Chapter 41:




Okay, this chapter is not about speeding, or running reds, or doing donuts, or anything where the car is in motion. Pure and simple, it's about parking your car on campus…and maybe getting tagged with an annoying piece of paper on your windshield.


Anyone want to venture a guess as to the net gain / loss of parking spots on campus, over the past twenty-something years? They drop huge new buildings on old lots, then build parking decks, so who knows? (Well, I’m sure “they” do.)


The stories from the '80s about securing a parking permit are almost as notorious as class registration; crossing your fingers that you got what you wanted, or even something remotely close. The most common “I got fucked,” scenarios from that era were being told you had to park your car down by the stadium. Very common if you had your car at school as a freshman.


Now, Fall '92 through Spring '95 (my sophomore through senior years), I had my little beat-up Toyota Camry at school. When I lived in Sypherd, I qualified for and bought a parking sticker for the Hollingsworth lot; that's the big lot on North College, across from what was the Down Under at the time. However, on weekends and at night, I was allowed to park the car in the lot directly across from Sypherd on South College. Yes, the old Abbey lot, where Trabant now sits.


Being the lazy-ass that I am, I left the car in that lot waaaay too often when my sticker wouldn't allow it (weekdays) -- never was towed, but nailed quite a bit with those $10 tickets, or whatever they were at the time. In retrospect, was the Hollingsworth lot that far away that I couldn't move the car? No, it wasn't. Ahhhh, to be young and irresponsible. I’m not sure I’ve become that much more responsible with age, actually.


Anyway, legions of UD kids have tried the old, “I’m not buying a permit, because it’s actually less expensive to just risk the parking tickets.” I haven’t seen anyone actually prove this, but I’d say it is indeed possible. Could come down to just sheer luck, with a touch of street smarts and ingenuity. All I know, is that I’ve heard UD generates over a million bucks annually on parking tickets.


As for simply finding a spot on a weekday, close to classes? My parking tip, especially for Business majors: Kent Way. It was my go-to, back in my day. Not a lot of kids think to park there; maybe it’s because it’s kinda hidden, and the President’s House scares people off. What, does the President check the meters?



The Dark Ages


“My girlfriend and I took a road trip down to Delaware during the summer, to get parking passes. You had to camp out on a very long line at the Public Safety building, and hope that when you got to the front of the line, there were still parking stickers available for you.”


- Sandey, UD '90


Opportunity Cost


“I was a Nursing major from '92 - '96, and only had my car from '94 on. I lived off-campus at the West Knoll Apartments, and always tried to get a meter spot behind McDowell Hall or next to Willard. The many expired meter tickets that I got could have paid for many nights at the Balloon (R.I.P.)”


- Christa, UD '96


Criminal Mastermind


“During finals of my junior year (1996), I was pulling all-nighters AND organizing E-52 Student Theatre's end of year bash. I had a temp sticker on my car for the lot near the nursing building and no time to renew it. My best friend convinced me to just add a couple days to it (yes, forging). It was fine for a couple days, and then I got the call.


My car had been towed and did I know that this used to be considered a ‘serious’ crime on campus? It's like stealing property from the university. Please! So I got a letter and a phone call over the summer, and was told I was being put on PROBATION. If I had another parking offense on campus, I was going to be EXPELLED from school. Can you believe that?! So, needless to say, I kept my nose clean during my senior year. I mean, how could I tell friends and family that I got kicked out of school for a parking offense? Yes, it was dumb to forge the damn thing, but considering it was my first offense and I paid the fine, you'd think they'd go lighter.”


- AW, UD '97


Ticket Master


“I lived in Pencader all four years. Back then, parking was minimal. Here is my experience: 1) I only bought one parking sticker and expected it to last me all four years. Damn, did they really check them up close? Must have, because I got at least five tickets for parking in the wrong lot or for an expired sticker (Digger’s Note: Only five? I’d figure it’d be way more!), 2) When in doubt, park way up in the Towers lot, and hope they don't catch you. My mistake, they checked there (two tickets) and to top it off, my car got broken into one time...damn! 3) Elkton Road towing service. I think that was my permanent lot. I paid $75 plenty of times to get my car back. 4) Handicapped spots. Yeah I did it, and you've done it too. They cost $50. I even borrowed someone else’s car, and parked it in a handicapped spot and they got a ticket…sorry Jeff.”


- Shavonne, UD '00


Beating the System


“I remember the time I parked in the Perkin's parking garage for a week. I didn't move my car and never got a ticket...but there was that pesky parking tab that was continually running. I only had like $30 to spare, but after mental calculations I knew I owed over a $100.


I took a day to panic, and then realized there was a loophole! If you lose your lil’ garage ticket, they charge you for an entire day which is like $28, no more. So I put this really bummed look on my face, and went to the attendant and got a week’s worth of prime parking for less than $30. A sweet deal!”


- M, UD '05
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