Parked cars getting towed near the Ballard Terminal Railroad tracks

We all know parking in Central Ballard is a challenge, and on the weekend — especially during the Ballard Farmer’s Market as the weather warms up — it can be downright maddening.

That’s usually when drivers get creative along Shilshole Ave., often parking on — or very near (above) — the railroad tracks that run along the shoreline.

“Last Sunday, I saw some 30 cars parked on the tracks with these, handy, warnings tagged on each car,” explains Jim in the My Ballard Facebook Group, posting these photos. “Several cars were towed a few hours later, when the train made it’s run.”

Most Ballard visitors — and quite a few Ballard residents — are always surprised to learn that the railroad actually runs several times a week. Often in overnight hours, Ballard Terminal Railroad Company runs a one-engine (“Li’l Beaver”) railroad that transports materials back and forth from Salmon Bay Sand and Gravel on Shilshole Ave.

Signs next to the stretch of tracks remind drivers that it’s illegal to park within six feet of the tracks, day or night. When cars block the train, they get towed.

“They tow at last resort,” Jim explained. “I’ve seen the train held up for an hour while they try and sort out the parking before towing.”

Ballard house moving to Lopez Island, some parking restricted along route

The big move for a small Ballard bungalow is happening late tonight (Saturday). The city has put up “no parking” signs along the narrow sections of the route.

The home is located at 843 NW 62nd St. (above). Once its loaded up on the truck, it will travel down 62nd St. and turn south on 8th Ave. Then it will turn west on Market St., south on 15th Ave., east on 52st St. and then south on 14th Ave. toward the water.

Parking along 14th Ave. from 51st. down to the boat dock (above) is restricted from 11 p.m. tonight to 6 a.m. tomorrow. The home will start moving just before midnight. If you plan on watching the move — which will take several hours — please make sure you stay out of the workers’ way.

Once it gets to the dock, the bungalow will be loaded up on a barge and shipped to its new owner on Lopez Island. The move is a collaboration between the sustainable developer NW Built and the house moving company Nickel Bros.

Nick Carpenter at Nickels Bros. tells us they move a lot of homes to the San Juan Islands because it’s so expensive to build a home there. “We can deliver a house to them for a fraction of what the house costs in Seattle and also on the island,” he said.

If you have any photos to share of the move, please send them to or tag @myballard on social media.

Earlier: Ballard house to be picked up and moved

Ballard Natural Drainage Project “no parking signs” update

As local residents are well aware, the Ballard Natural Drainage Systems Project is well underway and, according to SPU, is on track to be completed by this Fall.

SPU wants to reach out to local residents regarding the “No Parking” signs that have been placed on or near their street while project construction is underway.

SPU has confirmed that “No Parking” signs will likely remain on the block as long as the contractor is working in that area. SPU has also confirmed that contractors are permitted to post parking restrictions in 30-day increments.

Once that increment has passed, the contractor is required to update the information with parking enforcement and post the new dates. These dates do not reflect the overall project timeline, but rather the current “No Parking” restriction.

Signs will be placed on the particular blocks while active construction is in progress, and they may also be used to help provide safe routes for large concrete deliveries, excavation trucks and other equipment while work is occurring on nearby blocks.

SPU states that the construction crews need clear sightlines and roadways in order to safely move their equipment in and out of the neighborhood and to help protect pedestrians and private property.

For this type of project, the contractor will typically work in activity phases. SPU confirms that the contractor’s first phase in Ballard is to excavate, test and install natural drainage systems along NW 75th St, NW 77th St, 19th Ave NW and 17th Ave NW followed by concrete street restoration.

The second phase will be to repeat those activities along NW 77th St and 26th Ave NW near Loyal Heights Elementary School.

The last phase will involve planting in all of the natural drainage systems throughout the entire project site.

The “No Parking” restrictions will be placed in accordance with each phase of work.

