Auto Parking FAQs

Overview

Explore this page for answers to your Alameda parking questions! If you'd like to suggest a new question, you can submit it HERE.

Parking responsibly

I need to drive in order to shop, dine, access entertainment, or take my child to school in Alameda. What can I do to avoid causing traffic and safety issues when parking my car?

There is much you can do park safely and responsibly! Make it your goal to do the following:

  • Avoid circling for parking. Circling contributes to congestion and can cause distracted driving, which is especially dangerous in pedestrian-heavy areas. If you’re in the Park Street area, go straight to the Civic Center Parking Garage, where parking is cheaper and almost always available. Otherwise, if you’re able to walk, take the first space you see rather than trying to park close to your destination.
  • Always watch for pedestrians. It’s always more important to see pedestrians than open parking spaces.
  • Park legally. Read our tips on parking legally. Parking regulations exist to help make spaces available for visitors, reduce congestion, and keep our streets safe.
  • Never double-park. Not only is double-parking illegal, but it slows buses, causes traffic congestion, and creates safety hazards for bicyclists and drivers. Watch for short-term parking (green curb) zones that are meant for quick errands, like picking up takeout.
  • Follow school drop-off rules. Many schools have designated drop-off zones. Use them as directed, or park a block or two from school and walk. Make sure you park legally and keep driveways, crosswalks, and bus stops clear. If you’re able, consider walking or biking to school. Read the City’s tips on getting to school.

Reporting problems

How do I report an illegally parked vehicle?

For parking violations that do not require towing, call (510) 522-PARK. For issues requiring towing, like blocked driveways or abandoned vehicles, call the Police Department directly at (510) 337-8340.

For ongoing issues that don’t call for immediate attention or towing, you can also write to pw@alamedaca.gov or submit a SeeClickFix report in the parking category.

How do I report an abandoned vehicle?

To report an abandoned vehicle on a public street, call the Abandoned Vehicle Hotline at (510) 337-8587. Vehicles can be marked abandoned if they are parked for longer than 72 hours or have qualifying criteria like cobwebs, leaves, debris, low tires, and/or missing or broken vehicle parts. More information is in the “Abandoned Vehicle Unit” on the Police Department Bureau of Field Services page.

How do I report a broken meter?

Please submit a SeeClickFix report in the parking category. If you don’t use SeeClickFix, you can call (510) 522-PARK or write to pw@alamedaca.gov. Whatever the reporting method, please include the meter ID number (if visible on the screen or meter) or the nearest address. A photo is helpful.

How do I report faded curb paint for a red, yellow, white, or green zone?

Please submit a SeeClickFix report in the “curb paintings – maintenance of existing” category. You can also contact Areli Vazquez-Muñoz at avazquez@alamedaca.gov for process, details, and fees.

How do I report a problem with a specific parklet on Park or Webster Street?

Please submit a service request via See Click Fix, fill out the Code Enforcement Complaint Form, or call (510) 747-6818. Find more information about code enforcement or the Commercial Streets program.

What should I do if I see illegal or threatening behaviors in the Civic Center Parking Garage?

Please call the Police at (510) 337-8340 as soon as you can. The new security camera system makes it easy for officers to review a situation in progress quickly.

Parking citations & towed vehicles

How do I pay a parking ticket?

Parking citations issued within Alameda city limits can be paid online or by mail via pticket.

How long do I have to pay my parking citation?

Your parking citation must be paid or contested within 21 calendar days from issue date.

How do I contest a parking ticket?

See the pticket instructions for contesting a ticket.

I can't afford to pay my parking ticket. What can I do?

The City offers standard and low income payment plans via pticket. More information is here.

How can I avoid a parking ticket?

Read the How to Park Legally webpage for tips on avoiding parking citations.

My vehicle got towed. How do I retrieve it?

The Police Department handles towing in the public right of way and City lots in Alameda. For information and instructions to retrieve a towed vehicle, see the “Traffic Section” or “Abandoned Vehicle Unit” tabs on the Police Department’s Bureau of Field Services page.

Parking meters & curb zones

What are the parking meter hours of operation and rates?

See the meter section of the Park and Webster Street Parking page.

