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Department of Transportation

  • Parking FAQs

    Pasadena DOT regulates the use of curb space to address competing needs, assist in moving people and goods more efficiently, support the vitality of business districts, and create livable neighborhoods. In business districts, including blocks with mixed-use buildings containing residential units, the City of Pasadena prioritizes the use of curb space as follows:

    1. Transit - bus stops, bus layover zones, etc.
    2. Loading Zones - for passengers and deliveries.
    3. Short-Term Parking - for customers of nearby businesses (typically 2-hour or 1-hour time limits).

    Free long-term commuter and employee on-street parking are actively discouraged in business districts.

    As changes occur in a business district, the way in which available curb space is used may need to be adjusted. Sometimes new developments and buildings are built that require the use of the curb space to be changed. Or, an adjustment to the use of curb space is needed for something as simple as the needs of a new business differs from those of the previous business at the same location.

    1) Why do I have to pay to park on the street – isn’t it public property and open to all? 

    On-street parking is a public resource, but it has long been realized that it is not an unlimited one.  Accordingly, the state enacted legislation many years ago that enables cities and counties to manage on-street parking through the use of time limits, prohibitions and the use of parking meters (see California Vehicle Code Division 11 Chapter 9).  The Pasadena Municipal Code in Chapters 10.40 through 10.45 establishes the City’s parking regulations. 

    2) Why do we prohibit overnight parking?

    A ban on overnight parking on City streets in Pasadena was first enacted in 1921 and amended in 1948 to the current time period (2:00 A.M. to 6:00 A.M.) In 1971, the ban was further amended to allow for overnight permits. The City Council reviewed the ban in 1991 and 1998, but made no changes. The reasons for supporting the ban over the years include; facilitating street sweeping, identifying abandoned vehicles, crime detection, encouraging off-street parking and discouraging long-term on-street parking. Citizens surveyed in 1991 responded 75/25 in favor of retaining the ban in single family residential areas and 50/50 in multi-family areas.

    Residents without temporary or permanent parking may apply for annual daytime or overnight on-street parking permits that allow them to park during those hours. All residents and/or visitors may also obtain overnight on-street parking permits for their vehicle or for a guest vehicle at any of the five conveniently located kiosks (TOPEKs) or online (TOPEO).

    Note: Holiday Overnight Parking Citation Moratorium – 2 am to 6 am, from December 23 thru January 3. Vehicles legally parked on the street during the aforementioned hours and dates will not receive a citation for overnight parking. Overnight parking citations will resume being issued the morning of January 4, at 2 am.

    3) Why are on-street parking time limits used in Pasadena? 

    In Pasadena, time limits are used to manage on-street parking in two general types of areas.  In residential areas adjacent to commercial areas, parking time limits are used to discourage long-term parking by employees of the businesses in the commercial areas.  The City allows a provision for daytime permits to residents in these time-limited areas who need to park on-street near their homes during the hours the time limits are in effect.  In commercial areas, generally by petition of the business/property owners, time limits are used to encourage the turnover of parking spaces to provide short-term parking for visitors to the commercial areas.

    4) Why do I get cited for parking in a time-limited area if I leave and come back to the same block but park in a different space? 

    The reason for this is found in the way the Pasadena Municipal Code regulates time-limited parking on a block by block basis.  Chapter 10.08.070 B states the following:

    A vehicle shall be deemed to have been parked or left standing when such vehicle has not been moved more than 1 block under its own power from its original stopped, parked or standing position. “  A block is defined (consistent with the California Streets and Highways Code) as the segment of a street between adjacent intersections or between an intersection and the terminus of the street or the City boundary.  This definition was adopted by the City Council in recognition of the abuse of on-street parking by long-term parkers who would move their vehicles to new spaces within the same block to avoid being cited for being in one location for longer than the time limit. 

    5) How can I change the time limits on my block? 

    The Traffic Engineering Division of the Department of Transportation investigates requests for a modification of existing parking restrictions and the installation of new parking restrictions. In some cases, particularly for loading zones and green curb, there is a cost for the installation based on the current City fee schedule for curb markings and installation of signs (see Part 1 of the fee schedule available at http://www.cityofpasadena.net/Finance/Fees_and_Tax_Schedules/  

    If a resident, business or property owner wants the Traffic Engineering Division to investigate the possibility of installing a new restriction, please click for here for instructions.

    6) How do I request a residential daytime parking restriction exemption? 

    Temporary daytime parking exemptions may be purchased at the five (5) conveniently located kiosks, throughout the City (TODPEK).  Temporary daytime parking exemptions are valid in residential, business, and commercial areas. A temporary daytime parking exemption is valid from 6:00 a.m. to 11:59 p.m. and exempts vehicles from the day-time restrictions only. Daytime exemptions are not valid in metered spaces. You must obey all other posted and applicable restrictions.  Temporary daytime parking exemptions may only be purchased for same day use on the day requrested or one day prior after 6:00 pm.

    Temporary daytime parking exemptions may be purchased in advance and in bulk from the Parking Office located at 221 E. Walnut St., Suite 199.

    7) What if I am having a large gathering and need residential daytime parking restriction exemptions for my guests?  Can I request exemptions? 

    Temporary daytime parking exemptions may only be purchased for same day use on the day requested or one day prior after 6:00 pm.  For large gathering you may purchase temporary daytime parking exemptions in advance and in bulk from the Parking Office located at 221 E. Walnut St., Suite 199.

     8) Can I park my motorcycle on the sidewalk?

    Motorcycles cannot park on a sidewalk.  Motorcycles are considered vehicles by the California Vehicle Code and are subject to the same rules and regulations of any car. 

    9) Can a motorcycle share a metered parking space with another vehicle?

    A Motorcycle may share a parking space with another vehicle within a single metered space but you do so at your own risk.  If sharing the space with another vehicle, the motorcycle must be fully parked within the parking T’s, the rear tire or fender must touch the curb, and the meter must be paid.  If you share the space with another vehicle, you will be subject to citation if the meter expires while you are parked in the space.

    Motorcycles are required to purchase and display their receipt when parked at a pay and display, multi-space meter.

    10) How do I secure my parking permit or meter payment receipt on my motorcycle?

    It is your responsibility to ensure that your permit is visible to the parking enforcement officer.  You may purchase a motorcycle permit lock as any parking citations issued due to permit not being visible to the officer at the time of citation will not be dismissed.


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