Public Safety - Parking and Traffic Services

Questions?

  • Parking and Traffic Services
    202-885-3111
    parking@american.edu
    Letts Lower Level Suite 1

    M-Th 8:00 am - 5:30 pm; F 8:00 am - 5:00 pm

Mailing Address

American University Parking Policy

I. PURPOSE

American University has determined that it is in the best interests of the University community that rules and regulations be established to govern the driving and parking of motor vehicles by faculty, staff, students, visitors and guests on University property. The purpose of this document is to stipulate the parking requirements, regulations and enforcement measures applied to all American University students, faculty, staff, visitors and guests.

II. Parking Policy

General

All members of the University community—including students, faculty, staff, visitors and guests—are required to park on campus or to use public transportation. The following regulations have been developed to facilitate the safe and orderly flow of traffic, to permit access for emergency vehicles, and to promote pedestrian, cyclist, and vehicular safety. Compliance with the Good Neighbor Policy is a condition of enrollment and/or employment at American University. Parking at the University is by meter or permit every weekday between the hours of 8:00am and 5:00pm. 

Metered parking is available in the Nebraska Avenue Parking Lot, the School of International Service (SIS) Garage and the Katzen Arts Center Garage. Parking in these lots may be purchased daily at Pay-As-You-Go machines located in the lots in hourly, daily or weekly increments. Loading permits and temporary permits for medical exceptions can also be obtained in the Parking and Traffic Services office. The regulations for all other permits (faculty/staff, student, vendor, contractor and department guests) are stipulated below.

Rights and Responsibilities

The Department of Public Safety reserves the right to modify parking rules or regulations as needed, to change the allocation of parking spaces when necessary, and to make exceptions if appropriate. The Department of Public Safety may, on occasion, need to close a parking area or roadway for a special event, safety reasons, or repair. The campus community will be informed when changes occur. The Department of Public Safety also has the authority to issue citations, immobilize, or tow, at the owner's expense, any vehicle that is in violation of the established rules and regulations. In addition, the Department of Public Safety may relocate a vehicle if necessary after there is no response to a request to move the vehicle.

Parking Regulations

  • No vehicles parking on American University property are exempt from the parking policy (all 50 states, foreign countries, State Department issued license plates and government vehicles are included).
  • Faculty/staff parking permit lots and Pay-As-You-Go Lots are enforced from 8 a.m. - 5 p.m., Monday through Friday.
  • Parking permits are required at all times, 24 hours per day/7 days a week, to park in restricted lots and/or restricted parking spaces. Such restricted parking areas includes: Student parking lots (Centennial Garage), the President's Office Building Lot, service vehicle spaces, loading docks and areas, AUTO Van / University designated parking spaces, handicap spaces, Zipcar, Reserved Guest Spaces and Taxi Stands.
  • When parked, a vehicle must always be within the perpendicular white lines indicating a parking space. A vehicle may only occupy a single parking space. Another vehicle's inappropriate parking does not constitute an excuse to park in more than one space.
  • Vehicles may not be double-parked or parked in any position which prevents other vehicles from accessing or leaving a parking space and/or loading area.
  • Vehicles may not park on crosswalks, sidewalks or blocking curb cuts for crosswalks.
  • Vehicles may not park in posted "no parking zones" and/or fire lanes. Vehicles may not impede traffic.

Traffic Regulations

  • The speed limit on all University streets is 15 mph. The speed limit in all University parking facilities is 10 mph.
  • Pedestrians are afforded right-of-way in all University streets and parking facilities, except where traffic lights & walk signals regulate traffic.

