If you're a UF student or faculty member living off campus, you may be wondering what the most convenient way is to get to campus from your apartment. Buying a UF parking decal is a great idea if you plan on using it frequently during the week and for the majority of the academic year. However, parking on UF campus is limited and finding a spot during the semester can be hectic. Fortunately, living in Gainesville provides you with a range of alternative parking and transportation options, like off campus parking in Midtown and using the RTS. Transportation shouldn't be a chore. I've broken down a few different ways to get to and from campus from your apartment so you can decide for yourself which option is best for you!
Driving to Campus and Buying a Parking Decal
The #1 question you should ask yourself before purchasing a UF parking decal is how often you think you'll use it. Every day? Two to three times a week? Less than twice a week? If you don't think you'll be parking on campus that often, then maybe buying a parking decal isn't right for you. But, if you see yourself driving to campus every day, your next step is to check out what types of decals are available to you.
Some parking spaces are exclusive to graduate students and faculty, while red decals are only given to students who live on campus. If you're an undergraduate student living off campus, you can buy a "Park & Ride" decal and park in "Any Decal" parking areas unless otherwise specified.
You have the option to buy either a semester decal or an annual decal, depending on how frequently you plan on using your pass. If you don't plan on taking classes or being on campus during the summer, you can skip the annual pass and opt for a semester passes instead to give you access to UF parking during the spring and fall semesters.
What are the Downsides to Parking on UF Campus?
Parking spaces on campus are limited,
and in the morning and late afternoon it
may be difficult to find a parking spot.
While there are a handful of places for someone with a "Park & Ride" decal to park on campus, you'll be competing with every other off campus student commuter between 7am and 4:30pm during the week. If you have class in the morning or late afternoon, it may be next to impossible to find a space.
Even if you do find a parking space, it might not be the most convenient to your next class.
Alternative Parking and Transportation Options
If you feel like a parking decal may not be the best fit for your schedule or budget, don't stress - you have a handful of alternative parking and transportation options at your disposal!
Parking Off Campus
If you don't feel like putting down any money for a parking decal, or worry about not being able to find a space during the week, you can sometimes find alternative parking near campus in Midtown Gainesville.
Some on-street parking may be available on NW 17th Street and NW 5th Avenue during the week.
The Roberts Stadium Club's parking garage is just steps away from campus, and is a great option if you only plan on being on campus several days a week. While parking garage fares can get expensive if you use the garage for several hours each day, it's cheaper than buying a weekly UF parking decal.
What are the Downsides to Parking Off Campus?
By parking off campus, you're parking further away from your classes. If you have class in the physics building and park in Midtown, you're looking at a 10-15 minute walk to class. While it's great exercise, walking all the way across campus may not be ideal when it's over 90 degrees outside or raining heavily.
You should also be careful of where you part off campus, and pay close attention to signage. If you think having to hike all over Midtown and UF sounds rough, just think of how much worse it would be if you got towed!
Taking the Bus to Campus
If you live in an apartment on or near a bus stop, you should definitely take advantage of the Gainesville Regional Transportation System (RTS) to go back and forth between campus and your apartment quickly. Most routes that go through or near campus run every 15 to 30 minutes, from as early as 7am until after 10pm. If you have an early morning class on your schedule or have a test late at night, RTS has you covered.
What are the Downsides to Taking the Bus to Campus?
Sometimes buses run slightly off schedule and can be late for their stops. In general, RTS is very reliable and its campus routes are timely.
What are the Main Bus Routes to Get to UF Campus?
The RTS has many options to get you as close to class as possible, but several routes make it especially easy to get to campus from your apartment.
Route 46 stops at both the Continuum and 2nd Avenue Centre, and takes you directly into campus where you can get off near Library West and Turlington Plaza.
Route 1 runs from Rosa Parks Downtown Station to Butler Plaza, and stops at the main bus stop across the Beaty Towers and makes another stop near the Reitz Union.
Route 20 is a great way to get to the Reitz Union and nearby UF buildings if you live in Spyglass, Lakewood Villas, Rockwood Villas, the Pavilion on 62nd, Cabana Beach, The Grove, or Woodland Villas as all of these apartments are located along its route.
If you live in a community a few blocks from campus, you could even walk to class! Now that you know a little more about the transportation and parking options available to you, you can choose the best method for your needs so you can get to class quickly!