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Link light rail station neighborhood parking plans: Frequently Asked Questions

E-mail your questions to or call (206) 684-4103

Why did SDOT install new parking regulations around the station areas?

Commuters and other transit users may want to park on neighborhood streets near station areas and then use Link light rail. Parking controls, like load zones, time-limits and restricted parking zones (RPZs), help keep parking available for local residents, customers, and service providers rather than “hide-and-ride” transit users.

SDOT and Sound Transit started working with station area neighborhoods in southeast Seattle and south downtown in spring 2008 to design on-street parking regulations that prioritize on-street parking spaces for businesses and residents. This effort has been discussed with various communities since 2002.

What exactly does an RPZ do?

RPZs help protect on-street parking for residents and local businesses by establishing time limits and allowing only permitted vehicles to parking beyond posted time limits.

  • Most blocks in the light rail areas are posted as RPZ – allowing 2- or 4-hour visitor and customer parking and all-day permit parking for employees and residents.
  • Residents within the zone are eligible for an RPZ permit for up to 4 vehicles registered to their address. Each household is also eligible for one guest permit .
  • Vehicles without a valid permit or guest pass may park for up to two hours or four hours, as allowed by the posted sign.
  • Vehicles with RPZ permits or guest passes are allowed to park beyond the posted time limit – up to 72 hours before the vehicle must be moved per City regulations .
  • The light rail RPZs is in effect from 7 AM – 6 PM, Mon – Fri.
  • In 2009, the City Council approved a pilot program that enables employees of businesses located within the zone to be eligible for permits.

Example of 2-hour sign

Example of RPZ decal

Example of guest permit

What is "hide-and-ride" parking?

"Hide-and-ride" refers to transit users parking or "hiding" vehicles on neighborhood streets around a transit station.

What does it cost to have an RPZ permit and how can I get one?

Permits currently cost $65 per vehicle and are good for two years. There is a $10, discounted RPZ permit for households that indicate a financial burden. Documentation will be requested with the permit application, and may include:

  • Quest card (formerly food stamps)
  • Energy assistance from City Light or Puget Sound Energy
  • Rent assistance from Seattle Housing Authority (Section 8).
  • A copy of a rental agreement in a Seattle Housing Authority property, welfare check or stub, medical coupons, lease or rental agreement from Plymouth Housing Group, CHHIP, or other low-income housing provider
  • Proof of SSI (Supplemental Security Income, NOT regular S.S income).
  • Other items may be considered on an individual basis.

Please note that permit allocation and costs are subject to change.

Learn more about RPZ permit costs.

Who is eligible for an RPZ permit?

All residents who live on or adjacent to a block with an RPZ designation are eligible for RPZ permits.

Recognizing that many small businesses in southeast Seattle use employee vehicles for business purposes, and to specifically address the hide-and-ride issue without displacing existing employees, SDOT currently issues RPZ permits to employees of Central Link light rail station-area businesses through a pilot program.  The pilot program is the result of a number of RPZ policy changes.

How do guest permits work?

Each address will be eligible for one guest permit .  The guest permits are hang tags displayed on the vehicle’s rear-view mirror.  Guest permits are intended for your visitors or service people (such as plumbers, electricians, gardeners, babysitters), who are parking on an RPZ street for longer than the posted time-limit.

Guest permits cannot be used by the homeowner in a second vehicle, nor can they be sold, given away or transferred to someone who is not a guest.

Where have parking regulations being installed?

The area within ¼ mile of each station area (about a five minute walk) is considered the easiest walking distance for transit users who may want to park on surrounding neighborhood streets. Consequently, SDOT and Sound Transit focused on this ¼ mile distance to implement appropriate parking controls.


What happened after the parking controls were installed?

SDOT and Sound Transit monitor on-street parking conditions and adjust as needed to address impacts from transit users using neighborhood parking.

Monitoring typically occurs in two ways. The first way is in response to citizen requests. Should you find your on-street parking is significantly impacted by transit users, please call SDOT at (206) 684-8186.  SDOT’s response may include parking studies and in-field visits. Adjustments may include changing time limits to make them shorter or longer as needed, removing regulations if not needed, and adding parking controls to blocks previously left unrestricted. Residents and businesses will be notified in advance of any changes.

The second type of monitoring has been more comprehensive. In winter 2010, 2011 and 2012, SDOT collected on-street parking data again to compare to the information collected in winter 2008.

If people can’t drive and park around station areas, won’t it discourage use?

Link light rail service is accessible by walking, biking and improved transit connections to light rail stations. King County Metro is developing ways to improve transit connections with Link stations. More information is available online.

Parking violations

Please obey the law. More information about Seattle parking regulations is available here.

To report a parking violation, please call the Seattle Department Non-Emergency Line at 206-625-5011.


Back to main Light Rail Parking page

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