DOWNTOWN RESIDENTIAL PREFERENTIAL PARKING [RPP]

DOWNTOWN RPP PROGRAM [Frequently Asked Questions]

In 2014, the City of Palo Alto directed the creation of a citywide framework for the establishment of Residential Preferential Parking (RPP) programs. The goal of implementing RPP programs is to regulate non-resident parking in residential neighborhoods.

As of April 17, 2017, vehicles will be required to display a valid Downtown RPP Resident or Employee Parking Permit decal, hangtag, or temporary permit to park on-street in the Downtown RPP Program area for longer than two hours. Residents, employers, and employees in the Downtown RPP district are eligible for permits. Permits are available online only: https://cityofpaloalto.t2hosted.com/cmn/index.aspx.

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RPP FAQS

GENERAL

An RPP program is intended preserve the integrity of residential neighborhoods which have an influx of non-resident parking, either from tourists and visitors, commercial employees and local business owners or commuter parkers. The program is designed to provide preferential use of on-street parking to residents and either restricts or eliminate parking for outside users during select periods. However, the area designated as an RPP District typically allows parking for non-permit holders through time-limit sign restrictions (such as 2-hours) to allow for convenient visitor use or service vehicles. Permits, typically either affixed onto a vehicle or through a hang-tag that hangs from the rear-view mirror, identify vehicles as exempt from any time-limit restrictions on the street. Vehicles parked on the street without a permit are subject to signed time-limit and may be cited if they park beyond that period.

For the residential streets surrounding Downtown Palo Alto, a modified RPP District is being proposed that prioritizes on-street parking for residents through the sale of permits but also makes a select number of permits also available to Downtown and SOFA-area Commuter Employees to help balance the parking demand from retail and commercial uses of each district while additional parking supply is developed.

No. Parking in any zone for longer than 2 hours with no permit will result in a citation.
The parking restrictions are enforced Monday through Friday, 8 a.m. to 6 p.m. (City holidays are exempt).
Permits are sold online only via the City’s parking website: www.cityofpaloalto.org/parking

For assistance obtaining a permit, the City has customer service staff available on-site at City Hall Monday through Friday, 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. at the Utilities counter (Ground Floor).

  • Annual permit decals must be affixed on the outside of the rear windshield driver’s side lower left corner, or left side of the bumper. Do not place your permit in any other location. Placing your permit in another location or behind tinted windows shall invalidate your parking exemption.
  • Hangtags or scratchers must be hung from the rearview mirror with the permit information visible from the exterior of the vehicle. Note – Hanging your permit incorrectly shall invalidate your parking exemption.
Serco, Inc. has been contracted by the City to provide enforcement services for the Downtown RPP program. Serco employees wear uniforms with identification, and you may see them walking, biking or driving throughout the Downtown RPP district.
RPP permits are only valid in areas designated by RPP parking restrictions (green 2-hour parking signs noting ‘Permits Exempt’ and specifying an RPP zone). RPP permits are not valid in the Downtown color zone, Downtown lots or garages, or in other time-restricted spaces: [MAP]
No, parking restrictions are not enforced on regular City holidays or on weekends.
Please follow the instructions on the RPP citation to pay or appeal the citation. If you do not have the instructions available, call 650-814-4501 for assistance.
The newly expanded Downtown RPP district map is available here: [MAP]

The blue shaded “Eligibility Areas” are not currently part of the Downtown RPP district, but are pre-approved to opt in at a future date when residents of those streets choose to do so. Contact the Transportation Division (transportation@cityofpaloalto.org  or 650-329-2520) for additional information.

RESIDENTS

No. Parking in any zone for longer than 2 hours with no permit will result in a citation.
Permits are sold online only via the City’s parking website: http://paloalto.parkingguide.com/audience-type/downtown-residential-parking/. Log into an existing account or set up a new account there.

For assistance with obtaining a permit, the City has customer service staff available on-site at City Hall Monday through Friday, 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. at the Utilities counter (Ground Floor).

