Should I buy a UF parking permit or just park at my Gainesville apartment?

Transportation can be a big limiting factor for students at the University of Florida. Living in an apartment in Gainesville is great, but for students who are not within walking distance of campus, it can be a struggle to figure out where to park. In worst case scenarios, battling for parking can add up to an hour to your daily commute! It begs the question: is a UF parking permit even worth it? This article will answer that question, as well as provide ideas to streamline your commute so you'll never have to worry about being late to class again. 

Parking Permits

For the new school year, UF has replaced physical parking decals with virtual parking permits. The price remains the same, with minor stipulations: students must park head-in with their license plate facing out, so it is easily scanned, which means no backing into parking spaces. Although, students who really want to continue backing in can purchase a 25-dollar vanity plate that allows the front of their vehicle to be scanned as well. More information about the new parking permits can be found here at UF News.

Parking On-Campus

There are many different places to park on campus; the problem is finding an open spot. Parking garages are shaded and often have charging ports available for electric cars; however they require a parking permit, and are often very busy. To combat this, UF has recently opened new parking garages on Gale Lemerand Drive, which students will find have an abundance of open parking spots to use. However, these new garages are located at the bottom of a hill and are far from the more trafficked areas of campus. Unless your destination is the New Physics Building, students who park here should expect quite the trek on foot to wherever they're going.

For students with less ambitious exercise goals, parking near the McCarthy buildings may be more suitable. Parking here also requires a permit, and spots fill up quickly, but after 6pm, students can generally find a spare spot or two. You can also check the Reitz Union parking lot.

With all these tips in your back pocket, it's inevitable that on some days, you may still fail to quickly find parking on campus. And on game days, when the roads are gridlocked and driving can feel slower than walking, students are especially out of luck. That's why some may feel that it's better to simply park at your Gainesville apartment.

Parking At Your UF Apartment

Apartment complex parking lots can occasionally get crowded, but parking on campus is always much worse. Apartments know how many students they house, and accordingly, have enough parking spaces for everyone. If your complex is gated, then you have extra protection against anyone coming in trying to steal a spot.

Some apartments in Gainesville implement a 3-spot system for parking. For example, at West20, there are normal spots, red spots, and covered spots. Renters get a certain amount of spots and can pay an extra fee for the privilege of parking in a red or covered spot. Visitors who park in student spots rather than visitor parking, and students who park in a spot they don't pay for, risk being towed, which means you can be sure that your spot is safe.

Despite all the convenience of keeping your car at your Gainesville apartment, the problem then arises of how to get to campus without it. If your apartment is within walking distance, you're in luck. For apartments a bit farther, consider investing in a bicycle or motor scooter; you get all the convenience of quick transportation, with none of the hassle of finding a spot to park. As well as this, the busgoes straight to campus and has routes tailored to students' needs. It's free for students and you can find the bus schedule online.

With the information covered in this article, now you can decide for yourself if a parking permit to park at UF is really worth it or not. Don't let transportation get in the way of your education. Wherever you choose to park, there are options for students with any lifestyle.

These are the opinions of writers and not the opinions of or any of our advertising partners.