Parking Rules & Regulations

The parking regulations have been adopted by Northwestern University. Persons who operate a vehicle on Northwestern University property are responsible for knowing and complying with these regulations. The university assumes no liability for loss or damage to a vehicle or its contents.

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Permit Guidelines

University permits are needed to park in all Evanston-campus lots year-round Monday through Friday 8 a.m. to 4 p.m. University Police and Central Utility Plant lots require a permit 24 hours a day, seven days a week.  Vehicles may not be stored in main campus lots for periods of longer than 48 hours. Vehicles may not be stored in Ryan Field remote lots for more than five (5) consecutive days.

  • Parking Permits are for the exclusive use of the permit holder and may not be transferred, loaned or sold to another individual.
  • A vehicle may display only one permit type.
  • Improper use of permit will result in a citation and/or your parking privileges being revoked. The Parking Committee reserves the right to deny parking privileges to habitual violators.
  • Permits are required on all days that the University is open for business, from 8 a.m. to 4 p.m.

Unless posted, permits are not needed:

  • On official holidays when the University is closed for business.
  • After 4 p.m. weekdays.
  • All day on weekends.

Review Permit Rates for costs associated with campus parking.

Walking Zone

Faculty, staff and commuting students must live outside the walking zone to be eligible for main campus annual permits: 

  • North of Central Street
  • West of Ridge Avenue (not on it) from Central Street to Emerson Street
  • West of the Metra tracks from Emerson Street to Lake Street
  • South of Lake Street (not on it)

See the Walking Zone webpage for map.


Faculty and staff who live outside of the walking zone  are eligible for annual Evanston campus parking permits. Faculty and staff with non-appealable, unpaid assessments are not eligible.

Students with senior standing or above who live on campus are eligible for parking permits. All graduate and commuting students who live outside of the walking zone are also eligible. Chicago campus students are eligible if they have Evanston campus classes during enforcement hours of 8 a.m. to 4 p.m. (subject to verification by class schedule).

Students who are not eligible for permits include:

  • All freshman, sophomores and juniors who reside on campus.
  • All students with non-appealable, unpaid violation assessments.
  • Students living in non-university housing within the designated walking zone

Registration Procedure

Faculty and staff are required to present a valid Wildcard and driver's license.

Students are required to present, in addition, their vehicle registration and current housing contract or lease. Persons who provide false information are subject to referral to Student Affairs, loss of any future permit privileges, forfeiture of permit fee, and may be subject to criminal charges. An additional fine may be assessed for a fraudulently obtained permit. Parking Services reserves the right to request additional documentation to verify address, affiliation and vehicle registration. 

All information is subject to verification.

Permit Display

Permits must be displayed correctly and license plate number(s) must be on file with the Parking Services Office. Display only the current year permit and remove old permits after they expire.

The sticker must:

  • Always face the aisle.  Do not back into, or pull through a parking stall.
  • Be affixed to the outside of the rear window, lower right corner.
  • Be in an upright readable position.

Temporary permits (hang tags) must be displayed hanging from the rear view mirror, facing out.  Temporary permits must also have the expiration date indicated (scratch-off type).  One day temporary permits must be indicated with the single date that the permit is used.  Pay and Display (kiosk) permits must be displayed face up in full view on the dashboard.

Full Lots

Purchasing a permit does not guarantee a space. Lots in the center of campus are in particularly high demand during the week. Permit holders working in the center of campus should prepare to park on the north and south ends of campus where lots rarely fill. See Maps for lot locations.

There may be times such as concerts, sporting events and during student move-in and construction projects when you will be directed to park in other areas of campus. This is a condition of your acceptance of the parking permit.

Intercampus Parking

The Chicago campus full time permit (purple sticker) is valid in all faculty/staff lots on the Evanston campus. It is the only permit that is valid on both campuses. The Chicago campus part time permit (green sticker) is not valid on the Evanston campus. 

No Evanston campus permit is valid on the Chicago campus.

Permit Denial & Revocation

The Parking Committee and Parking Services have the authority to deny or revoke parking privileges. Those persons having their permits revoked forfeit the permit fee and must surrender the permit to the Parking Services Office. Any permit obtained using deceptive practices will result in revocation.

