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Obstructed no parking signs resulted in being towed

Seattle, WA |

I'm trying to find out what the requirements are for no parking signs in Seattle.

I recently parked on the street in downtown seattle. I purchased a parking permit from the vending machine and correctly placed it in my window. When I returned to my car less than an hour later I found my car towed.

On careful inspection I realized that there were two signs posted "No parking 6 - 9AM" (I parked just before 8am). The issue is that I was parked next to a construction area which has a pedestrian "tunnel" built next to it (to protect pedestrians from falling materials?) This tunnel almost completely obscures one of the signs and mostly obscures the other.

So I am trying to find out what the legal requirements are for no parking signs in the city of Seattle. I've tried to google this, but eventually ended up lost in the MUTCD.

Is there a simple answer about how visible a sign must be to be valid?

Additionaly (and probably irrelevantly) it seems wrong that the computerized parking permit vending machine would even issue a permit for prohibited hours (I believe they will not issue outside standard hours)

I have retrieved my car ($170 later) but I have yet to pay the city ticket. I am debating whether I should just pay, request a hearing, or ask for mitigation.

I did park illegally, but it was not intentional and I do not believe that signs are validly displayed.

Thanks for your help.

Attorney Answers 2


If you choose to contest the ticket, you should return to the area and take photographs documenting your contention that the signs are not readily visible from the street when you are parking. Be prepared to answer questions about whether you regularly park downtown, etc. How much is the parking ticket? It may cost you more in time and effort (and the parking cost!) to contest the ticket than to just pay it. It's not a moving violation and therefore will not affect your driving record.

Best wishes,

Valerie Farris

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I would contest the ticket. But you need to take photographs showing the signs are not visible from the street when you are parking

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