Q: We live in the Stadium District. Frequently, vehicles are parked and left for days to weeks at a time. What is the city of Tacoma’s policy and procedure for legally removing the vehicle? If one of these vehicles is parked near my house and I have it towed, who pays and what are my rights? — Richard R.
A: First off, it can be understandably frustrating to see the same car taking up the same prime parking spot for days and weeks on end.
Does this person even live here? Does he or she even want this car anymore? When will he or she move it?
Tacoma police spokeswoman Loretta Cool advises that individuals can’t have someone’s car towed simply for being parked in the public street.
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Still, the Tacoma Municipal Code mandates that “no person shall park a vehicle, boat trailer, recreation trailer, camper, or other licensed or unlicensed vehicle or device for a period of time longer than seven calendar days on any public street or alley right-of-way.” Doing so can result in a ticket of $35 or higher.
Richard didn’t mention whether his block is among those that was created a “residential parking zone” in the wake of Tacoma’s new residential parking program, which was passed by the City Council last October.
In neighborhoods that have been approved for that program, only residents with permits can park on a public street for more than two hours without facing a ticket. People visiting a neighborhood or doing business there can park for up to two hours, or they can get a guest pass to park for up to 24 hours if they’re visiting someone who has a parking permit in that neighborhood.
In order for an area to become a residential parking zone, residents have to prove that at least four block faces (on a block, each side of a street is considered a block face) in their neighborhood are experiencing serious parking congestion.
If the city is able to prove serious parking congestion in an area where at least 60 percent of residents indicate support for the parking zone, that area would become a residential parking zone. Residents then pay $60 a year to register a car to park in that area, and they get several of those 24-hour guest passes per year.