Motorcycles, Scooters, and Bicycles

  • Motorcyclists must register their motorcycle with Parking and Traffic Services and purchase a permit. Motorcycles are not issued a sticker, but are assigned an electronic permit valid in the lot in which a car could normally park with that permit. Motorcycles may not park in bicycle parking areas or on sidewalks.
  • It is imperative that motorcyclists update any license plate changes with the Office of Parking and Traffic. The license plate is how the enforcement team determines if the electronic permit issued to the the motorcycle is valid.
  • Scooters are not required to purchase a parking permit, and may be secured to bicycle racks. Scooters are two wheel vehicles with a piston displacement between 50 to 250cc's. Furthermore, a scooter is defined by the Federal Motor Vehicle Safety Standards, §571.123, as a motorcycle that:
    • Has a platform for the operator's feet or has integrated footrests,
    • Has a step-through architecture, meaning that the part of the vehicle forward of the operator's seat and between the legs of an operator seated in the riding position, is lower in height than the operator's seat
  • Bicycles parked on campus must comply with the following regulations:
    • When driven on streets or in areas intended for use by motor vehicles, bicycle riders will observe all traffic rules and regulations applicable to motor vehicles.
    • When parked, bicycles must be in bicycle racks or other spaces/areas designated for their use. Bicycles must be parked clear of sidewalks, ramps, building entrances and handrails/fences. American University reserves the right to remove abandoned bicycles at its discretion.

Handicap Parking Regulations

  • Any vehicle displaying a valid handicap permit may park in any handicapped, faculty/staff or student parking space at the University.
  • Vehicles must display a valid handicap permit at all times when parked in a handicap parking space.
  • AU faculty, staff, students, and long-term visitors/guests are required to purchase and display the appropriate AU parking permit in addition to handicap parking permits or license plates.
  • Any vehicle, including non-AU community members, parked in a handicap space for more than 3 days per year without an AU permit is considered a member of the AU community and must purchase and display a parking permit to continue parking in handicap parking spaces.

Faculty and Staff Members

In order to receive an American University handicap permit, documentation from a physician must be provided to Employee Relations. Employee Relations will then determine the appropriate parking accommodations.  

Students

In order to receive an American University handicap permit, documentation from a physician must be provided to the Academic Support and Access Center. ASAC will then determine the appropriate parking accommodations.

Temporary Handicap Parking Permits may be requested by anyone requiring a temporary handicap permit. Individuals can be issued an AU handicap permit for up to three days at the daily rate or in addition to a valid AU permit without further payment needed. After three days, medical documentation from the requestor's medical provider must be provided to Employee Relations or the Academic Support and Access Center, as appropriate, to receive any additional amount of time of handicap parking.

III. Good Neighbor Policy

In accordance with Washington, DC regulations and the University’s “Good Neighbor Policy”, all members of the University community – including students, faculty, staff, visitors and guests – are required to do one of the following while attending class, working, or visiting AU owned property
A. Park on campus and obtain a parking permit,
B. Purchase hourly/daily parking using the Pay-As-You-Go machines, or
C. Use public transportation.

Compliance with the Good Neighbor Policy is a condition of enrollment and/or employment at American University.

IV. Permit Policy

General

All individuals parking on campus are required to both possess, and properly display a valid AU parking permit or pay for parking hourly/daily at the Pay-As-You-Go machines in the commuter lots. The issuance and use of AU parking permits is restricted according to the following regulations, categories and conditions. Failure to comply with the regulations may result in the issuance of citations, vehicle immobilization, collections and/or further legal action. Parking permits are issued on a first-come, first-serve basis. Persons needing parking permits for a specific lot or off campus garage may be placed on a waiting list. All University parking permits are valid at all times in the Nebraska Avenue Parking Lot and Katzen Arts Center Garage (unless otherwise noted on the permit).

Parking Permit Eligibility

Faculty and staff must purchase a faculty and staff parking permit. Students must purchase a student parking permit. If an individual is both a student and faculty/staff member, his/her full-time status determines which permit he/she may purchase. If an individual is part-time student as well as part-time staff, the individual must purchase a student permit.

Parking permit fees

A list of the University's current fee schedule for parking permits is available here. The University reserves the right to adjust parking rates as needed.

