Parking Best Practices

Parking
Student Life

Do you need help navigating campus parking? This list of 10 tips will set you up for parking success. You'll be a parking expert before you know it!

Purchase a parking permit

If you need to park on campus, we recommend you purchase a parking permit. If you live off campus and need to commute each day, you’ll want to purchase a commuter permit. Resident permits are available for students who live on campus and have at least a freshman class standing. If you don’t commute that often, you can purchase a bundle pack, which includes 10 one-day permits.

Park in your assigned lot 

This advice may seem simple (and it is), but if you park in your assigned lot, it takes away the guessing about where you can and can’t park. Don’t forget that your permit is valid for any section of your lot. For example, a Lot 1 permit is valid in Lot 1b, Lot 1c, Lot 1d, Lot 1e and Lot 1f. If you are unsure of your lot location and boundaries, search for it on UMD’s interactive web map.

Know your overflow 

Did you know that your permit actually counts for two lots? In addition to your assigned lot, your permit is valid in an overflow lot. For students, this is Lot 4b by Xfinity Center. You may be directed to park in overflow if a special event or construction impacts your assigned lot. Pro tip: take the Shuttle-UM 105 Campus Connector from stop 23 by Lot 4b to the center of campus.

Give yourself time to find a parking spot and get to class 

Parking on campus gets easier as everyone settles into their routine during the first month of classes. While you’re getting acclimated to your schedule, we recommend you factor time into your commute for parking and walking to your destination. Traffic on campus picks up during class changes, so try to arrive before or after this time if you can.

Don't leave your car with the flashers on

This is always tempting, especially if you are only going to be gone for a minute as you run into The STAMP. Instead, use the 15 minutes of free parking offered at any pay station area (you still have to enter your space at the pay station, it just won’t ask you to pay).

Observe overnight parking restrictions

Commuter students, this is especially important for you! Students with a commuter permit may not park in commuter lots from 3 a.m. to 5 a.m. on weekdays. But don’t worry—there are options for those late weeknight study sessions. This overnight parking map highlights our overnight parking areas. Just make sure to move your vehicle back to your assigned lot by 7 a.m. the next morning when regular restrictions go into effect. Sidenote: overnight commuter parking restrictions are not enforced during finals week!

Commuter students who live off campus and require regular overnight parking should purchase an overnight storage parking permit. These are available on a first-come, first-served basis.

Read the parking lot signs

Since some of our lots are free and unrestricted on evenings and weekends, we know that you’ll likely venture outside of your assigned lot during these times. Always read the lot sign before you park to make sure the lot is unrestricted for you. The color of the sign is an important visual cue. Lots with black signs are free between 4 p.m. and 7 a.m.. Red means restrictions: read these signs fully, as the restrictions will vary between lots. You’ll also want to be mindful of special events that might impact these otherwise free lots...more on this in the next two tips!

Pay attention to additional posted signage

You’re an expert in reading lot signs and you know your overnight parking options! Equipped with this new knowledge, you find the perfect parking space in a lot that’s unrestricted after 4 p.m. (black sign) and close to your evening campus destination. Then you notice additional, temporary posted signage. When lots are going to close for events or construction, these temporary signs are posted in the affected lot in advance to make everyone aware of the closure dates. Read these signs to ensure that you’re not parking in a lot that’s about to close.

Always read emails from DOTS

Temporary posted signage is one way we inform parkers about impending lot closures. We also email all permit holders with critical parking update information—so please don’t put us in your spam folder! We send emails to all our registrants when events, construction, etc. may affect their parking. Make sure the email associated with your parking registration is one you read regularly, and double check that the emails aren’t going to spam or any other folders automatically.

Set a reminder on your phone when you  need to move your vehicle

We’re so glad you’re reading our parking emails! We also bet that moving your vehicle is one of several things you’ve been asked to remember this week. If you have trouble recalling when you might need to move your vehicle for an event or construction, set a reminder on your phone. It’s quick, easy and will help you avoid running to move your car at the last minute.

More questions? You can email transportation@umd.edu, call our office at 301-314-DOTS (3687) or reach out over our social media at DOTS_UMD on Twitter, Instagram, SnapChat or Facebook.