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City of Seattle Launches Parking Permit Program for Health Care Workers on Front Lines of the COVID-19 Response

New Program Will Prioritize Access to On-street Parking around Hospitals and Testing Sites for Healthcare Workers

Seattle (March 26, 2020)  Mayor Jenny A. Durkan announced today a new Hospital Staff Parking Permit program  which will allow access to free on-street parking around hospitals and testing sites for health care workers. The Seattle Department of Transportation (SDOT), Seattle Police Department (SPD), and Seattle Department of Construction and Inspections (SDCI) worked urgently to meet the increased need for employee parking near these critical locations as health care workers drive to work in order to minimize their exposure to COVID-19. The new permit program will be initially available to staff at Harborview Medical Center, Kaiser Permanente, Seattle Children’s Hospital, Swedish Medical Center (Cherry Hill and First Hill campuses) and Virginia Mason Medical Center. 

“Our health care workers in Seattle are fighting hard for all of us during this challenging time and we need to do everything we can to make their jobs easier,” said Mayor Jenny Durkan. “We want to make sure that health care workers can focus on delivering care to those who need it most. No health care worker should spend an extra ounce of energy worrying about parking before they work a long shift to care for our community.” 

After hearing from Harborview Hospital and Seattle Children’s Hospital on the need to allow their staff to park on-street near their facilities, the Seattle Department of Transportation (SDOT), Seattle Police Department (SPD), and Seattle Department of Construction and Inspections (SDCI) developed and implemented a temporary 30-day hospital-staff-only permit program on designated streets around hospitals and testing sites. Employers will distribute these temporary permits to their employees.

“We are doing everything we can to work with health care providers during this crisis, developing solutions that help them meet their needs. In this case, healthcare workers needed to change how they get to work in order to reduce their exposure to COVID-19 and facilitate different work schedules,” said Sam Zimbabwe, Director of the Seattle Department of Transportation. “Through close collaboration with the Seattle Police Department, we were able to adapt the City’s parking rules and enforcement practices to help our healthcare providers and their staff.”

The temporary parking zones for health care employees will begin at select locations Monday, March 30, 2020. SDOT is working directly with representatives from these institutions to issue the permits.

“I commend Mayor Durkan and our Seattle Department of Transportation for listening to health care workers and offering parking solutions that improve the ability of essential personnel to access Seattle’s medical facilities, including the hospitals in our own District 4 such as UW and Children’s Hospital,” said Councilmember Alex Pedersen (District 4 – NE Seattle).  “Prioritizing transportation options, including parking, for our brave health care workers who risk their own health, safety and that of their families, makes it easier for them to get where they need to be to care for our most vulnerable neighbors.”

To build additional capacity, SDCI temporarily suspended the parking restrictions on health care providers and essential staff necessary to health care institutions. This applies to parking garages and lots on an institution’s grounds as well as parking leased in nearby garages and lots for the same purpose.

Over the last three weeks, the Mayor and Governor have continued to plead with the federal government for additional resources to ensure healthcare workers and first responders have the resources and equipment they need to respond to the growing COVID-19 outbreak. Last week, Mayor Durkan issued a community call-to-action asking any businesses with access to personal protective equipment (PPE) to donate them so they can be re-distributed to healthcare providers. To date, there have more than 1,700 donations for first responders and health care workers with more items committed by donors.