Student parking permits

Resident Students
A "resident student" is any student living on the University's main campus. Permits are available to resident students with the following conditions and restrictions:

  • Resident student permits are available for the duration of the academic year only. A Summer Semester permit is available for students taking classes during that time.
  • All eligible resident students who use a car while at the University must register their vehicle with the Parking and Traffic Services Office and purchase a parking permit. Parking permits are issued to individuals and their respective vehicles and may not be transferred to any other individual or vehicle without the expressed consent of the Parking and Traffic Services Office. The permit allows eligible resident students to park at all times during the week and weekend in the resident student parking areas. Every effort will be made to ensure convenient parking, but all resident student permits are valid in the Nebraska Avenue Lot and Katzen Arts Center Garage in case of overflow or lot closures.
  • If a resident student acquires a car at any time during the academic year, the car must be registered with the Parking and Traffic Services Office and a parking permit must be purchased for that vehicle.
  • Resident students may have only one vehicle on campus and shall only be issued one parking permit. If a resident student replaces their vehicle with another vehicle during the academic year or summer session, the student must return the original permit and obtain an updated permit at no charge.
  • Resident students who have a parking permit and whose student status changes from resident to commuter during the academic year must promptly notify the Parking and Traffic Services Office of his/her status change in order to update the permit to reflect the new status. Such a permit changeover is free of charge if the student returns the original permit.
  • Freshman resident students are not permitted to have cars on University property or in the neighborhood surrounding the University's main campus or Washington College of Law. Any exceptions must been processed through the Dean of Students' Office.
  • Washington Semester (WSM) Students are not permitted to have cars on University property or in the neighborhood surrounding the University's main campus or Washington College of Law. Washington Semester Students may be granted an exception to this regulation with the written permission of the Dean of the Washington Semester. Such written authorization allows the Washington Semester Student to purchase a parking permit for the Nebraska Parking Lot or Katzen Arts Center Garage.

Commuter Students
A "commuter student" is any student living in a non-University owned or leased property. Permits are available to commuter students with the following conditions and restrictions:

  • Commuter Student Permits are available for the duration of the academic year only. A Summer Semester permit is available for students taking classes during that time.
  • All full-time and part-time commuter students driving to campus between 8 a.m. and 5 p.m., Monday through Friday must register their vehicle with the University and purchase a commuter student permit, or pay for parking using the Pay-As-You-Go machines. Parking permits are issued to individuals and their respective vehicles and may not be transferred to another individual and/or vehicle. The permit allows commuter students to park at all times during the week and weekend in the Nebraska Avenue Parking Lot and Katzen Arts Center Garage.
  • Commuter students who have already purchased a permit from the University may register an additional vehicle at no extra cost as long as said vehicle is registered in the same name or the same address. A hang tag will be issued and valid for both vehicles. If a sticker permit has already been issued, it must be returned to the Parking and Traffic Services Office before a hang tag can be issued.
  • In accordance with the University's "Good Neighbor" policy, students acknowledge that they must park on campus property, in a manner consistent with the AU parking regulations, when conducting business at AU. Failure to park on campus constitutes a breach of AU parking policies and shall result in the issuance of a citation to the vehicle in violation.

Summer Students & Summer Interns

Summer Students are officially enrolled resident or commuter students of AU who wish to park on campus during the summer semester.

  • Summer commuter students may only purchase a parking permit for the Nebraska Parking Lot or Katzen Arts Center Garage.

  •  Summer Interns who are not officially enrolled as AU students or WSM programs but are living on AU's campus while participating in conferences or other programs have parking managed through the University Housing and Dining Program.

Faculty and staff parking permits

Full-Time Faculty/Staff who wish to drive to and from the University must register their vehicle with the University and purchase a faculty/staff permit. Faculty/staff permits are valid at all times during the week and weekend in all faculty/staff lots according to the following categories and conditions:

