Frequently Asked Questions

If you have any questions or comments that are not addressed below, contact University Services at (312) 503-1103, or chicagoparking@northwestern.edu.

  1. I am a new staff member with the University. How do I obtain a parking permit?
  2. I take evening classes on the Chicago Campus. What are my parking options?
  3. I have a meeting to attend in Chicago but I think my parking permit is only valid in Evanston. Where can I park my car for a couple of hours?
  4. Can I buy my out-of-town guests a parking pass for the weekend?
  5. If I need to drive a substitute vehicle, will I still be able to park without my permit displayed on the vehicle?
  6. Where do I place the decal?
  7. How do I enter and exit the parking garage?
  8. Can I get a parking card, separate from my WildCARD, for parking on the Chicago Campus?
  9. What happens if my WildCARD (or parking card) doesn't work in the garage?
  10. I forgot my WildCARD; what do I do?
1. I am a new staff member with the University. How do I obtain a parking permit?
Each department on the Chicago campus is allocated parking spaces according to their percentage of the total Chicago campus population. The first step is to contact your department's Parking Administrator, who oversees these spaces and will determine if there are spaces available.

If spaces are available, faculty/staff must meet certain criteria to be eligible for parking:
  • Must live north of North Avenue, west of Halsted Street and south of Congress Parkway.
  • Are approved for parking privileges through their department
  • Are paid at least 50% of salary from Northwestern University
  • Must work a minimum of 20 hours a week to be eligible for commuter parking
  • Must not have any unpaid University parking violations


If all of the above criteria are met, the department administrator will then fax or e-mail a memo to University Services Chicago verifying that you may purchase one of their allocated spaces. Once this memo is received and processed, you may proceed to University Services Chicago Office to complete a parking application. A tiered scale according to one's annual salary determines parking fees for faculty and staff. NMH, RIC & NMFF salaries will be considered when identifying the parking tier. These rates are set in the Fall Quarter each year.

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2. I take evening classes (Kellogg & SCS) on the Chicago Campus. What are my parking options?

There are several options for evening parking on the Chicago Campus:

  • If you attend evening classes twice a week or less, you may self-validate your parking ticket for a discounted rate of $7.50 per evening. This rate is valid on weekdays from 4:00-10:30 pm and on weekends from 7:00 am-7:00 pm. The discount is only available at Huron Superior Parking or Erie Ontario Parking.
  • If you need evening parking on a more regular basis, University Services offers Evening and Weekend permits. These permits allow you to park at Erie Ontario Parking (LOT-D), Monday through Friday from 4:00 pm until 8:00 am the following morning. The permit also entitles you to 24-hour garage access on weekends and University holidays. Fees are set on a yearly basis. Please contact University Services Chicago Office at (312) 503-1103 for current rates. Parking fees are payable via cash, check or charged to a student account. To obtain a permit, please fill out the online parking application.
  • If you are member of another school or department, contact the Chicago Parking Office for additional information.


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3. I have a meeting to attend in Chicago but I think my parking permit is only valid in Evanston. Where can I park my car for a couple of hours?

The Intercampus Shuttle is a free service (you simply need to show your valid WildCARD) that operates between the Evanston and Chicago campus and will allow you to attend your meeting without having to worry about parking.

If you cannot take the shuttle, ask the department you are meeting with about discounted validations. You may also obtain a discounted employee pass for $10.25 from University Services Chicago Office. Note: This pass is only accepted at Erie Ontario Parking (D-LOT) at 321 E. Erie.

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4. Can I buy my out-of-town guests a parking pass for the weekend?

Yes. A weekend pass is available to students; it can be purchased at University Services Chicago Office during normal business hours. When you sign up for a Weekend Permit, your WildCARD is activated as the guest's key card. The parking pass is $21 and is valid from 4:00 pm Friday to 8:00 am Monday morning.

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5. If I need to drive a substitute vehicle, will I still be able to park without my permit displayed on the vehicle?
Yes, but you will need to notify University Services in Abbott Hall. They will issue you a temporary permit to display in the substitute vehicle.

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6. Where do I place the decal?
The decal(s) should be affixed to the lower passenger-side corner of your rear window.

If you have registered more than one vehicle, please check the back of each sticker to ensure you are attaching the correct decal to the corresponding vehicle. Each decal is marked with the vehicle's information.

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7. How do I enter and exit the parking garage?

For D-LOT (Erie Ontario Parking) and A-LOT (Abbott Hall Surface Lot) parking, swipe your WildCARD or parking card through the card reader. The card should be facing down with the wide stripe inserted into the reader and swiped from left to right. You may experience a 30-second delay during peak entry or exit times before the gate opens.

For the 441 E. Ontario garage, use your key card and wave it in front of the card reader. Note: Your WildCARD will not work in this facility. Your key card will also grant you access to the pedestrian entrance on Ontario Street, so remember to carry your key card with you once you have parked your car within the garage.

Contact University Services if you have any difficulties parking with your WildCARD or key card, or if you have further questions regarding your campus permit at (312) 503-1103.


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8. Can I get a parking card, separate from my WildCARD, for parking on the Chicago Campus?
Yes*. Upon request, a separate parking card can be issued with a key card number for parking. The separate cards are available for $25. Email your request to chicagoparking@northwestern.edu. * A a separate parking card cannot be issued for garage access at 441 E. Ontario.

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9. What happens if my WildCARD (or parking card) doesn't work in the garage?
If your card does not work when you attempt to enter the garage, please take a ticket to enter the facility and notify University Services in Abbott Hall, Room 100.

For D-LOT (Erie Ontario Parking), if your card does not work when you attempt to exit the garage, press the assistance button on the exit and a customer service representative will be available to assist you. If the representative is not available, it may be necessary to pay the daily rate at the pay station. If you've had to pay the daily rate, request a parking receipt and take it to University Services, in Abbott Hall, Room 100, for refund instructions.

For the 441 E. Ontario garage, press the intercom at the entrance or exit.  This will ring into the garage office and someone should be able to assist you.

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10. I forgot my WildCARD; what do I do?
For D-LOT (Erie Ontario Parking), take a ticket when entering the garage and bring it to University Services in Abbott Hall, Room 100, during regular business hours. You will receive an exit pass to exit the garage. If it is after regular business hours and no customer service representatives are present, it may be necessary to pay the daily rate at the pay station. If you've had to pay the daily rate, request a parking receipt and take it to University Services, in Abbott Hall, Room 100 for refund instructions.

For the 441 E. Ontario garage, press the intercom at the entrance or exit.  This will ring into the garage office and someone should be able to assist you.

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