Downtown RPP FAQs

General

  1. What is a Residential Preferential Parking (RPP) program?
  2. Where is the Downtown RPP district?
  3. Will I need a permit to park in the Downtown RPP district all the time?
  4. When will the RPP program go into effect?
  5. What is the difference between Phase 1 and Phase 2?
  6. I live outside of the Downtown RPP district, but I’m interested in a similar program in my neighborhood. How does my neighborhood opt in?
  7. How much will the parking permits cost?
  8. Are other strategies being considered to help alleviate Palo Alto’s parking challenges?

Residents

  1. I live in the Downtown RPP district. What do I need to know?
  2. How do I request a permit?
  3. Where do I put the printed permit?
  4. I don't have a computer at home.  How do I request a permit?

Employees/Employers

  1. I work Downtown and park on the street. What do I need to know?
  2. How do I buy a permit?
  3. My employees work a split shift. Are they able to share permits, or do I need to buy a separate permit for each person?
  4. Where do I put the printed permit?
  5. I have employees who are occasionally at our Palo Alto office for a few days at a time. Do I need to purchase an employee permit for them?
  6. Can I park in the Downtown Color Zone or Downtown garages/lots all day with my RPP permit?

Visitors

  1. I’m planning to go to Palo Alto on a weekday. Where can I park?
  2. How can I park while visiting a resident in the RPP district?









General

1) What is a Residential Preferential Parking (RPP) program?

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 eliminates 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.


2) Where is the Downtown RPP district?

The Downtown RPP district is bounded by Palo Alto Avenue, Guinda Avenue, Lincoln Ave, Alma Ave., and Embarcadero Ave. A map of the district is available here.


3) Will I need a permit to park in the Downtown RPP district all the time?

No. You will be able to park for up to 2 hours without a permit between the hours of 8 am and 5 pm, Monday through Friday. Weekends are also not restricted.


4) When will the RPP program go into effect?

The RPP program is anticipated to begin Phase 1 of implementation on September 15, 2015. The City began selling permits online on August 15, 2015.  Visit www.cityofpaloalto.org/parking to buy a permit.


5) What is the difference between Phase 1 and Phase 2 for the Downtown RPP District?


 

Phase 1

Phase 2 

 Duration 

 6 months

 12 months (at minimum)

 Residential Permits

 Free

 Up to 4, first free of charge

 Employee Permits (including reduced priced permit)

 Unlimited

 May be limited

 Hours of Regulation

8:00 am – 5:00 pm

    
 


6) I live outside of the Downtown RPP district, but I’m interested in a similar program in my neighborhood. How does my neighborhood opt in?

Neighborhoods that wish to opt in to the RPP program may complete the neighborhood petition form. When complete, send to Sue-Ellen Atkinson at sue-ellen.atkinson@cityofpaloalto.org.

Staff expects to go to City Council during Phase 1 to report on progress and make recommendations for Phase 2. Recommendations to extend the RPP program to additional neighborhoods neighborhoods immediately adjacent to the Downtown RPP district will be presented to Council at that time.


7) How much will the parking permits cost?

 Permit Type

     Phase 1 Cost  

 Phase 2 Cost

 Residential

Free

 First permit free, remaining $50 each
(up to 4 total)

 Resident Guest Permits

 $25

 $50

 Visitor Passes

 $5

 $5

 Employee – Standard

 $233

 $466

 Employee – Reduced Price*

 $50

 $100

 Employee Guest Scratchers
(Daily)

$5

     $5    



*Employees may qualify for a reduced-price permit if they meet either of the income requirements listed below:

a. Employees who earn an annual income which is exactly or less than $50,000, OR
b. 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.


8) Are other strategies being considered to help alleviate Palo Alto’s parking challenges?

