Students explore alternative to KSU parking passes


The pay-by-plate station of the C lot across from the student center stands empty on Oct. 5, 2018.

Sarah Limas

Katie Doubell bought a parking pass for her first three years of college.

This year she decided it wasn’t worth it.

“Every time I spent the $200-plus on a parking pass, I ended up still paying almost every single day to park at the meters unless it was a perfectly nice day,” said Doubell, a senior business major. “I was OK with walking, but realistically, in Kent, that doesn’t happen very often.”

Parking on campus without a permit can be challenging, but there are other options.

Visitor pay lot 

When students use the visitor pay lot in front of the Kiva, they pull a ticket from a machine at the entrance, then pay the cashier when they leave. The first hour is $2 and every hour after is $1.

“That’s right in the middle of the campus,” said Larry Emling, the manager of parking services. “If you come in early in the day, you’re probably going to find a spot. That lot does fill at about 10 or 11 for a couple of hours. It’s never full for a long time, but you may have to wait a few minutes as cars come and go.”


At two lots, students can “pay-by-plate.” Drivers park in the lot and then walk up to the machine, type their license plate numbers into a machine and buy their time at $1 an hour. Parking services employees then know not to issue a ticket.

“Pay-by-plate lots are more customer friendly because when you walk up to the machine, buy your time, hit complete and you can go to your destination,” Emling said. “You don’t have to walk back to your car to put that receipt on your dash.”

The university has two pay-by-plate lots on campus. One is located at the Student Recreation and Wellness Center and the other is across Summit Street from the visitor lot.

“I think the pay-by-plate is more reliable because your first hour is $1 and then you can just add coins to it,” Brianne Suvada, a sophomore environmental and conservation biology major, said. “It’s cheaper.”


At the “pay-and-display” lot located at the Ice Arena, students walk up to the machine to buy their time. The machine will print a receipt and students put it on the dashboard of their car.

The pay-by-plate and pay-and-display lots are more likely to have more open parking spaces because they are on the borders of campus, Emling said.


The university also has parking meters all over campus.

“I always tell people, ‘If you’re going to try to rely on the parking meters daily, it’s risky,’” Emling said. “We don’t have that many meters in place that you’re always going to find a meter open. You’re going to wait five to 10 minutes, a half-hour, depending on the day.”

Some parking meters have an hour limit. Others range up to 10 hours.

Sarah Limas is the construction reporter. Contact her at [email protected].