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My son is starting at UH in the fall and I'm looking for tips and info on the parking situation at the main campus. I've heard it's a nightmare, but the one time we were there was a late afternoon and we parked at the Welcome Center garage without much hassle. He'll be commuting in from the west side of town. We're tossing around three different options.

1) get a parking permit and park on campus

2) me dropping him off and picking him up

3) taking the P&R and a local bus

Any info on those three options or another one not listed would be appreciated.

Edited by august948
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I've been going to UH main campus since 2009 and yes the parking is horrendous. My second day at school, I had to park in some neighborhood in Third Ward because there were literally zero spots. I've been dropped off several times and have parked in economy, commuter, and the parking garage. I've even parked out all the way at the ERP which is a disconnected lot from the campus that brings students back to the campus via a UH bus.

 

I would have to say that the best thing I ever did was get a parking garage permit. I feel like a civilized human being now because there are times when you literally have to speed quickly to get a parking spot before another student does. The parking garage permit is only about $100 more than the commuter pass but it's totally worth the extra cost... your son will not have to waste gas or miss any class time looking for a parking spot or have to park out in an undesirable area. Plus your son's vehicle won't be exposed to the elements under the shade of the parking garage. Another cool thing about the parking garage pass is that if you or your son have a EZ tag on the car windshield, you can register your vehicle with UH parking which allows the parking garage gates to open automatically when your car approaches. The only tricky part is which parking garage... you can't get a permit for every single parking garage. You have to pick a single one and go with it for the rest of the semester... so that comes down to, what is your son's major? You don't have to say but consider the buildings he will likely be attending the most and pick a parking garage closest to that area. 

 

Parking is usually the worst past 10am to 11am on Tuesdays and Thursdays because that is when students have the most classes. If you have anymore questions, let me know. 

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One time I owed about $300 in parking fines plus a tow from UH. Called the parking desk lady and the next day a plus 300 in my bank account. First lady I talked to wasn't giving me anything though so I had to call back again and try with someone else.

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Thanks for the info on the garage permit. Does that guarantee a spot and/or are there more popular garages that get filled up so that even with the garage permit you still can't park there? Also, how are Mondays and Wednesdays (and Fridays)? Do things still get hectic by 10 or 11am like they do on T-Th? What time does the parking start to thin out in case he wants to take late afternoon classes?

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East parking garage is probably the best one. There are a couple of new ones that will be open in the Fall too. Parking will get better once they open.

Edited by Trae
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A: Live on campus. Your son will have an exponentially richer college experience this way. And no parking issues.

 

Distant B: If you can't do that, there's a website and, I believe, an iPhone app that shows available parking in real time:

 

http://www.uh.edu/police/UHlotmap.html

 

Study this for a few days and look at different times of day. Figure out when lots are empty. Arrive and park on campus during those times. Use extra time to study, walk around campus, work out, play basketball, or lounge at the pool at the recreation center, socialize, etc.

Edited by kyle
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A: Live on campus. Your son will have an exponentially richer college experience this way. And no parking issues.

 

 Use extra time to study, walk around campus, work out, play basketball, or lounge at the pool at the recreation center, socialize, etc.

 

I couldn't agree more.  Having been a commuter student at UH, I understand the attraction of maintaining one's current living arrangement.  But it is a mistake.

 

College is a time when a young person should begin the transition to full adulthood and living at home is a crutch that prevents that transition.  Also, I am always jealous when I talk to my friends about their live-away college experiences and how much more fun that must have been.  Better to use that wasted commuter time as productive academic or social time.

 

Being dropped off and picked up by your parent at college?  Not a chance.  Not only will it artificially limit their schedule and flexibility to participate in ad hoc academic activities or study or visit the library, but socially it's a death knell.  Can you imagine the humiliation of having to break away from an on-going fun social activity or a conversation when you've just met Mr/Miss Right because you have to go meet your parents.  They'd be better off using the bus.  

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College is a time when a young person should begin the transition to full adulthood and living at home is a crutch that prevents that transition. Also, I am always jealous when I talk to my friends about their live-away college experiences and how much more fun that must have been. Better to use that wasted commuter time as productive academic or social time.

Living on or near campus is still a possibility but, at the moment, would require that he take on additional debt for all four years to pay for it, something he is unwilling to do and, frankly, something I can't advise him to do either. If that were the case he'd have decided to go to out of town for school.

Being dropped off and picked up by your parent at college Not a chance. Not only will it artificially limit their schedule and flexibility to participate in ad hoc academic activities or study or visit the library, but socially it's a death knell. Can you imagine the humiliation of having to break away from an on-going fun social activity or a conversation when you've just met Mr/Miss Right because you have to go meet your parents. They'd be better off using the bus.

I quite agree and this is probably the least likely option but we might do it sometimes if, for instance, his car is in the shop. At any rate, it would be more like him calling me whenever he's done vs me picking him up at a specified time.
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A: Live on campus. Your son will have an exponentially richer college experience this way. And no parking issues.

Distant B: If you can't do that, there's a website and, I believe, an iPhone app that shows available parking in real time:

http://www.uh.edu/police/UHlotmap.html

Study this for a few days and look at different times of day. Figure out when lots are empty. Arrive and park on campus during those times. Use extra time to study, walk around campus, work out, play basketball, or lounge at the pool at the recreation center, socialize, etc.

Now we're talking. Looks like the map was last updated May 9, but I'd guess that was around the end of the semester and they don't bother when school isn't in session. I'll check back in on it periodically.
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I agree with people here, living on campus is actually probably the best answer but if he has to commute, parking garages are the best. (The one I currently use is the stadium parking garage). With a parking garage, your son is guaranteed a spot. He doesn't have a reserved spot but UH has a certain amount of permits they can give out for specific garages and once those hit the max, they can't give out more than there are parking spots. 