Residents are eligible for one permit free of charge and up to three additional for $50 each for their personal vehicles. These permits are vehicle-specific decals.

Residents may also purchase up to two (2) transferable visitor hangtags for $50 each and up to 50 daily visitor permits for $5 each.

The group of resident stakeholders who helped design the program agreed that residents should have a stake in the program by paying a token sum for permits.
  • Annual permit decals must be affixed on the outside of the rear window driver’s side lower left corner or left side of rear bumper. Placing your permit in another location may invalidate your parking exemption.  
  • Hangtags or scratchers must be hung from the rearview mirror with the permit information visible from the exterior of the vehicle. Note – Hanging your permit incorrectly may invalidate your parking exemption.
The parking restrictions are enforced Monday through Friday, 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. (City holidays are exempt).
Resident permits are valid anywhere that there are posted RPP parking restrictions: [MAP].
Guests may park on street for less than 2 hours with no permit. There is no re-parking within the same zone once the two hours have elapsed.

Residents may purchase two (2) transferable visitor hangtags for $50 each and up to 50 daily visitor permits for $5 each. These visitor permits allow a guest vehicle to be parked on-street in the RPP district in excess of 2 hours.

Serco, Inc. has been contracted by the City to provide enforcement services for the Downtown RPP program. Serco employees wear uniforms with identification, and you may see them walking, biking, or driving throughout the Downtown RPP district.
RPP permits are only valid in areas designated by RPP parking restrictions (green 2-hour parking signs noting ‘Permits Exempt’ and specifying an RPP zone). RPP permits are not valid in the Downtown color zone, Downtown lots or garages, or in other time-restricted spaces: [MAP]
For your use until the permit arrives by mail, a temporary parking permit is available to be printed at the time of sale. Contact customer service if you have difficulty printing your permit: paloaltopermits@spplus.com or 650-440-8074.
No, parking restrictions are not enforced on regular City holidays or on weekends.
Contact customer service at paloaltopermits@spplus.com or 650-440-8074 for a temporary or replacement permit.
The zone designations apply for employee parking with valid RPP permits. Employees working within the Downtown RPP district are eligible to purchase permits on a first come, first served basis. These permits are sold for specific zones and are only valid for non-restricted parking in the zone issued. Resident permits are valid in all zones.
Refunds are issued for annual permits only. A refund of the unused portion will be given only through the third quarter prorated at the quarterly rate. Remove the permit from your vehicle (pieces are accepted) and turn in with the information of the party to receive the refund to Revenue Collections located at Palo Alto City Hall, 250 Hamilton Ave., Ground Floor. Refunds are calculated from the date the permit is surrendered to Revenue Collections.
Follow the instructions on the RPP citation to pay or appeal the citation. If you do not have the instructions available, call 650-814-4501 for assistance. 
Eligibility areas have been pre-approved by City Council for future addition to the Downtown RPP district. This means that residents may opt in to the Downtown RPP district at any time that they see a need through a petition and survey process. Contact the Transportation Division (transportation@cityofpaloalto.org or 650-329-2520) for assistance.

EMPLOYEES

All Phase 1 permits expire March 31, 2016. Please log in to your permit sales account and purchase a Phase 2 permit: http://paloalto.parkingguide.com/audience-type/downtown-employer-employee-parking-permits/.

Employees will purchase zone specific permits, and are limited to parking only in the zone for which their permit is valid. Zone boundaries are detailed on this map and table: [ZONE MAP] and [ZONE BOUNDARIES].

Beginning in Phase 2, employees will purchase zone specific permits to park in certain parking zones. Employees may select a permit in any zone that is available. Employees are not limited to selecting the zone nearest to their workplace.

Employees may park in the zone for which their permit is valid. If a Zone 2 permit is purchased, the employee is limited to parking within the bounds of Zone 2. The zones are detailed on this map and table, and zone numbers are posted on the parking restriction signs on the streets: [ZONE MAP] and [ZONE BOUNDARIES].

