Walking to U of S
Weather notwithstanding, walking to university is generally pleasant. Thanks to its location on the banks of the river – not to mention a beautiful campus – the Meewasin river trails connect north towards Silverspring and Sutherland and south to Nutana and Broadway. Away from the river but walkable, Grosvenor Park is also an option and is also closer to a lot of the amenities on 8th St (a main commercial road with lots of shops, restaurants, etc).
Access west, across the river, is also very good. University bridge connects to 25th St and the Downtown Core as well as City Park. Further north, the train bridge offers pedestrian access to 33rd St which borders both the City Park and North Park neighbourhoods. North Park is at least a 30-minute walk so it is not considered walkable.
Finally, while rentals east of university may not include daily river views, access over the 108th St. Bridge or the rail overpass brings students into one of the more affordable student neighbourhoods, Sutherland.
Biking to U of S
Thanks to its central location, getting to the University of Saskatchewan is arguably easier by bike than by car. About the only areas outside the 30-min ride circle are in the far west (Fairhaven, Montgomery Place) or far east (Rosewood, Greenbryre, Brighton). Hampton Village is just far enough west and north to be outside the circle as well. Buses in Saskatoon also include bike racks so it’s possible to hop on the bus with your USSU Bus Pass should the weather change abruptly while you’re at school.
Of course biking is fast and easy from the walkable neighbourhoods mentioned above, but a few notable mentions that are more bike-friendly than you’d guess at first glance on a map:
Stick to the Bike Trails
A slightly longer ride doesn’t feel like it when you are in the park or along the river with beautiful scenery. If you’re from a small town or not used to cycling, these are also areas where you can commute to campus almost completely on dedicated walking/cycling paths. Check out the Saskatoon’s Cycling Guide for a map and some handy rules of the road.
Silverwood, Richmond Heights, North Park, City Park, Downtown, Riversdale, Holiday Park, Exhibition, Buena Vista, Nutana, Varsity View all offer nice rides along the river to campus. In some cases it may not be the fastest, but it will be the most scenic.
Bike trails also connect Grosvenor Park, Greystone Heights, and College Park directly to campus along 14th Street and Preston Ave.
Access east is particularly impressive, with trails extending as far afield as Evergreen and Aspen Ridge. In the spring and fall (and summer for those taking classes year round) the U of S Lands North has some beautiful biking trails and you can take a detour into the swale to clear your mind on the way home or stick to paved bike routes along Fedoruk to speed your way. Closer areas are also connected including Sutherland, Silverspring, and University Heights suburban centre.
The U of S is promoting cycling to university as part of their sustainability goals and offers:
- An extensive network of multi-use paths connecting every building
- Plentiful, free bike racks
- A few secure bike lockers (at time of writing, $20/month)
- Secure underground parking stalls ($10/month) in the Agriculture and Health Sciences parkades
- Bike repair stand (located between Thorvaldson and Arts)
- Bike repair kit that can be signed out from the PAC (Kinesiology Building)
Bus Service to U of S
The USSU (students’ union) now forces all students to purchase a bus pass with few exceptions. So you’ll have a bus pass, like it or not, and you might as well use it. The truth is, Saskatoon’s bus system is pretty poor. Plans are in place to improve it with a limited bus-rapid-transit (BRT) and recent direct routes have made even farther areas like Stonebridge a possibility.
Now, the good news. One of the places in the city with very good service is the U of S itself (see the U of S Route Page). There is a major transit hub at Place Riel (the students’ union building) with many routes connecting directly, especially on the east side of the river. Recent improvements have also introduced more frequent and faster direct buses from areas like University Heights (Willowgrove, Evergreen).
If you must ride the bus, from the west side (i.e. west of Idylwyld Drive) be aware that you will connect through the City Centre terminal first. There are several routes that do so without requiring a transfer.
On the east side, many routes connect to the university and some continue downtown. From downtown, many pass through or come close to the university before continuing to east side areas. So, suffice it to say, Downtown is very well connected.
We’ve created a handy reference of Bus Routes to University of Saskatchewan (U of S) complete with typical trip times to help narrow down your options.
Driving to U of S
The good news: driving to campus is easy. College Drive connects across the river to 25th St directly and stretches from Idylwyld Dr. to McOrmond Dr. Preston Ave runs east and connects all the way from Stonebridge to Preston Crossing (where it becomes Attridge Dr) and straight into University Heights and the heart of Willowgrove. Circle Drive is extremely close, and an overpass used mostly by university traffic connects Sutherland to the East Road of campus via 108th St.
On Campus Parking
The bad news: Once you get there, parking is intentionally unpleasant. The university has been waging a war to remove student parking (beginning with the mandatory bus pass) for the past 20 years. Spots are scarce and you basically have to win a lottery or live in residence to get one. But it’s not impossible. All students interested in parking for the 2020/21 Fall/Winter term must apply through the online Parking Sale including those registered to live in USask Residences. There are also parking lots that allow you to pay by the hour.
For fall 2020, applications must be made between May 1 – Aug 21 before 10 AM on PAWS, the online student access system. Results are posted Aug 23 and must be picked up before Sept 4. There is a second-chance draw for any unclaimed spots. There are also exceptions for those that live out of town.
Off Campus Parking
The nearest neighbourhood, Varsity View, has a parking permit requirement for street parking. You can park for no more than 1-2 hours without a permit. Although it contravenes bylaws, many rent parking spaces on their property (back lane, for example) separate from housing. If you choose to go this route, it’s something to be aware of and definitely be wary if it looks unsightly that someone will complain and may put an end to your parking space. Likewise, the Field House across from campus has a large parking lot but it is intended for users of the field house not students. Enforcement has been getting stricter as well. Campus Security is almost exclusively there to generate ticket revenue, and they’re quite good at it.
Park and Ride
Your best bet, if you need to be at campus all day and don’t secure a parking spot, is to park at one of the malls and ride the bus. The Centre at Circle and Eight (formerly Circle Park Mall) is the closest to campus.