It’s the end of your first year of college. If you’re like most students, you’ve been living in a dormitory for the past year. And if you’re like most students, you had to pay a little extra money for that room. So next year, you decide it’s a good idea to commute to class and live at home. That way, you can save a significant amount of money and still be able to spend time with all your friends who do still dorm. Here are 5 things you need to know about student parking at the University of Maryland.
1. Make sure you register early and pay the fee
There are a number of lots open depending on your credit hours. Freshmen don’t have any special lots for example being able to park in only 6,9, and 11 (where everyone else can park already). As you attain more hours, your options for lots increase. For a junior for example, you can park in lots 1,6,9,11 and the SDG. Registering early will allow you to pick your choice of parking spots so you can’t cry about it later when you decide you don’t want the one you picked. Paying the fee will ensure that you don’t have any outstanding obligation on your record (if you do you can’t graduate).
2. Know that DOTS does not play games
The Department of Transportation at Maryland or DOTS for short is probably the most hated department on campus, and for good reason. DOTS does not play around, it does not know the meaning of fun. Parked in the wrong spot for just a minute too long? That’s a ticket. Forgot to move your car off your lot when a football game is about to start? Ticketed and towed. Aggressive use of the horn? You guessed it, that’s a citation. DOTS is quickly becoming yet another way for the university to earn some extra cash…as if milking students on tuition wasn’t enough already.
3. Know when the home football games are and if your lot is affected
If you have the misfortune of picking one of the lots where football parking is also applicable, you’re going to have to move your car every Friday before 5 PM in preparation for the home game on Saturday. That means lots 6a and 11b among others. If you don’t move your car, it will be forcibly moved for you and you will also be ticketed. If you have a lot of money to throw at DOTS, please don’t move your car. But if you are like 99.99% of the student population, you’re going to want to move your car. It only takes a few minutes, but you’ll be saving a few Benjamins.
4. The spaces in between the spots are tiny
The amount of space between the two lines that define a parking spot seems to shrink as fast as the leg room in economy class on most commercial jumbo jets. You literally cannot fit anything other than a compact sports car into one of the spaces. Don’t think about bringing your family sized minivan to campus. You will run a foul of DOTS and be ticketed for using up two parking spaces. Hopefully you have a small compact car to bring. Otherwise you’re kind of out of options.
5. Know where you can park for free
Many lots, such as lot 4 are open to students after 4 PM. This is especially useful come home football time when you’re scrambling to get out of your lot before DOTS finds you. Just enter after 4PM and you can park in that lot for the rest of the day (well until midnight when that lot also closes). There are over a dozen free lots to park in so if the one you want is full, go on to the next one. Just don’t stay too long at the free lot or DOTS will fine you for staying overnight when you aren’t supposed to! Lot Z is pretty much empty but that’s because it’s on the edge of campus. You do not want to be walking across campus alone at night, trust me.
There you have it, parking at UMD is a real pain. Half the time you’re dodging DOTS and the other half you’re moving your car to stop DOTS from towing it. But hey, you’ll do anything to save a couple thousand dollars right? Just don’t waste that money you saved on partying!