FOLLOWUP: SDOT apologizes for Avalon project contractor’s towing

On Tuesday, we reported on Avalon residents whose vehicles were towed from the SDOT project zone because of no-parking signage they said they hadn’t even had time to see because of the stay-home order. We asked SDOT and the mayor’s office for comment. Just in from SDOT:

Yesterday we learned that the contractor working on the 35th/Avalon project had 12 vehicles towed of 98 total parking spots from SW Avalon Way in West Seattle. While our contractor followed our normal notification procedures of sending construction notices to property managers, residents, neighbors, and businesses about this work, and placing no-parking signs 72 hours in advance, we have since heard from several residents that they did not see the signs because they were following the COVID-19 “Stay Home, Stay Healthy” order.

Typically, contractors will notify our project teams prior to towing cars. That did not happen in this case, and prevented us from having the opportunity to notify residents once more, given the challenges we’re all facing in the midst of the COVID-19 public health crisis and “Stay Home, Stay Healthy” best practices.

We are sorry for this inconvenience. We have confirmed, however, that 4 of the 12 cars will be returned to the corridor as soon as possible at no cost to the owners. The remaining 8 cars have already been picked up by their respective owners and will be reimbursed for charges related to towing.

Crews are continuing to work on this project today, and will pause work on Thursday in order to implement new Health and Safety Plans for this job site. The contractor plans to resume work on Monday. No-parking signs will be enforced on Avalon Way starting Monday morning through Friday evening.

We are in the final stages of this project that started last year, including installing the permanent pavement markings. We know this project has been disruptive to the corridor while we have done major upgrades to the street and installed new protected bike lanes and transit-only lanes.

For all questions, please call 206-900-8734 or email We encourage everyone to review our website highlighting all COVID-19 related parking changes.

The year-long Avalon repaving-and-more project is in its final phase, with permanent striping and markers being installed, as well as one final block of repaving involving asphalt work on Avalon west of 35th.

23 Replies to "FOLLOWUP: SDOT apologizes for Avalon project contractor's towing"

  • newnative April 8, 2020 (2:00 pm)

    12 is far from the 40 earlier reported by commenters. 

    • Wolfgang April 8, 2020 (2:58 pm)

      yeah what’s the actual number? did anyone get photos of this malarkey 

      • WSB April 8, 2020 (3:08 pm)

        This is the # SDOT has given. No independent way to verify unless we hear directly from, say, more than 12 people affected. So far counting one commenter and our original tipster, we have heard from two.

        • Chrystan April 8, 2020 (4:58 pm)

          I had my car towed. I am one of the 8 who have retrieved it. 

          • Sam April 28, 2020 (6:04 am)

            Hi Chrystan, my car was also towed and I paid and got my own car out. I have submitted all paperwork and have not heard back. I also emailed the email provided twice and called and left two voicemails and nothing. Did you receive your money back and any suggestions on how to get a hold of anyone? Any information helps.Thanks! 

  • B April 8, 2020 (2:11 pm)

    Very nice of SDOT to refund!!!

    • West Seattle Hipster April 8, 2020 (2:52 pm)

      Since SDOT is funded by tax dollars, you should be thanking taxpayers instead.

  • DB40 April 8, 2020 (2:28 pm)

    Who’s paying for the reimbursement costs, SDOT or the contractor?

    • CandrewB April 9, 2020 (8:33 am)

      You are.

  • Janelle April 8, 2020 (2:56 pm)

    Good to hear this, thanks for making it right SDOT, and for all the hard work on the Avalon project.

  • Danimal April 8, 2020 (3:28 pm)

    Again, why has no repaving been scheduled or done for the north side of Alaska between 36th and Fauntleroy? The concrete part of the lane is good, but not wide enough for most vehicles. The asphalt part of the all-vehicle lane, which is mostly used as a bus lane, is disintegrating terribly under these buses. That is not an exaggeration. It Is ridiculous reconstruction of that lane is not part of the project. Everyone needs to write Councilwoman Lisa Herbold about this. I have, and have not received a response.

  • M April 8, 2020 (4:18 pm)

    They need to drop everything on focus on fixing the bridge. 

  • Tialor April 8, 2020 (4:24 pm)

    I am one of the people who’s vehicles were towed. I was given no notification of the no parking days and because I had not been leaving my house I didn’t see the ‘no parking’ signs. This event was just the cherry on top of it all so am relieved that this will be made right. 

  • dsa April 8, 2020 (5:01 pm)

    Tow company gets paid twice.  Sweet deal for them.

  • Mj April 8, 2020 (5:53 pm)

    dsa – no the tow company is not being paid twice, but taxpayers are reimbursing car owners who did not heed the no parking signs.  

    • dsa April 8, 2020 (8:19 pm)

      Someone called the tow company to haul off the cars.  That act had to be paid for.  Then the city says return the cars.  That exercise also had to be paid for.  All of which we taxpayers are paying for.

  • WSJ April 8, 2020 (5:57 pm)

    And from the same city government that did this to it’s citizens comes the promise of “free” parking downtown.  Sure, go ahead and take them up on that with your car… I’m sure they won’t tow you…

  • AdmiralSDV April 8, 2020 (7:23 pm)

    Wow, some of you could be professional complainers. Love the token “fix the bridge” comment. Are you posting that on the daily roundup blog posts, too? Maybe we can get you some super glue and a hard hat and you can start filling in the cracks. Now, SDOT says they are going to give money back and two of the commenters here ASSUME the tax payers are funding the reimbursement. Are you a CPA? Do you work for SDOT as an under cover agent (worst post ever, by the way. If you do, you must have scored pretty low on the spy placement exam)? The right thing to do is acknowledge the real possibility the contractor is paying for this out of their pocket. How about this- people make mistakes, and the great news for those unfortunate to have been victim to said mistake is that they will be reimbursed. They aren’t compensated for their time or anxiety, but at least the city is doing the right thing. And for the rest of you that demonize the city- let me remind you, the city is YOU. Put some positivity into the world, and hang on to the bright moments. Not every single situation is your sounding board for complaints about the “big bad tax collectors” and the city trying to “squeeze every dime out of its citizens.” Such a tired narrative… please go back to your SDOT spy games.  

    • lowmanbeach April 8, 2020 (7:44 pm)

      Hey! Stop making sense and being rational over there!

    • Juju Mugumbo April 8, 2020 (10:39 pm)


      Wow indeed.

      Your misinformed hypocrisy is priceless.

      I especially like the dichotomy that is posed by you exercising your freedom of speech while insisting that others don’t have the same right.

      • Elle Nell April 9, 2020 (12:31 am)

        I do not believe ignorance is bliss..

    • Chuck April 9, 2020 (7:12 am)

      You don’t need to be a CPA with SDOT to know that the taxpayers are covering this. Obviously SDOT has found that the contractor has no liability.

  • Gina April 10, 2020 (5:35 pm)

    I was parked along there on Friday evening,  no signs posted.  Late Saturday the signs went up. Shortest 72 hour advance warning ever.

Sorry, comment time is over.