Parking Services News

September 14, 2015

"Parking at UNCC >stinks< >sucks< >insert expletive here<.." This is one of the first things you hear about when you get to campus. Close behind is:

  • “There are no spaces on campus!”
  • “Why do they make parking passes so expensive?”
  • “There are velociraptors in Lot 6A! RUN FOR YOUR LIFE!” (I want this one to be true.)  

Parking is a hot topic that's largely been blown out of proportion. In truth, Parking and Transportation Services is full of hard working people and without them parking on campus would be worse than the busiest Wal-Mart on Black Friday, or even Force Friday. Their job is necessary. They are not the Galactic Empire, minions of Sauron, or Justin Bieber.

I have worked as an intern at Auxiliary Services for over a year now and in the process, have learned so much about parking at this university. Many of the perceptions I had as an undergraduate student changed completely after interactions with PaTS staff. These people, many of whom are students, go about a job that maintains order in parking areas. They often endure hateful reactions from those who don't understand that enforcement personnel are really looking out for the best interests and safety of everyone who parks at UNC Charlotte.

Dear readers, I ask you to take a moment, step back and look at the whole parking situation with me. I may not lead you to a place of respect and understanding for the role of PaTS, but hopefully at least, your opinion will be more informed.

You Don’t Have to Put on the Red Light

Do you want to avoid getting parking citations? All you have to do is follow the rules and get a permit. Please. I beg of you. Be a good citizen of Niner Nation and park on campus legally. If you are unable to get a permit you can use visitor parking or get a temporary permit for as many days as you think you'll need for $6 per day (which is $4 cheaper than the Visitor parking day rate). You will have peace of mind and won't dread that walk back to your car wondering if you'll have a penalizing yellow envelope on the windshield.

There's no denying that the price of a parking permit is high and you'd rather spend that chunk of money on absolutely anything else. On this there is unanimous agreement! But there's a reason permits cost what they do. Read why if you want to know and while you're at it,  if you want know where that money goes, PaTS publishes those numbers every year. Here's last year's numbers.

You Got What I Need

There are almost as many parking permits as there are flavors in a Baskin Robbins including some lesser-known money saving ones.

  • Commuters and Faculty/Staff can save a little money by purchasing remote lot permits for Lot 6A (which has a shuttle stop right there) and Lot 27 (a walk-in lot). I purchased a Lot 27 permit last year and loved it. I saved $240 and found the lot is just a small distance from two bus stops.
  • Only on campus twice a week? There’s a permit for that.
  • Only have night classes? There’s a permit for that.
  • There is even a web widget to help select the best permit for you!
  • Graduating in December and you can't buy a Fall-only permit? No worries! Turn in your permit at the end of the semester and you'll get a prorated refund.

Don’t Stop Til’ You Get Enough

One of the most common complaints I hear from peers and colleagues is that there are not enough parking spaces. While the count numbers prove that's not true, it's a belief rooted in everyday parking experience. Here's what I mean: when you go to a place that does not have a mass population coming and going at the same time, like for example the grocery store, the number of people there at the same time as you rarely seems extraordinary. You arrive and park in the closest spot available. Sometimes you get that primo space in front and sometimes you don't, but you almost always can see the door to where you're going from your parking spot. But it's not like that on campus. Thousands of people are looking for a place to park at highly concentrated times, 9 a.m., 11 a.m and 1 p.m., and, being human, they all want to park as closely as they can. Unfortunately the closest, most central lots and decks fill up quickly and stay that way until after the rush, around 2 p.m. or so. That’s just how it works when class schedule determines the ebb and flow of cars. But our expectation is based more on the grocery store parking experience. That's why I see people drive around the Union deck, circling over and over again like characters in a Scooby-Doo episode. They don't realize that there are other open spots elsewhere on campus. Anything beyond West Deck or East 3 seems far out; add to that the price you paid for a permit and having to park at the far reaches of campus becomes an indignity. Totally understandable!

Many commuters and staff don’t even know where North Deck is (with its thousands of empty spots every day) or that it has a shuttle stop right at the entrance! Parking at CRI Deck when you have zero classes on that end of campus seems completely counter-intuitive! But it’s not! If you come in to campus at peak class times, it's best to park in lesser used areas like these. They all have shuttle service and in the end, can save you lots of time.

