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San Rafael Parking Box Program

The San Rafael Parking Box program will replace the '6 feet from center rule' in select areas of the City with narrow and/or windy roads. After installation the boxes will clearly mark where it is possible to park and still allow emergency vehicles access and resident egress. Installing the boxes provides a nuanced approach that improves public safety while limiting the impact on available parking as much as possible.

Initial Installation Completed September 2021

The initial markings were completed in late August in the San Rafael/Lincoln Hill neighborhood. Sign installation and final stripping occurred in mid-September. The boxes do not impact entirely off-street parking.

New signs are installed in the areas where parking box rules apply. The parking boxes replace the “6 foot from center” rule in designated areas.

Google street view of parking boxes on narrow hill streets  

Parking Box Locations

The parking boxes are being installed first on San Rafael Lincoln Hill following a roadside vegetation removal program. Combined, these efforts improve routine access and safety while assuring fire engines and ambulances can safely respond to calls for service. The parking boxes and roadside fuel reduction are also part of the City, County, and Marin Wildfire Prevention Authority efforts to improve evacuation routes.  

The following roadways on San Rafael/Lincoln Hill were included in the initial parking box installation in September 2021:

  • Chula Vista Drive
  • Coleman Drive, Fair Drive
  • La Vista Way, Prospect Drive
  • Robert Dollar Drive
  • Tampa Drive
  • Vineyard Drive

Additional areas of the City will be included later this year. 

The length of a box is determined by roadway conditions and may accommodate multiple vehicles. Parking boxes may incorporate soft shoulders to provide adequate parking. 


In August 2020, our City Council approved San Rafael Fire's Wildfire Prevention and Protection Action Plan, a master planning document to guide continual efforts to reduce the risk of wildfire in the City of San Rafael. One of the objectives of this plan was to establish a "parking box" program on narrow, hilly streets to ensure emergency vehicles could pass during an emergency. In February 2021, an ordinance proposing to amend San Rafael Municipal Code Section 5.40.080 to include parking restrictions on narrow, hilly streets throughout the City was approved by City Council.

Project Goals

  • Narrow roads in San Rafael have clearly defined safe parking areas
  • Improve visibility and minimize crowding around blind turns
  • Assure large vehicles, including fire engines can access all areas
  • Improve evacuation routes



The costs of implementation of the program, including the vegetation clearance, roadway paintings, and updated parking signs will be covered by the Marin Wildfire Prevention Authority with funds raised through Measure C. Any  revenue from ticketed violations is intended to be used to support costs associated with paint and sign maintenance after the expiration of Measure C.

Questions, concerns, comments?

Contact Deputy Fire Chief, Robert Sinnott or call 415-485-5067 with questions specific to this project. For general wildfire prevention or defensible space information please reach out to our Defensible Space team or call 415-485-3054.


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