If you're planning on taking a plane, a train, or a one-horse open sleigh for holiday travels, the Seattle Department of Transportation has some bad news. At least it's bad news if, like me, you own a car and rely on street-side parking.
SDOT bans parking in the same curbside spot for more than 72 hours. Violators face a $35 fine and could have their vehicle towed. So make other arrangements before dashing through the snow (or airport terminal).
The ordinance provides a way to handle abandoned vehicles, but it presents obvious problems for travelers. If you've got a planned hospital stay of longer than 72 hours, best make arrangements for your vehicle. If you've got an unplanned hospital stay, good luck.
The law doesn't encourage environmentally-friendly transportation either. Seattle police spokesman Sean Whitcomb suggested getting rid of your car as a solution. Fair enough. But I suspect there are plenty of Seattleites who want to keep their driving minimal without taking that plunge. My goal, which I rarely meet, is to limit driving trips to twice a week. It turns out that leaves me just shy of legal.
I'd suggest a permit system (available free online) for those who can't move their car for 4-14 days, for travel or health reasons. Enter your license or VIN number, print out a permit, slap it on your dashboard. Those wanting to abandon a vehicle aren't likely to bother. If it's longer than two weeks, make some arrangements. The law could limit the number of permits available to any vehicle in a year to a reasonable number.
What's wrong with this plan? Comments are welcome. So are suggestions for what to do with my car next week.
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