Best Parking Spot: Student Lot or Chelton?

We’re settling the debate. Discover the best parking spot here.

Sam Moffit

The transition from junior to senior year is riddled with crucial decisions, from class schedules to college applications, standardized testing, and perhaps most importantly…parking!

In late July and August 2022, current seniors were reminded of their opportunity to participate in the student lot parking raffle. The raffle was quite selective, and most students walked away empty-handed with nowhere to park except for the single alternative: Chelton Road.

A parking pass on Chelton Road is worth its weight in gold to the average upperclassman. Despite this, Chelton is seen as the “younger brother” to the student lot and the far more unfavorable alternative. However, the race is much closer than it may appear.

For starters, let’s lay out what constitutes an ideal parking experience. It boils down to three factors:

1) ease of entry and exit

2) distance from a school entrance

3) ease of obtaining a parking permit

As far as factor one goes, Chelton is a clear winner. The sheer versatility of parking on Chelton Road gives it the crown, seeing as it provides exit options at two separate East-West Highway intersections and an abundance of outlets to Wisconsin Avenue, which lines the east Bethesda neighborhood. Chelton Road is also less densely populated, meaning there is inherently less traffic coming and going each day.

The case for the student lot lies in criterion two: distance from a school entrance. The student lot’s location is directly adjacent to four separate school entrances, one of which is the main entrance. This is pretty advantageous to those who park there solely based on reliability because the main entrance is the only dependable entrance in all of B-CC.

It’s open before, during, and after the school day, meaning students will always be able to access it regardless of when they arrive. On the contrary, Chelton Street has a single entrance, which is only open for a brief amount of time right as the school day begins. This round goes to the student lot.

Finally, we should consider the third criterion: the ease of obtaining a parking permit. As far as the student lot is concerned, it’s an entirely random process, except for a few exceptions that grant you a pass. On the other hand, Chelton Road is largely about who you know. Knowing someone in the neighborhood can give you direct access to a permit; if not, you’re out of luck. For these reasons, this criterion is a toss-up. It varies greatly depending on one’s situation and falls either way for each person.