Traffic

Traffic Q&A: Is it legal to park facing in the wrong direction on a two-way street?

A number of cars on this Tacoma street, including the minivan to the right and the yellow Jeep at left, were illegally parked facing the wrong direction one day last week.
A number of cars on this Tacoma street, including the minivan to the right and the yellow Jeep at left, were illegally parked facing the wrong direction one day last week. Staff writer

Q: Is it legal to park your car facing the wrong direction on a two-way city street? – Kathleen W., Tacoma

A: No, Kathleen, it is not.

RCW 46.61.575, titled, “Additional parking regulations,” addresses this topic directly.

To wit:

“Except as otherwise provided in this section, every vehicle stopped or parked upon a two-way roadway shall be so stopped or parked with the right-hand wheels parallel to and within twelve inches of the right-hand curb or as close as practicable to the right edge of the right-hand shoulder.”

That goes for residential streets as well as arterials.

Tacoma police spokeswoman Loretta Cool told us that safety likely is the reason for the law.

“You have to cross traffic illegally to do it and when you pull out you are crossing illegally,” she said.

Getting caught doing so can be spendy.

“The parking violation for the vehicle found parked the wrong way is a $30 parking infraction,” Cool said. “It is a $124 traffic infraction if you are stopped while driving across the lane to park.”

Yowzers! That would buy us here at Traffic Q&A a whole mess of the 7-Eleven coffees on which we thrive.

Kathleen said her neighborhood is infested with wrong-way parkers. Hers is not the only one. The issue is prevalent from Seattle to Texas.

And we didn’t have to drive far from the office last week to find transgressors, as the photograph accompanying this column shows.

We think the authorities in University Park, Texas, might have put in best in a 2007 news release:

“For the safety of all those who drive, walk or play on or near City streets, the City urges all drivers to park on the proper side of the roadway.”

Noise law reminder

It’s summertime, when the windows often are rolled down and the tunes turned up.

And while we enjoy any number of musical genres, including country and western, we do not appreciate them being blasted into our earholes as we are stopped at a traffic signal.

It is both bothersome, and, in many jurisdictions, illegal, including here in T-town.

Here’s the verbiage from Tacoma Municipal Code 11.05.131:

“It is unlawful for any person in control of or operating a motor vehicle to permit sound from the motor vehicle sound system, including but not limited to, a radio, tape player, compact disc player, DVD or video player, MP3 player, or other sound reproduction device, whether or not affixed to the vehicle, to be operated at a volume so as to be plainly audible at a distance greater than 50 feet from the vehicle itself.”

So please, do your own eardrums and ours a favor and turn it down. You might just save yourself a $250 fine and an over-the-top-of-the-glasses stare down from your favorite local traffic columnist.

Adam Lynn: 253-597-8644, @TNTAdam

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