Why is my vehicle at the Impound Lot?

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Your vehicle may have been impounded for a variety of reasons including if it was:

  • parked illegally;
  • stolen; or
  • involved in an accident or crime.

Most often, vehicles are towed when they park illegally and are causing public safety concerns or impeding traffic flow.

The most common situations are:

1. You parked your vehicle on private property without permission.

2. You parked in a Late Night Taxi Zone.

3. You parked in a Rush Hour Tow Away Zone.

4. You parked illegally in an alley.

5. The vehicle is considered abandoned on a public roadway.

6. The vehicle has expired or has no plates.

1. You parked your vehicle on private property without permission.

If you have parked on private property without the property owner's authorization, you may be ticketed or towed. CPA's Parking Enforcement Services are regularly requested to enforce unauthorized vehicles parked on private property.

To receive permission, you may have to contact the owner, tenant, occupant or other person in control of the property.

Please ensure your vehicle is not blocking access to private property, as this is considered a safety concern and the vehicle may be ticketed and towed.


2. You parked in a Late Night Taxi Zone.

Late Night Taxi zones help discourage drinking and driving by making taxis more accessible. They also increase safety while loading and unloading takes place and they help get patrons on their way as quickly as possible.

Late Night Taxi Zones are in operation on Thursdays, Fridays and Saturdays from 10 p.m. to 3 a.m. in several communities.

If your vehicle is parked on-street during these hours, please ensure you watch for the Late Night Taxi Zone signs. Your vehicle can be towed if you park in these zones.


3. You parked in a Rush Hour Tow Away Zone.

Watch carefully for rush hour parking restrictions. Morning and evening rush hour "no stopping" zones ensure that parking lanes are free for commuter traffic.

An unobstructed travel lane can accommodate 300-500 commuters per hour.

Removing any vehicles that are obstructing lanes ensures citizens can travel more easily throughout the core and surrounding areas during peak periods.


4. You parked illegally in an alley.

Vehicles can be towed if they obstruct the alley and prevent access by other vehicles. When vehicles are parked too close to garages and driveways, they limit visibility and are a safety concern to motorists and pedestrians. Vehicles need at least 3 metres of clearance to be able to drive safely through alleys. Emergency vehicles require access to alleys at all times.

Check the alley for any posted parking restrictions such as no stopping or no parking signs. In narrow alleys (6.1 metres or less), unloading or loading is allowed but parking is prohibited.


5. The vehicle is considered abandoned on a public roadway.

Abandoned or derelict vehicles are vehicles that have been neglected by their owners and left parked or stored on city streets or in alleys.

Vehicles are considered derelict when there are clear signs that the vehicle is inoperable. For example, if the vehicle has no tires or has two flat tires. Storing these vehicles on city streets decreases property values, lowers acceptable community standards and may pose a safety risk to area residents, children, pets and the environment.

A vehicle that is left standing on public or private property for more than 72 consecutive hours is deemed to have been abandoned at that location under Parking Bylaw 41M2002.


6. The vehicle has expired or has no plates.

Vehicles with expired plates or without plates cannot be parked on public property. These vehicles must be parked on private property because they must be registered and insured to drive legally on public roadways.

If vehicles with expired plates or without plates are found on public property, including alleys, they can be ticketed and towed.

Please ensure your vehicle has a licence plate and is properly registered. If the vehicle does not have a plate or has expired plates, please park it in a garage or a parking pad in your yard to ensure it is not towed.

Vehicles that are Stolen or Involved in an Accident or Crime

Vehicles seized by Calgary Police Services (CPS) that are stolen or involved in an accident or crime are towed to the Municipal Impound Lot. The Impound Lot is a safe, secure storage area for all impounded vehicles.

Why can't I get my vehicle out of the Impound Lot right away?

If a vehicle has been stolen or involved in a crime, it may be held by CPS for investigation. Vehicles may also need to be investigated by your insurance company before they can be taken to a repair shop or returned to the owner.

If my vehicle was stolen, why do I have to pay the impound fees?

If your vehicle is stolen, as the owner, you are responsible for all fees at the Impound Lot. Some insurance companies offer theft insurance policies to cover these types of costs. Check with your agent to find out if these fees are included in your policy.

My vehicle was involved in an accident. Can I come to the Impound Lot and take the licence plate off the vehicle?

The licence plate must remain on the vehicle. It can only be removed if payment has been made to release the vehicle from the Impound Lot AND the vehicle is being removed by a towing company or has been donated to a foundation for disposal.