  • Full-Time Faculty/Staff may pay for their parking permit via payroll deductions or in the Parking and Traffic Services Office. Payroll deductions may be made pre-tax or post-tax.
  • Faculty/Staff permits are not valid in the President's office building parking lot and University-vehicle designated parking. Also, the faculty/staff permit alone does not constitute permission to park in off-campus parking facilities at 3201 New Mexico Avenue, 3301 New Mexico Avenue, 4000 Brandywine Street, 4200 Wisconsin Avenue, 4620 Wisconsin Avenue and 4401 Connecticut Avenue. Access to these lots is restricted to each respective buildings' staff and is subject to availability.
  • All Faculty/Staff parking permits are valid in the WCL garage if the Faculty/Staff member is parking in that garage on official business. WCL faculty/staff permits are valid in all main campus faculty/staff lots. WCL adjunct faculty permits are valid in the Nebraska Avenue Lot and Katzen Arts Center Garage.
  • Full-Time Staff who work evenings, overnights, or weekend shifts may be eligible to purchase parking at a part-time rate. These purchases require verification of the employee's work schedule by the employee's supervisor prior to permit issuance. The Parking and Traffic Services Office reserves the right to periodically verify your work schedule

Part-Time Staff must register their vehicle with the University and purchase a part-time staff permit. Part-time staff permits are valid at all times during the week and weekend. Part-time staff are not eligible for payroll deductions and must purchase their permit in the Office of Parking and Traffic Services. Verification of part-time status is required prior to initial permit issuance. Parking permits may be purchased in any monthly increments.

Adjunct Faculty are eligible to receive a complimentary parking permit valid in the Nebraska Avenue Parking Lot, Katzen Arts Center Garage and SIS Garage. Verification of an applicant's adjunct status is required prior to permit issuance. Adjunct permits are issued by academic year. If an adjunct professor is also either a full-time staff or full-time student, the adjunct must purchase the appropriate full-time permit. Should they wish to park in faculty/staff areas, an adjunct may purchase a faculty/staff parking permit at a part-time rate.

Emeriti Faculty may request a faculty/staff parking permit free of charge. This permit has no expiration date, but will be subject to periodic permit changes.

Car Pool permits are available for full-time faculty/staff. These permits are valid for a minimum of two and maximum of four vehicles, and may be signed up for by a minimum of two and a maximum of four carpool members. Enrollment in a car pool requires payment a the time of permit issuance. Members of a car pool may only register one vehicle per person. If a car pool member drives to campus using a different vehicle than the vehicle they have registered in the car pool, the individual must park and pay using the Pay-As-You-Go machines in the Nebraska Parking Lot or Katzen Arts Center Garage. To cancel or make any adjustments to a car pool permit, the permit must be returned to the Parking and Traffic Services Office.

Campus service providers and vendors parking permits

Campus service providers and vendor parking permits are available to those whose employees work on campus but are not employed by the University. These individuals may purchase parking permits—in advance and in full—from the Parking and Traffic Services Office. Campus service providers and vendors may purchase permits in bulk and distribute them to their employees or individual employees of these companies may purchase their permits directly from the Parking and Traffic Services Office in monthly increments. Employment status with a campus services & vendor may be subject to verification prior to permit issuance. This permit is sold to the employer/employee according to the applicable faculty/staff rate—full-time or part-time—and is valid in all faculty/staff lots, subject to all faculty/staff permit restrictions. Advance and bulk purchases must be made through GL account transfers or invoice/check purchases. Individuals may purchase permits using cash, personal check, money order, cashier's check, Visa, Master Card or Discover.

Loading Permits

Loading Permits can be requested from the Parking and Traffic Services Office. The standard loading permit is valid for one day only, and restricted to 20 minutes of loading time.

Loading permits are not required during designated move-in and move-out periods.

Contractor Parking Permits

Any contractor driving and/or otherwise utilizing a personal vehicle in the course of their work at American University must purchase a contractor's parking permit, sold at the prevailing parking permit rate, if they have not received a permit from their on-campus contact.

Special status parking permits

Special status parking permits are available for all individuals who are not specifically mentioned in the preceding policy. These permits are available according to the following categories and conditions. Additionally, departments may choose to issue guest permits to the following categories (see Department Guests section for further information).