Baby You Can Drive My Car

Let’s say your car breaks down and you need to use one belonging to someone else, like a parent or friend or a rental. A common misconception is that you can just hang your tag on the other car and be good to go. But if you do, you’ll get a citation and that’s not fun for anyone. PATS needs to keep track of what cars are registered to what permits to make sure they are being used correctly. If they didn't, the black market for stolen permits would thrive!

So here's what you do in that situation: go to the PATS office with the loaner vehicle's registration and they'll tell you want your options are (solutions vary based on who the car belongs to, if it's a rental and how long you'll be driving it). If you didn't bring your permit and need a temporary permit for the days you're driving the loaner, PaTS will fix you up with that, too. As a permit holder, you won't be charged for the temp permit (up to 10 days worth depending on permit type).


To all those for whom this is your first year parking on campus, don't stress; everything is going to be ok. After the first month of class, parking patterns shake out as people become familiar with schedules and parking area alternatives.

To those who make parking into a mythical beast that cannot be quenched, I ask that you please just abide by the rules and don’t take it out on people in orange. They are looking out for all of us. Just remember that parking illegally without a permit is really stealing a space from someone who has bought a permit.

And one more thing: if you need to load/unload near a building, be mindful of tow-away zones. Always call PaTS first. They will advise you where you may safely load or unload and give permission to do so for 15 minutes. Or you could use your Delorean and travel back and forth through time again and again creating multiple versions of yourself to help get the job done. However, this would cause a rip in space and time resulting in the destruction of all human existence. So better yet, call 704-687-0161 and inform PATS. That way you won’t be cited and then you’ll be happy, clapping along like a room without a roof.

If you've read this far...

...thanks for doing so! I hope this blog contribution has helped your understanding of why parking is so different here and that the people whose job it is to maintain parking order are not the enemy. They really want to make sure that everything runs as smoothly as it can on a pedestrian-centered campus with an overwhelming majority of commuting students.

Let's be excellent to each other and PARK ON, DUDES!

— Patrick W.

photo of Lot 6 during peak class time (11:00 AM on a Wednesday)

A lot more commuters are using the tip to park in Lot 6 and take shuttle, finding it's easier than circling full decks. Even at peak class times, there are many open spaces there and in other lower-demand areas.

Two maps: one of high-demand parking areas, the other of lower demand areas.


Editor's note: As marketing intern for Business and Auxiliary Services, Patrick Wisniewski has produced videos for parking, meal plans, College Colors Day and the opening of South Village Crossing. He also presented Meal Plans and Parking information to all incoming students at SOAR throughout the summer. When he completes his master's program and leaves us for bigger and better things later this year, you may for a time see the Auxiliary Services building draped in black.


August 16, 2015

What you should know before classes start:

  • UNC Charlotte Parking Permits are required and will be enforced on the first day of class. If you have not already done so, purchasing online is the easiest way to get your permit. We’ll have it waiting for you in an express pick-up line.
  • If you do not have a permit, you must pay to park in a visitor parking area, e.g., Union, Cone, East 1, South Village, or CRI decks or Lot 4 pay-by-space. Visitor parking map.
  • You may also buy a temporary permit for $6/day for as many days as you think you’ll need. Temporary permits must be purchased in person from Parking and Transportation Services. Temporary permits are not valid in Visitor parking areas and do not work in gated decks or lots.
  • Peak parking demand will occur Monday – Thursday, 9:00 a.m. – 2:00 p.m. (based on class schedule).
  • The Parking and Transportation Services Call Center is open from 5:00 a.m. on Monday continuously through 10:00 p.m. Friday evening each week to answer any parking or transportation related questions or concerns: 704-687-0161.
  • For short-term loading/unloading parking, call 704-687-0161 for permission and direction.
  • Parking gates in all gated lots and decks will remain down from 5:00 a.m. Monday continuously through 10:00 p.m. on Friday evening, except during holidays when the University is closed.
  • Single and multi-space meters are enforced 24 hours per day, seven days per week, except during holidays when the University is closed.

