As you’ve struggled through this first week to get to class on time and park within the same time zone, you may be asking yourself if there is a better way without overdraft fees. Never fear! I have the senior’s guide to getting here for free, and on time.*
*Some resourcefulness required
Elmwood Park Road, a one-way street just east of Dodge Campus, is the perfect free parking spot for students getting here for 8 a.m. classes. Arriving after 8:30 a.m.? Find another spot unless you’re feeling lucky. Another relatively good time to find parking is around 3 PM, after most classes are excused for the day. Get there via Elmwood Park on the south side of Dodge Campus, and enjoy a shaded parking spot. Bare in mind, you will have to be within a foot of the curb to avoid a ticket from the City of Omaha and/or being sideswiped. Tickets will run you $16. Bodywork rates vary.
Speaking of Elmwood Park, two-hour parking is available in the spots nearest to campus. This change in city policy is not strictly enforced, but enforced enough to make one nervous. Again, tickets are $16, and payable to the City of Omaha. Also, as a general rule, pay your parking tickets and have legit tags, or you will end up being towed or booted. Long-term parking in lots next to the pool and in lots nearer Pacific Campus is available, but prepare for the long walk if you choose the latter.
If the park fails you, and you must drive, there is free on-street parking to the east of Dodge Campus in the Happy Hollow neighborhood. I’ve gotten mean looks from neighbors with my rusty Jeep littering their block, but this safe neighborhood is a legal, free alternative to parking on campus. To hell with their feelings and property values! Just be sure to bring your walking shoes.
Free parking at Baxter Arena, on Pacific St. is the next closest alternative. The Red Shuttle service to Dodge Campus, in theory, runs every 15 minutes but depends heavily on traffic on Dodge and 72nd. Definitely show up 30 minutes before class to secure a spot in the lot and get your smiling face to class on time. Be forewarned; the Red Shuttle ends service at 5 p.m., so be prepared to walk through Elmwood Park and Aksarben – about a mile – to get to your vehicle after that time. Concerns about that baffling change to a popular parking alternative can be lodged to the administration.
My chosen method of getting to campus is the Omaha Metro Area Transit bus. This service is free to UNO students with the swipe of a MavCard. Dodge Campus resides on the Number 2 line, which goes from downtown to Westroads Mall on Dodge Street. South Campus lies on the Number 15 Line, and travels from downtown to Oakview Mall. For a full schedule and map, visit Ometro.com. Just be sure to give yourself 30 to 45 minutes to travel to class from your closest stop. Buses stop service around midnight, and come every 15 minutes or so.
UNO no longer has a park and ride agreement with Crossroads Mall, which is down the street from
UNO, but it IS on the Number 2 line. So is Westroads Mall. WINK WINK. You are taking your parking into your own hands in these situations, but I have never heard of an issue of being towed or ticketed. Park inconspicuously. You didn’t hear it from me.
Pacific Campus students… your parking is great. No complaining. Learn the shuttle routes and schedules to maximize your privilege.
Please, feel free and even encouraged into buying a parking pass from campus… I just think it is a waste of my money. I’m a broke college student, what can I say? It’s a fantastic revenue source for the school though, so if you want to pay upwards of $300 and have no guaranteed parking spot, be my guest. I, for one, like guarantee.