Students get creative to find parking

Students search for parking in the GUC parking lot on Pine Street. Some students resort to shuttle buses or off-campus parking to remedy their parking difficulties. 

UNA’s campus holds nearly 7,000 people at a time, including students, faculty, staff, and visitors. On campus, there are approximately 3,900 parking spaces. Because of the limited amount of parking on campus, UNA students must find creative ways to park legally and avoid a parking ticket.

Vice President of Student Affairs David Shields said students should only park in the student-designated spots around campus. All white spaces are fair game to students—residents and commuters alike; residents can park in red and white spaces.

The fine for parking in any undesignated area is at least $20. On-campus parking is regulated and closely monitored by university police, said UNA police Chief Bob Pastula.

Parking off-campus is one of the easiest ways to get to class, Shields said.

UNA is currently renting two locations for off-campus parking: the Florence parking garage on Pine Street downtown and a parking lot behind Lauderdale Lanes on Florence Boulevard. A shuttle service runs from both locations to escort students to and from campus. All commuter freshmen are assigned to these lots.

UNA’s external shuttles run between three and five miles of campus and drop off at Harrison Plaza. The buses circulate every 15 to 20 minutes. Between 400 and 500 students are transported to campus from remote locations every day.

For the past two years, Shields has been parking at the lot behind Lauderdale Lanes and riding the shuttle to campus with new students. He said students find it easy to park at remote locations. He has even been known to surprise those on his bus with donuts for breakfast.

“As a new student riding the shuttle, you don’t have to worry about finding a parking spot; you just worry about getting to class,” Shields said. “This means no parking hassle; (students will) save time, money, stress and frustration.”

UNA police encourage off-campus parking even for non-freshman students because it alleviates congestion on campus and reduces the number of parking tickets.

Shields said another option for students is to secure a parking spot by living on campus. Freshmen who live on campus are guaranteed a parking spot and will save money, he said.

After the first year, commuter freshmen can get a tag to park on campus.

Shields also advised students to avoid a parking ticket by always hanging their tag in their car.

Pastula said the parking rules are simple. The most common offenses, however, are parking in faculty lots or handicapped spots.

Several UNA students offer suggestions on ways to steer clear of a parking fine.

“Pay attention to the colors of the lines,” said UNA senior Drew Mills. “Don’t park in the handicapped spots; a lot of people get tickets by doing that.”

“Make sure to always have your decal, even if you’re using a temporary car,” said UNA junior Max Beech. “I did that this semester because my car was in the shop and got a ticket the first day.”

A complete list of parking regulations and shuttle bus routes can be found at