  • AU Community Members including, but not limited to, Jacobs Fitness Center members who are not otherwise affiliated with AU and special program participants such as Nation's Capitol Swim Club, may purchase parking permits for the Sports Center Garage or the Nebraska Avenue Parking Lot. The cost of these permits is calculated at the University's hourly rate and the amount of days needed. These permits must be purchased in advance by the special programs and distributed to program participants.
  • Contracted Service Providers may include, but not be limited to, athletic officials, contracted media, non-staff coaches, and health center physicians. Service Providers, or their sponsoring department, are required to purchase a parking permit. These permits are valid in faculty/staff lots and are sold at the prevailing parking permit rate.
  • University Chaplains are eligible to receive complimentary parking permits valid in Nebraska Avenue Parking Lot, Katzen Arts Center Garage, and SIS Garage. To apply for a permit, these individuals should apply as adjunct faculty and verification of their appointment as chaplains must be provided to the Parking and Traffic Services Office.
  • Volunteers, Interns, & Externs or their sponsoring departments, are required to pay for parking permits. Payment may be made at the Parking and Traffic Services Office or Pay-As-You-Go machines, or by GL account transfer made by the sponsoring department. Parking permits for volunteers are sold at the prevailing parking permit rate.
  • Institute & Program participants, or the department sponsoring the program or institute, must purchase parking permits. Payment may be submitted by individual participants at the Parking and Traffic Services Office or by GL account transfer made by the sponsoring department. Parking permits for institutes and programs are sold at the prevailing parking permit rate.

Complimentary Parking

Complimentary Parking Days are days during which parking permit enforcement is suspended. These days include, but are not limited to, AU preview days, New Student Orientation, Move-In and Move-Out, Welcome Week, and Parents & Alumni weekend. During these times, face plates will cover the pay stations in the Commuter Lots.

Complimentary Guest Parking Permits are provided to the University departments for distribution to the department's guests. For the purposes of this policy, a department guest is an individual whose participation with - and subsequent parking at - AU is specifically requested by a department for the purposes of contributing to the academic and/or institutional mission of the department. Departments can be issued individual permits, requested by email 48 hours in advance, or utilize batches of permits as described below:

Departments will be issued batch guest permits, by request. These permits are red, "Valid One Day Only" hang tags, valid only in the Nebraska Avenue Parking Lot or Katzen Arts Center Garage. To be valid, these permits must have the date of use clearly written in the "permit date field" – the white rectangle on which "Valid Today Only" is printed. If an error is made while writing the date on a permit, please void the permit, and distribute a new one. Also, to be valid, these permits require a Parking and Traffic Services Office security punch.

V. Enforcement Policy

General

The Department of Public Safety and the Parking and Traffic Services Office bear the sole responsibility and authority to enforce the University's parking policies and regulations. All vehicles on American University's property are subject to these regulations. Furthermore, compliance with the following regulations is a condition of enrollment and/or employment at American University. Operating a motor vehicle on University property is a privilege, which is conditioned, in part, on compliance with these rules and regulations. American University assumes no liability or responsibility for damage or theft to any vehicle parked in or on University property. These regulations are applicable to all members of the University community - faculty, staff, students, visitors, contractors and vendors.

Parking Enforcement

I. To enforce the above regulations, the Parking and Traffic Services Office is authorized to issue citations, immobilize vehicles, and pursue collections action against violators.

II. Equipment utilized in the parking and traffic regulation and enforcement is University property. Vandalization, theft, or damaging Pay-As-You-Go machines, vehicle immobilization devices, signs, markings and/or citations is strictly prohibited.

III. Citations are issued to vehicles, not vehicle operators. Citations issued to vehicles remain a valid and binding fine, regardless of the vehicle operator.

IV. The registered owner of a vehicle is considered fully responsible for all citations issued to their vehicle, regardless of the vehicle operator at the time of citation issuance.

V. Fines accrued by violating the parking policy constitute a lasting financial obligation to the University by the violator until such time as the citations are paid.

