Safe Parking & Parking Box Program

a red engine attempts to squeeze through a roadway with cars parked on both sides
The San Rafael Safe Parking and 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 signs, paint, and/or boxes will clearly mark where it is possible to park and still allow emergency vehicles access and resident egress. Installing the boxes and signage 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.

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. 

Google street view of parking boxes on narrow hill streets  

Parking Box Locations

The parking boxes were first 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.  

Chula Vista Drive, Coleman Drive, Fair Drive, La Vista Way, Prospect Drive, Robert Dollar Drive, Tampa Drive, and Vineyard Drive on San Rafael/Lincoln Hill were included in the initial parking box installation in September 2021.

On March 23rd, 2022 Staff held a community meeting for downtown neighborhoods to outline the process, rationale, and take questions from residents. A recording of that meeting is available for anyone interested in learning more about the program.

Staff held a community meeting for the Dominican, Black Canyon, and Montecito areas on  May 24,2022 at 6:30 via zoom. Letters with information about the project and meeting were mailed to impacted streets in early May. A recording of that meeting is available on You Tube.

To see the project details, including impacted roads and planned signage, parking boxes, or red curbs, please click the buttons below. 

Implementation, including painting and sign installation, is delayed in the Downtown and Dominican Neighborhoods due to supply chain challenges. This remains a high priority project for the City and additional updates will be provided once our vendor can provide a realistic timeline.


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?

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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