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Kshama Sawant calls on city to extend moratorium on ‘catastrophic’ 72-hour parking rule

RVs in Seattle's SoDo neighborhood. (MyNorthwest photo)

At the start of pandemic, the City of Seattle suspended parking restrictions, including a controversial 72-hour parking limit that activists say unfairly targets those who live in RVs and other vehicles. While other parking rules were brought back last summer, the moratorium on the 72-hour rule was scheduled to end just this last week on April 1, a move that Councilmember Kshama Sawant is urging Mayor Jenny Durkan to reconsider.

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As part of the reinstatement of the three-day limit on parking in a single space, a spokesperson with the mayor’s office tells MyNorthwest that it is observing a “grace period in which we remind the public about the parking rules.” That will include parking enforcement “courtesy notices” informing those in violation of the new requirements.

After that grace period ends, the city plans to then start enforcing the 72-hour parking rule with citations.

That saw Councilmember Sawant issuing a letter to Durkan on Tuesday, stating that she was “horrified” to hear that enforcement on the 72-hour rule was resuming, and that it will be “catastrophic” in the long-term to those who live and store their possessions in RVs.

Sawant’s letter went on to point out that the city has “leniently” enforced the rule in the past, leading to questions over why it exists in the first place.

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“What does it say about the law if the justification for its existence is that it often is not fully enforced?” Sawant posited.

Sawant’s office also launched a community petition over the weekend, calling on the mayor’s office to reinstate the moratorium, and has reportedly received over 700 signatures.

The mayor’s office defended its reinstatement of the 72-hour parking limit on Tuesday, noting that the restriction is “intended to encourage transit use, lessen dependence on single occupancy vehicles and maintain the potential for a street to be cleared of vehicles for a variety of reasons.”

“As we begin to move around more, and as we’ve learned to do so safely, reinstating the 72-hour rule can help promote mobility and the regular operations of the right-of-way,” Durkan’s office added.

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