No person shall park in the same employee parking zone within the RPP  District for more than two continuous hours without a valid permit. Re-parking on the same day in the same zone by any person without a valid parking permit shall be prohibited.
There are a limited number of employee permits available for sale in each zone. If the permits have been sold out, select a different zone.
Employees may purchase annual employee permits for $466. Employees may qualify for a reduced-price permit for $100 if they meet either of the income requirements listed below:
  • Employees who earn an annual income which is exactly or less than $50,000, OR
  • Employees who make a pre-tax hourly wage which is exactly or less than twice the governing city or state minimum wage (whichever is greater)

Proof of income must be provided at the time of purchase.

Employees may also purchase up to four (4) daily parking scratchers per month for $5 each OR one (1) five-day parking permit for $15. The five-day parking permit is meant for those who typically commute via other modes and need to drive and park occasionally.

Permits are sold online only via the City’s parking website: http://paloalto.parkingguide.com/audience-type/downtown-employer-employee-parking-permits/. Log into an existing account or set up a new account there.

For assistance with obtaining a permit, the City has customer service staff available on-site at City Hall Monday through Friday, 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. at the Utilities counter (Ground Floor).

The parking restrictions are enforced Monday through Friday, 8 a.m. to 6 p.m. (City holidays are exempt).
Rather than purchasing an annual permit, employees may purchase up to four (4) daily parking scratchers per month for $5 each Daily permits are not purchased for a specific zone. Rather, the employee will purchase a daily permit and a zone-specific permit will be selected at random and mailed. The employee may only use that permit within the zone designated on the permit.
Serco, Inc. has been contracted by the City to provide enforcement services for the Downtown RPP program. Serco employees wear uniforms with identification, and you may see them walking, biking or driving throughout the Downtown RPP district.
Although the City limits the number of permits sold within the Downtown RPP District, the purchase of an RPP permit does not guarantee an on-street parking space.
RPP permits are only valid in areas designated by RPP parking restrictions (green 2-hour parking signs noting ‘Permits Exempt’ and specifying an RPP zone). RPP permits are not valid in the Downtown color zone, Downtown lots or garages, or in other time-restricted spaces: [MAP]
All Phase 2 RPP permits are physical permits, and are either a decal or a hangtag. For your use until the permit arrives by mail, a temporary parking permit is available to be printed at the time of sale. Contact customer service if you have difficulty printing your permit: paloaltopermits@spplus.com or 650-440-8074.
No, parking restrictions are not enforced on regular City holidays or on weekends.
Follow the instructions on the RPP citation to pay or appeal the citation. If you do not have the instructions available, call 650-814-4501 for assistance.
Contact Customer Service at paloaltopermits@spplus.com or 650-440-8074 for a temporary or replacement permit.
Refunds are issued for annual permits only. A refund of the unused portion will be given only through the third quarter prorated at the quarterly rate. Remove permit from vehicle (pieces are accepted) and turn in with the information of the party to receive the refund to Revenue Collections located at Palo Alto City Hall, 250 Hamilton Ave., Ground Floor. Refunds are calculated from the date the permit is surrendered to Revenue Collections.

VISITORS

There are a number of parking options in Palo Alto for visitors, including the following:
  • Park off-street in garages or lots. Most will allow you to park free of charge for 2 to 3 hours (check signage in the garage/lot)
  • If you’re parking for a longer period of time in a garage, purchase a daily parking permit at the Cowper/Webster garage, the Bryant/Lytton garage, or Revenue Collections in City Hall
  • Park on-street for up to 2 hours in the color zone or RPP district: [MAP]
Anyone may park in the RPP district for up to 2 hours without a permit. If you’ll be visiting longer, you may obtain a visitor daily scratcher from the resident to use while parking on-street.

If you are a recurrent visitor (such as a caretaker, nanny, etc.), each resident may purchase long-term visitor passes for your use.