Parking & Directions

Directions to the CDS from Raleigh Durham Airport (RDU):

♦ Take Airport Boulevard West to Interstate 40.

♦ Travel I-40 West approximately 11 miles (18 km) to exit 273-B, Chapel Hill exit. You will be entering onto 54 West.

♦ Proceed on Highway 54 West for about 3 miles (5 km). 54 West will eventually change to South Road.

♦ Proceed on South Road onto the main campus. You will pass the School of Government on your left and will continue past the Student Union on your right and then the Bell Tower to parking lot stop light and then turn right at the next traffic light onto Columbia Street (one-way northbound at this point). Proceed northbound on Columbia Street a short distance and straight through the next traffic light at the intersection with Cameron Avenue. Continue on Columbia Street until you reach the next street light which will be Franklin Street.

♦ We are in the Top of the Hill Building on your right at the south-east corner of the intersection with Franklin Street. Enter on the Columbia Street side of the building and proceed to the second floor where our reception area is located. If you need to find parking, continue on South Columbia another block and take a right onto Rosemary Street. Public parking is on both sides of Rosemary for the next block.

Parking Information for Employees and Visitors

The CDS is not eligible to receive allocations of University parking spaces since it occupies leased (not state-owned) space. As a pan-University center, the CDS rents several spaces for use by visitors who are distal research collaborators or for CDS operations/needs. When possible, the CDS obtains a Campus Service Permit for short-term parking periods to be used for executing repairs, loading/unloading, attending meetings on campus, and other University-related business that requires 2 hours or less. The CDS Parking Coordinator (Business Services Coordinator) manages the use of the CDS visitor spaces that are provided by the Center.Chapel+HIll+Parking+Map-page-001

Transportation Options around Chapel Hill-Carrboro:

Public Transportation:

We encourage the use of the Chapel Hill Transit bus system to reduce on-campus traffic and improve efficient utilization of parking resources.

Many commuters use public transportation options such as the Chapel Hill public bus system or the Robertson Scholars bus that runs between Duke and UNC-CH.

Commuter Alternatives Program (CAP):

Full-time employees, postdocs, and students that do not possess an on-campus parking assignment are eligible to apply for a CAP permit (Commuters Alternatives Program) which will allow you to park in designated Park-n-Ride lots surrounding the Carrboro/Chapel Hill areas.

There are several Park and Rides lots surrounding Chapel Hill and Carrboro which do not cost anything to use, but most of them require a parking sticker that is obtained by signing up for the CAP program.

Employees who wish to secure CAP permits may access an application at the Department of Public Safety office on Manning Drive, or by following this link.

The Department of Public Safety states that the only spaces available on campus for purchase “over the counter” are in the S-11 lot (near the Dean Smith Center). This involves driving to the lot and catching a bus to ride into campus. The cost is about $370.00 per year (as of 12-13), which would be about $31.00 per month. This can be paid through payroll deduction.

Disability Parking:

Employees with short term and permanent disabilities may be eligible for special parking.

Disability application process and disability application:

Graduate Students:

Graduate students are eligible to participate in a campus-wide lottery.  These permits are assigned directly from the Department of Public Safety.  If no assignment is made, you can elect to be placed on a waiting list.


Postdocs receive parking permits through the Department of Public Safety and not through their home departments.  Permits are drawn from a lottery and then assigned strictly by total state service.

The University Postdoc Resource Handbook also has detailed information and links for parking options on pages 47-49.

Public or Private Parking Lots:

One other alternative is to pay hourly or monthly fees for parking in public (e.g., Rosemary Street Public Garage) or privately-owned parking lots.  Some CDS personnel use a lot that is managed by Joseph Polcaro on North Columbia Street, about 2 blocks from the Center.

Mr. Polcaro can be contacted at 919-942-4058 (costs run about $70-$80 per month).

Research-related parking:

It should be noted that some research projects at CDS may require closer access to parking for the purposes of research travel (e.g., data collection, lab visits, transport of research equipment, research subjects/participants).  These decisions are made by each Principal Investigator and may depend on the scope the research activities/needs and the funds that are available to support this cost.

Additional parking information can be obtained from the Department of Public Safety homepage.