72-Hour Parking Rule

Seattle’s 72-Hour Parking Rule

From October 15, 2021, the city of Seattle will resume enforcing its unique 72-hour parking rule. Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, the city’s transportation department had temporarily suspended it during Spring, 2020. But, with the staggering increase in the number of abandoned vehicles, the rule is all set to come into action once again.

72-Hour Parking Rule

What is the 72-hour parking rule?

According to Seattle’s traffic code, a vehicle cannot be parked on the same block of a city street for more than 72 consecutive hours. This is because public streets are not appropriate for long-term vehicle parking. The parking rule also aims to prevent people from abandoning unused or broken vehicles on the city streets.

The Seattle Department of Transportation (SDOT) has stated that car owners must move their vehicles every 3 days to another block to not receive a citation. Violators of the rule can face a $44 ticket and the risk of getting their vehicle towed. The 72-hour restriction does not apply to metered spots or spaces with hourly limits.

Also Read: How Demand Shapes Parking Policy

Another exception to the law, as per a press release by SDOT, is that that the authorities will not impound a vehicle with a person living in it unless it poses a specific public health risk.  These health risks include inadequate sanitation that may cause an immediate risk of injury or illness or any environmental, health, and safety issues.

Moreover, the first step of this rule’s enforcement for any vehicle will be an official warning notice giving the owner at least 72 hours to move their vehicle. If they move their car to a different location voluntarily and within the stipulated timeline, they will not be in violation of the rule.

Why is the rule needed?

In the past few months, SDOT has witnessed an increase in requests to remove abandoned vehicles from the streets in Seattle. The rule is crucial to restoring mobility for other vehicles on the streets.

This is why the post-pandemic period seems like the right time to enforce the 72-hour parking rule. As of now, the focus will remain on the unoccupied hazardous vehicles abandoned over the past 19 months. But eventually, all vehicle owners must get into the habit of moving their vehicles regularly to avoid a citation and warning.

Since the enforcement of this law was put on hold for a significant amount of time, the city municipality expects it will take longer to respond to the requests to remove abandoned vehicles currently on the streets. To hasten this process, the Seattle public can also help by reporting abandoned vehicles using the service request mobile application called ‘Find It, Fix It’.

The road ahead

Although enforcing the 72-hour parking rule is critical at the moment, there’s no telling if it will solve the crisis of abandoned vehicles in the city. It’s safe to say that this rule is well-intended, but requires effective execution by the city’s transport department to produce desired results.

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