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Whose parking space is it?

We frequently receive complaints from residents stating that their neighbors have taken over their parking space. Actually that space does not “belong” to the adjacent property owner or anyone for that matter. Sorry, but the public right-of-way is public, and is open to anyone on a first come, first served basis. As frustrating as that is, we all just have to abide by it.

Curb space is part of the public street system, and as such it is a public good that is available for all people to use. The Seattle Department of Transportation (SDOT) regulates the use of curb space to address competing needs, to assist in moving people and goods more efficiently, to support the vitality of business districts, and to create liveable neighborhoods. In residential areas the priorities for curb space use are as follows:
1. transit use (bus stops and spaces for bus layover),
2. passenger and commercial vehicle loading zones,
3. parking for local residents and for shared vehicles, and
4. vehicular capacity.

ParkingPicturesDec72007 012 RESIZEParking in your neighborhood for more than 24 hours at a time
Residents who park their cars on the street also need to be aware that even if they don’t use their vehicles on a regular basis (and therefore leave them parked on the street), the vehicles must still be moved every 72 hours and they must comply with all posted signs, including the ones announcing temporary parking restrictions that may go into effect after 24 hours. When a car is parked on a public street, drivers are encouraged to check their car at least once a day, even if their car is on a street where they are allowed to park up to the citywide 72-hour maximum.

Disabled Parking on neighborhood streets
If you are disabled and require nearby parking to your residence, information on disabled parking in Seattle can be found on the Seattle Department of Transportation (SDOT) web site here.   When SDOT receives a request for installation of a disabled parking space in a residential area, we follow up with an investigation to determine if there is a feasible on-street location and to confirm that the requestor qualifies. Signed on-street disabled spaces are not reserved for a particular person. Because they are in the public right of way, any person with a valid disabled placard or license plate may park in such a space. If the reader has a need for one in a residential area, or believes the need for an existing one no longer exists, they should contact SDOT’s Fred Perez at for additional information about how to request installation or removal.

Curb space next to your driveway is protected for safety reasons
If you have a residence with a driveway, you have a right to prevent parking immediately next to your driveway to provide you with the visibility you need to safely back out of your driveway. According to the Seattle Municipal Code 11.72.110 – Driveway or alley entrance: “No person shall stand or park a vehicle in front of a public or private driveway within a street or alley or in front of or in an alley entrance or within five feet (5′) of the end of a constructed driveway return or alley entrance return, or if none, within five feet (5′) of the projection of the edge of the driveway or alley.” In addition, Seattle Municipal Code 11.72.120 – Driveway – Painted Curb also states: “The prohibited area for driveway returns described in Section 11.72.110 may be maintained with traffic yellow paint by the property owner or occupant.”


We hope this blog answers questions you may have about parking on your street!