Skip to main content

Frequently Asked Questions

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 and staff must meet certain criteria to be eligible for parking:
  • Must live north of North Avenue, west of Halsted Street, and south of Van Buren St. The zip codes included in the exclusion zone are: 60610, 60654, 60661, 60606, 60604, 60603, 60602, 60601, 6061. Addresses on North Ave between Lake Shore Dr and Halsted St, Halsted St between Van Buren St and North Ave, or Van Buren St between Lake Shore Dr and Halsted St does not establish parking eligibility.
  • 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 email an approval form to the Chicago Parking Office verifying that you may purchase one of their allocated spaces. The Chicago Parking Office will validate the request and then email you an application and additional instructions. Bring your completed application to the parking office. A tiered scale according to one's annual salary determines parking fees for faculty and staff. NMH, Shirley Ryan AbilityLab, and Lurie Children's salaries will be considered when identifying the parking tier. These rates are set in the fall quarter each year.

I take evening classes (Kellogg, School of Professional Studies, OLLI) on the Chicago Campus. What are my parking options?

There are several options for student 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 $9.00 per evening. This rate is valid on weekdays from 4:00 p.m. to 10:30 p.m. and on weekends from 7:00 a.m. to 7:00 p.m. The discount is only available at Huron Superior Garage or Erie Ontario Garage.
  • If you need evening parking on a more regular basis, we offer Evening and Weekend permits. These permits allow you to park at Erie Ontario Garage Monday through Friday from 4:00 p.m. until 8:00 a.m. 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 the Chicago Parking Office at 312-503-1103 for current rates. Parking fees are payable in cash, check, or charged to a student account.
  • If you are member of another school or department, contact the Chicago Parking Office for additional information.

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 with your Wildcard that operates between the Evanston and Chicago campuses 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 from the Chicago Parking Office by presenting your Wildcard. Note: This pass is only accepted at Erie Ontario Garage, located at 321 East Erie Street.

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 the Chicago Parking Office during normal business hours. When you sign up for a Weekend Permit, your Wildcard is activated as the guest's keycard. The parking pass is valid from 4:00 p.m. Friday to 8:00 a.m. Monday morning. See our Evening and Weekend Permit page for the current rate.

If I need to drive a substitute vehicle, will I still be able to park without my permit displayed on the vehicle?

If you own a second vehicle that you driver periodically, you may register that vehicle in addition to your primary vehicle. Understand that permit parking privileges are for only one vehicle per day. Registering tow vehicles does not grant parking access to both vehicles on the same day.

If you have a temporary or rental vehicle, notify the Chicago Parking Office via email and provide your name, Wildcard ID number, and substitute vehicle information.

Where do I place the decal?

The decal should be affixed to the lower passenger-side corner of your rear window. When parked, the permit sticker must face the aisle.

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.

How do I enter and exit the parking garage?

For monthly parkers at the Erie Ontario Garage the gate system will read the rear license plate of your vehicle and raise the gate if you have a current, valid permit. If the gate does not raise and you have a current permit, your Wildcard serves as a backup credential. Simply tap your Wildcard at the entrance reader.

For the Abbott Hall surface lot, please tap your Wildcard at the entrance reader. The indicator light should turn to green and then the gate will raise. Press the assistance button at the entrance reader if you are unable to enter.

For the 441 East Ontario and 275 East Chestnut garages, use your parking transponder and wave it in front of the card reader; your Wildcard will not work in these facilities. For 441 parkers, your transponder will also grant you access to the pedestrian entrance on Ontario Street, so remember to carry your transponder with you once you have parked your car within the garage.

Contact the Chicago Parking Office if you have any difficulties parking with your Wildcard or transponder, or if you have further questions regarding your campus permit.

What happens if my license plate or Wildcard (or transponder) doesn't work in the garage?

If your license plate is not read and your Wildcard does not work when you attempt to enter the garage, please take a ticket to enter the facility and contact the Chicago Parking Office.

For Erie Ontario Garage and Huron Superior Garage, if your license plate is not read and your Wildcard does not work when you attempt to exit the garage, press the assistance button at the exit and a customer service representative will be available to assist you.

For the 441 East Ontario Garage and 275 East Chestnut Garage press the intercom at the entrance or exit. This will ring into the garage office and someone should be able to assist you.

I forgot my Wildcard, what do I do?

For Erie Ontario Garage, your license plate will be read by the system and raise the gate for you. If not, please take a ticket when entering the garage and bring it to the Chicago Parking Office in Abbott Hall, Room 100, during regular business hours. You will receive a pass to exit the garage. If it is after regular business hours please press the assistance button at the exit gate and a customer service representatives will respond to assist you.

For the 441 East Ontario Garage and 275 East Chestnut Garage, press the intercom at the entrance or exit. This will ring into the garage office and someone should be able to assist you.

Is my Chicago parking permit valid for Evanston campus parking?

Parking in Evanston is enforced Monday through Friday from 8 a.m. to 4 p.m., excluding University holidays and closures. If you are a faculty or staff member with the annual Chicago parking permit you may park in Evanston at no additional cost when needed. Your license plate and Wildcard are activated for North Garage and South Garage. You may also utilize any Faculty/Staff lot designated on the Evanston Campus Parking Map.

All other Chicago campus faculty, staff, and students may park on the Evanston campus by pulling a ticket and at North Garage or South Garage, or purchasing a daily permit from the Evanston Parking Office.