Downtown Residential Parking Permits


Parking enforcement (ticketing) has been paused in all commercial and residential parking districts since March 2020.

Enforcement will continue to be paused until September 30, 2021; it will resume on October 1, 2021 in all commercial and residential parking districts. Vehicles without valid permits will receive warning notices only, but no tickets/citations through September 30, 2021.

Exception: Enforcement for issues like parking during street-sweeping, blocking fire hydrants and red curbs, and any other violations prohibited by law is always in effect.

To preserve the value of your existing resident permit(s) the following modifications will take place:

  • Annual Resident Permits expiring March 31, 2021, will be extended to March 31, 2022.
  • Six-Month Employee Permits expiring September 30, 2020, will be extended to December 31, 2021.
  • Customers shall display previously-issued permits until the new expiration dates listed above; no further action is needed for the extension.

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. (View Map)

The Downtown 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 a.m. and 6 p.m., Monday through Friday. If you are a resident of the area, contact the Office of Transportation by email at

Downtown and select Crescent Park residents may request:

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

Residents creating new accounts will be required to upload proof of residency (i.e., driver’s license & Palo Alto utility bill, lease, or mortgage statement etc.).

Frequently Asked Questions

Can I park for more than 2 hours with no permit?

 No. Parking in any zone for longer than 2 hours with no permit will result in a citation.

How do I get an RPP permit?

If you are a resident of the area, contact the Office of Transportation by email at

How much are resident permits?

  • 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.

I’m a resident. Why do I need to pay for a permit?

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.

Where are permits displayed on vehicles?

  • 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.

What are 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).

Where can residents park with a permit?

Resident permits are valid anywhere that there are posted RPP parking restrictions.

Where do my guests park?

  • 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.

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.

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). RPP permits are not valid in the Downtown color zones or Downtown lots or garagesView map of eligible RPP blocks.

Are the regulations enforced on holidays?

No, parking restrictions are not enforced on regular City holidays or on weekends.

I sold my car and had a resident decal on it. How do I get a new one?

Contact the Office of Transportation at or (650) 329-2520 for a temporary or replacement permit.

I see Zone numbers on the RPP street signs. What do these mean?

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.

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 the permit from your vehicle (pieces are accepted) and send via US mail with the information of the party to receive the refund to Revenue Collections, Palo Alto City Hall, 250 Hamilton Ave., Palo Alto, CA 94301. Refunds are calculated from the date the permit is surrendered to Revenue Collections.

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.

My street is in an “Eligibility Area”. What does that mean?

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 Office of Transportation ( or (650) 329-2520) for assistance.