On-campus parking without the stress, tickets

Many students choose to bring a car to college because it offers a much more convenient way to get around to class, Walmart, the mall and other places in Champaign-Urbana. But one of the challenges of having a car on campus is finding a place to park it, whether at the parking garage in your apartment building or at the nearest meter when you’re off to class.

There are several districts to have in mind when looking for a parking spot within the University’s campus limits.

According to the Parking Department’s website, the University Parking District is comprised of the University of Illinois, the city of Champaign and the city of Urbana, and it is important to note the differences between city and University regulations.

When parking at a meter, students should check the signs to see what kind of meter they’re parking at.

University meters, which typically cost 75 cents per hour, are available on campus streets and in garages designated for visitor parking. In commercial areas, the maximum time limit is two hours.

“The best places to park on campus for me are where the parking meters exceed the two-hour max limit,” said Ezell Washington, senior in engineering. “This allows me to keep my car in one location while I’m in class for the entire day.”

In Champaign residential zones, such as those immediately west of the Quad, there are also 10-hour meters available and can be identified by their green labels.

Metered parking is also free for both residents and visitors all day on Sundays, city holidays and from 9 p.m. to 3 a.m., according to the city of Champaign’s parking website.

In the city of Urbana, meters on campus are enforced Monday through Saturday from 7 a.m. to 6 p.m. and in the downtown area Monday through Friday from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m.

Parking permits for all hours are also available. Students can use parking lots such as E14, located west of the Assembly Hall at First Street and Kirby Avenue, and B22, located on the southeast corner of University and Goodwin avenues.

Student rates vary from $480 to $540 depending on the length of the permit, according to the University’s Parking Department.

Options are also available for students looking for handicapped parking.

“I can park at any normal meter of handicapped spot for free, so that’s what I usually go for,” said Tom Smurr, junior in ACES and member of the University’s wheelchair basketball team.

A visitor lot, Lot J, is also available on campus, located conveniently at 526 E. Green St. Drivers can pay for up to nine hours of parking at a time at one of the two pay stations in the lot.

These pay stations accept cash as well as credit or debit for payment.

Despite the wide availability of parking lots and meters available around the University, Washington said there are still some inconveniences to drivers.

“Dealing with meters and parking hours can be a hassle. Some places don’t allow you to park at certain meters on certain days,” he said.