 

Almost everyday except Fridays are bad parking days. Most students don't go to classes on Fridays which is why college night at bars and clubs is usually Thursday night since students don't have class the following day. Mondays and Tuesdays usually get full past 11am. Tuesdays and Thursdays usually get full around 10am and now that I think about it, even sometimes 930am. 

 

 

You may want to do the math but most of my friends who do live on campus actually calculated that they save money by living on campus. Most of their families live in Katy or Sugarland or the Woodlands and found out that the amount of money they are spending on fuel per month was greater than living on campus. That may be something you'll want to look into. 

 

Edit: I don't know if you want to give this info away but is your son a transfer student and/or a freshman?

 

Edit again: Reread what you asked. The parking problem usually thins out around 1pm on Mondays and Wednesdays and 2pm on Tuesdays and Thursdays so afternoon classes could be another option. The only popular parking garage I can think of is the welcome center parking garage. The one out by Bauer and the stadium parking garages weren't even full last semester.

Edited by Triton
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Being dropped off and picked up by your parent at college?  Not a chance.  Not only will it artificially limit their schedule and flexibility to participate in ad hoc academic activities or study or visit the library, but socially it's a death knell.  Can you imagine the humiliation of having to break away from an on-going fun social activity or a conversation when you've just met Mr/Miss Right because you have to go meet your parents.  They'd be better off using the bus.  

 

I was thinking the same, that sounds very helicopterish.

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He's also going to try out the Park and Ride. To bad they only go to and from downtown and TMC. Would be nice if they had one or two during the day that went to other major destinations like UH or the airports.

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He's also going to try out the Park and Ride. To bad they only go to and from downtown and TMC. Would be nice if they had one or two during the day that went to other major destinations like UH or the airports.

 

That works too. Bus is fine.. I know several people that use them. That would be better than having to pick him up all the time.

 

 

I'm asking whether he is a freshman or not because living on campus is certainly another option and freshmen have their Cougar Village residential quarters that are good. I don't know how you're approaching this... whether you're running a tight budget or not. Hell, I don't even know if he's driving his own car... so I can't really give you the best advice.

 

If you're running a tight budget and he has his own car, get economy or commuter parking but he'll have to come to campus earlier if he wants a spot. Say around 8am to 9am.

If money isn't an issue and he has his own car, get a garage pass. It's the best thing a commuter can get.

If money still isn't an issue and you're not worried about where your son lives, let him live on campus. He'll be able to get involved...

Light rail is out of the question.

If money isn't an issue and he doesn't have his own car, then using the bus may be another alternative but keep in mind that overtime that adds up. 

Edited by Triton
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He's transferring in. He has his own car. Money is an issue and living on or near campus is still a possibility, but for the moment the plan is to commute. We'll see how it goes and how he feels about the drive. It's about 45 minutes to an hour from our house to UH under normal traffic conditions. Once he's done it enough to get a feel for the cost we may compare that to living in a dorm ($7,000 to $9,000 per school year if I recall). He might also meet some potential roommates during the fall so we'll see how things pan out.

Sounds like the garage pass is the way to go for now. I'm going to look into that to see where it fits in the budget.

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I am on the UH campus 4 times a week for consulting work. I really like the new(ish) Stadium Garage located right off of Cullen across from Hofheinz Pavilion. It's close to the buildings I have to visit (AAC, Moores School of Music, Blaffer Gallery, Social Work School, and tennis courts).

 

If campus living isn't an option, I'd choose a garage based upon class schedule. There will be 4 garages to choose from this Fall I believe.

 

Welcome to UH and Go Coogs!

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Good idea to see how it goes then consider other options. While at UH I commuted from the Richmond/Hillcroft (Briar Meadows-ish) area for about a year and it was horrendous. That was a while back and I'm sure it's no better unless he'll have classes around non-peak traffic times.

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Well if money is an issue, then you may not want to do a garage pass. It is the best thing you can get with all the benefits I described earlier, but it is expensive. May want to start him out on a commuter pass or economy parking pass and tell him to just drive to school earlier. But as I said, garage parking is only $100 more expensive than a commuter parking permit, or at least it was last semester.

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Good idea to see how it goes then consider other options. While at UH I commuted from the Richmond/Hillcroft (Briar Meadows-ish) area for about a year and it was horrendous. That was a while back and I'm sure it's no better unless he'll have classes around non-peak traffic times.

 

It's still horrendous, but it has surprisingly improved. Before I got a parking garage pass, I noticed that the amount of people parking in the commuter lots had decreased but it was still bad.

 

That's the great thing about the parking garage... there are no peak times.

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I went to school at UH (05-07), and now I work here and teach at TSU, so I've dealt with every imaginable parking situation between the two campuses. 

 

The Park and Ride will actually be pretty viable if your son is still attending Fall 2014... the rail line should be open by then. 

 

But for now, definitely go with the Parking Garage.  It's much safer for the car.  If he ever has to stay on campus after hours, the very worst thing he can do is be parked out in the surface lot fringes.  As of late, that's been asking for a cell phone thief. 

 

I don't want to give the impression that UH isn't safe though... I've always felt safe on campus.  But the most dangerous parts of campus are the outlying surface lots, so I would stay away from them. 

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It's still horrendous, but it has surprisingly improved. Before I got a parking garage pass, I noticed that the amount of people parking in the commuter lots had decreased but it was still bad.

 

That's the great thing about the parking garage... there are no peak times.

 

 

Oh, I meant the drive! I used to park in the Fine Arts lot usually with no problem back then (but they had just made the rocky lot across Elgin as I was on my way out - now it's paved and extended even more..)

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