Living in Lavaca is great because of its walkability and its proximity to downtown and large event venues. That proximity can also cause headaches for those in the neighborhood during special events when it comes to parking our own vehicles or dodging those who want to just park here during events. We also have many short-term rentals and other situations that create parking and walking challenges here.
There are things that all of us can do to make it better.
Observe existing rules for parking. I’ll run through some of the rules that are commonly violated here in the neighborhood.
Try to improve the parking situation on your your block through the City of San Antonio Residential Parking Permit program. I’ll explain how it works and how you can get permitting for your street.
PARKING IN GENERAL
Let's talk first about parking in general.
We took a walk around the neighborhood and did not have to look far to find multiple violations of parking as well as pedestrian path obstructions. These photos are not meant to embarrass anyone but to educate neighbors on violations.
RESIDENTIAL PARKING PERMIT PROGRAM
The Residential Parking Permit program (RPP) allows residential parking in these designated zones and is meant to assist residents during high traffic events in areas adjacent to these neighborhoods. These high traffic events include, but are not limited to:
Fiesta (including King William Fair)
New Year’s Eve
Conventions at the Henry B. Gonzalez Convention Center
La Villita events and festivals
Hemisfair Park events
Other special events downtown
Many within the Lavaca Historic District already participate in the RPP. This program restricts parking on one side of the street to permit parking only, with the opposite side reserved as public parking. The RPP is administered through the City of San Antonio Parking Division and provides downtown, Lavaca and Southtown residents with permits that identify residents of certain areas in the central downtown district.
To participate for a RPP, you must be a resident of a designated residential zone:
North Flores district
Perry Court area
The Lavaca neighborhood was included in the RPP about five years ago. Most streets in the area bounded by Cesar E Chavez to the north, Presa to the west, Callaghan Avenue to the south and IH 37 to the east were eligible in the initial program – but not all chose to participate. Participation was by majority vote of the residents who signed petitions to be included in the RPP. These petitions were presented to the City of San Antonio who approved and installed the appropriate signs designating where the RPP was to be implemented.
Additional streets may be included if most of the residents want to participate and complete the petitions. If you are interested in this, contact President@Lavaca.net and we will help you with the process, petitions and getting your streets included in the RPP. Please keep in mind that all streets may not be eligible for the program.
Did you know that you cannot park within 30 feet of a stop sign? It’s true. The reason for this is so parked cars don’t block visibility as vehicles approach an intersection. You can be ticketed and / or towed if you park too close and the parking enforcement team thinks your vehicle presents a hazard. Be mindful and stay at least 30 feet back from stop signs.
Fire hydrant near you? Stay back at least 15 feet either side of the hydrant. The Fire Department won’t hesitate to knock out your windows to run a hose through if needed and you are blocking it. Fire hydrant no parking zones are not always marked on the curb with red or yellow paint but pay attention and don’t park there.
Pedestrian ramps near your home? Stay away from them when parking. It is illegal to park within 20 feet of a marked or unmarked crosswalk. A marked crosswalk usually has stripes on the pavement and may or may not have pedestrian signals. An unmarked crosswalk usually just has pedestrian ramps to indicate the location where pedestrians are supposed to cross.
Blocking the sidewalk
Have you seen cars parked across the sidewalk or trash on the walkway? What about those who leave gates open or let their landscaping become overgrown so that it blocks the pathway? Have you seen construction fencing on the sidewalk? These are all illegal and should be reported to 311 as a sidewalk obstruction.
Cars in driveways are required to always keep the sidewalk clear and accessible. Parking across it creates a hazard for pedestrians as they must walk out into the street or cross to the other side of the street to go around it. As traffic increases in the neighborhood, be mindful of this when crossing the street.
It is up to all of us to read, understand and follow the rules related to parking and pedestrian path access in our neighborhood. More information on state law related to parking and additional restrictions in the City of San Antonio can be found on the City of San Antonio Public Works website under Parking Restrictions.
The Residential Parking Permit program helps residents find parking during events that flood the neighborhood with cars. (Photo by Marcy Newman)
Rules and Regulations
There are some rules and regulations for getting and keeping a parking permit.
Completed application for tags. Download: Residential Decal Application (PDF)
Additional required documents: Proof of current residency (electric or water bill) or provide a copy of the lease agreement.
Provide documentation of vehicle identification number and picture identification.
Proof of insurance.
A new application form must be submitted to continue participation in the program.
If the vehicle is sold or title is transferred, the tag will be replaced at no charge when returned. A written notice is required along with a replacement fee of $5.00 if tag is not returned.
Documented misuse or abuse of the decal will result in a suspension of privileges for a period not to exceed one year. Examples: Transferring tags from one vehicle to another without proper notice and/or excessive parking citations.
Vehicle is subject to citations and towing for overtime parking in commercial loading zones if parking exceeds for more than 20 minutes.
Visitors permit is subject to #’s 4 and 5 above.
Originally only two per residence were allowed but now up to four tags are available for residents and visitors at each address – this is subject to change without notice.
If a tag is lost, stolen or misplaced, only one replacement will be issued within one year period. Replacement fee is $5.00.
It is the tag holder’s responsibility to contact the Parking Division of any changes in vehicle status. Unauthorized transfer of tag may result in citation and impoundment of vehicle. Tag holder is responsible for renewal tags. Expiration date on tag serves as notice.
Tags are sold between 8:00 a.m. - 4:00 p.m., Monday through Friday.
The Parking Division is now located at 400 N. St. Mary's, Suite 100, San Antonio, TX 78205.
If you have any questions related to qualifications, application, or renewal of the Residential Parking Permit, please contact the Parking Division at 210.207.8277.
Marcy Newman is a civil engineer and the Traffic and Safety Director for the Lavaca Neighborhood Association
Parking rules for crosswalks and fire hydrants apply whether or not the zones are marked (Photos by Ron Newman and Marcy Newman)
These are examples of parking and pedestrian obstruction violations here in the neighborhood, including parking across the sidewalk, parking too close to a stop sign, overgrown landscaping blocking the sidewalk, construction fences blocking the sidewalk, gates blocking the sidewalk, and brush piles blocking the sidewalk. (All photos except stop sign by Ron Newman; stop sign photo by Marcy Newman).