In what it says will be an initial focus to clear abandoned or dangerously parked vehicles off the streets, Seattle City Hall says its traffic enforcement squad will begin issuing warnings this week for violations of the 72-hour parking rule:
With an increase of abandoned vehicles across Seattle, the City of Seattle will resume enforcing the 72-hour parking rule beginning on October 15, 2021. While warnings and citations may be issued on any vehicle parked in one place for 72 hours, the initial focus will be on clearing unoccupied hazardous vehicles that may have been abandoned over the past 19 months.
“City Traffic Code does not allow a vehicle to be parked on the same block of a city street for longer than 72 consecutive hours,” the announcement from the Seattle Department of Transportation reads. “In general, public streets are not an appropriate place for long-term vehicle storage. The 72-hour parking rule can also help prevent people from abandoning broken or unused vehicles on city streets.”
The city’s transportation department now manages parking warnings and tickets in Seattle following changes to move 911 and parking enforcement out of Seattle Police in an effort to rein in the department’s spending.
The city suspended enforcement of the rule in the first weeks of the pandemic as part of a response to COVID-19 restrictions. Homelessness service organizations and advocates including City Councilmember Kshama Sawant have called for the permanent end to the rule to protect those living in cars in the city.
In 2018, researchers found that people living in cars, trucks, and RVs represented the fastest growing segment of the region’s homeless population.
UPDATE: A city spokesperson has asked CHS to clarify the 40% statistic:
We currently do not have an accurate breakdown of the number of people experiencing homelessness who are living in vehicles in Seattle and cannot confirm the 40% number in the headline and ask that number not be used.
Not knowing the source information, and based on what we know from the most recent Point In Time Count in 2020 for King County, the 40% would most likely represent and estimate for “unsheltered homeless” and not just “homeless” which includes thousands living in shelters or temporary housing.
According to the spokesperson, a more accurate headline should read “an estimated 49% of King County’s unsheltered homelessness population” or “an estimated 23% of King County’s homelessness population.”
CHS’s source for the datapoint was the most recent findings from the “Point in Time” homelessness survey efforts. We’ve updated this post’s headline to reflect the 2020 49% total.
Original report: In the announcement, the city said the 72-hour rule will again, soon, apply to everyone.
“While the initial focus is on abandoned vehicles, all vehicle owners should get back in the habit of regularly moving vehicles to avoid a possible warning and citation,” the city’s announcement reads. “People should also check their block regularly for temporary parking restriction signs, which can be placed with a minimum of 24-hours’ notice for things like emergency utility work, cleaning, or special events.”
The city is also planning to make it easier to report cars that need to be moved. Coming soon, the Find It Fix It app will be updated to include reporting of three-day parking violations.
But be patient. “Because enforcement was paused for so long, the City expects that it will take longer than usual to respond to requests to clear abandoned vehicles currently on the streets,” the city says.
NEWS FOR ALL -- KEEP CHS PAYWALL-FREE
Give CHS a buck and support local journalism dedicated to your neighborhood. SUBSCRIBE HERE. Become a subscriber at $1/$5/$10 a month to help CHS provide community news with no paywall. You can also sign up for a one-time annual payment.