City of Seattle to Temporarily Ease Some Parking Regulations and Enforcement to Support Residents and Businesses

City of Seattle to Temporarily Suspend Enforcement of 72-Hour Parking Violations, Booting and Towing, and Will Continue Creating Temporary Restaurant Parking Zones 

Time Limits and Use of Special Zones Like Transit Zones and Shuttle Bus Zones to Still Be Enforced

Seattle (March 21, 2020) – Mayor Jenny A. Durkan announced today that the Seattle Department of Transportation (SDOT) and Seattle Police Department (SPD) are implementing temporary changes to parking enforcement in the City of Seattle. As parking and transportation needs have changed due to the COVID-19 pandemic, SDOT is adjusting its parking rules to better support residents’ and businesses’ needs during this time.

Rule changes will be made to the following three areas:

  1. 72-Hour Parking Rule
  2. Booting and Towing
  3. Temporary Restaurant Loading Zones

“We’re implementing new parking regulations to better meet our community’s needs during this unprecedented moment in history,” said Mayor Durkan. “As the pandemic continues, we’re seeing more and more residents smartly stay in their homes, and no one should be punished for following public health guidance and preventing community spread.”

“I have heard from many residents about simultaneously being asked to stay at home and to move their car every 72 hours. We need to make sure our residents are focusing on staying healthy and avoiding unnecessary trips outside – this policy does just that,” said Councilmember Dan Strauss (District 6, Northwest Seattle).

“These changes show how across the City of Seattle government, we are looking for ways to modify our approach to issues to respond to these extraordinary circumstances,” said Sam Zimbabwe, Director of the Seattle Department of Transportation. “Working with the Seattle Police Department and Mayor Jenny Durkan, we’ve creatively found ways to adapt the City’s parking enforcement and parking rules during this time to continue to help our residents and businesses.”

“The Seattle Police Department is working to ensure the safety of the community and of our police and parking enforcement officers by focusing on interactions where behavior is creating an immediate risk to personal safety or property,” said Chief of Police Carmen Best. “We ask the community to use common sense and patience in respect to parking issues. We will intervene if situations call for it but ask that we all work together so officers can focus on critical public safety concerns.”

The following three changes will be in effect until further notice:

72-Hour Parking Rule

The City will temporarily suspend enforcement of the 72-hour parking rule. People should still follow posted signs regarding other time restrictions. Vehicles without Residential Parking Zone permits must still obey time limits in those zones. This suspension will initially last for two weeks. During this time the City will actively monitor health and safety conditions and impacts to surrounding communities. The City may extend the suspension or make additional temporary adjustments to the enforcement procedures.

Booting and Towing

The City will limit towing to situations which create safety hazards, block access, or create other major issues. The City will suspend booting of vehicles with unpaid parking tickets for the duration of the Seattle Municipal Court closure.

Temporary Restaurant Loading Zones

SDOT is installing temporary loading zones at restaurants to support businesses and facilitate food pick-up. No payment is necessary for quick food pickups in the three-minute load zones. Residents can find all temporary loading zones on the COVID19 – Food Pick-Up Zone Map. Restaurants can request temporary load zones by contacting SDOT at 206-684-ROAD or 684-ROAD@seattle.gov.

All other standard parking rules will continue to be enforced, including unpermitted parking or blocking access to an existing or created zone at clinics and hospitals, fire hydrants, police precincts or other public health and safety locations, and illegal parking in a bicycle or transit lane. Payment will still be required for on-street parking at metered spaces and other parking time limits will continue to be enforced so that there will still be available parking spaces in front of businesses and other destinations. Time limits and use of special zones will still be enforced (e.g., transit zones, shuttle bus zones, taxi zones). SDOT and SPD will continue to evaluate potential additional changes to parking regulations and enforcement. 

Information on changes to parking citations, fines, and adjudication can be found on SDOT’s COVID-19 parking page.

Mayor Durkan and the City of Seattle have worked to implement a series of actions that support artists, nonprofits, small businesses, and workers, including:  

In addition, she continues to advocate for a comprehensive small business and worker relief package from Congress to provide immediate and lasting relief to Seattle communities impacted by COVID-19, and the City is working quickly to scale new programs. The City has also created a comprehensive resource page for residents and small businesses impacted by COVID-19. This page will be updated as more information becomes available.