Signage mistake causes drivers to be unfairly towed



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Posted on June 11, 2014 at 11:21 PM

Mark Reynolds knows the struggles of parking in downtown.  He drops his daughter off at Seattle Center each week and finding a spot just gets more difficult.

“Some days I just turn around and come home.  I don't even bother trying to park there,” said Reynolds.

But a few weeks ago he got lucky and parked on Roy Street between 3rd Avenue North and 4th Avenue North.  He saw a construction sign that said no parking but it had special restrictions taped to the front.

“I got out, I checked the sign, and the dates were already expired on the sign.  So I said, okay.  I was pretty confident,” recalled Reynolds.

That changed when he got back to his car and his spot was empty, like so many others on the street.

“It's gone and I was watching tow trucks pulling every other car off the street at that same time,” said Reynolds.

Reynolds went back to double check the sign restrictions and like his car the notice had also vanished.  Mark was out $188 bucks for towing fees and facing a $47 parking ticket.  He says he called the number listed on the sign and left a message but never heard back.  That’s when he asked me to get involved.

I contacted Rick Sheridan at the Seattle Department of Transportation.  He got in touch with the contractor the city hired to do the road work and they found this was their mistake.

“We came to the conclusion that inaccurate information had been posted on the signs and so we moved to correct the problem,” said Sheridan.

Sheridan says eight cars were towed that night.  The city will dismiss the drivers’ parking tickets and the contractor is taking care of towing fees.

“We reached out to all eight drivers that were towed and have reimbursed all but one.  In addition, we directed the contractor to write a letter of apology to those individuals to make sure it was clear that we were sorry that this occurred,” said Sheridan.

Sheridan says the city is working to settle up with that last driver.

As for Mark, he got his money back and has decided parking in the area just isn't an option anymore.

Bottom line: The construction isn't going away, but parking could be.  So check the signs carefully and take pictures so you can prove your case.  If that still doesn't work, contact me.