Downtown Employer & Employee Parking
To help ease parking congestion, employers and employees in Downtown Palo Alto must purchase permits to park on-street for more than 2 hours.
The Downtown Palo Alto Residential Preferential Parking (RPP) Program requires all employers and employees to have a permit to park on residential streets for more than 2 hours between the hours of 8 a.m. and 5 p.m., Monday through Friday. For more information and availability, please contact the Office of Transportation by calling (650) 329-2520 or email Transportation@CityofPaloAlto.org
Employees of businesses in the downtown commercial assessment district may also purchase permits for off-street parking in any of the city-operated parking garages and surface lots. Please contact the Revenue Collections Department at (650) 329-2317 for rates and availability.
To learn more, please visit our Downtown Parking page.
Frequently Asked Questions
Where can employees park?
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 zone map, and zone numbers are posted on the parking restriction signs on the streets.
Can I park for more than 2 hours with no permit?
In RPP Districts with a time limit for non-permitted vehicles, vehicles not displaying a valid permit may park up to the posted time limit during the period designated by posted signage. After the maximum time limit period, vehicles will be prohibited from re-parking within the same district.
Parking in any RPP district for longer than 2 hours with no permit will result in a citation.
I want to buy a permit for a zone that's sold out. What do I do?
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.
What are the Downtown RPP regulation days and times?
The parking restrictions are enforced Monday through Friday, 8 a.m. to 6 p.m. (City holidays are exempt).
I usually take the train (carpool, bike, etc.) to work but need to drive and park occasionally. What are my options?
Rather than purchasing an annual permit, employees may purchase up to four (4) daily parking scratchers per month for $25 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.
Who provides enforcement?
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.
Does having a permit guarantee a space?
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.
Is my permit valid in the Downtown Color Zone or in regular 2 hour parking spaces?
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). View Downtown RPP Map. RPP permits are not valid in the Downtown color zones or Downtown lots or garages.
Are the regulations enforced on holidays?
No, parking restrictions are not enforced on regular City holidays or on weekends.
I got an RPP citation. What do I do?
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.
I have a new car. How do I get a replacement permit?
For a temporary replacement permit, or to update your file, please contact the Office of Transportation at email@example.com.
How do I get a refund for my 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., 1st Floor. Refunds are calculated from the date the permit is surrendered to Revenue Collections.