The City has several other initiatives currently in progress to help both provide additional parking supply and reduce the demand for parking in key business districts, including but not limited to the following:

Increased Permit Parking Supply: The City is working to expand valet-attendant parking in Downtown garages to help make additional permit parking available to employee commuters.
Additional Parking Garages: The City is bringing a recommendation forth to build additional parking garages.
Transportation Demand Management (TDM) Strategy: The City is exploring TDM solutions to help encourage commuter employees use alternative transportation options. The City has implemented a Caltrain GoPass program for City staff and expanded shuttle route options to make getting to Downtown easier for employees. The City’s bicycle network is also being expanded and additional bike parking being made available to encourage bicycle use as a preferred travel mode for commuter employees.
Satellite Parking: The City is exploring options for satellite parking around the City that are supplemented with expanded shuttle options to have employees park outside of Downtown and take the shuttle.




Residents

1) I live in the Downtown RPP district. What do I need to know?

As of the start of the RPP program, you will need a permit to park on the street for more than 2 hours between the hours of 8 am and 5 pm.

During Phase 1, residents are eligible to receive permits free of charge for their vehicles. Residents will also be able to purchase the following types of permits for guests:

• Long-term visitor permits for caregivers, nannies, etc.
• Visitor scratcher permits for daily visitors


2) How do I request my permit?

Permits are available online as of August 15, 2015. To open your account and request a permit, visit www.cityofpaloalto.org/parking on or after August 15, 2015.

Residents will be required to upload a copy of their current photo ID. If the photo ID does not show current Palo Alto address, residents will be required to provide additional documentation with proof of residency (i.e. utility bill, lease, etc.).


3) Where do I put the printed permit? 

Permits will be printed directly from the website after you select the type of permit you need. Print the permit and place on your front dashboard on the passenger side (front right of the car). Adhesive envelopes will be available at City Hall if you prefer to adhere the permit to your front windshield.


4)  I don’t have a computer or printer at home. How do I request a permit?

At this time, permits can only be purchased online at www.cityofpaloalto.org/parking after setting up an online account.




Employees/Employers

1) I work Downtown and park on the street. What do I need to know?

As of the start of the RPP program, you will not be able to park on-street within the permit areas for more than 2 hours without a permit between 8 am and 5 pm. During Phase 1, employees in the designated Downtown RPP district have the following options:
• Purchase a Decal ($466 annually)
• Purchase a reduced-price permit ($50 for 6 months, see qualifications below)
• Employers may purchase transferrable permits to be shared by shift workers ($233 for six months)
• Try a sustainable transportation mode: bike, carpool, or take transit to work.


2) How do I buy a permit?

Permits are available online as of August 15, 2015. To open your account and purchase a permit, visit www.cityofpaloalto.org/parking on or after August 15, 2015.

Employees will be required to upload proof of employment location and provide a vehicle license plate number. Employees must work for an employer fully registered with the Palo Alto Business Registry.

Employers will be required to provide documentation of employer registration with the Palo Alto Business Registry.


3) My employees work a split shift. Are they able to share permits, or do I need to buy a separate permit for each person?

Employers are eligible to purchase transferrable permits for shift workers to share permits. Transferrable permits are not available for purchase by individual employees.


4) Where do I put the printed permit?

Permits will be printed directly from the website after you select the type of permit you need. Print the permit and place on your front dashboard on the passenger side (front right of the car). Adhesive envelopes will be available at City Hall if you prefer to adhere the permit to your front windshield.


5) I have employees who are occasionally at our Palo Alto office for a few days at a time. Do I need to purchase an employee permit for them?

Daily visitor permits will be available at a cost of $5 each. Daily permits will be printed from the permit fulfillment website.


6) Can I park in the Downtown Color Zone or Downtown garages/lots all day with my RPP permit?’

No, the RPP permit is only valid on streets in the RPP district. The permit is not valid for parking in other RPP districts, in Downtown garages/lots, or on streets with existing parking restrictions such as the Color Zone.





Visitors

1) I’m planning to go to Palo Alto on a weekday. Where can I park?

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


2) How can I park while visiting a resident in the RPP district?

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.



Didn’t find the answer to your question? Please email City Staff at Transportation@cityofpaloalto.org or 650-329-2520.




























Last Updated: Jan 18, 2017