USF St. Petersburg is a university of commuters. Before Residence Hall One was built, all students lived off campus. People have always been coming and going—parking in the vast lots and city spaces on the street.
Just before I became a student, RHO and a seven-level parking garage were built. The landscape of campus changed and the gray parking lots shrunk. These days, students pay around $150 to use the garage, or park at the meter or in two hour parking.
After three years of paying for privileged parking, I decided to skip the parking pass. I have one class twice a week on campus and I anticipated parking would not be an issue. But I have made some annoying observations.
1. Along Fifth Ave. S. and next to RHO is a good selection of spots to park. Nice and spacious, they’re easy to slide into and adjust yourself without looking stupid as you attempt to parallel park. I hate when I think I see two spaces open ahead, only to rediscover they are the ones occupied by a beat up couch and garbage cans. I don’t know what the deal is, but unless those items have a permit, they deserve a ticket for taking up potential spaces.
2. The alleyway between the Campus Activities Center and RHO is a gem. It’s a nice little route to take when you need a shortcut. But it’s not good for parking. I’ve never noticed before if people abused the concrete pad by the CAC side entrance, but now I see cars parked there for hours. It’s a 15-minute loading dock. There is a sign. When I first noticed people parking there all day, I was annoyed. Coincidentally, I saw tickets on those cars the next day. Don’t park there.
3. A popular place to eat is the privately owned Tavern. Its parking lot is right next to the Gold parking lot for campus. The Tavern eliminates confusion with signs on their spots: “If you’re going to class, don’t even think about parking here.” When all the spots are taken, and the Tavern is only half full, it annoys me that people disregarded the signs and went to class anyway. This is especially frustrating when I’m hungry and forced to park on the street two blocks away.
4. There are designated parking spots for visitors, but beware. If you are a visitor, you can park there for an hour. You cannot park there after 5:30 p.m. If you are a student with a parking pass, you can park there only after 5:30 p.m. You may need to check how long you can park there for. If you are a student without a parking pass, YOU CAN NEVER PARK THERE. You will get ticketed. You can appeal it online. Parking Services will send you a letter telling you they need your $30.
5. With the construction of RHO, a parking garage was built. With the construction of the new dorms, there may or may not be another garage built. You’ve been warned. Parking on campus will not get easier or cheaper.