I like Forbes because to get to Locust you have to drive through the campus and often you have to wade through pedestrians and a line of cars to get into the garage. Forbes garage is entered, oddly enough, from Forbes Ave, which does not suffer the student congestion. Both garages are right next to each other, so its not necessarily a big deal, I just think Forbes is faster to get in and out of.
Buy the parking pass. The buses are hugely inefficient and will cost you the same amount in the end. But you can't buy back your time. All of which you will need. Plus the bus will drop you off down on Forbes and you'll have to hike up the hill every day.
The first assignment is to give you practice and feedback on briefing. It also serves as a baseline so that the profs can detect anyone who truly can't write early. Most of the writing profs do in fact use them. Gilliand has been asleep the pat few years from what I've heard, however.