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Parking Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ)

Citations/Tickets FAQ

How soon after issuance must I pay a parking citation?

A citation must be paid within 21 calendar days to avoid delinquent penalties.

How long do I have to appeal a parking citation?

You must request an appeal within 21 calendar days of the issuance date.

When paying by check, who should it be made out to?

Please make the check payable to City Treasurer.

I received a citation, but I do not own the vehicle. What should I do?

Visit the Sold Vehicle portion of the Citations website. For additional questions or concerns, call (866) 470-1308 (toll free).

Why is my parking citation not in the online payment system?

If you just received your citation, you will not be able to pay online until it is downloaded to the parking citation system. Most citations are issued using handheld electronic ticket writing equipment and are downloaded same day. Handwritten citations can take several weeks to be entered into the parking citation system.

The due date is set once the citation is loaded into our system. This might be 21 days from the date of issuance, or 14 days from the date on the Notice of Parking Violation, whichever is greater. We recommend checking the online system 1-2 times per week for your citation to ensure you can pay promptly.

If your citation is not in the system, you can still send your payment by mail or pay in-person. Just make sure you include a copy of the original citation with your payment. Your payment will be processed upon receipt. Once the citation is entered or downloaded into the system, the payment will be automatically applied to the citation and no further action will be required on your part.

I am trying to pay my citation online but it’s not working. Why?

The most common reason for a failed payment online is due to an incorrect billing zip/postal code. The billing zip/postal code entered must be the same as the one you have on file with the bank.

Parking Meters FAQ

What are the hours of parking meters enforcement?

The majority of parking meters are enforced Monday through Saturday, from 8 a.m. until 6 p.m.; however meters within the Hospitality Zone in Downtown, or Hillcrest Commercial Zone in Hillcrest operate until 8 p.m. Always check the posted signs for enforcement hours.

What should I do if the meter I park at is broken?

The best thing to do is to move to another meter and report the broken meter to Parking Meter Operations at (619) 744-1705. Be sure to note the number on the parking meter before you call. The parking meter number can be found on the street side of the meter housing, or on the bottom of the display screen. Example of a meter numbers is 4-1615 (4th Ave 1600 Block).

What is the minimum credit card transaction on a meter?

The minimum credit card transaction on a meter is $1.25.

The sign says 2 hour parking. Can’t I just keep paying the meter two hours at a time and stay as long as I want?

Parking meter rates, length of stay limits and hours of operation are set to encourage turnover and maximize the use for the particular zone. Even if the meter is paid you cannot stay beyond the posted limit.

What is ParkSmarter?

ParkSmarter is an application that allows you to pay for meter parking through a smart phone or internet-enabled device. The ParkSmarter app provides you with real-time notification alerts to add money to your meter before time expires; or move your car immediately upon expiration. Add time/money to your meter from anywhere, anytime, without even returning to your car! For more information please visit

Enforcement FAQ

How far in the red must I be to get a ticket?

No portion of the vehicle, including the bumper, may extend into the restricted area.

Can I park in a red zone if I am just loading or unloading passengers or cargo? I’ll be quick, and turn on my flashers.

There is no stopping, standing, or parking at any red zone at any time. Turning on your flashers does not allow parking in a restricted zone for any amount of time.

There is no red curb in front of this fire hydrant or bus zone. That means I can park there right?

There is no parking within 15' of a fire hydrant ever. A red curb is not required in front a fire hydrant or a bus zone.

When are commercial zones enforced?

Most commercial zones are enforced 6am-6pm Mon-Sat unless otherwise posted. Please check for any posted signs as there are some areas with variations as they are considered mixed-use zones.

What about white zones, when are they enforced?

Unless otherwise posted a white curb indicates a passenger loading zone and they are enforced 24/7 including weekends and holidays. There must be active loading or unloading of passengers when stopping, standing, or parking at a white curb.

I saw the Street Sweeper go down my street. I can park my car now right?

Vehicles must not stop, stand, or park during the entire designated time period to ensure that street sweeping or maintenance can be completed. Sweepers may make multiple passes down one street. In addition City staff will use the time posted for no parking to perform other maintenance as needed.

View Street Sweeping Schedules

When am I required to cramp my vehicle’s wheels?

All vehicles parked on a hill that have a 3% grade or higher are required to cramp their wheels towards the curb on a downhill and away from the curb on an uphill per the California Vehicle Code.

What is the maximum length of time that I can park my vehicle on the street without moving it?

Vehicles cannot be parked or stored on a public street for extended periods of time. Storage of a vehicle is considered to be a vehicle in excess of 72 hours without being moved at least one-tenth of a mile. Vehicles stored longer than 72 hours are subject to being towed or cited.

Is it legal for residents to paint curbs?

It is illegal for residents to paint anything within the public right-of-way. City maintenance crews must do all curb painting. To request repainting of a faded curb, submit a Street Division Service Request. To request new curb painting, contact Traffic Engineering at (619) 533-3126 or complete and submit the Traffic Request for Service Form.

Who do I call to have an abandoned vehicle removed from a City street?

To have an abandoned vehicle removed, contact the San Diego Police Department/Vehicle Abatement Unit at (858) 495-7856.

How do I recover an impounded vehicle?

If you believe your vehicle may have been towed by the City of San Diego, first search AutoReturn online at, email, or call (619) 527-4392. AutoReturn searches for vehicles towed by the City of San Diego only; if unable to locate your vehicle through AutoReturn, call the Police Non-Emergency phone number at (619) 531-2000.

What telephone number do I call to report illegal parking?

To report illegal parking in your neighborhood, call (619) 531-2000.