Disabled person parking

By California State law, a blue curb is where parking is permitted only for a disabled person who displays a placard or a special license plate for disabled persons.  If you see a disabled marking for a parking space and it does not also have a sign, it is not legally marked.  (A court would argue you still can't park there.) There are also rules about using a placard for disabled parking. According to the California Drivers handbook:

"Placard abuse results in loss of special parking privileges. It is also a misdemeanor and is punishable by a fine of up to $1,000, imprisonment in county jail for up to six months, or both.

Examples of placard abuse:

  • Using a placard after it has been reported lost/stolen (the person finds the placard after reporting it lost and then continues to use it without reporting it has been found)
  • Loaning your placard to friends or family members (disabled or not)
  • Interchanging placards with friends or family members
  • Using a placard when the person it was issued to is not in the vehicle with you (disabled child, family member, deceased person, etc.)"

Parking rules are handled by the parking patrol of the city (Santa Cruz, Capitola, and Watsonville) and the police cannot get involved unless the parking patrol suspect a danger.

Santa Cruz

The Ordinances Governing Conduct in Parking Lots in Santa Cruz has been controversial. For parking information in the municipal code, see the City of Santa Cruz municipal code. section 10.40 for general parking rules,  section  10.42. for permit parking,, and 10.52 for parking meters.

Parking map for Downtown Santa Cruz. http://www.downtownsantacruz.com/parking.php

A 24 minutes meter next to a 10 hour meter. Note the pole is green and blue.Vehicle parking meters at the Santa Cruz Harbor operate 24 hours every day.Every meter has a unique number in the city of Santa Cruz.City of Santa Cruz Parking Office
124 Locust Street
Santa Cruz, Ca 95060

Santa Cruz parking meters operate Monday through Sunday 8am-8pm.
Santa Cruz city parking meters are not needed for parking on the following holidays:
New Year's Day, Martin Luther King Jr. Birthday, Presidents Day, Memorial Day, Independence Day, Labor Day, Veterans Day, Thanksgiving Day, and Christmas Day.

Parking meter poles are color coded.
BLUE - Long term 10 or 12 hour limit parking.
GRAY - Long term 6 hour limit parking.
Orange -2 hour limit parking.
Brown - 1 hour limit parking.
Green - 20 or 24 or 30 minutes.

Yellow Curb
Commercial loading zones are marked with a yellow curb.
Free parking for commercial plated vehicles between 7am to 6pm for 20 minutes.
If the yellow curb also has a parking meter, the commercial vehicles can make deliveries with 20 minute parking between 7am to 1pm.  After 1pm, the parking in the zone requires paying the meter.

White Curb
Passenger loading for 3 minutes unless specific as longer.

Meters accept coins, ParkCards and credit cards by phone.

Since 2011, the city of Santa Cruz allows paying parking
meters by phone or by computer applet. Each meter has a unique code on it. (eg. LO200.  Notice the code uses letters and numbers. The letter "O" should not be confused with the number zero.) The meters have a green label with a phone number and instructions. There is an added fee for using this feature. Assuming your entered the correct meter code, assuming the transaction went through, assuming you dialed the correct number, then you have paid by phone. Further details are on the Santa Cruz website here:

The website to get the applet is listed on all 1,800 meters
in the city of Santa Cruz.
Some of the pages on the city website on parking are no longer valid.

ParkCards are available at the City of Santa Cruz Parking Office on Locust Street. Users add money to the card. The card is accepted at meters and pay-per-space lots. ParkCards also work with city of Santa Cruz bike lockers. The charge is three cents per hour.

Pay Stations
Pay-by-space parking has a machine to accept cash, credit cards, and ParkCards. Since the parking spaces all have a different number, you can add time for your numbered parking space at any machine.


Capitola is pay-by-space.  Each parking space in Capitola has a number. There are several pay stations where you enter the parking space number and pay for the time.  Parking in Capitola is enforced from 8am to 8pm. daily, except for a few days in December., . The time limit is two hours for most areas on the village streets. If you add funds to extend you parked stay for more that two hours, that is a violation.


Watsonville has parking lots with time limits. There are no meters.
If you received a parking ticket in Watsonville and have lost it, you can learn  when the payment is due by contacting Enforcement Technology at 1-800-281-7275.
IF you just want a copy of the citation contact Traffic Court at 831-786-7200.
To challenge a parking citation in Watsonville, obtain an Administrative Review Form from Records Division, complete it, and return it to the Watsonville Police Department.