Permit Cancellations

It is your responsibility to return all permits to Parking Services if you no longer wish to park on campus or if you terminate employment. Refunds are only issued upon return of a permit.

A razor blade scraper works well to remove permits. It is ok if the sticker is in pieces. 

  • Faculty/Staff
    Faculty/staff will be charged for each month the permit is assigned. Faculty and staff must return their permit(s) and hang tag (if applicable) by the sixth business day of the month to avoid being charged for the remainder of that month. Payroll deductions will not be terminated until the permit(s) is removed from the vehicle and returned.
  • Student
    No refunds are issued after the fifth day of spring quarter. Outstanding, non-appealable violations will be assessed to the refund.

Annual parking (12 months) refunds: Three quarters of the purchased price will be refunded until the fifth day of winter quarter. Half the purchased price will be refunded from the fifth day of winter quarter through the fifth day of spring quarter.

Academic year parking (9 months) refunds: Two thirds of the purchased price will be refunded until the fifth day of winter quarter. One third of the purchased price will be refunded from the fifth day of winter quarter through the fifth day of spring quarter. 

Replacement & Temporary Permits

A $7.00 fee will be charged for replaced permits.

If you bought a new car or decided to purchase a car pool/multi-car permit: You must scrape off the old permit and bring the pieces into Parking Services. If you have a car pool/multi-car permit, you must return both permits and the car pool hang tag. We will issue you a new set.

If you sold your car and didn’t retrieve the permit: If you have a car pool/multi-car permit, scrape off the remaining and bring it, along with the car pool hang tag, into the Parking Services Office. If you had a single car permit, you must come in and fill out an affidavit before receiving a replacement.

If your car is in for service and you have a loaner: You can obtain a temporary permit at the Parking Services office. You will need to present your Wildcard. There is no charge to an annual permit holder.

Special Permits

  • Official Business: Issued upon approved written request from a department head to full time Northwestern University service personnel. This hanging placard is in addition to a regular annual main campus permit only, and allows temporary parking in normally "No Parking" areas, provided that loading docks, drives, fire lanes and reserved spaces are not blocked or obstructed by the vehicle. 
  • Contractor Permits (Campus): Issued to limited authorized construction superintendents working on campus but not working in a designated construction zone (limited to one permit per project). Contractor permits are valid in most faculty/staff lots. 
  • Contractor Lot: Issued to authorized construction trade contractors working on campus in designated construction zones. Permit allows parking in designated contractor lots only.
  • Service Permits: Issued at the monthly or quarterly rate to non-affiliated vendors and service personnel. Non-refundable.
  • Car Pool: Issued to faculty, staff or commuter students forming a car pool or for those who want to register two vehicles.  Only one vehicle in a car pool may park on campus at a time. The car pool hang tag must be displayed in the vehicle that is parked on campus.
  • Temporary Permits: Issued at the daily or monthly rate for short-term parking. The expiration date, month and year must be indicated. These permits may be issued at no cost to permit holders in emergencies. Authorized University vendors and service personnel may purchase one day or quarterly permits. Non-refundable.
  • One-Day Visitor Permits: Issued at the daily rate for use by non-NU affiliated guests, visitors and vendors. Non-refundable.
  • Motorcycle Permits: Available to all eligible faculty, staff and students with a registered motorcycle. Required for all motorcycles over 150 cc’s. There is no charge for a motorcycle permit provided the individual has purchased an annual main campus parking permit. Both vehicle and motorcycle may not be parked on campus simultaneously.
  • Metered Spaces: Metered parking spaces are set aside solely for short-term use by visitors.  Parking at meters longer than the maximum time specified on the meter ("feeding" the meter) is prohibited.  Vehicles owned or operated by faculty, staff or students are not allowed to use metered spaces.
  • Reserved Spaces: Issued upon approval of written request by the Parking Committee. These spaces are reserved seven days a week, 24 hours a day. The holder of a reserved space does not have the right to allow any other vehicle to park in the space. Only one vehicle in a reserved space account may park on campus at a time.  Reserved spaces are non-transferrable. There is a premium assessed on all individual and departmental reserved spaces.
  • SPAC Permits: Issued to non-University affiliated members of the Henry Crown Sports Pavilion and Norris Aquatics Center (SPAC).
  • Hybrid/Electric Vehicle Permits: Issued at a discounted rate to faculty, staff and students with a hybrid or electric vehicle.  Documentation of hybrid or electric vehicle status required. The hybrid or electric vehicle must be the primary vehicle driven to campus.  In car pool permits, both vehicles must be hybrid or electric vehicles.  Permits are not transferrable and must be returned for a prorated refund if the hybrid is no longer the primary car driven to campus.  Hybrid/Electric vehicle permits are valid only on certified hybrid or electric vehicles.

