City says it’s resuming ‘full parking enforcement’ of 72-hour rule

SDOT – which now oversees parking-enforcement officers after their move out of SPD – says it’s resuming enforcement of the 72-hour parking rule. The announcement does not clearly state whether that involves any change in whether long-parked RVs will be towed, however, so we have that out as a followup question. Meantime, here’s the full text of today’s announcement:

The City of Seattle is resuming full parking enforcement for any vehicle that has remained in one place unmoved for longer than 72 hours, returning to the normal standards which were temporarily paused in 2020 due to COVID-19 public health guidelines. While full enforcement is resuming now, parking enforcement officers will continue to provide official warning notifications on vehicles allowing owners and occupants to move them before enforcement occurs.

Seattle Municipal Code does not allow a person to park a vehicle on the same block of a city street for longer than 72 consecutive hours. Public streets are not an appropriate place for long-term vehicle storage.

Enforcement of the 72-hour rule was temporarily paused in March 2020 due to the COVID-19 pandemic public health guidelines. Enforcement resumed in October 2021 with a focus on clearing unoccupied, abandoned, or hazardous vehicles. During this time, the City continued to enforce other parking rules, such as vehicles violating posted signs or leaving cars where parking is never allowed (such as blocking fire hydrants or transit lanes).

Vehicle owners should get back in the habit of regularly moving vehicles to avoid a possible warning and citation. People should also check their block regularly for temporary parking restriction signs, which can be placed with a minimum of 24-hours notice for things like emergency utility work, cleaning, or special events.

The parking enforcement team cannot be everywhere at once and expects it to take longer than usual to respond to the many requests predicted to happen in the beginning. The enforcement process takes time, and the parking enforcement team will respond to violations as swiftly as possible given capacity.

Seattle Public Utilities continues to lead the RV Remediation program, which focuses on cleaning up and disposing of debris and waste around RVs to ensure public health and safety. Days prior to a scheduled remediation event, SPU and parking enforcement staff engage with people staying in RVs to make them aware of the upcoming clean-up activity. SDOT will continue to work with SPU to prioritize the locations of these clean-up efforts over time.

The first step of enforcement will continue to be leaving official warning notices on vehicles, giving the owner time to move them voluntarily and avoid enforcement action. If it appears that people may be living in one of the vehicles, they will receive information about assistance, support services, and resources.

If a car is towed from a public street, instructions to locate the vehicle and documents required to release your vehicle are available online. The first step to find and reclaim your vehicle is to call Lincoln Towing at 206-364-2000 or search for your vehicle on Lincoln Towing’s www.SeattleImpound.com website.

If your car was towed from a private parking lot, look for posted signs with instructions and a phone number for the tow company which operates the lot. If you still cannot locate your vehicle, call the Community Safety and Communications Center at 206-625-5011.

43 Replies to "City says it's resuming 'full parking enforcement' of 72-hour rule"

  • Derek May 13, 2022 (12:52 pm)

    This is such a stupid law that is coded and an attack on those who cannot afford housing. It’s also an attack on those with no driveway and have to use street parking. So I have to move my car one inch every three days since I only drive once a month? Come on.

    • West Seattle Mad Sci Guy May 13, 2022 (1:36 pm)

      One block. You cannot remain on the same block for more than 72 hours. 

    • neighbor May 13, 2022 (1:40 pm)

      Technically you have to move it one *block* every three days to comply with the law. But if you’re concerned about affordability, consider getting rid of the car. For what you’re paying to own, insure, and maintain a car that you don’t have anywhere to park, you could probably rent a car once a month more cheaply and have less to worry about. Last time I rented a pickup truck from U-haul it was around $20.

    • Admiral May 13, 2022 (1:42 pm)

      “does not allow a person to park a vehicle on the same BLOCK of a city street for longer than 72 consecutive hours.” 

    • Marina May 13, 2022 (1:43 pm)

      Also a bit unfair to someone who wants to go on vacation for a week. 

    • WSRES May 13, 2022 (1:43 pm)

      I read your comment as “I want my own publicly funded parking spot in front of my house for I car I rarely drive”.  Is that about right?  If you care so much about affordable housing why don’t you let someone live in your car you hardly use?  

    • Ron Swanson May 13, 2022 (1:45 pm)

      Yes, if you use your car only once a month you should sell it rather than leave it slowly rusting away taking up parking that could be used by those who actually need their cars.

    • CarDriver May 13, 2022 (2:06 pm)

      Derek. You need to tell that to the commenters on the blog that claim there is no right to ANY street parking.

