There are a variety of parking options throughout the City. This can be both convenient and overwhelming at times. This page is designed to help you navigate the parking system and park legally. To report a parking problem or concern, call the Police Department non-emergency number at 515-239-5133.
SMART Parking Tips
- Start with checking the sign. Regulations can vary from street to street. Check the sign where you intend to park.
- Move before the time limit. Time limits could be as low as 1 hour on a parking meter, or 4 hours in neighborhoods, and no vehicle can be parked on a City street or municipal parking lot for more than 48 hours without being moved.
- Alternate side when required. Alternate Side Parking requires vehicles to be moved to the opposite side of the street by a certain time of each day.
- Respect the neighborhood. Obey parking regulations and park in the same direction as traffic flow. Avoid parking over sidewalks, yellow lines, or in front of fire hydrants or driveways.
- Tell friends and visitors. Spread the word and help others, especially visitors, park legally.
There are two main types of parking: Public and Private. This page deals with primarily with public parking.
Private Parking: Off-street parking provided for residents or customers of a property.
- Parking in front yards is prohibited.
- Be aware that private parking lots may restrict parking.
- Property owners may have vehicles towed if they are parked illegally on private property.
- To avoid a ticket, or towing, always check the signs and be sure you are authorized before parking.
Public Parking: On and Off-street parking usually restricted by day and/or time.
- If parking in a neighborhood, check the sign where you intend to park and be respectful of the neighborhood.
- Avoid parking over sidewalks, yellow lines, or in front of fire hydrants or driveways.
- If parking in the Main Street Cultural District or the Campustown area, use this map this map for parking options.
- There are also a variety of parking options at the Ames Intermodal Facility at 129 Hayward Ave.
For information about parking options on Iowa State University campus please visit the ISU Parking Division website.
On-street parking is limited in a variety of ways throughout the City. Be aware that parking regulations can change from street to street. Always check the sign.
Time Limit - The maximum amount of time a vehicle can be parked in one place. If no sign is present the limit is 48 hours.
Alternate Side - Usually found in neighborhoods and require vehicles to be moved to alternating sides of the street based on a schedule determined by signs along the street.
Parking Meters - Usually found in business districts. Allow vehicles to be parked for a fee paid at the meter.
Combination - Some parking will include combinations of the above. Both Alternate Side and Metered parking often have time limits as well. Check the sign, or placard on the meter, where you intend to park.
Certain streets around Ames have been designated as part of the city's snow routes. Parking on snow routes is prohibited from the time the snow ordinance goes into effect until the snow has been plowed from curb to curb, and it has stopped snowing. The snow ordinance goes into effect when 2 inches or more snow has accumulated on major streets (such as Grand, Duff, or Lincoln Way)
Check the City website, City Channel 12, or local media to find out when and if the snow ordinance is in effect. If snow is expected overnight, please move you car ahead of time. Click here to view additional information on the City's snow ordinance, including a map of snow routes.