If you’re anything like me, each morning you lose a quarter tank of gas making loops in parking garages and lots, AKA the most sought after space at Florida State. The hopeful parkers creep slowly behind anyone on foot and try to claim a space with their cars’ blinkers. If you find yourself in the position that you have to drive to campus, rejoice knowing that you won’t have to get drenched in sweat and rain. Finding a parking spot is always a gamble so why not try and increase your chances?
1. Try Public Transportation
Taking the bus is a great choice if you live near a stop on the campus loop or a connecting route off-campus. “The bus also takes the stress out of your commute, unless you take the bus with the driver who reads novels at the wheel. Then the trip can be pretty stressful still,” FSU sophomore Quinetra Lewis said. A certain driver developed a reputation around campus of reading on the bus and really, who does he think he’s fooling? He looks up from his book every 10 seconds, how much can he possibly retain? As long as you’re not running late, the bus offers a solid alternative to the FSU parking frenzy.
2. Consider the Weather
If the bus is out of reach or not your style, check the weather reports to help you prepare for more autonomous ways to get to class. Be prepared for pit stains in the summer and possible frostbite in the winter. Storms are usually easy to anticipate, although sometimes it rains when you least expect it. “It’s usually not a big deal because most of the time you can tell if a storm is coming and just leave early,” FSU junior Kris Stolarczyk said. Always carry an umbrella, a rain resistant jacket and throw on some rainboots just to be safe.
3. Take the Good Old-Fashioned Way
Why drive when you live close enough to walk? “I live right off campus, so [walking] makes more sense for me,” FSU sophomore Evan Gordon said. I’ve got to avoid taking shortcuts through parking lots though, otherwise I end up waving people away that follow behind me in their cars.” The parking lot stalkers are relentless that way, forever searching for a parking space open like a guy watching cat videos in the library without headphones. Restraining orders, anybody?
4. Work Toward Calves of Steel
Riding a bicycle to campus adds an element of achievement to your commute. “When I get out of class, I thread the needle through the other students, but a con is definitely trying to avoid the staggering number of people who never look up from their phones,” FSU junior Kris Stolarczyk said. “When you bike to class, you have to avoid cars, rain and distracted students, but you also get to avoid hunting down a parking spot.” So, basically it’s both Grand Theft Cycling and the Fast and the Furious: Two Wheel Edition. But hey, at least you don’t need to deal with parking tickets.
5. Add a Motor to the Bicycle
Scooters provide a quick easy trip to get around FSU. “It’s a lot easier to find parking [for a scooter] even during peak times and it’s usually a shorter walk from the scooter parking than the large garages,” recent FSU graduate Francisco Jusino said. The downsides include the cost of the scooter, maintenance and limited storage, but don’t discount the option of a scooter so quickly. “If you live close enough to campus, you could always go back home because you’re not landlocked to scooter parking the way you are with a car,” Jusino said.
6. Schedule Your Time
Be proactive if you know you have to drive to school. Try to keep your commute in mind when scheduling your classes. “Try not to schedule classes around noon. Try taking an early class instead, or a night class if you have trouble waking up,” FSU student Jessenia Morales said. Otherwise, give yourself at least an hour-long window to find parking, no matter how close to campus you live. Some days you might get lucky finding a spot right away, but don’t be fooled. That kind of luck will replace any future chance you may have in winning the lottery.
Carpooling requires a bit more coordinated, but it definitely saves time and gas money. FSU senior Stephanie Porven and her boyfriend demonstrate their love for one another throughout the week by carpooling. “While we both have vehicles, we switch off driving one another to class because we’ve realized that it’s beyond difficult to find one available parking space past 9:30am on campus, let alone two,” Porven said. It may be easier to find 100 parking spaces than a connection as selfless as the one Porven and her boyfriend share though. True love right here, ladies and gents.
8. Take Your Time
If you speed around the garage in search of a spot, you’ll most likely drive past a few and you’ll miss out on more than a class when you cause an accident. “Keep an eye out for the khaki pants parking lot Nazis,” FSU student Hailee Maldanado said. Don’t think you’re sly to park on a yellow curb, in the grass or in a faculty space, because your car will have an envelope and a lovely parking ticket when you return from class. The parking enforcement even has a fleet of Prii (plural for Prius, yes, I know it doesn’t make sense) now so they’re able to quietly sneak up on you under five mph.
9. Settle for Any Open Spot
Garages and parking lots closes to the middle of campus will always be full past the early morning. “Don’t be lazy because you want convenient parking. You may waste more time and gas trying to find parking closer to your class rather than parking where there’s availability and walking a little further to class instead,” FSU junior Bryjan Reveles said. The lots at the fringes of campus are usually your best bet. This is survival of the fittest, and with class in 30 minutes, there’s no time for you to be picky.
10. Mark Your Territory
The other cars are not just your classmates and friends, they’re also your competition. “I love my fellow Noles, until it comes to parking. Then it’s every man for themselves,” FSU junior Deon Parsons said. “I’ll see a car get a spot after we’ve been hawking the garage for a while and think, ‘Dang, that should’ve been me.’” As long as you’re not holding up traffic, try to idle at a place where it’s easy to see people coming and going and then wait it out. When you finally do see someone walking to their car, don’t stalk them. Ask politely if they’re leaving and follow behind them as they walk to their car and keep some distance.