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To protect those living in cars, Sawant calls for end of Seattle’s ’72-hour rule’

District 3 City Council representative Kshama Sawant is calling for the city’s to reinstate its suspension of restrictions that prohibit motor vehicles from being parked on streets for more than 72 hours.

Mayor Jenny Durkan and SDOT officials reinstated the rule this month after a year of pandemic moratoriums.

“For people forced to live in their cars – many of them working people – Durkan’s move could be catastrophic, costing them not only their vehicle, but also their only shelter and all their possessions,” Sawant writes. “The pandemic has worsened the severe housing crisis. We need affordable, social housing – not harassment of neighbors struggling to survive.”

The easing of Seattle parking restrictions last March including the city’s “72-hour rule” was positioned as a way to help residents get through stay at home restrictions during the COVID-19 crisis. Many on Capitol Hill celebrated the temporary end of having to shuffle their cars around the neighborhood’s high demand street parking every three days to avoid a ticket.

But with the April 1st decision to reinstate the restriction, there are more serious consequences. Crosscut reported this week on the impact for the hundreds of people living in cars and RVs in the city:

King County saw a significant jump in people living in their vehicles from 2019 to early 2020. The city and county did not conduct their annual count of homeless people this year because of the pandemic. But, said Chloe Gale, co-director of REACH, “Anecdotally, I expect we have more people living in vehicles and RVs than we did before. And people have fewer places to go. There’s less cushion in their lives. There are fewer services open that they can connect with. It’s an incredibly challenging time.”

The city says a grace period with education efforts and warnings will come before tickets and towing resumes.

Sawant’s office has posted a petition on the 72-hour rule and is calling for support to demand Durkan reinstate the ban, and permanently repeal the restriction.


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Scrambles
Scrambles
12 days ago

I’m pretty sure the presence of tent camps inside Volunteer Park coincided with the removal of the row of vehicles that were parked on 15th Ave beside the park

S Rose
S Rose
12 days ago

Now is not the time to increase pressure on the working poor. Durkan must know this, so – why?

slider292
slider292
12 days ago

As if we needed another example of the regressive left completely ignoring nth-order effects…

All this policy will do is de-value the zoned parking permits held by people who cannot afford their own private parking spot in a lot or garage.

Frank
Frank
6 days ago
Reply to  slider292

Zone parking permits are ridiculously subsidized. They don’t guarantee you a parking spot, but I’m happy with the city reimbursing those fees to those who wish to return the permits.

People before cars.

Caphiller
Caphiller
11 days ago

This makes no sense. The 72 hour rule is to prevent long-term storage of vehicles in the public right of way. So we get parking space turnover so that residents and visitors can find a spot. If you’re homeless and living in your car, how hard is it to drive it to a different spot every few days, just like everyone else? Our streets, just like our parks, are not for people to camp in long term.

Rick Cook
Rick Cook
11 days ago
Reply to  Caphiller

Laws are only applicable to the right. Because, you know the left is supportive and inclusive. But only if you agree with them.

Fairly Obvious
Fairly Obvious
10 days ago
Reply to  Rick Cook

Laws are only applicable to the right.

You mean the “Party of Law and Order”, the same political party that stormed our capitol in an attempt to overturn a democratic election?

Frank
Frank
6 days ago
Reply to  Rick Cook

If you are parking on the street (aka cheap parking built and maintained by the government) are you left or right?

Brian Trubee
Brian Trubee
11 days ago

I hope this rule includes her neighborhood.

Lee
Lee
11 days ago

The vast majority of people living in District 3 would like to have a council member who represents them and their interests. There are lots of property tax payers in this district who would like to see more respect for civility, laws, proper use of public property, and the like.

Fairly Obvious
Fairly Obvious
10 days ago
Reply to  Lee

Then why haven’t the “vast majority of people living in District 3” voted for someone else in Sawant’s last three council elections?

Seems like you’re projecting your opinions on an entire Council District.

kathy
kathy
10 days ago
Reply to  Lee

Concise, to the point and 100% true.
My property value near 15th and Pike has gone way down but my taxes continue to go up as I get less and less for my money.

concerned
concerned
11 days ago

i wish the city would ban short term/vacation rentals. in my condo building of 200 units (elektra 1400 hubbell pl at pike) half the units are airbnb. that’s 100 units NOT being used as residential. it drives up rents and most of the owners own several units, and none live in the building. shameful.

Patty
Patty
11 days ago
Reply to  concerned

With all the city regulations and renter protections, some landlords just can’t stay in business. Which is a shame. So they convert to AirBnB because it’s easier. The movement you see of short term rentals is due to City Council policies. Hopefully they change it and make it better again for longer term rent with landlords.

Eli
Eli
11 days ago
Reply to  concerned

One of my friends owns 3% of those! I’m admittedly amazed that the city hasn’t taken on some more assertive policy like Portland, OR.

I’d once researched the idea of buying a condo in the Pearl district (in Portland) and renting a cheap room in Seattle while I’m here (and airbnb’ing out the Portland condo when I wasn’t there).

That is, of course, not legally possible in Portland. Which sounds pretty reasonable me.

Whichever
Whichever
10 days ago
Reply to  concerned

That’s on the board of the condo association – but chances are many of them are making money off those AirBnB so they have little incentive to change how it operates.

Patty
Patty
11 days ago

Can’t Sawant just have all these people she wants to protect go park on her front lawn? Why doesn’t she offer her property as assistance instead of the street outside other people’s homes?

RWK
RWK
11 days ago

Yet another Sawant proposal that I vehemently disagree with….

The “72 hour rule” is necessary, especially in Seattle where homeless people are consistently enabled. Without it, our streets will become inundated with junk vehicles (and sometimes accompanying trash) that will stay in one spot for weeks or months, causing streetscape blight and taking up needed parking spaces.

I also think that the rule is an incentive, at least for some, to try and get their lives together, get a job, and find an indoor place to live.

Fairly Obvious
Fairly Obvious
10 days ago
Reply to  RWK

So you believe the 72 rule is helping people escape homeless? That’s right up there with your belief that handing out pamphlets to drug addicts on the street is all that’s needed to solve America’s opioid crisis.

And we wonder why our country has a homeless and drug crisis.

RWK
RWK
10 days ago
Reply to  Fairly Obvious

I don’t know where you got the idea that I advocate for handing out pamphlets to drug addicts. I never said that. Please stop making false statements.

Sawantsuxdix
Sawantsuxdix
10 days ago

Wow, it’s like this is the best she can do for the homeless as a big city politician. Yeah keep fighting to enable bad behavior rather than fighting the expensive rent or anything relative to homelessness. Sawant is no damn saint and everyone would be better off without her.

Alicia Bain
Alicia Bain
10 days ago
Reply to  Sawantsuxdix

Pretty sure we could do without alot of you folks u sit in your houses all warm bet some of you own businesses and have employees living in there cars as well but do u try and help no u just complain when other peaple do bet ya think Goerge Floyd deserved what happen because he was high on drugs really really wish some of you could trade place just for a week with a homeless person bet u couldn’t even servive 3 days good luck when u meet your maker

CD Rez
CD Rez
10 days ago

She’s ridiculous. I’m sure there is some unused city property out of residential neighborhoods that could be temporary parking lots with porta potties where we could waive the 72-hour requirement. I don’t think anybody would have a problem with that but of course she comes up with the absolute worst solution that fucks everyone. Clown. Shoes.

Seaguy
Seaguy
7 days ago

Another reason she needs to be recalled. Soon the list of reasons to recall her is going to rival Trump’s list of lies for being so lengthy.