You may find parking, carpool, rideshare, and alternative transportation information at the Duke Parking and Transportation page. If you want an historical (pre-2012) perspective on parking at Duke, continue reading.
Though it is possible to live within walking/biking distance of campus, and there are several bus routes to and from campus, many physics graduate students choose to drive to campus regularly. Obtaining a parking permit is a harrowing annual experience. The Duke Department of Parking and Transportation Services can be counted on to devise a new, horrible and seemingly more unfair system most years. In the past, the system has always been revised so that parking works out in an almost reasonable manner.
Currently (2004) physics graduate students primarily have access to one large lot shared by graduate students, faculty and staff from many buildings in the vicinity of the physics building. This lot, Circuit lot, does not contain enough spaces for all those who would like to park there, so every year control over the spaces is renegotiated by the various departments involved. Graduate students sign up for permits on-line, specifying their first choice lot and a number of alternatives. The parking office will check to make sure the physics department has spots available in your first choice (usually Circuit) and if not, will give you a permit for a remote lot. Remote lots are usually, but not always, on campus and serve the purpose of allowing you to park somewhere on campus and take a bus to the physics building. Remote lot permits cost significantly less. After 5 p.m. graduate students are able to park in most of the lots on campus.
Parking permits for the 2003/2004 school year cost $234 for lots near physics, but this is no gurantee of future permit prices.
Check the Department of Parking and Transportation Services website regularly over the summer for more information:
Sign-up for parking has, in the past, occured before or during orientation week.