The City of Seattle is hoping a few temporary changes to its parking rules — including lifting of the “72-hour rule” — will help ease some of the daily pains during the “stay home” days of the COVID-19 response,
The changes announced Saturday include lifting enforcement of the rule requiring cars to be moved at least every three days and limiting towing of vehicles to situations that are causing safety or traffic issues.
The moves come after growing complaints over parking tickets issued as residents have been asked to stay home and limit outings to help stem the rise of COVID-19 infections and amid a few dramatic anecdotes of medical personnel and first responders having cars ticketed while the owners worked long hours.
The city says the suspension of the 72-hour rule will be monitored for two weeks for “impacts to surrounding communities” and may be extended.
The two changes join a third previously announced change dedicating some street parking near restaurants as new curbside pickup zones:
72-Hour Parking Rule: The City will temporarily suspend enforcement of the 72-hour parking rule. People should still follow posted signs regarding other time restrictions. Vehicles without Residential Parking Zone permits must still obey time limits in those zones. This suspension will initially last for two weeks. During this time the City will actively monitor health and safety conditions and impacts to surrounding communities. The City may extend the suspension or make additional temporary adjustments to the enforcement procedures.
Booting and Towing: The City will limit towing to situations which create safety hazards, block access, or create other major issues. The City will suspend booting of vehicles with unpaid parking tickets for the duration of the Seattle Municipal Court closure.
Temporary Restaurant Loading Zones: SDOT is installing temporary loading zones at restaurants to support businesses and facilitate food pick-up. No payment is necessary for quick food pickups in the three-minute load zones. Residents can find all temporary loading zones on the COVID19 – Food Pick-Up Zone Map. Restaurants can request temporary load zones by contacting SDOT at 206-684-ROAD or 684-ROAD@seattle.gov.
We’re implementing new parking regulations to better meet our community’s needs during this unprecedented moment in history,” Mayor Jenny Durkan said in a statement. “As the pandemic continues, we’re seeing more and more residents smartly stay in their homes, and no one should be punished for following public health guidance and preventing community spread.”
my bus commute in seattle this morning pic.twitter.com/MLrQJ8kh7a
— Ben Adlin (@badlin) March 21, 2020
Meanwhile, public transit riders will also see big changes as both Sound Transit and King County Metro are cutting back service under a huge drop in demand while also temporarily ceasing fare collection. Metro is also requiring riders to board from bus backdoors to try to create more distance between its drivers and riders.
- 5/4/20: COVID-19 updates: Phase 1 begins, what’s in Phase 2 (and 3 and 4), King County removes antibody testing case counts, COVID-19 yard art
- 5/1/20: Washington extends COVID-19 restrictions through May, readies ‘four phase’ plan for reopening with limits on groups, restaurant capacity, and travel
- 4/30/20: Washington investigating state totals after COVID-19 ‘excess deaths’ report
- 4/30/20: Facing opposition from mayor and chamber advocates, Seattle tax on big businesses for COVID-19 relief and housing moves toward May vote
- Plus: Capitol Hill Restaurants, Bars, and Cafes offering takeout during COVID-19 ‘stay home’ restrictions
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