Parking & Towing

There are two general categories of parking in the city: On-Street / Public Parking and Private Property.

On-Street / Public Parking

To avoid citations when parking on a public roadway and in public parking lots pay attention to time limits, fire lanes and limitations indicated by painted curbs or signs.

Time limits, where restricted, are posted on signs and/or indicated by painted curbs.

Fire lanes are marked, generally by a red curb. Parking in these areas is prohibited at all times. MVPD enforces fire-lane parking restrictions on either city owned or private property.

 More information on the City's Parking and Tow ordinance can be found by clicking here

Abandoned Vehicles

Mountain View tries to keep city streets free of abandoned vehicles, which reduce the number of available parking places and can be unattractive in our neighborhoods. If a car is parked in the same location, on a public road, for more than 72 hours, it may be considered abandoned and get towed. If you have a non-operable vehicle on a public road, you need to tow it to a repair facility or your home. Note, however, there are no ordinances prohibiting unattractive vehicles. To report an abandoned vehicle, please call our Abandoned Vehicle Hotline at 650-903-6358, or send us a message through AskMV.

Private Property Parking

Generally restriction of parking on private property is the responsibility of the property owner. Exceptions that MVPD enforces are handicapped and fire-lane regulations.

Business and apartment owners may restrict parking on private property to employees, customers or residents. Cars can be towed from private parking areas only if tow-away zone signs are posted at each entrance to the parking lot.

Often property owners hire a tow company. Owners may authorize the firm to tow violators without a request from the business. This means tow companies may drive by, at any time, to spot violators and collect tow income. Otherwise, property owners must initiate a tow. In either case, your car might disappear without warning, at your expense, if you violate posted signs on private property.


If signs restricting parking are posted, vehicles on private property may be towed. Vehicles on public property may be towed if:

  • They block a driveway.
  • Five or more parking tickets have been issued.
  • Vehicle registration expired over six months.
  • Abandoned vehicle (has not been moved for 3 or more days).
  • If your vehicle is not where you parked it, look for a tow-away zone sign that indicates where to call. If none, call police non-emergency incidents (650-903-6344) to find out if your car has been towed.

If your vehicle was towed from private property, you will need to contact the tow company (see signs posted). If it was towed from public parking zones, the registered owner must come to MVPD (Directions & Map), 7AM to 7PM (7 days a week). Bring a valid drivers license and be prepared to pay the release fee of $174. MVPD accepts cash, check, money order or credit card. Read our FAQs to learn more.

Vehicle Releases

All vehicles towed by Mountain View Police must have a release form issued by the police department before the tow company can release them. Eligible vehicles are released in person to the registered owner ONLY of the vehicle at Mountain View Police Department.

  • The owner must supply current valid registration, proof of insurance, a valid licensed driver and pay the $161 release fee to the Mountain View Police Department, as well as all towing and storage fees to the tow company.
  • If the vehicle was towed for excessive citations, those must be paid at the Department of Motor Vehicles prior to the release of the vehicle. You must bring proof of payment to the Mountain View Police Department.
  • If the vehicle has a 30 day hold, you may pick it up after the 30 days is up, or earlier if the person driving the vehicle at the time of the tow gets their driver’s license reinstated. If the license is reinstated, the driver must come to the Mountain View Police Department with the owner to get the release - bring proof of reinstatement.
  • If the vehicle owner would like to request a post-storage hearing on the validity of the tow, the owner must contact the Police Department at 650-903-6344.
  • After obtaining a vehicle release form from the Police Department, the owner must take the form to the tow company, where all towing and storage fees must be paid to the tow company.