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But aren’t Seattleites “nice?”

August 28, 2008

You get one of these if you park more than 72 hours

My luck has been good with parking. I’ve only gotten two parking tickets in my scooter-riding career, and not only were those with the ET4, at the time I was working just a few blocks from Seattle Municipal Court, so I was able to request a hearing and waste the city’s time (at a far greater cost than the ticket) in the process of getting one thrown out and one reduced.

But this was not a ticket. This was something far more galling.

I walked out to the PX and found the above notice under the pillion strap (Click on it to see the full-size version). It’s not a ticket. It’s a notice that says, in a nutshell, if you don’t move your vehicle, it’s gonna get towed.

In Seattle, unless signs say otherwise you can park a vehicle in a given spot on the street for 72 hours. While parking enforcement can be quite aggressive in many parts of the city (Capitol Hill, downtown, lower Queen Anne, excuse me, Uptown), in most neighborhoods you don’t have much to worry about.

In fact, it’s not at all unusual to see vehicles with four flat tires and moss growing on them happily reposing in the same spot for weeks, if not months, before finally being hauled off.

But the PX was clean, currently licensed, and the tires were up to full pressure. I removed the orange form and read it.

In the spot where it says “THIS VEHICLE IS PARKED IN VIOLATION OF SEATTLE MUNICIPAL CODE 11.72.440… (etc.)” the officer had written “complaint.”

Which means some sad, petty individual with, apparently, nothing better to do than count the parked vehicles on California Avenue, had ratted the PX out to Parking Enforcement.

Trouble is, it had moved in the preceding 72 hours. Twice. But with no way to prove it, there would not be much I could do to defend myself. And now I’m quite far from Seattle Municipal Court.

When I returned from those two errands, I was able to park the PX where I’d previously left it. There’s plenty of parking in my neighborhood, so it’s not at all unusual for someone to be able to park in the same place they left.

The PX was next to a crosswalk, in front of a mailbox. It wasn’t blocking anyone’s way, it wasn’t interfering with traffic. It was backed up perpendicular to the curb, as the law requires.

There is a widespread belief in this town that one can claim the space in front of one’s home or business as their own. Not true, but it still doesn’t stop people from trying. Even so, I personally saw people go into the businesses on the corner, completely unimpeded. If either of those businesses had left a note on the PX asking me not to park where I had, I would’ve gladly found another spot, even though I wasn’t obligated to.

But no, someone just had to call the cops. Why? Maybe it’s because so many people who live here don’t seem to grasp the concept of a big city. Big cities are noisy, dirty, disorderly places. That’s why I like them. As Westneat says, people in other places, like Chicago, know that “if you want peace and quiet, you go out to the countryside.”

Oh, well. The notice said the PX needed to be removed from the block by 7:31 am on Friday, or it would be “CITED, IMPOUNDED AND STORED AT THE OWNER’S EXPENSE.” In my experience, these deadlines are quite fluid, one old hulk remaining in place for almost a month before the city finally came and got it.

But I don’t want to take a chance on someone being prompt. I can park it somewhere else. If they could’ve waited one more day, the PX and I would not only be off the block, but out of the state. Favicon

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6 Comments
  1. Robert Lopez permalink
    August 28, 2008 4:24 pm

    Orin,

    Believe the notice, the super for these meter people is a client of the salon, they are prompt in this part of the city.
    Just a heads up!

  2. conchscooter permalink
    August 29, 2008 8:27 am

    Complaint? Oh you have no idea what people will call the police to complain about. “I don’t want to make a big deal…” they start. “This is the Police,” I interrupt. “We are the big deal people. Everything becomes a big deal when you call us.” Then, unheeding they make their complaint. And I have to act on it. I can just hear the Complaint. That awful moped blah blah blah. I’m glad Seattleites aren’t as nice as the intimidating stereotype.

  3. August 29, 2008 6:40 pm

    My mother told me of a similarly horrible experience after retiring to Seattle (Magnolia Bluff) from “plenty o’ parking space” Texas. That’s terrible. Busy bodies abound.

  4. September 5, 2008 3:35 pm

    I received the same notice. I live on a residential street with plenty of parking and so I’m able to park right in front of my home. I am trying to be more environmentally friendly by limiting my driving. I know it’s my neighbor who holds a grudge and is trying to find ways to inconvenience me. This ordinance seems outdated, contradicting to the city trying to promote people to bus or carpool and leave their cars at home. And now she can misuse the ordinance just to annoy me. How frustrating!!!

  5. mike permalink
    September 18, 2008 11:01 pm

    What bothers me so much about this is that seattle gives the civilians the ability to enact their grudges on other vehicle owners they dislike. What happens if you go on vacation for a week and your “friendly” neighbor knows this and reports your vehicle which is parked on the street.

  6. October 14, 2008 5:51 am

    Sounds like those people need to get a life. Where we live, downtown West Palm Beach, FL., there are parking meters everywhere….no such thing as a free parking area. And the meters limit your time to 4 hours in most places and 2 hours in some. The fee, $1+ an hour, for parking scooters and/or cars. They have special scooter/cycle spaces, which are smaller. So our thinking is that they should be cheaper. Guess even Free has its price.

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