Letter to the editor: Watch out for driveways when parking

To the BHB:

Recently I have heard about several people in the North Beacon Hill area getting parking tickets for parking where they normally park every day. Some people were complaining about not having permits in a permit area; others didn’t know what they were ticketed for.

The one I heard quite a bit about at the store was a guy who got a ticket for “…nothing. I was just parked there. Tight against the curb and everything.” He then added that he was between two driveways, but he insisted that he was clearly not in front of either one. When I asked him what they cited him for, he did not know. He claimed it was not “clearly stated on the ticket.”

Tickets are supposed to tell you the Seattle Municipal Code violation number. And since they are printed out on little computer slips, I am sure they do. He just didn’t know how to read the ticket, or it did not read “You were cited because of this reason…”

My guess: SMC 11.72.110 – Driveway or alley entrance. Which says it is illegal to park within five feet of a driveway. (It reads: “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.” — Ed.) Which means if our guy had a car 15 feet long, the space between the two driveways would have had to have been 25 feet to leave room for his car, and he would have to be parked perfectly.

Here is the Seattle Department of Transportation blog post on the subject.

Parking too close to a driveway makes it so the resident can not turn into, or pull out of, their driveway — effectively blocking them in. It is not their responsibility to try and “squeeze” around someone else’s bad parking habits.

–Todd Simpson, North Beacon Hill

Don't do what this driver in Ravenna did. Photo by Josh Larios via Flickr/Creative Commons.

4 thoughts on “Letter to the editor: Watch out for driveways when parking”

  1. Of course you may get away with it because you (as the person with the blocked driveway) aren’t likely to call the police to rat on yourself. 😉 But if they are in the neighborhood and feel like giving out some tickets anyway…

  2. I agree with the sentiment of being more aware and considerate about blocking or parking too close to someone’s driveway. I’m a Mid-Beacon Hill neighbor who has recently had my off-alley garage door blocked several times in the last two months. It is a very frustrating situation. I’ve been patient and a bit hesitant to call the police, to allow whomever was responsible a decent amount of time to return to their car before having them towed. It is frustrating that the situation even arises, though. I feel like it is extremely inconsiderate to think it’s ok to park/block/partially block someone’s driveway access for even 1 minute. You have no idea if that person needs to immediately leave their house to get to work, the grocery store or for a possible emergency. Basically when someone parks like that, it tells me that they think their time is more important than mine. I want to give them the benefit of the doubt, but man, it’s frustrating. (steps down from soapbox)

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