    • My two cents May 13, 2022 (2:23 pm)

      Derek – an attack? Strong words. Why should I have pay for a parking spot, add more concrete if I don’t have a car? Or should this be a car for every house, a garage for every car? If there was no ordinance, wouldn’t the end result be a street filled with non-working cars? If we do that, I can convert my garage and add on an ADU and bring in more people! Also, better read up on the code as moving your car 1 inch every 3 days won’t cut it  :) https://www.seattle.gov/transportation/projects-and-programs/programs/parking-program/parking-regulations/72-hour-on-street-parking-ordinance

    • j-roam May 13, 2022 (2:35 pm)

      No, you have to move it to another block! But this law is generally enforced on complaint only, so you’re probably fine as long as you’re nice to your neighbors. :)

    • ShareTheStreets May 13, 2022 (2:41 pm)

      The law applies to everyone equally, parking on the street isn’t some right that we all have…it’s a privilege that the city allows us to have that comes with rules such as not parking for more than 72 hours.

      Homeless folks should be following the same laws as the rest of us and need to move their vehicles every 72 hours, if their vehicles aren’t capable of moving then they can be towed/impounded.

      No one is forced to own a car in our highly walkable neighborhood with great access to public transit and no one was ever forced into buying a home without a driveway/garage.

      • StopCuttingDownTrees May 13, 2022 (3:17 pm)

        That doesn’t sound like you wish to “share the streets”. It sounds like you just want to see vehicle owners who cannot afford a house with a garage or driveway scramble and be harassed by city parking enforcement.

    • CARDRIVER May 13, 2022 (3:01 pm)

      Yes, yes you do need to move every 72 hours. My neighbors and I are not paying for a dedicated extended parking sport for you. Maybe if we enforced this law, people that are being “attacked” by not having a driveway (you?)  should be applauding the idea that there will be more accessible spaces by moving these abandoned vehicles that are littering west seattle. I stopped a traffic officer yesterday who was ticketing my neighbor (yes, it seems that only the ones assumed to be able to “afford” the parking ticket are targeted) and I pointed at the RV’s that have been parked for MONTHS that are in view asking if they can be moved so neighbor ours like Derek (and myself) will have an easier time finding public parking. He smirked and said “ill chalk their tires” – Baloney 

      • CarDriver May 13, 2022 (8:43 pm)

        Note to all: This is a different “cardriver” than myself. I’m the 2:06PM comment not this one.

    • 72? May 13, 2022 (3:52 pm)

      Primarily an attack on those who inhabit a vehicle that is non-operable, as all others can simply move a block and reboot.  The 72 hour rule is somewhat of a misnomer, as one is supposed to wait 72 hours, then the infraction must be called in (reported) to Parking Enforcement.  Parking Enforcement then adds it to the bottom of their non-priority list.  In the next week or so, Parking Enforcement may come and put the 72 hour warning on the vehicle.  At that time, the owner has 72 hours to move.  Estimate the math?

    • Question Authority May 13, 2022 (5:16 pm)

      Everyone’s free to see employment and/or relocate to a place they can afford to live plain and simple,  The shooting by the West Seattle Health Club today shows what comes from some unchecked vehicles being used as housing.

    • Mark H May 14, 2022 (9:17 am)

      There are a maze of utilities in the street that may require maintenance or emergency access. Curbs are also needed for quick deliveries and general access.If you have private property, store it on private property.  If I can’t store a kayak there, why can I keep my car forever?  

  • Mj May 13, 2022 (1:05 pm)

    Good and I hope that is enforced equally to all illegally parked vehicles, no exceptions!
    No more enforcement double standard. Either everyone is ticketed or no one.

  • Morgan May 13, 2022 (1:16 pm)

    An indication of more change to come?

  • k May 13, 2022 (1:17 pm)

    It would be great if they would start ticketing cars that park on sidewalks.  The city has all the energy in the world to move people off of sidewalks, but as soon it’s a car blocking pedestrians, they don’t care.

    • j-roam May 13, 2022 (2:37 pm)

       The city has all the energy in the world to move people off of sidewalks”…. What kind of enforcement are you referring to?

  • K May 13, 2022 (2:04 pm)

    How do we report cars?  I have one in front of my house that seems to be abandoned, or was stolen and left here.  

  • West Seattle Mad Sci Guy May 13, 2022 (2:20 pm)

    What I find confusing. What if you’re parked on the a block on day one and then move the car. But just happen to be parked back on the same block 72 hours later. 

    • Skipalapondo May 13, 2022 (11:09 pm)

      Mad Sci Guy: my understanding is that if you come back to same block (after work or after running an errand or w/e) you’re fine. What SDOT parking enforcement is looking for are cars that have remained in the same spot for 72 hours straight. If you’re coming back to the same block, unless there’s no one else parking on your street, chances are you won’t be able to get the exact same spot you had before. Parking enforcement will often chalk tires as a way of confirming the vehicle hasn’t moved.I agree with other commenters who say that if moving your car every three days is a hassle, you really should consider selling your car, though I understand there are always edge cases where someone might not drive often but do need their own car for trips out of the city. I definitely think that every parking violation fine should include an ORCA card with $10-$20 loaded and an encouragement to consider mass transit instead. Having less cars on the road and parked on the street helps everyone, including those of us who can’t get by without a car.

