Parking Enforcement

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General Rules Parking  Street Sweeping Abandoned Vehicles Vehicle Impounds & Towing

General Rules

Parking on public streets is regulated by the San Marcos Municipal Code and the California Vehicle Code.

To report illegal parking in your neighborhood, click here or call 760-744-1050, extension 3206.

City of San Marcos General Rules and Regulations:

  • Municipal Code 9.04.080 – Use of Park Regulations
  • Municipal Code 12.20.030-040 – General Parking Regulations
  • Municipal Code 12.20.070 – Obstructing Flow of Traffic
  • Municipal Code 12.20.150 (a) – Commercial Vehicle in Residential Area
  • Municipal Code 12.20.160 (a) – RV on Residential Street
  • Municipal Code 12.20.170 – RV or on any street between  2 and 6 am
  • Municipal Code 12.20.190 – 72 hour

California Vehicle Code

  • Vehicle Code 4000-4462 – Vehicle Registration/Wrong Plates
  • Vehicle Code 5200-5206 – Plates Codes: Code Search, Tab and Stickers
  • Vehicle Code 21110-21117 - Local Regulation
  • Vehicle Code 22500-22526 - Stopping, Standing and Parking

For questions or concerns, see the Frequently Asked Questions, or call 760-744-1050, extension 3179.


The following general provisions of law apply whether or not there are signs or curb markings present.
  • No vehicle may be parked continuously at one location on any public roadway for more than 72 hours.
  • Parking of heavy-duty commercial vehicles is prohibited in residential areas unless the vehicle is loading or unloading goods or has a service call in the immediate vicinity.
  • Parking unattached semi-trailers or auxiliary dollies on any street is prohibited except while loading/unloading (camping or utility trailers not included).
  • Parking is prohibited:
    • in an intersection or a crosswalk;
    • within 15 feet of a fire station driveway or fire hydrant
    • on a sidewalk or parkway;
    • on the roadway side of a parked vehicle (double parking);
    • in a bus stop;
    • upon a bridge (unless otherwise posted);
    • in such a manner that obstructs the free use of the street;
    • in a center median strip unless signs are posted permitting parking on the median; and
    • in front of a public or private driveway (even your own driveway).
  • Wheel cramping is required on all grades over 3% (hills) with or without the presence of signs. Block your wheels diagonally against the curb by turning your wheels into the curb when facing downhill and out to the street when facing uphill.
  • Be aware of signage when you park. Read all signs. They may include time frame restrictions and other parking guidelines.
  • Street sweeping signs are posted in select areas of the City. Parking is prohibited on the designated days for the entire time posted on the sign in those areas. Please avoid parking on your street during street sweeping days (see posted Street Sweeping Schedule)

Street Sweeping

The City Street Sweeping program currently cleans arterial, collector and industrial streets every week and residential streets every two weeks resulting in 15,165 curb miles swept per year removing more than 700 tons per year of debris, trash, and other harmful constituents that would otherwise pollute the environment.

Through regular street sweeping, the city is able to keep the storm drain conveyance system free of material that could possibly clog and cause flooding during a rain event. Secondly is the protection of the environment. Lastly, the result is the positive aesthetic enhancement that a freshly swept street creates.

In order to meet program goals, enforcement signs are posted in those residential and industrial areas with a high number of parked vehicles during the times they are swept.
Residents and motorists are encouraged to check the signs on streets for days and times of sweeping. 

List of streets affected with no posted signs indicating days and time of street sweeping.

Holidays and street sweeping schedules

If a holiday falls on a regularly scheduled sweeping day, sweeping will be performed the next day. Please note that streets are not swept on rainy days. 

Rain and street sweeping schedules

Streets affected by rain will be swept the next day, weather permitting. On those streets with no parking enforcement signs posted, the City highly encourages residents to not park on the street during posted street sweeping days.

Abandoned Vehicles

The San Marcos Parking Enforcement Officers are responsible for the removal of wrecked, dismantled and inoperative vehicles on both public and private property.

To report an abandoned vehicle, call (760) 744-1050, ext. 3206.

For questions or concerns, see the Frequently Asked Questions or call (760) 744-1050, ext. 3179.

Vehicle Impounds and Towing

Vehicles may be impounded or stored for several reasons that are listed below.

If you believe your vehicle may have been impounded, please call (760) 510-5200, 24 hours a day, for confirmation and to determine the location where the vehicle was stored.

The impound process may take a minimum of three hours. When calling for information, be prepared to provide your name as well as the vehicle license number, make and model. You will be given the name of the towing company and the vehicle location. Registered owner identification and driver's license is required to recover the vehicle.

A City of San Marcos Vehicle Release Form must be completed and all parking citation fines paid prior to the release of the vehicle from the towing company. A Vehicle Release Form can be obtained from the City’s Parking Administration offices at City Hall during normal working hours.

Reasons for Impounding a Vehicle

  • Vehicles found on City of San Marcos property having five (5) or more unpaid parking citations/tickets.
  • Vehicles found on City of San Marcos property with registration expired over six (6) months.
  • Vehicles stored on City of San Marcos property over 72 hours without moving 1/10th of a mile.
  • Vehicles found on City of San Marcos property parked in violation of posted temporary or permanent signs.
  • Vehicles found illegally parked on City of San Marcos property not displaying any form of valid registration.
  • Vehicles found on City of San Marcos property parked in a hazardous manner, impeding the regular flow of traffic.
  • Vehicles found on City of San Marcos property blocking a driveway and a complaint is registered.

San Marcos Parking Enforcement Officers also recover stolen vehicles. If found, the officers will attempt to call the registered owner for the recovery. If we are unable to contact the registered owner or if the owner takes more than 20 minutes to get to the vehicle, the vehicle will be stored at a City of San Marcos contracted towing company until the registered owner can recover the vehicle.

                                                                                         Development Services                                                                                                                                                                                                   

1 Civic Center Drive

San Marcos, CA 92069

(760) 744-1050, ext. 3179