Student Permit Purchase and Pick-up

Student permit purchase (including temporary permits) and express pick-up will be at the Student Union first floor Art Gallery (#69 on campus map):

  • Thursday August 20, 8:00 a.m. – 6:00 p.m.
  • Friday August 21, 8:00 a.m. – 5:00 p.m.
  • Saturday August 22, 10:00 a.m. – 4:00 p.m.
  • Sunday August 23, 10:00 a.m. – 4:00 p.m.
  • Monday August 24, 8:00 a.m. – 6:00 p.m.
  • Tuesday August 25, 8:00 a.m. – 6:00 p.m.
  • Wednesday August 26, 8:00 a.m. – 6:00 p.m.
  • Thursday August 27, 8:00 a.m. – 6:00 p.m.

Faculty/Staff permit purchase/pick-up is at the PaTS Office, #23 on campus map.

Additional Permit Info

  • A limited amount of discount remote parking is still available to Commuters and Faculty/Staff for Lot 6A (corner of Cameron Blvd. and John Kirk Rd., served by the campus shuttle) -UPDATE 8/21/15: SOLD OUT.
  • Permit hangtags have a Radio Frequency ID (RFID) chip that will open gated areas appropriate for your permit type.
  • You may add additional vehicles to a permit at no charge but the vehicles must be registered in the name of permit holder, their spouse, or a parent/guardian.  
  • Permits are to be displayed from the rear view mirror or on the driver’s side dash in a PaTS-approved clear pouch. The entire permit must be visible. Dash pouches are available from the PaTS office at no charge.

Parking Tips

  • The first two weeks of Fall semester is when parking demand is exceptionally high, particularly at Union Deck. Plan for it by either arriving before 8:00 a.m., or parking in a lot toward the margins and taking the Shuttle into center campus.
  • Parking is expected to be especially tight on Monday, August 24 because of New Student Convocation, and on Tuesday, August 25, the first full day of classes.
  • Decks and lots closest to the center of campus fill quickly and early. Union Deck, East Deck 2, West Deck, and the lots closest to those decks are often at peak capacity by 8:45 a.m.
  • Lot disruption due to infrastructure construction:
    • MSU Lot (in front of Sanford and Moore Halls) has been removed.
    • Lot 12 (NE corner of Mary Alexander and Craver) will be offline for several weeks.
    • The Craver Road-facing entrance and exit of Lot 16 (by residence halls Oak, Elm, Maple and Pine) will close permanently Sunday, August 23. Access to that lot will be via Poplar Terrace.      
  • Be prepared. Have a plan in mind for alternative parking if your first preference is full when you arrive. Parking map.
  • Don’t circle a full lot or deck! That only adds to traffic snarls that can occur near deck and lot entrances. Move on to a lower-demand area like North Deck, CRI Deck or Lot 6 (on Cameron near Campus Edge apartments). Maps and more about high versus low use areas. There are shuttle stops nearby for transportation to the center of campus if you don’t wish to walk.
  • By the third week of classes, parking demand eases.

Traffic Tips

  • Peak traffic times are 7:45 a.m. – 9:15 a.m. and 5:00 p.m. ­– 6:00 p.m.
  • Expect more traffic delays than usual due to campus infrastructure improvement projects.
  • All shuttles from off-campus housing complexes must load and unload passengers at the bus loop of East Deck 2 only, entering at the Main Entrance and exiting via Van Landingham Rd. This measure is necessary because of infrastructure construction and to ease traffic on interior roads, but it may result in heavier congestion around East Deck 2, especially during peak class times. Students utilizing private shuttle services are advised to leave early.
  • If leaving campus between 5:00 and 6:00 p.m., avoid exiting to John Kirk Drive by way of Van Landingham Rd. near Fretwell. Try using Mary Alexander Rd. to Mallard Creek Church Rd. or the bottom level of East Deck 2 that exits to Rt. 49 South (University City Blvd).
  • If arriving on campus between 5:00 and 6:00 p.m., avoid the John Kirk Dr. entrance at Van Landingham Rd. (near the Circle K). Instead, enter campus by using Cameron Blvd., the Front Entrance, Mary Alexander Rd., or the bottom level of East Deck 2 from 49 South (University City Blvd).
  • Pedestrians have the right of way on all crosswalks unless there is a traffic signal, which takes precedence. The traffic circle at Mary Alexander and Van Landingham Roads is controlled by a traffic signal, which must be obeyed by both pedestrian and vehicular traffic.
  • Follow @unccparking on Twitter. PaTS uses Twitter to provide updates about of detours, delays and other relevant information. For those who don’t use Twitter, the same information is fed directly to the parking website home page.

