Let’s get one thing out of the way: you may know how to drive and park in whatever town you grew up in, but parking on campus is a different sort of beast. They’re gonna try to pry the cash from your wallet, and the crosswalk is wherever pedestrians happen to be crossing.
This may be the first time a lot of you have had to drive on campus, be you a freshman or just living off campus. You might be worried about collecting dings or tickets or vehicular assault charges, but don’t you worry. I’m gonna give you some tips based off of my campus driving experience.
Let’s start with parking. There’s no real good way to go about it, but it’s important to know what you can and should get away with. The straightforward method is to just go to a pay lot and pay for a ticket. For a once in a while drive, it’s not bad; 50 cents for 15 minutes, $1 for 30, $2 for an hour and 50 cents every half hour after that. If you plan on driving to every class, however, it’s not ideal. Say you’re taking 15 credits. Depending on how your classes line up, you’ll probably pay $25-$30 each week. If you’re the kind of person who buys fruit from the store instead of definitely not taking it from the dining center, you probably have the cash to throw at that Vietnam-era card reader.
There are also alternatives to driving that could save you that extra $100 a month. The buses are frequent and mostly reliable. If you live in NDSU housing there’s probably a stop that comes right to your front door. Otherwise, there are multiple stops off campus worth looking into. The bike share program is free and can get you anywhere on campus, to NDSU housing and even downtown. Just make sure to either return the bike or rent again in under 30 minutes or you start getting charged $1 per half hour (not bad really).
Now that we’ve got that out of the way, let me tell you how to drive while cutting some cost. Just like “Monopoly,” free parking is key. The easiest way is just to park after 4:30 p.m. or on the weekend. All the pay lots are free at this point. This also means that if you park at say, 4 o’clock, you only need to pay for a half hour of parking. Easy. There is also street parking if you’re willing to do some searching. It’s free for thirty minutes, making it great for quick trips onto campus. It’s got a few definite drawbacks though. First off, it doesn’t follow the 4:30 rule. It’s 30-minute parking 24/7. Second, it’s usually full. There are only a few spots to do it on campus, and some people like to abuse the system. Please, if you park on the street, actually leave after thirty minutes and don’t re-park. I watched you try to parallel park the first time. I laughed as if I could do better. Quit while you’re ahead.
Now most importantly, drive safely. Fifteen miles an hour is the speed limit. It may feel slow, but try to remember that jerk-off who sped by you at 30 when you were crossing the street illegally the other day. Screw that guy. We’re on parking lot rules here: you drive slow and be prepared for people to come out of nowhere (and they will come out of nowhere). Pedestrians rule these streets. This is why you avoid driving on campus from about a quarter to the hour until the hour, every hour. Classes are getting out/starting and you can get stuck behind a wall of student speed bumps pretty easily.
On a more serious note, don’t drive drunk. I shouldn’t even have to say it at this point. You’ve heard it every twenty minutes since you were old enough to notice your uncle slurring words after having too many Miller soda pops. Unfortunately, it keeps happening because it’s really easy to say “I’d never do that” until you’re put in that situation. We’re all human. We all mistakes and it only takes one. We suffered a tragedy just last week when a high-school student on campus lost their life from apparent alcohol abuse. I’m gonna ask you all kindly to keep your name out of my email.