City of Seattle Street Parking Rules & Regulations

by Nichol Kirkland

Parking on the street in Seattle can be almost impossible, especially with temporary no parking zones and zones set up for the loading and unloading of packages or passengers. By following the rules and regulations set by the Seattle Department of Transportation, knowing when and where to park will no longer be a challenge.

Curb Use

The Seattle Department of Transportation prioritizes curb space depending on whether the neighborhood is considered residential or commercial. In residential areas, bus stops, passenger loading zones and parking for local residents take precedence over visitors or customers of local businesses. In commercial areas, bus stops, commercial vehicle loading zones, short term customer parking and parking for shared vehicles have priority over those who are not customers or associates of the local businesses on that street.

Loading Zones

Seattle has four different types of loading zones. A generic load zone typically has a 30-minute time limit, and is used for loading and unloading passengers, commercial deliveries and/or items from private vehicles. Passenger load zones have a time limit of 3 to 15 minutes and can be metered by the city. These areas are only for the loading and unloading of passengers for local businesses and dwellings. Truck-only load zones have a 30-minute time limit, and are specifically for licensed trucks delivering items or packages. Commercial Vehicle Load Zones (CVLZ) have a 30-minute time limit and are designated for the loading and unloading of large items. A commercial vehicle permit is required to use CVLZ zones, according to the Seattle Department of Transportation.

Restricted Parking Zone Program

For citizens who live in areas with a high volume of parking congestion, the city of Seattle has implemented a Restricted Parking Zone Program (RPZ). If a person's address is found in one of the high traffic zones, that resident can purchase a decal to be placed on his car that allows parking in areas that are otherwise restricted. To qualify for an RPZ decal, a person must show proof of residency in a qualifying neighborhood, have current Washington state vehicle registration, complete an application with the Department of Transportation and pay the $45 processing fee per decal. Qualifying residents may purchase up to four decals and one visitor tag. To see if your neighborhood qualifies for RPZ, visit the Seattle Department of Transportation website.

72 Hour On-Street Parking Ordinance

The Seattle Municipal code states that no vehicle can be parked on the street for more than 72 hours at a time. This ordinance is in effect for all citizens of the city. If a vehicle is parked on a public street, the vehicle must be moved every 72 hours no matter how often the vehicle is in use by its owner, according to the Seattle Department of Transportation.

Temporary No Parking

Temporary No Parking zones can be implemented for events that require a street to be cleared of vehicles, such as parades, street cleaning or construction work. Temporary No Parking signs must be posted a minimum of 72 hours prior to the event, contain the name and phone number of the person requesting the temporary no parking zone, the dates and times that parking will be restricted and an attached public notice, according to the Seattle Department of Transportation.

About the Author

Nichol Kirkland has been writing professionally since 2010. She writes about medical topics, academics, cooking and travel for various websites. Kirkland holds a Bachelor of Arts in psychology with a minor in English from San Diego State University and a Master of Science from the University of Alabama at Birmingham.

Photo Credits

  • photo_camera parking meter in princeton. fall image by Oleg Mitiukhin from Fotolia.com