Returning Grand Rapids Community College students know parking on campus the first couple weeks of class can be a nightmare. Everyone tries to crowd into the most centrally located parking ramps and many get caught in long lines to enter, when in fact there is plenty of parking to go around. While the GRCC Police Department will have extra officers to help direct traffic, their advice is to familiarize yourself with some of these parking options and have a back-up plan if your first choice in parking lots is full or has a long line to enter. It’s also recommended that you come to campus before your first day, rather than early on the first day of class, to look around and find your classes and locate other parking options. That way you don’t have to fight crowds and lines to find your way.
These three options are all within easy walking distance of every building on the main campus. They are worth checking, but there are often long wait times to enter on the first few days of class.
-The Lyon Street Ramp, across Bostwick from the Ford Fieldhouse with entrance on Bostwick Avenue
-The Barclay Lot, behind the Music Center with entrance off Lyon Street
The Bostwick Ramp, the largest and most central of GRCC’s parking ramps, has undergone several changes over the summer, including all new lighting and the removal of the parking attendant booths. The booths have been replaced with an automated system that will accept cash, credit, debit and Raider Card.
“We strongly encourage students to use Raider Cards for parking on campus”, said GRCCPD Chief Rebecca Whitman, “it’s the least expensive and most convenient way to enter and exit ramps”.
Using a Raider Card to park only costs $2.50 a day, whereas any other option costs $1 each half-hour, up to $9. All the ramps except the Barclay Lot behind the Music Center will let you pull into the lot and pay on exit. The Barclay Lot will charge your card on entrance and only accepts payment via Raider Card. Money can be added to your Raider Card at machines centrally located in every building on campus except the Music Center.
There are also several other options that students should keep in mind, especially the first few days of class.
First is the Sneden Hall parking, with it’s entrance on Fountain Street. You can use your Raider Card to enter and exit, and the cost is the same as the other ramps on campus. If you have classes on the main campus, you can take advantage of the free shuttle that runs from in front of Sneden Hall to Fountain Street outside the Main Building 7:30 a.m. to 5:30 p.m. This is an excellent option if you have classes both at Sneden Hall and on the main campus.
GRCC also uses DASH Lot Nine, which is about a mile from the GRCC campus, near Grand Valley State University’s downtown campus. The dedicated Hill Dash shuttle runs from 5:45 a.m. to 11 p.m. A pass good for both fall and winter semesters costs $200, compared to $320 for a year of parking four days a week in the Bostwick Ramp.
Another off-campus option is the College Avenue Lot. Central Reformed Church, on the corner of College and Fulton and across College from the Lattinga House, has leased GRCC 100 spaces which cost $200 dollars each for the school year, much like the DASH lot. From there it’s a short walk across College Avenue to catch the free Sneden Hall shuttle to Main Campus.
You can sign up for DASH or College Avenue parking here.
And finally, if you can’t find a way into one of these parking options, there is metered parking on the street. If you don’t have change in your car for the meter, there is a smartphone app called Parkmobile that can be used to pay for a meter with a credit card. This also lets you renew your meter anywhere from your phone, and the app will alert you if your meter is about to run out.
Just remember to be familiar with your options, be patient, and follow the direction of police officers. There’s plenty of parking to go around, but you may have to settle for a space that isn’t next door to your class.