Welcome to Seattle, the city of too many cars and so many parking spots. Don’t be so happy when I said ‘…so many parking spots.’ As this city has got a lot of cars, these vacant parking spots stay crowded most of the time.
It gets so hard that almost every Seattle resident has to spend about 57 hours every year (you’ve read it right) to find suitable parking spots.
Things get worse if you don’t have a clue on the street parking rules, the dos and don’ts and how much should you pay. And that being said, you probably don’t even have an idea how to get a parking spot fast and that too at an affordable cost.
Well, that’s when I play my part. I’ll tell you all the know-how on Seattle Street parking, how you can easily get a spot without breaking your bank.
So, let’s dive in.
Seattle Street Parking Rules
Want to avoid parking tickets? You might want to know about some street parking rules.
- The 72-Hour Rule: You won’t be able to park your car on the street for more than 3 days straight.
- There are some specially designated areas in Seattle which usually have some high traffic. If you’re someone who drives for Lyft or Uber, you can park your car in these places under the Carpool Permits.
- Keep an eye on the Peak Parking Restrictions. Every day has this ‘hour’ when there’s higher traffic than usual. At this particular time, the street parking rates may change.
In fact, if you aren’t lucky, probably the authorities of the parking area will cut down the duration of parking your car. This is why you better know what you’re doing. Meaning, check the signs before parking your car.
- Don’t worry about Seattle Street sweeping a bit. Currently, you won’t be getting any parking tickets if you forget to move your car on a designated street-sweeping day. However, the law enforcement team will most likely tell you to move your vehicle voluntarily to keep the city clean.
- You might want to make each penny count. As a result, you might want to wait until the parking timer comes to an end. This is a wrong move. You should move your car at least 5 minutes before the parking time expires.
Seattle Parking Signs and Their Meaning
Speaking of parking signs, I think I should give you a ‘heads up’ on these as well. Time for shedding some light. Here are the signs you should keep your eyes on.
This sign tells you whether you need to park your car at an angle. You can go for either back-in or the head-in. Maintaining the rules makes sure no car rolls into traffic when they’re on inclined streets.
Food Truck Zones:
Got a food truck? If you see these signs, it means you can park your food trucks over there. Usually, the signs got a time or day engraved on them, telling you that you can keep your car only within that specific period.
No Parking/ No Stopping:
Don’t stop your car or park it when you see this sign. If you park your car in an area that has this sign, chances are you’re about to get a parking ticket.
Peak Period Restriction:
This one is more like the ‘No parking/No stopping’ sign, but even worse. If you somehow violate the rules, your car can get towed within a snap. The sign tells you about times when you can’t stop or park your car.
Not a taxi driver? Even if you run Uber or Lyft, you won’t be able to park your car during some designated times in an area that has a ‘Taxi Zone’ sign.
The sign indicates how long you can keep your car in a specific parking zone. Luckily, you won’t have to pay anything here. However, once you move your car, you got to shift it to a different block if you’re parking your vehicle on that very same day.
After 5 PM Sign: A lot of paid street parking spot has this sign. This sign indicates that you can park your car after 5 PM on that spot. However, the limit is 3 hours max.
Is Street Parking Free in Seattle?
- Try Residential Areas: Most street parking areas will charge you money. You can find cheaper places pretty easily as well. As for ‘free parking, you’ll find a lot of residential street parking areas. These areas stay free throughout the week.
- Downtown Areas:There are also free spaces in downtown areas. However, since they’re ‘free’, you can find these free spaces not too free. Meaning, drivers park their cars over there and make the places congested. Such a drag!
Let’s not forget, you can try places like 7th Avenue, Pike Place Market or Pioneer Square. Locations like Waterfront, on the other hand, are good options as well. During winter holidays, you can park your car at the Waterfront for three hours, free of cost.
- Pay Stations: Pay stations offer you free parking spots on Sundays and any other holidays. Plus, during these days, there’s no time limit when it comes to parking.
- Holidays: Parking rates are lifted on Sundays. But here’s a fun fact: sometimes even on working days, you can enjoy the free parking facilities. The catch? A holiday has to fall on Saturdays or Sundays.
If you get a national holiday on Saturday, the authorities lift the parking regulations throughout Friday. Similarly, if there’s any special Holiday on a specific Sunday, you get free parking spots on the following Monday as well. All the credit goes to ‘Holiday Enforcement’ benefit.
Street Parking Rates Cost
If Seattle parking rates aren’t cheap, nothing is. The city offers you the cheapest parking rates in the country. For the first hour in the morning, they can cost about $0.50. The same goes for the evening as well. The rate increases a bit to $1 per hour afternoon since the traffic stays a bit high at that time.
You can find a lot of parking spots (the paid ones) from Monday through Saturday while the daily limit varies to 2 hours, even 4 hours or up to as much as 10 hours as well.
As for Sundays (oh the good Sundays), you don’t have to pay anything to park your car even in the spots that usually charge you. However, make sure you don’t go to restricted parking zones. And like always, look for parking signs before you leave your car at a parking spot.
Seattle Attractions Parking Guide
So, you’re planning to go sightseeing? Here’s what you need to know about their parking systems.
- Parking Near Downtown
It’s no news for Seattle lovers that downtown is the best place when it comes to parking their cars. However, there’s one problem though. Since almost everyone chooses ‘downtown’ as their parking spot, these places get sold out fast.
This is why reserving a parking spot in advance can be your best bet. Who knows? You can get a nice spot that is just a walk away from downtown.
- Parking Near Central Business District
If you want to visit places like the Central Waterfront or let’s say the Westlake Park, chances are, you’d want to park your car at numerous parking garages that you can find next to the Seattle Central Business District.
Yep, it’s another spot, loved by thousands to park their cars in. Due to its high demand, it can be a bit tough for you to find a spot. As an alternative, you can try parking your car in offsite parking lots. These places are quite affordable.
- Parking Near Pioneer Square
The axis of everything entertaining, artistic and relaxing, Pioneer Square is a place you should spend your time on. Parking lots around the art installations and coffee shops can cost you a fortune. That’s not even the challenging fact by the way.
The place has a sky-high demand, for which, you might not get a spot to park your car in the first place. So you better book a spot in advance.
How to Pay
Here’s how you can remunerate with the Pay-by-Plate method.
- First off, you need to sign up for MyParkingRecipts.com
- Once done, you can start the transaction by swiping your credit card. There’s no need for you to enter the number of your license plate at the machine.
- Now, get access to the parking history. The history should have all your parking payment records for the last 2 years.
- Print the receipts whenever you want.
Don’t forget that pay station authorities accept both credit and debit cards. They even accept coins as well.
Well, that was pretty much everything on the Seattle street parking. I tried to give you all the details you need to book your parking lot and save yourself from getting fined. All you need to do is keep all this information in your brain and you’ll be good to go.