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2 College Junior

Parking: High costs of permits and few amount of spots make having a car more difficult than it should be

1 College Sophomore

Parking: You have to pay so much money for it

1 person found this useful Report
3 College Sophomore

Parking: The city of Pittsburgh owns the streets which run through campus, and imposes parking fees on most if not all of them. It is not imperative to own a car to get around campus or Pittsburgh (as city buses are free with student ID), and having a car may be an convenience or burden depending on your needs and where you live. There are usually spots available, if not on the road in one of the parking garages. Permit costs plus city meters can become expensive.

2 College Freshman

Parking: I've heard it's bad, but I"m a Freshman and we can't have cars.

2 College Sophomore

Parking: There are not many permits available, and for those without permits, it is nearly impossible to find a decent spot. The alternative methods of transportation, Port Authority buses, are just as bad. Very unreliable.

1 person found this useful Report

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Student Author OverviewWhat's this?

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Parking on campus can either be a hassle or relatively stress-free. It all comes down to how much you are willing to pay. Permits for the most reliable places can get pricey, as you are paying for the guarantee of finding a parking space. Some students go the route where they try to get by without a permit, to try and find parking where they can, either for free or when Parking & Transportation Services isn't keeping a close eye on the area. Usually, this backfires, and it is extremely hard to avoid parking tickets or the dreaded boot for your tire.  

Carnegie Mellon makes it pretty unnecessary to have a car during your time in Pittsburgh, unless you need to make frequent trips outside of the city and surrounding neighborhood limits. CMU student ID cards have an icon on them that lets students use the Port Authority buses at any time, free of any extra charge (it's incorporated into tuition and fees). Bringing a car to campus and paying for either a permit, or the equivalent of a permit in parking tickets, just seems like a waste. Students often complain that the University "nickel and dimes" students for services, and paying for parking is usually the loudest complaint of all.

Facts & Statistics

Student Parking Lot?
The only large parking lot for students is the East Campus Garage, located right behind the University Center. However, this garage is also used by faculty, staff, and visitors, so it can get full during busy campus events, like Carnival, Homecoming, and graduation. There are smaller lots near some of the dorm buildings, but these are either metered or can only be used by students living in this area.
Freshmen Allowed to Park?
Freshmen are not officially allowed to have cars on campus. However, some freshmen get around this by parking their car in the main garage during the week and using it on weekends, when they don't have to pay to use the garage.
Approximate Parking Permit Cost
Common Parking Tickets
  • Expired meter: $30
  • No parking zone: $40
  • No permit displayed: $40 ($20 if paid within two weeks)
  • Fire lane: $100/Tow
  • Handicapped zone: $200/Tow
Best Places to Find a Spot
  • The hill next to Beta (Devonshire)
  • The loading zone on Tech Street (keep your blinkers on!)
  • The meters in Morewood parking lot
  • Most places after 6 p.m. (parking lots begin opening up between 5 p.m. and 8 p.m.)
Good Luck Getting a Spot Here
Margaret Morrison Street
Getting a Parking Permit
People who want an individual permit to park on campus have to apply using an online application system. There is limited parking, though, so those who apply may not actually receive a permit. Priority is given to professors, staff, and graduate students, so there is a lottery to decide the remaining students who can receive permits.
Parking Services
Parking & Transportation Services
5000 Forbes Ave.
(412) 268-2052
Did You Know?
  • If you accrue too four unpaid parking tickets, your car will receive an attractive orange boot! While usually new boots would be exciting, on your car they are not, as it costs $100 the first offense, and increases by $50 each successive time - until they just tow your car away after three offenses.
  • Parking & Transportation services are really strict! If you park somewhere without paying or a permit for too long, they will catch you. They usually do rounds every few hours, but not usually after 6 or 7 pm. Still, if you are hiding out in the East Campus garage, it's a good idea to not leave your car too stationary.

Student Polls

How convenient is off-campus parking?    Based on 91 responses

  • 2% It's free, and there are usually plenty of spots.
  • 22% It's free, but spots fill up quickly.
  • 18% The cost is reasonable, and there are usually plenty of spots.
  • 36% The cost is reasonable, but spots fill up quickly.
  • 13% The cost is totally outrageous, but you can usually find a spot.
  • 9% The cost is totally outrageous, and there are never any open spots.

Rate the campus parking on the following topics    Based on 92 responses

Very poor
  • Distance from class
  • Distance from dorms
  • Ease of finding a spot
  • Parking enforcement
  • Permit cost


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