to buildings. Metered lots are reserved for daily parking, typically for visitors. While you won't see many coin-op meters on campus anymore, you will find payment kiosks in each of these lots. These kiosks give students/visitors the opportunity to park in those lots without paying for the term-long decal. Parking services has also expanded the payment kiosk options to include some other lots. 

Some small tricks I came up with to help myself when I first started as a first-year student include keeping a campus map in my glovebox. If I was ever driving around, unsure of which parking spots were okay and which weren't, I could just pull out the map and verify what parking lots are for whom. I also talked with my friends about where they park. I found that there are some lots that are more popular than others, or more convenient if you live on a certain side of campus. Get to campus before the last minute. If you're rushing to find a parking spot right before your 10:30 class, chances are other people are too. All of these small tips are great, but are still mostly just for students with a parking permit. If you're really, really opposed to purchasing a decal, I know a number of people that park off-campus, but within walking distance, and just walk everyday. Just be sure to dress warmly in case parking doesn't go as planned. 

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