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Cars towed after only 2 minute no-parking notice in Seattle

Cars were towed from a Seattle street with seemingly only 2 minutes notice from temporary no-parking signs. (plutowasmyfav55, Reddit)

It happened in this order: cars parked on a street; then city employees post temporary no-parking signs; and then all the cars were towed. Does this Seattle towing incident seem right?

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Seattle police don’t think so. But the drivers were ticketed and towed anyway. Now, police are working to make things right.

“What we did on our end was we worked with our parking enforcement officers to make sure those tickets were gotten rid of,” said Seattle police Detective Patrick Michaud. “The people who were issued the tickets in the first place will not actually have to pay the tickets.”

According to Reddit user plutowasmyfav55, who chronicled the entire Seattle towing incident, this happened on East Alder Street, near 12th Avenue.

A Seattle towing

A series of photos taken the morning of Sept. 22 documented the incident, and were posted on Reddit. The photos seem to show the cars parked along the road at 8:17 a.m. Within two minutes the temporary no-parking signs were set up. You know the ones — the sandwich board-style signs set up on the sidewalks of Seattle streets stating “no parking” between certain days. They are usually used to clear a roadside for construction or maintenance work. But drivers usually get more than 2 minutes notice. In fact, such signs should be posted for at least 24 hours before the no-parking times go into effect.

According to the photos on Reddit, one hour and 13 minutes passed between when the sign was posted and the first parking ticket was written. Then another 16 minutes passes until the first car is towed. Then another. A truck responded to the street in Seattle towing all cars by 10:17 a.m.

The Seattle Police Department watches Reddit and quickly looked into the matter. SPD commented on the Reddit thread:

Thanks for bringing this to our attention, and thanks for documenting this /u/plutowasmyfav55 We’re looking into it. If you or any of your neighbors were towed and wish to make a complaint, you can do so here. More info as we get it!

UPDATE: Spoke with our parking enforcement unit, which is cancelling the four citations that were issued. The Parking Enforcement Officer was unaware the signs had not been posted for the required amount of time.

This shouldn’t have happened, and we’re in contact with the Seattle Department of Transportation–which runs the No Parking Zone self-certification program–about the incident.

Update x2: Also contacted the towing company to ensure the vehicles are released to their owners without any fees.

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