Residential Parking Permit Program FAQ

What is a Residential Parking Permit Program (RPPP)?

RPPP is an option for neighborhoods that are impacted by long-term on-street overflow parking from sources (called parking generators) outside the neighborhood. These parking generators include high schools, business complexes, and commercial areas. This program is intended to deter long-term on-street parking, however short-term parking is permitted within any RPPP area for non-permitted vehicles.

Implementation of a RPPP area is a way to give residents of a designated area a better chance to park near their homes. It is not intended to designate a specific parking space along a property frontage. An RPPP area involves the posting of parking time limits or parking restrictions from which local residents are exempt if a valid permit is properly displayed within their vehicle. Residents within a parking permit neighborhood may apply for a parking permit to display on their car that will allow them to park for more than two hours along their neighborhood street.

Who can apply for a parking permit?

Residents must live in a parking permit program area to be eligible for a residential parking permit and visitor permit. Businesses and employees are not eligible to receive residential parking permits or visitor permits.

How many permits can I have?

Residential parking permits are limited to one permit per licensed driver and are valid for two (2) calendar years. Visitor permits are limited to one visitor permit per household and are valid for the same two (2) calendar years as a parking permit. To apply for a permit, applicants must submit a current DMV driver’s license for each resident requesting a permit and current DMV vehicle registration(s) for each vehicle.

Where do I place my parking permit sticker?

Parking permit stickers valid from January 1, 2022 to December 31, 2023 must be displayed on the outside, lower left corner of the rear window.

I purchased a new vehicle and need to cancel an existing parking permit. How do I do this?

Submit an online application at In the application, check the box to cancel or replace a previously issued permit and type the previous vehicle license plate number and permit number when prompted.

I purchased a new vehicle and don't have the permanent license plate number. Can I apply for a parking permit?

We recommend applying for a permit once you have the permanent license plate number and receive the vehicle registration from the DMV. For parking enforcement, our records need to reflect the license plate number tied to the permit.

Are residents who live in a RPPP area required to obtain parking permits?

Obtaining a parking permit is purely optional, however residents still need to comply with posted parking restrictions.

Can residents use a visitor permit on their own vehicle?

While the visitor permit is intended to be used for short-term guests and visitors, residents may have occasional need to utilize the transferable visitor permit on their personal vehicle. This is a valid use of the visitor permit.

Can I use my parking permit to park in any of the posted RPPP neighborhoods?

Each parking permit issued is for a specific RPPP neighborhood or area. With the appropriate parking permit, you may park within the boundaries of that specific RPPP area only. Parking for a period of time greater than the posted time limits, in an area other than that designated by your parking permit, may result in your vehicle receiving a citation from the San Mateo Police Department.

Parking permits do not guarantee or reserve the permit holder a parking space within a designated residential parking permit program area. Parking is on a first-come, first-served basis.

Can I request a parking permit for a company car, leased car, or caregiver?

Yes, additional application instructions are provided on page 4 of the RPPP Policy and Procedures for applicants requesting a permit for a company car, leased car or caregiver.

My permit sticker is peeling off and/or damaged. How do I receive a new permit sticker?

Submit an online application at In the application, mark the box to cancel or replace a previously issued permit and type the previously issued permit number when prompted.

How are RPPP parking restrictions enforced?

The San Mateo Police Department issues citations to vehicles that are in violation of the parking restrictions. For parking enforcement inquiries, call (650) 398-3082 or email

Where are RPPP areas allowed?

RPPP’s are allowed within residential neighborhoods where on-street parking ability is impacted by parked cars from non-residents, or parking generators such as a school, business, commercial district or commercial use. Check the RPPP map to see where existing RPPP areas are located.

Can existing RPPP areas be expanded, removed, or modified?

An existing program area may be expanded, removed or modified per the program development and program removal or modification process identified on pages 7-9 of the RPPP Policy and Procedures

How long does it take to establish a new RPPP area?

It can take several months to establish a new area. Depending on the size of the impacted area, the overall process from initial request to sign installation could take eight to twelve months or longer. Contact Public Works to discuss other alternatives that may be implemented quicker.

What are some disadvantages of having an RPPP area?

RPPP can be imposing to a neighborhood and create inconveniences. We recommend weighing the drawbacks with the potential benefits when considering the implementation of a program that would restrict outside parking influences from your neighborhood. Some disadvantages include:

  • RPPP does not guarantee the availability of parking spaces on a street or within a neighborhood. The program creates an environment of natural competition for on-street parking between neighborhood residents without the influence of long-term non-resident parking.
  • Guests parking on the street who wish to stay for longer than two hours will need a visitor parking permit for their vehicle. Households are limited to one visitor parking permit and are replaceable at the discretion of City staff.
  • You or your guests may receive a parking citation from the San Mateo Police Department for parking on the street for longer than two hours without a permit.

If you have questions or are interested in a Residential Parking Permit Program, please call Public Works at (650) 522-7300.