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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 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 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) 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 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 for $10.25 from the Chicago Parking Office. 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?

Yes, but you will need to notify the Chicago Parking Office in Abbott Hall. They will issue you a temporary permit to display in the substitute vehicle.

Where do I place the decal?

The decal 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.

How do I enter and exit the parking garage?

For Erie Ontario Garage and Abbott Lot parking, swipe your Wildcard or keycard 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 East Ontario and 275 East Chestnut garages, use your parking keycard and wave it in front of the card reader. Note: Your Wildcard will not work in these facilities. Your keycard will also grant you access to the pedestrian entrance on Ontario Street, so remember to carry your keycard 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 keycard, or if you have further questions regarding your campus permit at 312.503.1103.

Can I get a parking card, separate from my Wildcard, for parking on the Chicago Campus?

Upon request, a separate parking card can be issued with a keycard number for parking. The separate cards are available for $25. Email your request to A separate parking card cannot be issued for garage access at 441 East Ontario or 275 East Chestnut.

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 the Chicago Parking Office in Abbott Hall, Room 100.

For Erie Ontario Garage, 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 have to pay the daily rate, request a parking receipt and take it to Chicago Parking Services in Abbott Hall, Room 100 for a refund.

For the 441 East 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.

I forgot my Wildcard, what do I do?

For Erie Ontario Garage, 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 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 have to pay the daily rate, request a parking receipt and take it to the Chicago Parking Office, in Abbott Hall, Room 100 for refund instructions.

For the 441 East 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.