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Last Updated: Sep 17, 2014


Parking is provided for visitors and customers in the Downtown Business District and California Avenue Business District on the street, in offstreet parking lots and in parking garages.

  • Pay a citation online now
  • Free Parking
    • Parking is provided for visitors and customers in the downtown area and California Avenue business district on the street, in offstreet parking lots and in parking garages.
    • Two-hour parking is provided in onstreet spaces and in surface lots.
    • Three-hour parking is provided in parking garages except in designated permit areas.
  • Residential Preferential Parking (RPP): For more information on Residential Preferential Parking, click here.
  • Downtown-University Avenue Parking Program:  For more Information on Downtown-University Avenue Parking Program, click here.

Enforcement of parking regulations is conducted from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m., Monday through Friday. Enforcement is NOT in effect before and after those times and on weekends and holidays. Restricted areas such as red curbs, spaces designated for persons with disabilities and any other locations prohibited by law are always in effect. Parking time limits are also enforced in signed two-hour onstreet parking areas outside the Color Zone starting from the south side of Forest Avenue in downtown area.

Color Zone Parking
The core business district of downtown Palo Alto is divided into four color-coded parking zones:

  • Purple, Coral, Lime and Blue.
  • Once the time limit expires in a given color zone you must move your vehicle out of that zone.
  • Vehicles will be ticketed if they are reparked in the same color zone within the same enforcement day.

Example: You park in a 2-hour space on the street in the Lime Zone at noon. (You may repark within the Lime Zone only during your initial two hours should you need to.) However, if you leave before the 2 hours are up, you cannot repark later that same day. Your car must leave the Lime Zone by 2 p.m. You may park in any other Color Zone except the Lime Zone, which you are now leaving.

Thirty-minute green parking zones, yellow commercial loading zones, white passenger loading zones and blue disability designated spaces are exempt from the color zone reparking requirement.

All Day Visitor Parking
Visitors may purchase a one-day permit. Permits are valid in all off-street parking lots and garages. All-day permits are not valid for on-street parking spaces.

  • All day permits may be purchased at Palo Alto Civic Center, 250 Hamilton Avenue on the first floor at Revenue Collections, or the first level of the Bryant Street and Cowper/Webster garages.
  • The cost is $17.50/day for downtown area and $7.00/day for California Avenue business district. Day permits for the California Business District may only be purchased at the Civic Center, Revenue Collections at this time.

Construction worker vehicles require a special on-street parking permit that can be purchased at the City of Palo Alto Development Center, 285 Hamilton Avenue and the cost for this permit is $76.00/space per week.

Permit Parking for Employers and Employees

Downtown Business District
Employees of businesses in the downtown parking assessment district may purchase quarterly or annual permits for long-term parking in any of the nine off-street parking lots and garages. Parking permits are issued for these locations and are $466.00/year, $146.50/quarter or $17.50/day:

  • Civic Center Garage (CC)
  • High/Alma South Garage (R)
  • High/Alma North Garage (Q)
  • Bryant/Lytton Garage (S/L)
  • Webster/Cowper Garage (W/C)

and the following surface lots

  • Gilman/Bryant Lot (E)
  • Gilman/Waverley Lot (G)
  • Lytton/Waverley Lot (K)
  • Lytton/Kipling Lot (T)

Permits are also available at a reduced rate of $75.00/year or $26.00/quarter at the Sheraton Lot (X) in signed permit parking area and at the 800 High Street lot, permits are $250.00/year or $75.00/quarter.

Transferable Permits are also available for the following garages: Webster Cowper (WC), Bryant Lytton (SL), and Civic Center (CC). Transferable permits are sold to one individual and can be used on multiple vehicles. Transferable permits are sold at a two-quarter maximum. Visit Revenue Collections on the first floor of the Palo Alto Civic Center or call (650) 329-2252 for more information. 

Downtown Business/Community Forum-August 28, 2011

California Business District :

Employees of businesses in the California Business District may purchase quarterly or annual permits for long-term parking in any of the seven off street parking lots and garages. Parking permits are issued for these locations and are $149.00/year, $49.00/quarter or $8.00/day. Transferable permits are also available. 

Lot 3- Cambridge W/Garage
Lot 5- Cambridge E/Garage

and the following surface lots

Lot 1- Cambridge/Park
Lot 2- Cambridge/Birch
Lot 4- Cambridge/Birch
Lot 6- Sherman/Park
Lot 7- Sherman/Birch
Lot 8- Sherman/Ash
Lot 9- Birch/Cambridge

California Business District Forum-August 27, 2011

Helpful Hints
On-street bike and parking lanes:

  • On a five feet wide bike lane, parking is prohibited all the time.
  • On a seven to eight feet wide bike and parking lane, parking is prohibited from 7am to 7pm all day.
  • On a twelve feet wide bike and parking lane, parking is allowed all the time.
  • You may pay parking citations online, a well as by mail or in person.  Click to pay online.


  • Parking is prohibited minimum 15 feet on either side of fire hydrant as per California vehicle code.
  • Parking is prohibited in a wheel chair parking space and the access space next to it unless the parked vehicle displays the placard issued by DMV.
  • Several motorcycle parking spaces are available in Downtown Business district where you may park free for up to all day.
  • Electric vehicle outlets are available in the High/Alma south garage, Bryant/Lytton garage and on the "A" level of the City Hall Garage. There is no charge to use these outlets.
Last Updated: Apr 14, 2014