College Terrace Parking Permit Program, Year 9: $10 Increase

The ninth year of the College Terrace Residential Parking Program (RPPP) begins on September 1, the day after existing parking permits expire.  A letter from the city regarding the program began to arrive in College Terrace mailboxes today.

Note: We have received reports from residents that materials in some of the letters are incomplete

The letter should include 3 items: a cover letter (“Dear College Terrace Resident”), a Permit Renewal form, and a First Time Permit Purchase Form. If you are missing an item, email or call Jonathan DeSilva ( / 650-329-2544).

If you do not have time to renew before the end of the month and you have a current parking permit on your vehicle, don’t panic, your sticker will keep your vehicle from being cited during a grace period running through September 30, according to the program’s rules.

As per the new municipal fee schedule, part of the overall fiscal year budget approved by the city council in June, the fee for each annual residential parking permit in College Terrace rises to $50 from the current $40 per vehicle. The cost of yearly guest permits will also go up by $10 to the new fee of $50. Daily guest permits will remain at the current price of $5.

The current $40 fee for annual permits has been in effect since 2011. Fifty dollars is also the new standardized price for residential parking permits in other neighborhoods, which much more recently became part of parking permit programs. Those include Downtown, Evergreen Park, Mayfield, and Southgate. Note that all these newer Palo Alto parking programs do not run under the same regulations as ours.

Complete CT RPPP regulations are in Palo Alto Municipal Code Section 10.46 within:$fn=default.htm$3.0$vid=amlegal:paloalto_ca

Residential parking permits in College Terrace are available for “blocks” that have opted into the program. They are indicated by the presence of one or more signs reading:  “2 Hour Parking, 8 am to 5 pm. Once Per Day On the Block. Except Vehicles with CT Permits.”  A block, as defined in the College Terrace RPPP, is “any street segment intersected by two other  streets.” For example, Cornell Street from Stanford Avenue to College Avenue. 

Since the program’s inception, block participation in the College Terrace RPPP has been at 90%, creating a significant improvement in quality of life from the days of scores of non-residential vehicles that sought and found free, legal, up-to-72-hour continuous parking on College Terrace blocks. These vehicles came from Stanford employees and students, Research Park companies, El Camino Real commercial uses, and those living in and/or storing vehicles, and elsewhere.

Efforts to bring a parking permit program to College Terrace date back to at least 2000, when residents successfully lobbied for, and Stanford agreed to fund, a parking permit program study as mitigation for the impacts of the university’s request for growth within the academic campus under its General Use Permit application with Santa Clara County (“GUP 2000″). 

Following the study, it still took many additional years of neighbors’ efforts to bring the program to implementation. Facebook’s move, beginning in 2008, of close to 1,000 employees into a Research Park building adjacent to College Terrace designed and parked for just 350, brought home the full realization of the need for permits to new segments of the neighborhood. 

This and all previous CTRA boards have supported the CT RPPP and believe the positive difference in residents’ parking accessibility and quality of life due to the program are both real and vital to the neighborhood. 

But so is the need for continued education regarding the program as well residents’ proactive monitoring in the face of new challenges as well as opportunities.

Our residential parking permit committee needs your help in this endeavor. Current committee members include Diane Finkelstein of Dartmouth Street and Susan Wilson of Amherst Street. Contact the CTRA board (, if you are willing and able to help in this important committee.

Here are some of the current and new challenges to the program:

Current Challenges

– Nearly 40,000 square feet of (non-retail) commercial space is about to open at College Terrace Centre. Will there be enough parking space in the garage, and/or will workers and visitors seek instead to park in the neighborhood instead? What to do if the answers are “no” and “yes” respectively?

– What will be the full impact on neighborhood parking from 250 new housing units in Research Park (i.e., University Terrace adjacent to Upper California Avenue and Mayfield Place on El Camino between Wells Fargo and Bank of America)?

– Last year, via an amendment to GUP 2000, Stanford received permission from the county to build an additional 2,000 graduate “beds” in four ten-story towers in Escondido Village.  Construction is now underway. Parking on the site is limited with the intent of keeping students from driving to and from campus. But we already have a problem with graduate students and/or their visitors parking overnight in College Terrace near the units. What to do?

– Stanford has filed an application for a new General User Permit (“GUP 2018″) to once again dramatically intensify development on the campus, including plans for 1,600 more graduate beds in the Escondido Village area. How to respond?

Related Opportunities

– Time-limited parking in the spots around College Terrace Market: 

This idea was presented during the approval process for College Terrace Centre, but has not advanced to date.

– Elimination of parking adjacent to University Terrace and extending to Hanover Street (i.e., the south side California Avenue from Amherst to Hanover Street), and creation of a bike lanes on each side to match the current structure on California Avenue between Hanover and Yale Street.):

Staff examination of this issue was included as a condition of approval in the 2014 University Terrace final approval. With faculty occupants moving in, now is an ideal to discuss this topic in the neighborhood and decide what we want.

Questions? Write to