Disabled Parking in the City of Seattle

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 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.

If you would like to apply for or renew a disabled parking permit , please visit the Washington State Department of Licensing's website at www.dol.wa.gov/vehicleregistration/parking.html or call (360) 902-3770 or TTY (360) 664-0116.

The City of Seattle does not issue disabled parking permits, but does set forth rules for parking on a city street with such permit. The table below shows what is typically allowed and not allowed for vehicles with valid disabled parking permits:

-- Free parking at on-street paid parking 
-- Parking in paid and time-limited street parking spaces longer than posted time limits
-- Unlimited parking in Restricted Parking Zones (RPZs) without an RPZ permit

Not Allowed
-- Use of loading zones (load/unload, truck load, passenger load zones) past time allowed
-- Parking in No Parking or No Stopping areas
-- 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, 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. However, a space signed for disabled parking may be used by any vehicle with a valid Disabled Parking Permit and is not dedicated to the exclusive use by the requesting resident. The City of Seattle does not provide disabled parking spaces for businesses. Please contact Kelly Hall at kelly.hall@seattle.gov, or (206) 684-8175 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 Construction & Inspections.

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:

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:

Kelly Hall at kelly.hall@seattle.gov, or (206) 684-8175.

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

Jonathan Williams at jonathan.williams2@seattle.gov or (206) 733-9026