Park ya vee-hickle, you slack-jawed yokel

Ahhh Calgary, a magical land where everyone and their dog drives. For anyone just coming here from out of town, are you not amazed at the ridiculous love affair this city has with the automobile (and, more recently, the SUV)? It baffles me to no end and I’m a born and raised Albertan.

No matter the reason for it, Calgary’s love affair with the combustion engine leads to a huge demand for parking lots. You know, those huge slabs of concrete that take of space that could easily be used for anything and everything else.

Thank God this city has space to burn and then some. This campus is not so lucky however, and parking is a shady prop-osition.

In the not-so-Camelotesque University of Calgary, parking passes are more valuable than diamonds and parking rates rise more regularly than a Viagra-addled Bob Dole. It seems like every six months it costs an extra 25 to 50 cents to park anywhere. Even Lot 10, a one dollar proposition when I started here in 1998 has climbed to a near ludicrous $2.25.

While Lot 10 is the "budget" lot at $2.25 you can be straight bougie in the underground MacEwan Parkade at a cool seven bucks a day.

There is also the option of buying booklets for the pay lots (wherein you receive 11 entries for the price of 10) or parking passes. Parking passes are limited however, as an annual pass or a pass to the Arts Parkade for both semesters will see you paying $350 and up, not to mention waking up at 2 a.m. and waiting in line for six hours just to get the chance to buy one.

There’s also the option of buying a McMahon Stadium parking pass for the low, low price of $42.80 per semester. The downsides to are that it’s a bit of a hike and you need to be out of the lot by late afternoon whenever there’s an event at either McMahon or Burns Stadiums.

You are not without options however; you can beat the system. There’s always walking and Calgary Transit, while the U of C is goodly enough to reward the thrifty and environmentally friendly alike by offering up reduced rates for carpooling (cars with three or more occupants). So round up some friends from high school or your ‘hood and save a few bucks while having people to talk to while you waste away on a gridlocked MacLeod Trail.

There you have it, parking is a bitch and it’s expensive. If you must drive, I would recommend getting to campus before 10 a.m. to avoid missing out on a spot. Also, try to get here between classes and not immediately before they start, you’ll avoid a lot of lineups and embarrassing late entrances that way.


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