VI. All vehicles are afforded a "first citation warning," in which a vehicle's first citation is dismissed to provide an additional opportunity to explain University parking policies to the violator. Depending on the circumstance and severity of the violation, Parking Enforcement reserves the right to deny this privilege. Due to the severity of citations such as, False Registration Information, Unauthorized Use of Permit, Parked in Crosswalk, Permit Reported Lost/Stolen, or Parked in Handicap Parking, these citations can not be dismissed as a first citation warning. In addition, all vehicles are afforded a "first neighborhood citation warning," in which a first Violation of Good Neighbor Policy citation may be dismissed as a warning to provide an additional opportunity to explain the "Good Neighbor Policy" to the violator.

VII. A citation which has not been paid or appealed is considered an "open" citation. A penalty is applied to all citations which are not paid or appealed within 30 calendar days. The penalty is equal to the original fine.

VIII. Citations may be paid using cash, personal check, cashier's check, money order, Visa, Master Card, and Discover / Novus. Payment may not be made using American Express, or Student Accounts.

CITATIONS

For more information on citation issuance and fine structure, please see Parking Enforcement, Tickets, and Appeals.

Vehicle Immobilization

Vehicles with three or more open citations past 30 calendar days are subject to vehicle immobilization. American University assumes no liability during the application or removal of the boot. Any vehicles on University property meeting the above criteria are subject to immobilization. If this occurs, the vehicle owner must address all citations with the Office of Parking and Traffic Services. The immobilization device will not be removed until all fines are paid. When the Parking and Traffic Services Office is closed, immobilized vehicles with proper authorization can be released by Public Safety officers, provided that proof of payment in full is supplied to the dispatcher on duty.

  • Vehicles displaying a falsified, lost, stolen, or unauthorized permit may be immobilized immediately. Individuals found to have caused, committed, or benefited from the falsification of permits, possession of lost permits, the possession of a permit reported to be stolen, or the improper possession of a permit issued to another individual/program/office are subject to Public Safety investigation, and referral to Student Conduct and Conflict Resolution Services, Employee Relations, or the Office of the Provost as appropriate.
  • If a vehicle remains booted in excess of 30 calendar days without the vehicle owner contacting the Parking and Traffic Services Office, the vehicle is considered abandoned and subject to the following:
    • The vehicle may be investigated and/or ticketed by the Metropolitan  Police Department and may be towed and impounded.
  • The University assumes no liability for impoundment or impounded vehicles.
  • At the time of impoundment, the vehicle owner is responsible for payment of all impoundment, storage, and disposal fees assessed by the towing company. Once impounded by a private contractor, the vehicle owner has 30 days to pay the contractor before the vehicle is disposed of by the contractor.

PAYMENT OF CITATIONS

Fines can be paid at the Parking and Traffic Services Office during regular business hours. Payment may be made with cash, Visa, MasterCard, Discover, money order or certified check. Personal checks will not be accepted as payment for booted vehicles, but can be used for other citations. For an additional small processing fee, payment may be made online here. Payment may be submitted via mail by mailing a check or money order made payable to American University and indicating your name, citation number, and the vehicle license plate. These should be sent to:

American University
Office of Parking and Traffic Services
4400 Massachusetts Avenue NW
Washington, DC 20016-8074

If a check is returned by the bank for insufficient funds, the payment will be reversed and an additional fee will be assessed. AU reserves the right to immobilize the vehicle until payment is rendered in full.

COLLECTIONS

Citations open in excess of 30 calendar days are subject to a referral to a collections agency. These notices are sent to the vehicle's registered owner as reported by the appropriate state department of motor vehicles.

  • All citations open in excess of 30 calendar days will be referred to a collections agency
  • Violator's addresses are provided to the collections agency by state departments of motor vehicles.
  • Failure to comply with collections notices may result in the initiation of legal action against the violator.

APPEAL OF CITATIONS

  • If a violator believes a citation has been issued unfairly, the citation may be appealed. Appeals for American University parking tickets must be made within 30 calendar days from the date the ticket is issued.
  • Individuals may appeal parking citations by completing and submitting an online here.
  • The Appeals process is an administrative process; an in-person hearing will not be conducted.
  • Appellants will be notified by email of the decision. The decision of the Appeals Panel is final and binding. In order for your appeal to be processed in a timely manner, pertinent documentation, if available, should be submitted when the appeal is filed.