DOWNTOWN PARKING [Frequently Asked Questions]

The Downtown Palo Alto Residential Preferential Parking (RPP) Program requires all residents to have a permit to park on the street for more than 2 hours between the hours of 8 AM and 6 PM, Monday through Friday. If you are a resident of the area, apply online to request a permit for your vehicles.

Downtown residents may request:

  • Up to 4 permits per residential unit (first permit is free of charge, up to three additional at $50 each)
  • Up to 2 transferable permits per residential unit ($50)
  • Up to 50 daily visitor permits ($5) per year

Residents creating new accounts will be required to upload proof of residency (i.e. driver’s license, utility bill, lease, mortgage statement, etc.). Once the application has been approved, residents will be eligible for the following permits: adhesive long-term permit, long-term visitor hangtag, or daily visitor scratcher.

Click for Resolution.

Click here for Admin Guidelines.

Check to accept the User Agreement & Terms of Use

Click image to enlarge map.


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: 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 the City Hall Revenue Collections counter, 250 Hamilton Avenue, Ground Floor, Palo Alto, CA 94301. Revenue Collections hours are 8 a.m. to 5:30 p.m. Monday through Thursday and 8 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. on Fridays, except holidays.

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 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.
The parking restrictions are enforced Monday through Friday, 8 a.m. to 6 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: or 650-440-8074.
No, parking restrictions are not enforced on regular City holidays or on weekends.
Contact customer service at 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  ( or 650-329-2520) for assistance.


The City of Palo Alto is dedicated to preserving a neighborhood’s quality of life by ensuring adequate parking for neighborhood residents. Establishment of an RPP program can be seen as part of these initiatives, since it would better manage parking supplies and encourage commuters to use alternative modes of transportation.