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Disabled Parking in the City of Seattle

Text Only Version

Updated September 16, 2015

Based on Washington State law, the City of Seattle allows on-street parking at no cost to holders of disabled parking permits (placards, license plates, and tabs), including legal permits issued by other US states or Canadian provinces. Free parking in private parking facilities or garages, even City-owned, is not provided under state law and these facilities generally charge all users for parking. Check facility signage for details.

To apply for or renew your permit, please visit the Washington State Department of Licensing’s website at or call (360) 902-3770 or TTY (360) 664-0116.

The City of Seattle does not issue disabled parking permits but does regulate how permits can be used, detailed in the table below. These rules apply to vehicles with valid disabled parking permits.


Not Allowed

Free parking where on-street paid parking is otherwise required

Use of loading zones (load/unload or passenger load zones) past time allowed. Use of a Truck Load Zone or Commercial Vehicle Load Zone unless an authorized truck or commercial vehicle.  

Parking in paid and time-limited street parking spaces longer than posted time limits

Parking in No Parking or No Stopping areas

Unlimited parking in Restricted Parking Zones (RPZs) without an RPZ permit

Parking in peak period restricted areas (e.g., No Stopping 3 pm – 6 pm) during restricted hours


Parking in spaces reserved for specific users (e.g., car-sharing, carpool parking zones, police or fire zones, transit, etc.)

For more information regarding on-street parking signs and types, see the general Can I Park Here? brochure.

On-street disabled parking spaces in residential areas   

Seattle residents who possess a valid Washington State Disabled Parking Permit may request installation (at no cost) of a disabled parking space adjacent to their residence, subject to certain conditions. A signed space may be used by any vehicle with a valid permit and is not dedicated to the exclusive use by the requesting resident. The City does not provide disabled parking spaces for businesses. Please contact Julie Erickson at or (206) 684-5092 with any sign requests.

Off-street designated disabled spaces

The Seattle Building Code, chapter 11 section 1106, lists the required minimum number of accessible spaces based on parking lot size. Questions about designated disabled spaces in off-street lots should be directed to the Department of Planning and Development.

Addressing abuse of disabled parking placards

The City is committed to ensuring that on-street parking is managed effectively for short-term access in business districts. Recent studies have shown that between 30% and 40% of downtown, First Hill, Pioneer Square and Cherry Hill parking are typically used by vehicles with disabled parking placards. The tremendous amount of abuse of these placards limits access to legitimate permit holders and other parkers.

In 2013, SDOT and Seattle Police Department Parking Enforcement staff participated in a statewide workgroup led by the Department of Licensing (DOL). The workgroup was convened by request of the State Legislature to study disabled placard use and to develop a strategic plan to end any abuse. DOL’s report contained multiple recommendations for the Legislature to consider. Many of the report recommendations were included in House Bill 2463, which was delivered to the Governor for signature on March 17, 2014.

July 2015 changes to disabled parking rules

In July 2015 a number of laws regarding the issuance and use of disabled parking permits will change. These were outlined in House Bill 2463 and include:

  • Persons renewing or applying disabled permits must also provide a written prescription from a healthcare provider
  • Temporary placards can now be issued for up to 12 months (previous was 6 months)
  • Selling or illegally obtaining a placard, license plate, tab, or ID card is now a misdemeanor criminal offense
  • Placards must be fully visible through the windshield and improper display is a traffic infraction
  • New language on certification forms reminds applicants and healthcare providers that providing false information, or falsely issuing a placard, is a gross misdemeanor

If you have questions about obtaining or renewing a disabled parking permit, please contact the Washington State Department of Licensing:

If you have comments or questions about Seattle disabled parking signs in residential areas in Seattle, please contact:

Julie Erickson at or (206) 684-5092

If you have other comments or questions about Seattle on-street parking for disabled parking permits, please contact:

Jonathan Williams at or (206) 733-9026 


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