Rules of the Road

Rules of the Road: How long can a car be parked in same spot?

Lisa DeAnnuntis places a second ticket on a car for improper parking in Bellingham in 2010. It’s illegal to leave a car parked in the same spot on city streets for more than 72 hours.
Lisa DeAnnuntis places a second ticket on a car for improper parking in Bellingham in 2010. It’s illegal to leave a car parked in the same spot on city streets for more than 72 hours. The Bellingham Herald

Question: I live in Fairhaven and received a ticket in one day for putting a “For Sale” sign in my truck window, which I soon found out is against the law. I also learned that parking for more than 72 hours in the city right of way was against the law, too. As I walk around Fairhaven I see several vehicles in the city right of way that obviously have not moved for weeks or even months with no tickets on them.

Why aren’t all of the laws treated equally?

Answer: Bellingham does have municipal codes that designate both of those violations as illegal. I am not sure if the practice has changed, but these used to be handled in response to a complaint about a specific vehicle.

I have listed the two specific codes you asked about. There are many more that you may want to become familiar with on the city website. Of note, parking is now limited to two hours in areas of Fairhaven, with enforcement starting Oct. 1; signs already are in place to let drivers know.

11.33.050 Parking for certain purposes unlawful.

A. No person shall park any vehicle upon any highway for the principal purpose of:

1. Displaying advertising.

2. Displaying such vehicle for sale or rent.

3. Selling merchandise from such vehicle, except when authorized.

B. No person shall park any vehicle upon any roadway for the principal purpose of washing, greasing, or repairing such vehicle except repairs necessitated by an emergency.

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:

25. In one place upon the city street for a consecutive period in excess of the maximum time limit designated on an official posted sign controlling such parking space; or, for parking spaces not controlled by an official posted sign, for a consecutive period of time in excess of 72 hours.

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 serves on the Whatcom County Traffic Safety Task Force. For previous Rules of the Road columns or to ask a question, go to bellinghamherald.com/news/traffic/rules-of-the-road.

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