If I park next to a parklet, do I have to pay at the meter or abide by time limits?

Yes, when parking spaces are not next to the curb due to the Commercial Streets parklet program, visitors must still abide by regulations on signs and meter screens at the curb, including paying the meter. Meters and time limits help ensure parking availability for visitors.

Should I pay at the meter in a short-term parking zone?

Yes, you need to pay the meter at short-term parking zones with single-space meters, which only allow payment for up to the time limit (usually 15 minutes in these zones). This makes it easier to enforce these zones to make sure they are open for the next person who needs to pick up food, coffee, dry cleaning, etc., thus reducing double-parking.

What's happening with the multi-space meters on Park St?

The multi-space meters (also called kiosks or pay stations) on Park Street south of Central Avenue are out of order. They will be replaced by the end of 2022. In the meantime, payment is not required but time limits are enforced.

I see curbs painted green, yellow, white, blue, and red. What do the colors mean, and what days and times do they apply?

Information on this is on the How to Park Legally page.

Parking for people with disabilities

How do I get a disability parking space in front of my residence?

If you have a disability and do not have access to off-street parking at your residence, you may request a blue zone (disability parking zone) in front of your home, as per the Policy for Residential Disabled Parking Zones. Please contact Areli Vazquez-Muñoz at avazquez@alamedaca.gov or 510-747-7939 for more information.

Note that disability parking zones can be used by anybody with a valid disabled parking placard, so this program cannot reserve the space for a specific resident.

Where can I find accessible parking spaces for people with disabilities?

The City has disability parking spaces (blue zones) in all City-run surface lots as well as the Civic Center Parking Garage. We are also working on plans to add on-street blue zones in the Park Street and Webster Street areas.

I have a disability parking placard. Do I have to pay at the meter or abide by time limits?

A properly displayed disability placard or license plate, used only when the placard owner is being transported, allows parking in metered areas without payment and exempts the user from time limits at regular curb zones.

Disability parking placards do not exempt the user from restrictions related to no parking zones, street cleaning, commercial loading, passenger loading, and abandoned vehicle rules. Always check for signs and curb paint. Placards do not exempt vehicles from all other citations or tow-away restrictions.

Who can park in disability parking spaces?

Vehicles in blue zones must display a DMV-issued disability parking placard or license plate. To use a placard or plate, the person to whom the placard is issued must be being transported in the vehicle, either as a passenger or driver.

Parking in residential areas

How do I get temporary “no parking” signs for my moving van?

Fill out the City’s temporary no parking form no later than two business days prior to your move.

When does street sweeping come to my block?

See the map and schedule on the Street Sweeping webpage.

My block doesn't have street sweeping. How can I get it?

Please review the Policy for No Parking Street Sweeping Signs and email the required forms to avazquez@alamedaca.gov.

How do I get red paint on the curbs next to my driveway, to stop people from parking too close and blocking me from exiting?

Please contact Areli Vazquez-Muñoz at avazquez@alamedaca.gov for process, details, and fees.

How do I get an intersection daylighted, improving safety and visibility by painting red curbs at corners?

Please submit a SeeClickFix Street Safety Concern to alert the City to a visibility problem at an intersection. The City does not install daylighting by request, but we do use these reports when planning street maintenance and improvement projects. We are currently installing daylighting through the High Injury Corridor Daylighting Project and the pavement management program.

How long can I leave my car parked on the street?

The public right of way is not intended for long-term vehicle storage. Vehicles parked on the street for longer than 72 hours can be marked abandoned and later towed by the Abandoned Vehicle Unit. For more information, see the “Abandoned Vehicle Unit” tab on the Police Department Bureau of Field Services page.

Can I reserve parking in front of my residence?

No. Street parking is public space and is part of the public right of way. The exception is that you may request temporary “no parking” zones in front of your home for moving vans, construction, or special events. To get started, fill out the City’s temporary no parking form no later than two business days in advance.

My neighborhood needs a residential parking permit zone. What should I do?

The City’s Preferential Parking Zone policy and procedure is outlined in the Alameda Municipal Code (AMC), Article III – Permit Parking. The program is aimed to restrict the “spillover of long-term nonresidential parking into adjacent residential zones” and not to exclude nearby residents. Permit cost amounts must be high enough to cover program costs for items like signs and enforcement, so that the program is cost-neutral to the City.