  • My two cents May 13, 2022 (2:24 pm)

    They have cleared out the cars that have been camping at the entrance to WS Golf & Stadium, set up no parking signs.

  • Ken May 13, 2022 (2:45 pm)

    Perhaps the temporary parking restriction signs will be marked with the correct date legible.What are the odds?  SDOT still put lane closed signs directly in front of the hole.

  • Here we go again May 13, 2022 (3:07 pm)

    (Delridge and Andover has entered the chat)

  • Sarge May 13, 2022 (3:30 pm)

    Awesome news for keeping things clean and sane.

  • Sillygoose May 13, 2022 (3:38 pm)

    This is fantastic news!!!  If an RV is your home then park it in an RV park, not on our city streets.   I want o know how long it is going to take to get these things towed when they have every color parking citation attached to the windshield yet the RV gypsies scrap them off before they are towed!  I am sick and tired of paying for all of my own responsibilities yet the guy in the RV gets his garbage picked up, etc.  If I parked on the street and threw tons of garbage onto public and private land with expired or no license tabs I would be cited so why so lenient with those who refuse to follow the laws?  If help is refused then arrest them and tow these Rotting stinky undrivable things and be done with it.

  • snowskier May 13, 2022 (3:46 pm)

    And in related news, a man just walked into the health club across from the RV city/Chop shop/crime den on Andover with a gun shot wound.  I’m making an assumption but I know I’d also win a bet that his shooting is related to that collection of vehicles that all park for more than 72 hours at a time.  Enforce this law equally for everyone and investigate based on complaints.  Those won’t be hard to come by for that block.  Come on city, “Ticket then tow if that thing won’t go!!” 

  • Thomas Wood May 13, 2022 (3:49 pm)

    Derek continuing to say that its a plot against the homeless is ridiculous! We cannot continue to group all the different groups under one umbrella. Its exactly why we can’t solve the problem.You can’t put addicts mentally ill vagrants criminals and those who are truly homeless altogether. Most of the Rvs  have been on the streets for years.In the article the city says they will leave information on how to get help.If after that if they refuse help then tough luck

  • Time to Clean Up Seattle May 13, 2022 (3:56 pm)

    Agree totally with Sharethestreets.  It is time to clean up our act in Seattle.  No excuses.  No coddling.  No more trashing our neighborhood streets.  While we need to provide resources to those in need, the pandemic is not a free pass.

  • tim May 13, 2022 (4:57 pm)

    I have a car that I use about every 5 days. Always parked in front of my house. My neighbor has called on it a few times.  Granted, my car is kinda ugly. I explained to the officer that I’d be happy to move it but I would feel sorry for any neighbor that has to have my car in front of their house. And I really don’t want to do that to my neighbors.  Anyway, the officer was understanding and let it go. Thank you officer! 

  • Oh Seattle May 13, 2022 (6:17 pm)

    If you really want to get rid of parked cars in front of your house, just get a temporary no parking permit from the City.  You can make up any reason for it and stick no parking signs up along the whole block if you want.  As long as it’s not a paid parking area, they are free.  As soon as you put them up, the tow trucks descend like vultures and tow away any cars parked there.  It costs upwards of $300 to get a car out of the impound lot.  (This happened to my friend’s car when a neighbor blocked off half a city block to move out of their townhouse.  She parked one night, the signs went up the next day and her car was towed by the next morning.  Nice little cash grab for the tow companies.)

  • Spoked May 13, 2022 (6:34 pm)

    Is there not a parking permit people can buy to be able to regularly leave their car parked longer? Seems like that could be a helpful thing.

  • flimflam May 13, 2022 (7:15 pm)

    It’s really strange that to some people enforcing simple laws/rules is equal to an “attack”.

  • AdBird May 13, 2022 (8:09 pm)

    Does this include boats and vehicles on trailers?  The parking in my block has gotten absurd.  I’m expecting one on cinder blocks shortly.    

  • WSRes May 13, 2022 (10:13 pm)

    Finally. It’s about time our city enforces it’s own rules. This will enhance public safety for everyone. Including those residing in the unsafe (often lawless) conditions. 

  • Watertowerjim May 14, 2022 (7:13 am)

    Chalking tires is illegal (4th amendment) in a handful of states currently.  I wonder if someone here could take them to court and get that in our state.

    • SeaaaaHawks May 14, 2022 (9:17 am)

      Haha! That is so silly for chalk on tires to be illegal in any statePersonal vehicles are “allowed” to park on city streets. The City allows people to park on streets with given sets of rules along with it. If people don’t want to follow those rules, don’t park on city streets. The chalk comes off when people drive away, there is no long term harm. Cannot believe what people choose to complain about. How about the car owner just own up and take responsibility. Does that mean it should be illegal for 72-hr tags to be placed on vehicles too? What about the rain coming from clouds onto car or tree debris that falls on car too? Should that be illegal, who’s blame for that? Drivers need to take responsibility for their own actions, plain and simple. Making chalking illegal is nonsense and another way for people to try to get out of responsibilities.

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