‘For those forced to live in their cars, your enforcement of the 72-hour rule can be catastrophic, costing them not only their vehicle, but also their only shelter and all their possessions. We need affordable, social housing – not harassment of neighbors struggling to survive’
Councilmember Kshama Sawant (District 3, Central Seattle), chair of the Council’s Sustainability and Renters Rights Committee, today in a letter called on Mayor Jenny Durkan to extend the moratorium on enforcing the 72-hour parking rule, in which vehicles can be ticketed and towed if parked for more than three days. Durkan announced last month that she would direct city staff to resume enforcing the rule, which had been suspended during COVID.
“I was horrified to hear that you planned to resume enforcement of this rule that essentially criminalizes people for being poor and lacking affordable housing, and hassles anyone without a driveway or garage,” Sawant wrote.
Sawant noted that Durkan’s decision in effect resumes sweeps of people forced to live in their cars or RVs because of the continuing affordable housing crisis in Seattle. “For them, your enforcement of the 72-hour rule can be catastrophic, costing them not only their vehicle, but also their only shelter and all their possessions. During the pandemic, there is even more reason to stop this inhumane practice, as the housing crisis continues and thousands are left in the economic lurch. We need affordable, social housing – not harassment of neighbors struggling to survive,” she wrote.
“My office has discussed with organizers at Real Change, and many of their vendors live in their cars. They are correctly terrified about what the reinstitution of the 72-hour parking ban will have on their lives,” Sawant said.
“My office launched a community petition Saturday evening, urging you to reinstate the moratorium. In just over 48 hours, we have received over 700 signatures and hundreds of messages from Seattle residents who are appalled to learn that you are reinstating the parking ban. As Yolanda from North Seattle wrote, ‘People who are forced to live in their cars or RVs already have it hard enough. Why make their lives even more difficult? If you don’t want people living in their cars, make housing affordable,’ ” Sawant added.
See Councilmember Sawant’s full letter to the Mayor.