Parking at Cornell is certainly affordable, with permits costing just $45 for the entire academic year. There are more than enough spots to go around, though most will be more than a few feet outside your dorm’s front door. Upperclassmen do get more convenient parking, but there is less of it, so many end up walking just as far as the freshmen. Granted, these distances are minimal compared to campuses that are larger than Cornell’s—you can get from one end to the other in under 10 minutes. The biggest problem is that most of the parking is at the bottom of the Hilltop, while the dorms and academic buildings are located at the top. This makes the hike to and from your car particularly treacherous in the winter, when sidewalks are coated with a sheet of ice.
Parking enforcement is fairly consistent, and the most common infraction is parking too long in one of the 15-minute student spaces outside the residence halls. Though you can get away with leaving your car there for close to 30 minutes without incident—there aren’t meters or timers that expire—parking in these spots for much longer will result in a $20 ticket. Students also have to be careful about parking in town. Parking on the main roads, including First Street in front of campus, is restricted after 2 a.m., and you can get ticketed by the city.