“We do apologize for the inconvenience and for any confusion these signs may have caused. We have reminded the contractor to keep the “No Parking” signs as up-to-date as possible,” says Project Manager Grace Montano.

SPU advises residents to contact the phone number provided on the no parking sign if they have questions about the signage.

SDOT seeks feedback on potential RPZ in Ballard

After receiving a request from the Central Ballard Residents Association (CBRA) to create a new Restricted Parking Zone (RPZ) on residential streets around the Ballard business district, SDOT is seeking feedback from the local community.

“We’d like to hear from residents, employees, and visitors in Ballard about how adding RPZ restrictions might affect them,” says Norm Mah from SDOT.

Not sure what an RPZ is? An RPZ is put in place to ease parking congestion in residential neighborhoods, while balancing the needs of all people to use the public right of way.

In central Ballard, the RPZ is being proposed in the area featured on the below map:


The RPZ is being proposed with the following restrictions:

  • The gray area on the map highlights where residents would be eligible for permits.
  • SDOT would install RPZ signs on the solid blue lined blocks, limiting vehicles without RPZ permits to 2-hour parking Monday – Friday, 7 AM – 8 PM. We are proposing RPZ signs on one side of the street only, to balance a variety of on-street parking demands.
  • All blocks with RPZ signs would be subject to signed parking restrictions and residents within the gray area would be able to purchase permits (currently $65 for two years)
  • SDOT does not install RPZ signs next to ground floor retail or other non-residential uses. Many of the blocks in this area already have paid or time-limited parking; this RPZ proposal will not change those signs or regulations.

This proposal was been created after SDOT received an RPZ review request from the Central Ballard Residents Association in Fall 2014.

In September 2015, SDOT studied parking in the area shown and found street parking to be on average 93% full during the day, with over 35% of vehicles not belonging to residents.

The goal of the proposed RPZ would be to limit all-day parking by non-residents, decrease parking congestion and circling within the neighborhood, and make it easier for residents to find parking near their homes.

Locals are asked to give their feedback via a brief online survey before May 31.

Send any additional comments or questions to Ruth Harper at (206) 684-4103 or email

SDOT releases final parking plan for Ballard

Yesterday, SDOT released the final version of the Ballard Parking Plan that has been in the works since 2013. The new parking changes are set to come into effect in Spring this year.

The changes that are coming include new areas of time limits, paid parking, and angled parking. One of the main changes includes the addition of paid parking (with a two hour limit) on Ballard Ave NW. Check out all of the specifics in the map below (click to enlarge):


This final plan is the combination of information gained from SDOT’s work with the community through their Community Access and Parking Program and also from comments and feedback received after the release of the proposal for parking changes back in September last year.

“SDOT is working to better serve Ballard residents, businesses, and visitors, by balancing the parking needs of all. Parking is a limited resource that is often in high demand,” writes SDOT on their blog.

According to SDOT, despite all of the development and changes to our neighborhood the parking regulations in Ballard have not been changed since 2005.

The changes brought about by this final plan are geared towards making parking more available and predictable in high demand areas. SDOT reports that in these high demand areas, spaces are over 90% full for an excess of three continuous hours of the day which results in drivers often needing to circle in search of parking.

In addition to their on-street parking studies in Ballard, SDOT also documented off-street parking in a May 2014 study. From this study, SDOT and the Ballard Chamber worked together to create the off-street parking spaces map.

As SDOT prepares for the new parking controls, locals will likely see SDOT staff in the neighborhood making measurements. Information about how changes will be implemented will regularly be updated on the SDOT project website.

SDOT has also received a request for a study to determine eligibility for a restricted parking zone (RPZ) on residential blocks in the neighborhood which will also be conducted this year.

Click here to find out more about the upcoming parking changes.

SDOT and Chamber release Ballard parking map

As many readers are aware, the Ballard Chamber and Ballard Partnership for Smart Growth have been working together over the past year on several parking initiatives related to on-street and off-street parking in Ballard.

