Whether you live in an apartment near UCR or commute from home, your main concern before classes everyday is managing to get on campus in the first place. The second problem, which anyone that drives to school is fully aware of, is finding a parking space. And with only four available parking lots (rest in peace student parking at Lot 13), that is oftentimes much easier said than done.
The easy solution is to start your day early. It’s well-known that the earlier you show up, the easier it is park. Arriving anytime before 8 a.m. is basically a free spot, since the lots don’t really start filling up until around 9. And while parking from 9-11 a.m. may take some time, the real nightmare begins if you arrive any time between 11:30 a.m. and 2 p.m. By this point, every lot near campus is on the brink of, if not at, maximum capacity and showing up after 4 p.m., when you have access to Red and Blue permit lots, seems much more appealing.
Though if getting up before the break of dawn isn’t your thing, there are still a few things you can do to make sure you’re not late to that exam after scavenging for parking.
Alternative parking spots
If all four lots are completely filled, you may find yourself in Lot 30 having a nervous breakdown as you make endless circles waiting for someone to leave. But not to worry, there are actually a few alternatives to the five main lots mentioned earlier. The first option is the pay-to-win alternative, which requires you having bought a Gold+21 permit. If that is the case, you will have access to Lot 21, located behind Pentland Hills on West Linden St. There are also a small amount of Gold+13 permits available that offer access to Lot 13, but again that requires paying extra. But not to worry, there are other substitutes for those who can’t afford or just aren’t willing to pay extra for their unalienable right to park. For one, there are designated spaces near Falkirk that all Gold permit holders have access to. And while there aren’t many parking spaces, there are usually a few open ones at any given time. There is also the Gethsemane Church parking lot on Blaine that is has designated spaces available to UCR students with Gold permits from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m.
If all else fails …
If you simply can’t find parking when you arrive on campus, there is always a very effective, but pretty bothersome option, and that’s getting on campus extremely early. As mentioned earlier, finding a spot between 11:30 and 2 is basically impossible. However, parking at 7:30 a.m. feels amazing — if you’re not half asleep and barely functioning off the coffee you bought on the way. Bonus tip: If your class doesn’t start until 9 or 10 a.m., you can stop by Orbach and take a quick nap to recharge. Since almost no one is there studying at 8 a.m., you can easily claim one of the comfy lounge seats on the second or third floor to sleep in.
For anyone that lives nearby campus, one thing to consider is avoiding parking altogether and taking the bus. Your student ID also functions as a bus pass for any Riverside Transit Agency vehicle. You can look up the bus routes and schedules online, but in summation Route 16 is the probably one you want to take and the bus shows up every 20 to 30 minutes depending on the time. If you chose to take the bus remember to always, and I do mean always, show up earlier than the schedule says. The bus can be really inconsistent at times and is sometimes off by as much as 15 minutes, so you want to be sure to take that into account when planning your commute. Of course, there’s always walking or biking to school, but this also depends on exactly how close you are to campus.
And while students who live near campus have a variety of options, those luxuries unfortunately just aren’t available for commuters. While carpooling with a friend is an option, carpoolers will still run into the same problems as regular commuters if they show up after 9 a.m. With a student population of over 23,000, and an enrollment rate that’s growing by the year, parking is a major concern that needs to be addressed. The current situation creates unnecessary stress for students before they even attend classes. We can only hope that more parking lots will be built in the future, until then best of luck to all you student drivers.