WashU Parking Zones

Q&A: Parking Plans and the New Lottery

Major parking changes are coming to campus, and we all have a lot of questions! Becca Gilberg, WashU's alternative transportation coordinator, is part of a team working to help everyone transition smoothly to the new system. Here she answers questions about the new parking lottery, what parking options will be available going forward, how to switch to free public transportation, and more. 

For all information related to the new parking plan, including an extensive FAQ section, visit parking.wustl.edu

The New Parking Plan

Why is parking changing?
The changes will address the significant parking reductions that will result from the construction on the east end of the Danforth Campus as well as enable WashU to better address the university’s long-term parking needs. 

What are the main changes?

  • Anyone who plans to purchase a permit of any type will need to register via the new parking lottery, which will be available starting April 17. 
  • We are moving to a zoned parking system.
  • First-year and second-year students will not be able to park on campus.
  • Undergraduates in their junior and senior year who live in university-owned housing managed by Residential Life or Quadrangle Housing will be eligible to purchase a parking permit for the South 40 (Zone 4) or the low-cost ParkSmart option.
  • Undergraduates in their junior or senior year who live off-campus in non-university housing are able to request a ParkSmart permit for West Campus. 
  • Faculty, staff and graduate students may choose any of the available zones. 

The Lottery

What is the lottery?
The parking lottery is a registration process that will help WashU properly allocate parking resources and permits for the 2017-2018 academic year. This will help ensure there is a parking space for everyone within their zone and reduce the time spent hunting for a parking space.

Who needs to enter?
EVERYONE who plans to park on campus with a permit of any type, including special programs like Bearly DriversOccasional Parking Program or the Eliot Society, will need to register via the lottery.

When and how do I enter? 
Starting April 17 through April 28, those who want to purchase a permit of any kind for the coming academic year will need to log into the system using their WUSTL key. The lottery is a critical component to the new zoned strategy and will help ensure we are able to properly allocate parking resources as effectively as possible.

Will entering the lottery early increase the odds of getting my preferred parking zone?
No. All permit preferences submitted before the lottery closes on the 28th will be processed together, and it will not take into account when individuals completed their permit selection.


What parking permit can I purchase for 2017-2018?
To learn more about your permit options and eligibility, view the current permit chart.

What are the least expensive parking options within the new system?

  • The price of a Bearly Drivers Carpool permit ranges from $25 to $150 per person per fiscal year and is based on the amount of people in the carpool. Full-time faculty and staff on the Danforth, West Campus and North Campus are eligible and must enter the permit lottery.
  • The ParkSmart permit is less than $9 per month, and employees making under $45,000 per year can get the permit for $25 for the entire fiscal year.

Do the different zones on Danforth have different permit prices?
Danforth’s pricing is based on permit type, not zone. Two permit types will be available: yellow, which will be available to all eligible permit holders for $757.25 and valid only in its designated zone; and red, which will be available only to employees and is valid in any zone for $1,885. The very low-cost ParkSmart permit for West Campus is also available. To review the new parking prices, visit parking.wustl.edu.

West Campus ParkSmart Option

What is the ParkSmart permit?
The ParkSmart permit is valid in designated spaces at West Campus for less than $9 per month as long as West Campus isn’t your primary work place. For employees making under $45,000 per year, ParkSmart is only $25 for the entire fiscal year. 

How do I commute between Danforth and West Campus?

  • West Campus shuttle: Two WashU shuttles run Monday through Friday between West Campus and Danforth Campus. You must show your WashU ID to ride the shuttle.
  • MetroLink: You can park on the surface lot closest to the MetroLink at West Campus and take a train directly to one of the two MetroLink stations on Danforth. It’s a 2 minute ride to Big Bend and a 4 minute ride to Skinker. The MetroLink comes every 12 minutes during peak hours.

How frequently will the shuttle run? 
The shuttles come every 15 minutes or less. Instead of having a set schedule, they will run continuously between campuses to reduce the wait time. Shuttle service starts at West Campus at 7 a.m., and the last pickup is at the Mallinckrodt Center at 10 p.m. An overview of the route, as well as other options on campus, can be viewed on the interactive parking map.
You can learn more about ParkSmart and the new West Campus shuttle here.

Alternative Transportation

What if I use alternative transportation to get to campus and have to leave quickly due to an emergency?
Commuters who use alternative transportation methods to get to campus can enroll for free in the Guaranteed Ride Home program that provides up to four subsidized rides home per year in the case of an emergency. Commuters who use public transportation, walk, or bike to campus can enroll in Citizens for Modern Transit’s Guaranteed Ride Home that reimburses them for 80% up to $60 of their ride home. Registered carpoolers can enroll in RideFinders’ Guaranteed Ride Home program that pays for 100% up to $125 of their cab ride home.

What if I only need to occasionally park on campus?
If you have a ParkSmart permit or bike, walk or take transit to campus, you’re eligible to join the Occasional Parking Program to purchase a limited amount of $2.50 each daily permits that come in packs of 8 for $20. You must request Occasional Parking in the lottery.

Switching to FREE Public Transportation

What if I don’t live by a Metro stop?
You can park for FREE at a Metro Park & Ride lot and ride a MetroBus or MetroLink to campus for FREE with your U-Pass to save money on all the costs associated with driving as well as minimize your time spent in traffic.
Some of the Park & Rides used most by the WashU community are Shrewsbury-Landsdown, Sunnen in Maplewood, Grand, Brentwood, Forest Park–DeBaliviere, and North Hanley, but there are a total of 31 in Missouri and Illinois. They are all free except for the Clayton garage. To learn more about Metro Park & Rides and view a map of all locations, please visit Metro’s website.

What are the closest MetroLink stations to the Danforth Campus?
There are two MetroLink stations on the Danforth campus on Forest Park Pkwy at Big Bend and Skinker. You can catch the Campus Circulator near both stations to get to various locations around the Danforth Campus and South 40. Download the WUSTL Mobile app to see the Circulator’s real-time locations and schedule or view its route and stops on the interactive parking map.

Where can I learn more about my alternative commuting options? 
Visit the Parking & Transportation Services’ Commute Options page.  

Is there anybody I can talk to about my alternative transportation options? 
Me! I can provide fully customized alternative commute plans, in-person consultations, and group presentations. Feel free to get in touch via email at rgilberg@wustl.edu.  

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