SEATTLE — The city of Seattle will once again begin enforcing its 72-hour parking rule. The parking rule was suspended in March 2020 due to the COVID-19 pandemic and the statewide stay-at-home order.
Warnings or citations will be given to vehicles parked in one spot for 72 hours or longer beginning Oct. 15. The Seattle Department of Transportation (SDOT) said, “initial focus will be on clearing unoccupied hazardous vehicles that may have been abandoned over the past 19 months.”
The city told KING 5 a few weeks ago it was reviewing whether to bring the rule back again.
SDOT said changing travel patterns, parking demand, and increased requests to remove abandoned vehicles from city streets were factors to resume enforcement of the 72-hour parking rule.
While the rule will be enforced beginning Oct. 15, SDOT said it “will not impound a vehicle with someone living in it unless it poses a specific risk to public health such as inadequate sanitation causing a direct risk of illness or injury, inadequate protection leaving the occupants exposed to the weather, or other environmental, fire, health and safety hazards.”
For some, the rule's comeback will affect their livelihoods.
Several vehicles ranging from tarped-up cars to RVs to old school buses have been parked on 3rd Avenue in Seattle's SoDo neighborhood for long periods.
One man, who simply goes by the name Tennessee, said he has been living in a trailer he purchased for about a year and a half.
"They're having a hard time, I guess. You know, they're living in cars and have to do the best they can to survive," he said.
An SDOT spokesperson said if it appears that someone may be living in a vehicle that has been parked beyond the 72-hour limit, parking enforcement will attach information about assistance and support services and resources to a warning notice.
Parking enforcement will not impound a vehicle with someone living in it unless it poses a specific risk to public health, according to SDOT.
As for vehicles that no longer work, SDOT will work with the owner to get it moved.
"If a vehicle needs to be repaired to be driven, we will attempt to be flexible and work with the owner and provide a reasonable amount of time if they are demonstrating a good faith effort to get the vehicle repaired," said SDOT spokesperson Ethan Bergerson via email.
Residents will soon be able to begin reporting abandoned vehicles parked on city streets longer than 72 hours using the “Find It, Fix It” mobile app.
SDOT said it may take longer than usual to respond to requests to remove abandoned vehicles from city streets since enforcement was paused for so long.
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