New Parking System, Same Old Story

A typical Sunday at the USD Law Parking Lot

Oh, the pitfalls of parking here at USD. Everyone has a preferred method. Some leave extra early and scavenge the law school lot, constantly harassing students walking through the area to see if they’re walking to their cars; others get to campus with few precious minutes to spare before their first class and pray to the parking lot gods to give them that one dream spot. Others, of course, have their priorities in order and show up 5-10 minutes late to class, but with visibly less stress.

Ask any USD student (law, undergrad, or otherwise) to describe parking here, and most would probably choose a word that rhymes with luster-truck but is unfit to print.

So what does the University do? It installs a system that alerts would-be parkers at the Mission Parking Structure if any available parking spot exists in real time. For those of you who have been living under a rock this semester, the parking structure now has lights over every parking spot. A red light indicates a spot is occupied; a green light means drive as fast as you can to make sure no one else steals that spot before you fishtail into it. The system also includes signage that shows which parking levels have available spots.

“With drivers spending more and more time searching the east end of campus for an open parking space, we view the system as an effective way to help us improve the efficiency of our parking systems while simultaneously reducing emissions,” said Chief Larry Barnett, USD’s Assistant Vice President of Public Safety.

So it seems USD wishes to inform us more effectively and efficiently that there are too few spots for too many students.  According to the University, USD is now one of the only higher-education institutions in the country to have this type of system in place. So now that you’ll figure out there’s no space for you in the Mission Parking Structure, let’s explore your other options. And keep in mind: Timing is everything.


The odds of finding a spot in the law school lot after 9 a.m. is roughly the same as being bitten by a shark while getting struck by lightning, all while having the winning lottery ticket in your pocket. If you’re lucky enough to find a spot here, you almost rationalize staying on campus after your last class a few extra hours just to feel like you’ve gotten your money’s worth.

But do keep in mind that after 5 p.m. you can park in those yellow spots, and if you carpool, you have access to approximately seven spots that we non-environmentally friendly people do not.


This is academia’s version of the walk of shame. The only consolation is that USD offers you a tram that comes every 15 minutes or so, and it’s usually filled with visually pleasing undergrads. Another silver lining is the fact that if you are lucky enough to have Diane as your driver, you’ll be privy to some of the best funk and R&B San Diego has to offer. You’ll no doubt be whistling the bass line to “Give It To Me Baby” by Rick James all day.


Some people elect to park in the neighborhood to the south of Warren Hall. While it’s completely free, you do have about 75 steps to climb from Linda Vista to the law school. Ascend at your own risk: There’s nothing worse than having to go to your most despised class than having to go to your most despised class drenched in your own sweat.

So there you have it. Everything I’ve ever learned about parking at USD. If the experience has taught me anything, it’s to give myself an extra 20 minutes in coming to school . . . or just not to care at all that I’ll be late for my first class.

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