Through this partnership, a parking map (click below image to enlarge) has been created that highlights on-street parking options that residents and visitors to our neighborhood may not be aware of.

parkin ballard

A printed version of the map will soon be available at the Ballard Chamber office and at other retail locations around the neighborhood.

Locals should stay tuned for more information about parking in Ballard from the Chamber and SDOT in 2015.

Speaking of parking check out the below photo taken by My Ballard reader Benson that shows some rare parking conditions on Christmas Day on Ballard Ave.


Paid parking time limits extended in central Ballard


You may have noticed a few new signs being added to the paid parking areas on NW Market St and 22nd Ave NW in central Ballard today.

The new signs indicate the start of extended paid parking hours which are now in place in selected areas of “core Ballard” (see blue marked streets on map below) from 8 a.m. to 8 p.m. The changes are in place from today onwards and locals are encouraged to check the new signs to ensure that they are aware of the new paid parking hours.

Parking on the selected parts of NW Market St and 22nd Ave NW will cost $2 an hour with a two hour limit between 8 a.m. – 5 p.m. and a three hour limit between 5 p.m. – 8 p.m.


Changes have also been made to the paid parking areas in the Ballard “edge” area (see green marked streets on map above). Parking in this area will now cost a reduced rate of $1 per hour with a four hour limit between 8 a.m. – 6 p.m.

To learn more about the paid parking changes in Ballard and all around Seattle click here.

Phinney Avenue N parking restricted for tree pruning this week

To keep the trees strong and the sight lines clear, Department of Transportation Urban Forestry crews will prune trees along the east side of Phinney Avenue N between N 61st and N 64th streets for the next three days, March 26 to 28. To complete the work, street parking on the east side of the road along those blocks will be temporarily restricted.

The parking restrictions will be in place from 7 a.m. to 3p.m. each day while crews are pruning the trees.

The trees along the east side of Phinney Avenue North are larger than those on the west side, and are blocking sight lines and growing too near existing structures.

Proper pruning improves the structure of trees. Seattle Department of Transportation Urban Forestry crews prune approximately 3,000 trees every year in the city while also responding to emergencies and planting up to 800 trees annually.

SDOT asks for public input on new parking pay stations

Trial-Pay-Station-MapSeattle Department of Transportation is planning on replacing all its parking pay stations between this summer and the end of 2016 with new technology.

SDOT has implemented a one month trial of new parking pay station options, starting today and continuing through March 14, along Fourth Avenue between Stewart and Bell streets. There will be seven different models being tested, from four different vendors.

During the trail, SDOT invites the public to provide feedback regarding the aesthetics, ease of use and impression of each of the pay station models by completing a survey available online.

According to SDOT, “the new technology will provide a higher level of customer service and communications reliability, and will be better able to handle more complex parking rate programming requirements.” The new parking pay stations are also set to better integrate with other current and future parking management technologies and systems, from pay by phone to Seattle Police Parking Enforcement.

Seattle has about 2,200 parking pay stations that control paid parking for about 12,000 on-street parking spaces in Seattle. The oldest pay stations were first installed in 2004 and are coming to the end of their useful lives.

City wants feedback on paid parking in Ballard

At the beginning of the year, the Seattle Department of Transportation lowered parking rates in Ballard. At the time, Charles Bookman, SDOT’s director of Traffic Management said, “These modifications are a reflection of the mayor’s and City Council’s commitment to data-driven policies to make it more likely for motorists to find an open spot on the street.”

Today, SDOT is working on a project called “performance-based parking pricing” which “outlines different strategies to make paid parking in downtown and neighborhood business districts more available,” the SDOT blog states. They are conducting an online survey about paid parking which takes about ten minutes to complete. You can find the survey here.

In case you’re wondering about parking prices, limits and restrictions, SDOT has a parking map that lists every paid, permit, carpool, time limited, no parking and unrestricted zone, as well as parking garages and lots. You can zoom in by address, intersection, major landmark, or neighborhood.