The City's Parking Enforcement Monitors strive to provide safe, equal parking opportunities through the enforcement of the various parking ordinances. These ordinances range from expired meter violations to No Parking Area, No Valid Residential Permit, Blocking Driveway and Refeeding meter violations along with several others. Current fines for parking citations range from $7.00 to $500.00.

Metered parking places designated on the side of the roads are usually at the request of business establishments and/or citizens to maintain parking turnover. The City's Parking Meter inventory provides an efficient and economical means of generating turnover parking in business districts, parking districts and other areas of the City. The approximately 4,600 on-street meters demand an effective preventive maintenance plan which includes constant upkeep, meter replacement and refurbishment.

The information provided below can help you to avoid parking tickets:


  1. You have to deposit coins or tokens in the meter or use a SmartCard. (Pay by Space machines at the Cannon Garage at 1227 Taylor Street also take credit cards.) The newest way to pay meters is to use Passport Parking's app. When using the app, make sure when you enter your license tag number that you enter only letters and number 
  2. The meter will display the amount of time given corresponding to the amount of coins deposited
  3. You may not refeed the meter, i.e., you may not stay at a meter longer than the maximum time allowed. The maximum time is shown by the color of the meter:
    • Blue meters, 5 to 10 hours
    • Green Meters, 2 hours
    • Silver Meters, 1 hour
    • Red Meters, 30 Minutes
  4. You may not park in the metered space for longer than the maximum time limit displayed on the meter.
  5. Upon reaching the expired time, you must move your vehicle.


  1. ParkingIMG HandicappedYou cannot park in a Handicapped Zone unless you or an authorized Handicapped Placard holder has a Handicapped Placard or Handicapped License Plate issued by a State Department of Motor Vehicles.
  2. Handicapped decals issued by the University of South Carolina can only be used on university property or at university meters. The University of South Carolina meters display that they are university meters.
  3. If you have a handicapped placard, and are parking in a handicapped zone, the placard must be displayed in the rearview mirror area. Monitors will not look for it on the front seat of the vehicle or in any other area in the vehicle.
  4. State law allows persons with valid handicapped plates or placards to park in metered parking spaces without feeding the meter. State law also waives any time restrictions for the handicapped.


  1. No part of your vehicle may be parked in a Tree Zone. The "Tree Zone" is considered the area between the street curb and the sidewalk, or the City right of way adjacent to the street.
  2. No part of your vehicle may be parked on a sidewalk. The "Sidewalk" is considered any paved area adjacent to the street designated for pedestrian walking.
  3. You must clear a driveway by 5 feet on either side of the driveway.


You must clear a fire hydrant by 15 feet on either side of the fire hydrant.


There are congested parking areas in the City of Columbia. Vendors delivering goods to areas business are allowed consideration for parking only while delivering their goods. They must have a Loading Zone Permit to park in spaces marked as Loading Zones and it must be displayed while making deliveries. Permits are issued at the Parking Customer Center at 820 Washington Street. You must show proof the vehicle is used for business purposes when purchasing the permit.


State law mandates that you park parallel with the curb and headed in the same direction of traffic as the side that you parking.


  1. You must park within the designated space. No part of your tires can be over or on the line.
  2. Parking improperly because the vehicle in the adjacent space is parked improperly is not a valid excuse. If you cannot fit your vehicle within the designated space, you must find another space in which to park.


  1. A vehicle that is "standing" in a zone with a passenger inside the vehicle is still considered to be "parked."
  2. An expired meter is considered expired immediately upon expiring, even if you are on the sidewalk headed to your vehicle.
  3. If your vehicle breaks down and is in a metered space, call Parking Services at 545-4015 so you won't get a ticket while waiting for assistance.