A typical day in the SM parking lot.
1.Come at least 15 minutes before your class starts
Arriving to the parking lot at least 15 minutes ahead of time leaves just enough time to find a spot and walk up to your classroom.
2. Know when people are leaving
Typically, classes end 15 minutes before the next class starts (hence my previous tip). Students start to come out to their cars to head home, leaving the parking spot available to you. Every time I have come earlier in hopes of finding a spot, I have not been able to find one until 15 minutes before because none become available until people leave.
3. Hidden parking lots no one thinks to check
a) Lot 12: Next to the McKinney Theatre, this parking lot has heavy turnover during the 15 minute window between classes. It also has areas to pull over out of the way and wait for one on the side.
b) Lot 14: This one is small and hidden away next to the greenhouse, but it can be a scenic walk up to BGS or SSC if you go South on College Drive East to the garden walkway entrance.
c) Lot 7: This parking lot is located down the hill from the Library and does not fill up until 10, making this a viable option for 9 a.m. classes. Half of it is staff parking only though, so be aware.
d) Lot 4: If heading to the Library, SM, or one of the PE buildings, this lot is perfect. Often buses come through this area so make sure to be careful going around them. Take the service road next to PE 400 to walk up to the theater for a shortcut.
4. Be patient
When you are trying to find a parking spot with five minutes left till your class, do not give up and try to go to another parking lot that is farther away. It is better to take longer and be closer to the classroom then parking farther and trying to run. The hills are the true killers on campus.
5. Park by the sidewalk and wait
When people are walking to the parking lot, you can easily see which lane they are going to and wait for them to move. You can even roll down your window and ask politely if they are leaving and, if so, where their car is.
6. Do not park in the middle of lanes
The previous tip states to park and wait but only on the sidewalk out of the way. When people park in the middle of lanes to wait, it makes it harder for others to see the spot availability and if another car is coming that way.
7. Have a routine
It is helpful to always go to the same parking lot so you can learn the natural routines that happen, making it easier to know if you will find one in the future. You can also know how long it takes to walk up to your classroom.
8. Last resort parking options
If you absolutely need parking, it is always an option to buy the daily parking permit and use those designated spots. Lot 7A directly next to the Library also has two hour max parking for two dollars every hour if you only have a one hour lecture.
9. Keep a blanket and pillow in your trunk
This might seem random, but it all connects. For the truly dedicated driver who wants to best spot, come an hour before you class and take a nap in the back seat with your pillow and blanket. Doing homework or getting a coffee before class is always a smart idea too.
10. Village parking
The Village almost always has parking available, even if in the back of the school. It is amazing if you only take classes there but the walk up to BGS takes about 15 minutes. With time to kill before and after class, Village parking is great for the driver who does not want to worry about the hustle to find a spot.