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Parking 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 required to park in all Evanston campus lots year-round Monday through Friday 8:00 a.m. to 4:00 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 (no re-entry within 24 hours). Vehicles may not be stored in Ryan Field remote lots for more than five (5) consecutive days (no re-entry within 24 hours), and must be removed for all home football games.

  • Parking Permits, Wildcards, and Parking Access Cards are for the exclusive use of the permit holder and may not be transferred, loaned or sold to another individual.
  • A permit holder may be assigned only one permit type at any time.
  • 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 8:00 a.m. to 4:00 p.m.

Unless posted, permits are not needed:

  • On official holidays when the University is closed for business
  • After 4:00 p.m. weekdays
  • All day on weekends

Review Permits 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 8:00 a.m. to 4:00 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
  • Any student with non-appealable, unpaid violation assessments
  • Students living in non-university housing within the designated walking zone

Personally owned (non-University) trucks over "B" class are not eligible for parking permits and are prohibited from parking on campus. Personally owned (non-University) motorized vehicles that are not eligible for licensing in the State of Illinois (golf carts, go carts, mini-bikes, etc.) are not eligible for parking permits and are prohibited from parking on campus.

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.

Full Lots/Garages

Purchasing a permit does not guarantee a space. Lots in the center of campus and the North Garage are in particularly high demand during the week. Permit holders working in these areas should prepare to park on the west and south ends of campus where lots rarely fill. See the Evanston Parking Map for lot locations.

There may be times such as concerts, sporting events, 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 fifth 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
    Outstanding, non-appealable violations will be deducted from the refund amount.
Return Date Annual Permit (12 months) Academic Year Permit (9 months)
By 5th day of Winter Quarter 75% of purchase price refunded 66% of purchase price refunded
By 5th day of Spring Quarter 50% of purchase price refunded 33% of purchase price refunded
No refunds after 5th day of Spring Quarter

Replacement & Temporary Permits

A $7.00 fee will be charged for replacement permits.

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

If you sold your car and didn’t retrieve the permit: If you have a carpool/multi-car permit, scrape off the remaining permit and bring it, along with the carpool 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/Spaces

  • 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.
  • Carpool: Issued to faculty, staff or commuter students forming a carpool or for those who want to register two vehicles. Only one vehicle in a carpool may park on campus at a time. The carpool 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. This permit is non-refundable.
  • One-Day Visitor Permits: Issued at the daily rate for use by non-University affiliated guests, visitors and vendors. This permit is non-refundable.
  • Motorcycle/Scooter/Moped Permits: Available to all eligible faculty, staff and students with a registered motorcycle, scooter or moped. Required for all licensable motorcycles, scooters and mopeds. There is no charge for a motorcycle/scooter/moped permit provided the individual has purchased an annual main campus parking permit. Both vehicle and motorcycle/scooter/moped 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. Departmental reserved spaces are reserved for non-affiliated guests, visitors, patients, research subjects, etc. - faculty, staff, students, contract staff and other affiliates are prohibited from parking in these reserved spaces. All reserved spaces are non-transferable. There is a premium assessed on all individual and departmental reserved spaces. Parking Services may remove reserved parking space(s) if space holder or assigned department is in violation of this policy.
  • Crown Sports Parking: Garage access cards issued to non-University affiliated members of the Henry Crown Sports Pavilion and Norris Aquatics Center. Member contract required and limited to two hours.

Contractor Parking

All capital project contractors, subcontractors and their employees are prohibited from parking in main campus parking lots and garages and are required to park off the main campus in identified locations and/or private (non-Northwestern) parking lots or garages. Contractors, subcontractors and their employees are encouraged to utilize provided shuttles, carpools, rideshare services, or public transportation. Contractors, subcontractors and their employees are subject to ticketing, immobilization and/or commercial towing if found in violation of this policy.

ADA (Accessible) Parking 

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

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

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

Citations, Towing & Immobilization 

See Tickets 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
  • Parking garage gate arm violation
  • Passback violation

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 three or more unpaid parking citations (any violation). Immobilizers are removed only upon receipt of payment of all outstanding parking violations and the immobilization fee.
  •  Blocking a loading zone
  • Parking in a reserved space (unauthorized), handicapped space (unauthorized), tow-away zone or otherwise creating a safety hazard
  • Vehicles that are unidentifiable (no visible VIN number, no license plate, and no permit)

If your car is booted, contact Parking Services immediately. In order to have the 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:

  • LARC Drive, MLS lot, 630 Dartmouth, 619 Clark, 711 Elgin, 2020 Ridge (north of Leon Place) and the 600-700 block of University Place.

The snow removal plan is in effect from December 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 Police/Senior Associate Vice President of Safety & Security or Director of Transportation and Parking 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.