Football Game Day Parking:

  • Commuter and Resident permits will not be valid in any parking decks or lots designated for football parking on Football Game Days.
  • Student Resident lots (blue color coded), with the exception of Lot 25, are not affected by football. All vehicles parked in Lot 25 (across from Wallis Hall) must be moved by 12:00 a.m., the Friday before a Saturday home game. Vehicles not moved will be towed at the owner’s expense. Alternative parking will be at  North Deck or any other R-designated lot or deck that has not been designated for Football parking.
  • The Friday night game, scheduled for October 2, will require vacating lots and decks designated for football by 12:30 PM. More football home game parking information.

Campus Shuttle Service:

  • Full service begins Monday, August 24. Campus Shuttle stop lists and route maps. This service is fare-free to all UNC Charlotte students, faculty/staff and visitors.
  • Real-time campus shuttle and SafeRide Evening Safety transportation tracking and arrival information is available via smartphone or website with the UNCC NextRide app (FREE at Android and iOS app stores) or website/mobile site .

Please remember:

  • Parking for the disabled is available on campus ONLY to individuals who have a DMV-issued disability placard and a valid UNC Charlotte Parking Permit registered to them.
  • SafeRide provides disability transport throughout the inner core of campus for those with ongoing mobility impairments who have registered for the service, Monday – Friday, 7:30 a.m. – 5:30 p.m. Services require registration through the Office of Disability Services and completion of a Disability Medical Verification Request form. SafeRide is also available to those who need assistance on a temporary basis (such as recent surgery, lower limb injuries, visual impairments, or chronic diseases that impact stamina). This is also arranged through the Office of Disability Services, Fretwell 230 (704-687-4355). After completion of the required form, Disability Services will verify and send email confirmation of eligibility (usually processed within 24 hours or less).
  • SafeRide Evening Safety Transport makes getting around campus safer, faster, and easier after dark. Service runs seven days a week, 6:00 p.m. – 2:00 a.m., picking up those waiting at marked stops on a continuous looping route. Vehicles keep moving and do not arrive or depart at set times. A list of designated stops and stop map are here. SafeRide van tracking and arrival information is available via smartphone or website with the UNCC NextRide app or website/mobile site .

A comprehensive guide to “Everything You Need to Know About Parking and Transportation” is available as a printer-friendly PDF.

For specific inquiries and concerns, the Parking and Transportation Services website has a contact form or you may email directly. Or call the PaTS call center, 704-687-0161, open weekdays from 5:00 a.m. Monday continuously through 10:00 p.m. Friday.

photo of a young woman behind the wheel, making and angry face and clenching her fist.

This is the face of someone unprepared to park! Parking on a large campus with a high percentage of commuters, where classes are densely scheduled Monday - Thursday mornings, is not like parking at the mall, where you can expect to park within eyesight of an entrance. It's more like parking at the airport. Early birds get spaces in the closest decks and lots and those who arrive later should expect to park farther away. 




July 22, 2015

2015 update

Every year, PaTS posts the numbers that show how permit and visitor parking proceeds from the previous academic year were spent. Follows are the totals from academic year 2014-2015:

Income: $10,912,787

  • $7,870,029 came from parking permit sales;
  • The rest was generated from F/S premium gated access fees, and visitor parking fees, etc. ($1,830,734 came from visitor/short-term parking, including conferences, meters, visitor deck pay stations and visitor parking vouchers).

