New Danforth Campus parking plan detailed

Zoned approach, simplified permits and lottery system will roll out in next few months

Washington University in St. Louis’ new parking and transportation management strategy will help address pending parking reductions, improve the use of existing resources, and better serve the campus community for the future. A new website, email and staffed hotline are available to help with questions.

Late last year, the university announced that a new parking plan would be implemented following May 2017 Commencement.

The new plan will help address key weaknesses in the current program, enhance alternative transportation options, and better reflect how students, staff, faculty and visitors travel on and to campus by ensuring that vehicles that need daily access to campus will have a parking space available.

Specific details will roll out later this spring. Once implementation is complete, there will no longer be free parking on the Danforth Campus.

“We’ve spent a great deal of time exploring our options and evaluating how several of our peer institutions manage parking,” said Tara Bone, assistant vice chancellor for operations. “Guided by best practices at other universities, we are moving to a zoned approach. We understand that this is a significant change for our campus community, but we believe this plan will best address parking needs across the Danforth Campus both near and long term.”

Bone also noted that the administration had to revise its initial plans to accommodate a new home for the School of Engineering & Applied Science’s Department of Computer Science and Engineering.

Moving to a zone system

As part of the plan, the Danforth Campus will be broken into five zones, the east end (Zone 1); south core (Zone 2); north core (Zone 3); South 40 (Zone 4); and the North and West campuses (Zone 5). The new zones will go into effect starting July 1. Permit pricing will be announced in early April.

Each of the zones will have red and yellow permit types available for purchase. Yellow permits, available to all eligible parkers, will only be valid in that zone. In addition, employees will have the option to purchase a red permit, which allows parking in any zone.

Parking for yellow spaces in each zone will be enforced from 7 a.m. to 5 p.m. Monday through Friday. Red spaces will continue to be enforced 24 hours a day, seven days per week. New permits will be valid for a 12-month period with an expiration date that aligns with the start of the academic year.

parking zone map

New lottery system

Starting in April, all permits for the coming academic year will be available for purchase via a lottery. Under the new system, students, faculty and staff will be able to rank their first, second, and third permit preferences, which then will be assigned via the lottery based on availability, an approach that has been successful at other universities. Once a zone reaches its limit, a waitlist will be established that will periodically be reviewed by the Parking & Transportation team, who will release additional permits as they become available.

New ParkSmart option

Eligible students, faculty and staff who are not be able to park near their primary workplace will be able to use the ParkSmart option, which allows holders to purchase a reduced-cost permit and park at West Campus. Employees whose primary work location is at West Campus will not be eligible for this permit option. The lower-cost permit option at North Campus will be phased out beginning July 1.

New West Campus shuttle

To accommodate the anticipated volume at West Campus, a new West Campus shuttle service will launch March 31. The shuttle will run in 15-minute increments, year-round, from West Campus to the Mallinckrodt Center. During peak hours, shuttle frequency will increase.

Changes to daily permits

In early 2018, all visitor garages, including Snow Way and Millbrook, will be equipped with technology that will allow parkers to pull a ticket and pay. This system will eliminate the need for daily permits, which will be phased out at that time. In the meantime, daily permits will continue to be available for purchase. As of June 30, daily permits will not be sold at the Campus Store. Prior to June 30, Parking and Transportion will widely announce locations on the Danforth Campus where daily permits can be purchased until the pull and pay system is in place.


Early April: Share permit pricing
Mid-April: Open permit lottery for faculty, staff and students
May 22: Close east end for construction
June 30: Daily permits no longer sold at Campus Store
July 1: Zoned parking begins
January 2018: Install technology for visitors in Snow Way, Millbrook garages

Alternative commuting options

To help faculty, staff and students navigate campus, the university offers a mix of alternative commuting options including Metro, Campus Circulator, Campus2Home shuttle, the Occasional Parking Program, Guaranteed Ride Home program and Enterprise CarShare, among others. To learn more about these options, visit

“We have worked to build a flexible, data-driven system to meet the parking and transportation demands of the university for the foreseeable future,” said Dedric Carter, vice chancellor for operations and technology transfer. “The system, which will be phased in over the next year, represents change that will impact our entire campus community. However, taking in all of the inputs from stakeholders over the last few years, we believe the new policies, and accompanying infrastructure, will provide the platform for delivering high-quality service for Washington University. Thank you in advance for your help and support in this broad-reaching effort.”

For more information about the new parking strategy, as well as additional policies that take effect July 1, visit A staffed, special hotline (314-935-3616) and a new email ( also have been created to help with questions. Faculty and staff also can contact the department to request departmental presentations about the new strategy or alternative commuting options.