What neighborhoods have residential parking permit zones in Alameda?

At this time, Alameda has one preferential parking zone near the Harbor Bay Ferry Terminal. If you live in that neighborhood and want a permit, contact your HOA.

Business and organization parking questions

How can I get a parklet in front of my business?

With a parklet, a business can convert the existing (or former) parking space(s) in front of and/or near the business into an area for outdoor dining, retail, or services. To apply for a permit, go to the Public Works webpage, click the "Permits" tab, and then find documents under "COVID 19: Outdoor Retail, Services and Dining." Email questions to PWPermits@alamedaca.gov. More information is on the Commercial Streets webpage.

Where can I tell my customers to park near Webster Street or Park Street?

Everything they need to know is in the Park and Webster Street area parking webpage.

How do I request a passenger loading zone for my school, child care center, or church?

Contact Areli Vazquez-Muñoz at avazquez@alamedaca.gov or (510) 747-7939 for process, details, and potential fees.

How do I request a short term parking or commercial loading zone near my business?

Contact Areli Vazquez-Muñoz at avazquez@alamedaca.gov or (510) 747-7939 for process, details, and fees.

People living in vehicles

How do I tell the City about someone living in their vehicle?

If you have concerns about people experiencing homelessness, please contact the Alameda Homeless Hotline at (510) 522-HOME. The hotline is available Monday - Friday from 9:00 a.m. - 5:00 p.m., excluding federal holidays.

I am living in a vehicle. What can I do to stay safe and get access to services?

Please call the Alameda Homeless Hotline at (510) 522-HOME, or call Alameda’s Safe Parking Program at (510) 995-8936. Operated by Village of Love at 431 Stardust Place, the Safe Parking Program can accommodate up to 20 cars and vans Monday - Friday from 7:00 p.m. - 7:00 a.m. Recreational Vehicles are not permitted. The program operates a day center out of an adjacent building, providing meals, peer support, housing navigation, and referrals to other services.

EV charging

Where can I find EV charging spaces in Alameda?

A number of apps and websites show maps of publicly available EV charging spaces and associated rates, and Alameda Municipal Power Electric Vehicles page has a map as well (click on "charger finder"). The City is working with Carbon Solutions Group to add more EV charging at City-run parking lots.

How can I get a rebates for electric vehicles or EV chargers?

The Alameda Municipal Power electric vehicle webpage has detailed information about local and state rebates, cost savings from switching to electric vehicles, and more.

Avoiding theft

How can I avoid catalytic converter theft while my car is parked?

Catalytic converters are equipped with precious metals, and thefts of these auto parts have risen in recent years. Toyota Priuses are often targets because the vehicles’ minimal gasoline use helps maintain the conditions of the precious metals.

Alameda PD and our Property Crimes Unit take these types of crimes seriously. Here are ways to help reduce your chances of becoming a victim:

  • Install catalytic converter security devices, like a clamp or shield.
  • Engrave your car’s VIN number into the catalytic converter.
  • Park in well-lit areas.
  • If you have a garage at your residence, park inside of it.
  • Park close to building entrances or busy roads.
  • At your residence, add video surveillance and signs to the area where you park your vehicle.
  • Adjust your vehicle’s security alarm to activate when vibrations are detected.

If you see something, or in this case, if you hear something, report it to the Alameda Police Department right away at (510) 337-8340.

How I can avoid a "smash and grab" theft from my vehicle?

  • Do not leave valuables in your vehicle.
  • Park in well-lit areas.
  • Park close to building entrances or busy roads.

Boat and RV parking

Can I park my RV, boat trailer, or trailer on the street?

You may not park an RV, boat trailer, or other trailer on the street unless you have a temporary permit, which Police Department provides at their front counter. Temporary permits apply for up to 24 hours, and you can get up to two temporary permits per RV or trailer per month. Without a permit, you can receive a citation per Alameda Municipal Code 8-7.11. If you are experiencing homelessness, please call the Alameda Homeless Hotline at (510) 522-HOME.