Where Can I Park in California?
Most of these rules apply to public streets, not private property, unless otherwise specified.
These general rules apply unless there are more specific restrictions, as would generally be indicated by (official) signs. So be sure to READ ALL SIGNS!
Also, we would bet there are some important driving laws you don’t know about so be sure to check out our Guide to Laws for Drivers in California.
If there are no signs about a particular parking restriction, does that mean it doesn’t apply?
In California, you are generally subject to all parking laws (as well as all general laws), whether there is a sign or not. One exception is parking restrictions related to street sweeping, which must be posted on signs at least at the entrance of each block, otherwise the restrictions are not effective.1Vehicle Code Sec 22507.6
But before towing you, you must be given notice, which is usually done by signs or by leaving a citation & warning on your car.2Vehicle Code 22651(n): “Whenever a vehicle is parked or left standing where local authorities, by resolution or ordinance, have prohibited parking and have authorized the removal of vehicles. Except as provided in subdivisions (v) and (w), a vehicle shall not be removed unless signs are posted giving notice of the removal.”
What are the general restrictions on parking?
- within 20 feet of a crosswalk, or 15 feet where a curb extension is present4AB 413
- within 15 feet of a fire station driveway or fire hydrant
- on the street, blocking a public or private driveway
- on a sidewalk5Vehicle Code 22500(f)
- on a bridge (unless specifically allowed)
- in a tunnel
- more than 18 inches (1 and a half feet) from the curb when parallel parking6Vehicle Code Sec 22502
- on a lowered section of curb for wheelchair accessibility
- on private property without the owner’s permission7general California property law
- on the wrong side of the street, meaning, the opposite way of the flow of traffic
What is daylighting? How far from a crosswalk do I need to park?
Daylighting means leaving a clear line of sight at an intersection for all modes of transportation – pedestrians, drivers, cyclists, and others. California law prohibits parking within 20 feet of a crosswalk, or within 15 feet where a curb extension is present. This helps prevent a parked vehicle from obscuring the view of motorists and others who are approaching a crosswalk.8AB 413
How far (how many feet) from a driveway do I need to park?
The width of a driveway technically spans from the “curb cuts,” which is at the top of where the concrete slopes up and there is usually a cut or gap between the slope and the rest of the curb. If there is no curb cut, the driveway would span from where these curb cuts would be, that is, the top of the slopes on either side. If you are in this “curb cut” area, then you would be technically be blocking the driveway, even if you are not directly blocking the driveway. So you must not be in this curb cut area at all.
What do all the color curbs mean?
Yellow curb: commercial loading up to 30 min9must have commercial license plate, general passenger loading up to 5 min.
Green curb: short term parking for either 15 or 30 min, as noted by signs.
Blue curb: ONLY if you are the valid holder of a disabled placard, or are driving the holder10Vehicle Code 22511.7
White curb: ONLY for 5 min passenger loading, 24/7.
Red curb: No stopping or parking at any time (unless sign indicates otherwise)11Vehicle Code Sec 22500
Are parking restrictions enforced on holidays?
Many parking restrictions are NOT enforced on holidays. Check with your local government.
Am I allowed to park at a broken meter?
If I have a disabled placard, am I exempt from parking restrictions?
- Parking district permit requirements
- time limits
- meters – you don’t have to pay
You are NOT exempt from:
- parking rules for red, white, and yellow curbs
- “No stopping” zones
- “No parking” zones
- Street sweeping
See more on disabled placard parking at our Person with Disability page.
Exercise Your Rights
See options for Getting Legal Help in California.
How do I get a disabled placard? See DMV website.