Handicap Parking 

Daily visitors with handicapped license plates or placards from a government agency may park in designated handicapped spaces or at parking meters. University parking permits are required in non-handicapped spaces.

Faculty, staff (including permanent non-university staff) students and long term parkers with handicapped license plates or placards must purchase a main campus permit.

Faculty, staff and students requesting main campus parking for medical reasons must possess valid handicapped registration.

Citations, Towing & Immobilization 

See Fees & Payment for assessments and how to pay tickets.

Vehicles may receive tickets for:

  • No valid permit
  • Unauthorized permit
  • Altered permit
  • Incorrect permit for lot
  • Valid permit/hang tag not properly displayed
  • Sticker not facing aisle
  • Parked on walk or grass area
  • Blocking or obstructing traffic lanes, service areas, posted areas, hydrants
  • Parking over lines or in two spaces
  • Expired parking meter
  • Over 20 minutes in a loading dock/zone
  • Reserved space
  • Handicapped space
  • Posted fire lane

Any area not designated as a parking space should be considered a no parking zone.

Vehicles may be towed or immobilized for:

  • Blocking fire lanes.
  • Blocking vehicle or pedestrian traffic ways.
  • Parking in no-parking areas.
  • Abandoned vehicles. Vehicles must not be stored on campus beyond 48 hours.
  • Parking that impedes progress of necessary maintenance projects (snow removal, paving, etc).
  • Receiving two or more No Valid Permit or Unauthorized Permit violations (whether paid, or under appeal) is subject to commercial towing and/or immobilization up to one year. Violations that are unpaid are subject to commercial towing and/or immobilization indefinitely.
  • Receiving four or more violations of any type (whether paid, or under appeal) with a valid permit is subject to commercial towing and/or immobilization up to one year. Violations that are unpaid are subject to commercial towing and/or immobilization indefinitely.
  • Parking in a reserved space (unauthorized), handicapped space (unauthorized), tow-away zone or otherwise creating a safety hazard.

If your car is booted, contact Parking Services immediately. In order to get a boot removed, all tickets, fines and boot fees must be paid. Once payment is accepted, the boot will be removed. Failure to make arrangements to have immobilizer (boot) removed will result in the vehicle being commercially towed. 

If your car is towed, contact North Shore Towing in Evanston to claim it. You will be responsible for paying the towing fee and any storage fees to North Shore Towing.

Violation Appeals

Parking violations may be appealed to the Parking Committee , an independent body of faculty, staff and students.

To appeal a ticket, you must complete the form on the Ticket Appeals webpage within 10 days of the violation date. Appeals received after the 10-day appeal period will not be accepted. Appeals received not on the online appeal form will not be accepted.

Snow Removal Policy

Certain lots can be designated as "No Parking" to accommodate snow removal after two inches of snowfall. When enforced, parking is prohibited between 11:00 p.m. and 5:00 a.m. in the following lots:

  • North Beach, LARC Drive, MLS East, 630 Dartmouth, Regenstein, 619 Clark, Music Administration, 2020 Ridge (north of Leon Place) and the 600-700 block of University Place.

The snow removal plan is in effect from Dec. 15 through March 30. Vehicles found in the above lots while the plan is in effect are subject to ticketing and towing at the owners expense.

Emergencies or Special Events

The Chief of the University Police Department may establish and enforce temporary parking restrictions deemed necessary for the safety and convenience of the University.  Parking lots may occasionally be closed for special events, lot maintenance, etc.  Any vehicle remaining in a closed lot is subject to removal (tow) at the owners expense.