Following the start of the semester with more in-person classes, students must consider how they get to campus and where to park when they arrive. Parking at UF is frustrating for many students because of the decal system and rigid restrictions on lots and garages.
Here’s a guide for how to appeal a citation, what to do when impounded and where to park on campus to avoid hefty citation costs.
Parking Options On and Off Campus
Most parking lots on campus are restricted Monday through Friday from 7:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. Parking is free outside of those hours, but some marked lots, including the Murphree and Fletcher lots, are always restricted.
Undergraduate students who live off campus can order a Park and Ride decal, but spaces on campus are limited. Students with this decal can only park in lots marked “Any Decal” and take a bus to the main area of campus, as these lots tend to be farther away.
On-campus undergraduate students who have completed 50 or more credit hours can buy a Red 1 decal, and they can park in all red lots, including those marked Red 1, or lots marked “Any Decal.”
On-campus students with fewer than 50 credit hours can purchase a Red 3 decal to park in red and “Any Decal” lots.
The Welcome Center Parking Garage, which is connected to both the Reitz Union and the campus bookstore, is open to everybody and does not require the purchase of a decal. The garage operates Monday through Friday from 7:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m.
The standard daily fee is $6, the two-hour fee is $4 and it costs $2 to park for 45 minutes. There is no cost on weekends, before 7:30 a.m. or after 4:30 p.m.
Some students choose to park in the Southwest Downtown Garage, located off SW 2nd St. It costs $1 per hour from 6 a.m. to 6 p.m. or a monthly rate of $25. It is a 30-minute walk from the main campus, or a 20-minute bus ride.
For a more convenient parking option, others turn to scooters, which can only be parked in lots marked Motorcycle/Scooter. To park in these lots, you must also purchase a decal, which costs the same as a car decal.
How to Appeal a Citation
It can be easy to park in the wrong place or misplace your vehicle in a rush to get to your classes. In that case, you will likely receive a parking citation, but don’t worry. Here’s how to appeal it, and hopefully, get your fine reduced.
UF Transportation and Parking Services hands out 59,000 parking citations annually. Fees range from $15 to $250; however, students can appeal them to get the fee waived under certain circumstances. Citations must be appealed in writing either online, by mail or in person at the TAPS Customer Relations Office, located at 1273 Gale Lemerand Drive.
Students must submit their appeals within 15 days of issuance or must pay a $10 late fee. If a student is not satisfied with the result of their appeal, they can appeal it again in writing, at the office or online within 15 days, but all citations must be paid in full first. Then, the payment will be refunded if the appeal is successful.
The student traffic court decides the outcome of an appeal, and they research the appellant’s citation history and views photographs of the infraction. To successfully appeal a citation, the appellant should explain the situation in full, as well as provide evidence if possible.
What to Do When Towed
Having your vehicle towed can be a nightmare, and TAPS can tow a car if it is parked in the wrong lot, if it has been abandoned or if multiple parking citations have not been dealt with in 15 days. A car can also be towed if it is obstructing traffic or creating a road hazard, or if a decal has been suspended. However, a call or a visit to TAPS can resolve the problem and get your car back.
There is a $50 impound fee, and all citations must be paid before picking your car up from the impound lot at the TAPS Customer Relations Office, open Monday through Friday between 8 a.m. and 4:30 p.m. Outside of those hours, students should call the University Police Department.
Contact Eve Thompson at firstname.lastname@example.org. Follow her on Twitter @evealanaa.
Eve Thompson is a third-year journalism major covering Santa Fe. In the past, Eve was a News Assistant on the university desk. When she’s not submitting public records requests or staring at a blank Google doc, Eve can be found on a boat, usually listening to 70s music.