City to begin issuing warnings for 72-hour parking rule this week

Later this week, parking enforcement will resume enforcing the 72-hour parking rule across the city, with an initial focus on abandoned vehicles.

The Seattle Department of Transportation suspended the 72-hour parking rule in March 2020 at the beginning of the pandemic and the statewide stay-at-home order. SDOT now says that with an increase of abandoned vehicles across Seattle, they’ll start enforcing the rule again on Oct. 15.

“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,” the department said in a press release.   

As part of the City of Seattle’s Traffic Code, vehicles may not be parked on the same block of a city street for longer than 72 consecutive hours. SDOT says that the 72-hour rule can help prevent people from abandoning broken or unused vehicles on city streets.

“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,” SDOT said. “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.”

SDOT’s parking enforcement won’t impound vehicles with someone living in them, “unless it posesa specific risk to public health such as inadequate sanitation causing a direct risk of illness or injury, inadequate protection leaving the occupants exposed to the weather, or other environmental, fire, health and safety hazards.”

The public can report abandoned vehicles that have been parked on the street for more than 72 hours using the Find It, Fix It app. However, SDOT says that because enforcement was paused for so long, they expect that it will take longer than usual to respond to requests.

“We understand the past year and a half has been challenging in many ways, and deeply appreciate your patience and fortitude as we continue on the path to recovery. It is our intent to monitor progress as we begin enforcement of the 72-hour rule on October 15, 2021, and remain nimble to any unforeseen or changing conditions over the next several months.”

Help support My Ballard's independent local journalism