A Full Circle


A Full Circle

So, the big day came and went and my daughter is now a legal adult and high school graduate. She’s headed to college in one month.

Lately, I’m busy buying the random necessities of college/dorm life – things like a personal fridge, collapsible hamper, and bathroom caddy. 

Plus, new towels, posters, and keychain pepper spray.

Her chosen school, which shall remain nameless, is a good one. 

It’s more affordable than some of her other options and has an excellent program for her major. It’s the perfect distance from home, according to her mother; and way too close to home, according to her father. 

What she thinks about it is that she’s close enough to come home if she’s got a cold or needs to do laundry, but far enough that she can run her own life without interference. 

Now that the applications, orientation, registration and a dozen other important tasks have been completed, we’ve taken the time to inform ourselves about the parking opportunities at the university. 

To start, there is event parking, guest parking, employee parking, commuter parking and dorm parking. 

Event parking rates vary, but we’ll soon find out about specific costs if we attend any sporting or theater events. 

Guest parking is $12 per day, paid for at a pay station in the lot and transferrable to any other guest parking lot for the day of purchase. Not a bad rate, I’d say. 

We can also download a ParkMobile app to pay for short-term parking, if we want.

Commuter parking, or student parking, which includes access to a large parking structure near the events venue, and two others at distant corners of the school, is $210 per semester. 

We saw the number and were aghast. That’s a big chunk of change for an already pricey venture. 

Students who commute are possibly saving a bit of money on room and board, so the parking permit is a necessary, but definitely cheaper add on than on-campus housing and a meal plan.

The university uses an LPR permitting system for student parking. License plates verify
parking permits. 

There are no plastic hangtags or paper permits. 

I was surprised to find out that resident parking permits cost more than commuter permits. It’s $250 per semester to park a car if you live at the dorms. 

I’ve been trying to puzzle out the reason for this and all I can come up with is that a resident’s car will be on campus most of the time, including nights, while student permits only cover daytime hours.

There’s also handicapped accessible parking and parking for motorcycles, emeriti, volunteers and overnight guests.

Students who live “on campus” but in the university’s outer housing options can take shuttle to and from school every day. 

And we’re told the city has robust public transit options.

Just to point out how long I’ve been writing this column – one of my first contributions to Parking Today as a writer was a piece about my daughter learning to ride a bike in an empty parking lot near our apartment. 

That day, I watched her on her little red bike and I knew one day she’d grow up and I’d have to say goodbye. 

I saw that eventuality, but didn’t dwell on it – instead, I took in the magic of the set of her determined shoulders, and her happy little face under a bright pink helmet. 

Sending her off feels exactly like I thought it would – exciting, excruciating, and more bittersweet than any other experience of my life.

I cried all my tears earlier this year and I am as ready as I’ll ever be to send her on her way. Naturally, I’ve relived many memories of the days when she was a tiny baby, or a chatty 4 year old, or a grumpy 10 year old, and so on. I’d give a lot to go back and do some things differently – but I did my best. 

The days were long and the years were short, as they say.

And this brings us full circle. We are not sending our freshman daughter to college with a car – her dorm is a 5-minute walk to the center of campus and the nearest bus stop.

She won’t need a car, but she’s taking her bike.

Article contributed by:
Melissa Bean Sterzick
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