Operating expenses: $8,328,172

  • $4,167,485 went to debt service on existing decks;
  • $956,412 for CATS Campus Shuttle and SafeRide
  • $775,981 for repairs and maintenance of lots and decks
  • $1,279,749 for salaries (which includes enforcement personnel, most of whom are student workers)
  • $1,148,545 went to utilities, lease for Center City building parking, gate equipment, permit printing, credit card fees, insurance, maintenance contracts, etc.

How this year's numbers compare to 2013-2014

  • Again, most of the money from permit sales and visitor parking charges was used to pay back construction bonds on existing decks and maintenance/upkeep of all campus lots and decks (replace lights, repair surfaces, repaint stripes, etc.). 
  • Income was up over last year which correlates to an increase in visitor parking. Operating expenses went down. This is why permit prices did not increase, remaining the same for a third year in a row.  
  • Any money left that exceeds current obligations will go toward design and construction of future decks.

Permit prices are set to support a 10-year business plan that ensures that new decks can be built as enrollment growth demands, that parking removed by new buildings can be replaced, and that existing parking facilities are maintained so as to extend service life.

That’s because:

  • State funds are not used to pay for parking facilities
  • Tuition dollars don’t supplement parking
  • Citation fines cannot supplement construction/maintenance of parking lots and decks*
  • That means that parking has to be self-supporting, paid for by those who use it, students, faculty/staff and visitors.

PaTS will continue to publish the numbers every year so that you can know where the money goes. (Here’s the numbers from academic years 2013-2014 and 2012-2013). We’re also happy to answer your questions about parking. The Parking and Transportation Services call center is open from 5:00 AM Mondays continuously until 10:00 PM Friday; call 704-687-0161. Or you can Tweet @unccparking or write

*PaTS and the University reap no financial benefit from citation fines. Citation proceeds are governed by a State statute (GS 115C-457.1-3 – p. 305) which says that civil fines (i.e., parking tickets), minus the cost of collection, have to be remitted to the State of North Carolina, which then allocates the money to local K-12 public schools. The cost of collection cannot exceed 20% regardless of how much is actually spent to provide enforcement and collect the fines. Unfortunately, it costs PaTS more than the 20% they're allowed to keep to cover the cost of enforcement. Citation proceeds for 2014-15 was $117,424.

Photo taken from inside staircase of South Village deck, looking out upon one of the high rise residence hall

Photo taken from the inside staircase of South Village Deck.

June 15, 2015

Photo taken from top of East Deck 1, looking down to area between East 1 and East 2

To help alleviate traffic backups that tend to occur during peak arrival and departure times, alterations will be made to the traffic pattern and parking designations on the first level of East Deck 1. 

The work will cause several traffic pattern and direction changes as it progresses. Please pay close attention to signage and lane markers to ensure safe movement.

East 1 was not originally designed for automated visitor pay systems; the retrofit works well most of the time but, explains Keith Wassum, Associate Vice Chancellor for Business Services, "Backups occasionally happen. We're making adjustments to alleviate that." 

So beginning Saturday, June 20 and continuing through the summer, Parking and Transportation will make the following improvements:

  1. Install an additional Exit Verifier so that both exit lanes can be used for Visitors and Permit holders (already in progress)
  2. Designate Level 1 of East Deck 1 for Faculty/Staff and Disability parking only
  3. Remove one row of parking spaces on the ramp from Level 1 to Level 2 to serve as a dedicated entry lane
  4. Change the down ramp from Level 2 to Level 1, creating two dedicated exit lanes
  5. Add a Faculty/Staff Only exit at the rear of Level 1 for direct access to the East Deck 2 exit. This exit will be installed later in the summer.

For those who park on the lower level of East Deck 1, egress will take an odd path for the next few weeks. Until the new exit is installed from Level 1, all vehicles parking in this area will be required to go up the ramp from Level 1 to Level 2, circle around, and then exit. "It's going to be awkward for a few weeks," says Wassum, "but now is best time to make these tweaks."

Faculty/Staff and Visitors who park on the second through fourth levels will exit as normal.

For questions, please call the PaTS Call Center, 704-687-0161 (open from 5:00 AM Monday, continuously through 10:00 PM Friday) or write

Do you have the latest Everything About Parking and Transportation Services guide? Pick one up at the PaTS office or Auxiliary Services office, or download the printer-friendly pdf.