Question: Is it illegal to park in front of mailboxes? People park in front of our neighborhood mailbox, which the mail delivery person parks next to and delivers mail for 12 houses without getting out of his vehicle. When cars are parked in front of it, our mail won't be delivered. Can these cars be ticketed by police?
Answer: If you live in Bellingham or Blaine, the answer is yes, it is illegal to park in front of the mailbox, and yes, they can be ticketed by the police.
Bellingham Municipal Code 11.33.060 Stopping, standing or parking prohibited in specific places - Reserving portion of highway prohibited. A. Except when necessary to avoid conflict with other traffic or in compliance with law or the directions of a police officer or official traffic control device, no person shall stop, stand, or park a vehicle. 33. Within 10 feet of a United States mailbox, except temporarily for the purpose and while engaged in the delivery or pickup of postal items.
Blaine Municipal Code 10.12.040 Restricted parking - Rural-type and residential-type mailboxes. Except as may be momentarily required in order to actually deliver or collect mail, it is unlawful to stop, stand or park any vehicle in front of, or within 20 feet laterally of, U.S. Postal Service mailboxes of either the rural-type (horizontally mounted, non-locking boxes) or residential cluster-type (pedestal mounted, stacked, and either locking or non-locking) during the normal delivery hours of 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. Monday through Saturday.
I did not find any prohibition in the Whatcom County Code, the Ferndale City Code, the Everson City Code, or the Lynden City Code. This may mean that they don't have the provision or I didn't look in the correct spot.
Q: First scenario: The northbound lane of Girard Street at Broadway has two lanes. One is a left turn lane. There are three traffic lights: One has a left-turn arrow and the other two have circular lights. I've always assumed I need to wait for the left-turn green arrow before turning left. Or is it possible to turn left if the left-turn arrow is red and the other two are green?
Second scenario: I am in the left-turn lane heading south at the intersection of Hannegan Road and Sunset Drive. The left-turn arrow is red. The two southbound lanes to my right are proceeding on a green light. There is no oncoming traffic. Can I legally make a left turn if the arrow is red?
A: If you have a left-turn arrow that is red, you must wait for the left-turn arrow to be green before you make the left turn.
ABOUT RULES OF THE ROAD
Rules of the Road is a regular column with questions and answers on road laws, safe driving habits and general police practices.
Answers come from David Wright, a retired officer from the Bellingham Police Department who is now serving on the Whatcom County Traffic Safety Task Force.
For previous Rules of the Road columns or to ask a question, go to bellinghamherald.com/traffic.