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Over dimensional trucks
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Load Zones

Generic Load/Unload | Passenger Load/Unload
Truck-only | Commercial Vehicle Load Zone
How to License Your Vehicle as a Truck

A load zone is a type of curb use that restricts a portion of the curb for loading and unloading activities. It is second in the prioritization of curb use in Seattle. Seattle uses four distinct types of load zones which are described below along with their curb colors. Some load zones are metered and some are not. Some load zones are in effect only for certain hours (such as 7 a.m. - 6 p.m.) while others have no hours posted and are in effect 24 hours a day. The sign for each load zone will have specific information for that load zone posted. Seattle also designates Bus Zones, which are indicated by an alternating red and yellow curb.

Loading and unloading activities are not the same as parking, and load zones should not be used for parking. Using a load zone for anything other than it's intended purpose can result in a fine. Some load zones are also Tow-Away Zones when not being used for loading and unloading activities.

In addition to the load zones described below, the City also designates curb space for bus zones and taxi zones. Businesses interested in possibly locating a load zone adjacent to their place of operation may call (206) 684-ROAD (7623). A Temporary No Parking Zone can be requested for uses such as allowing a moving van to park adjacent to a building for loading or unloading activities by calling (206) 684-5086.

Generic Load Zone
Time limit: 30 minutes (unmetered)
Sign Wording: "Load and Unload Only"
Curb Color: Yellow
Purpose: To be used for several types of loading and unloading activities, including dropping off or picking up passengers, loading or unloading items from private vehicles (such as personal or company cars or trucks), and loading or unloading from items from commercial delivery vehicles.

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Passenger Load Zone
Time Limit: 3 minutes or 15 minutes (may be metered)
Sign Wording: "3 Minute Passenger Load and Unload Only"
Curb Color: White
Purpose: To provide a place to load and unload passengers for adjacent dwellings and businesses. These are intended for quick passenger drop-offs and pick-ups, and should not be used for loading or unloading items from a vehicle.

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Truck-Only Load Zone
Time Limit: 30 minutes (unmetered)
Sign Wording: "Truck-Only Load Zone"
Curb Color: Yellow
Purpose: The purpose of this load zone is to provide a place to load or unload products, merchandise, or other objects. Only vehicles licensed as trucks may use this type of load zone. See How to License Your Vehicle as a Truck for more information.

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Commercial Vehicle Load Zone Permits
Commercial Vehicle Load Zones (CVLZ) were established to provide, on busy streets, a special parking space for service delivery vehicles to stop. Regular truck loading and unloading zones do not adequately meet the needs of these vehicles.

Conditions of Use



How to get a Commercial Vehicle Load Zone Permit

How much does it cost?

  • Commercial Vehicle Load Zone                                               $195.00 (Annual)

$98.00 (after July 1)


Commercial Vehicle Load Zones (CVLZ) were established in Seattle in 1989. Their purpose: to provide, on busy streets, a special parking space for service delivery vehicles to stop. Regular truck loading and unloading zones do not adequately meet the needs of these vehicles.

Definition: CVLZ

A CVLZ is defined as that portion of a street designated by a yellow meter, yellow paint markings and a sign, or any other traffic control device reserved for the exclusive use of commercial vehicles that possess a valid CVLZ permit.

If a pay station is present, then parking must be paid for during the 30-minute time limit when in use by a commercial vehicle that does not possess a valid CVLZ permit.

Definition: commercial vehicle

A commercial vehicle is identified as:

  • A motor truck (passenger cars with a truck license do not qualify).
  • A station wagon or a van permanently modified to carry no more than three seated passengers that is licensed as a truck.
  • A motor vehicle, the business name of which is permanently displayed on both sides of the vehicle, in, at a minimum, two-inch lettering.

CVLZ permit regulations

  • Applicants for a CVLZ permit must possess and provide a copy of a current City of Seattle business license. (All organizations doing business in Seattle, whether based in Seattle or not, and whether for profit or not-for-profit, are required to have a City of Seattle business license. For business license information, call 206-684-8484.)
  • Applicants for a CVLZ permit must also provide license plate numbers as well as other vehicle identification (such as registration), upon request.
  • Applicants may purchase a non-transferable permit for each licensed vehicle operated by the company named in the business license. Non-transferable permits must be affixed permanently to the lower left-hand corner of the windshield of the vehicle.
  • A transferable permit may be purchased by companies with ten or more commercial vehicles in their fleets. Companies are eligible for one transferable permit for each ten non-transferable permits purchased. Transferable permits must be displayed on the lower left-hand corner of the windshield.
  • A transferable permit must be used on other commercial vehicles in the company fleet. Under no circumstances may the transferable permit be used on anything other than a commercial vehicle.
  • All permits are valid for one calendar year. Fees for permits issued after July 1 are half price.

Commercial Load Zone Permit Fee

Each annual permit - $195.00
Permits issued after July - $98.00 (half price)

Commercial Load Zone Permit Application

  • Click HERE to download the application for CVLZ permit

Abuse of CVLZ permits

Individuals or companies that are issued a CVLZ permit are liable for compliance with its terms and conditions. Permits may be revoked for non-compliance, or for abuse of permit terms. A new permit will not be issued for one year following a revocation or an abuse of permit usage. A revocable abuse includes:

  • Authorizing another's use of a CVLZ permit for monetary consideration.
  • Transferring a CVLZ permit to another person or entity for monetary consideration.
  • Allowing another person, under company control, to authorize the use of, or transfer of, a CVLZ permit for monetary consideration.

CVLZ Usage

  • Time limit in CVLZs is 30 minutes.
  • Only vehicles with valid CVLZ permits are allowed to park in a CVLZs.
  • Time limit for all commercial vehicles to load and unload in an alley is 30 minutes.

Ordinarily the only vehicles allowed to use a CVLZ are vehicles with valid CLVZ permits. However, CVLZs may be used without a permit by the following: trucks or service vans licensed as trucks (e.g. with truck license plates) and that also have the name of their company permanently affixed to the both sides of the vehicle in letters that are a minimum of 2 inches tall. These vehicles must pay the meter when using a CVLZ, but vehicles with a CLVZ permit do not have to pay the meter when using a CVLZ.

The SDOT traffic counter is located at Seattle Municipal Tower (formerly Key Tower), 37th Floor, P.O Box 34996, Seattle, WA 98124-4996.

Contact staff for information by phone at (206) 684-5103 or by fax at (206) 684-5085. Staff will fax or mail an application, upon request. Payment is due when permits are picked up. Checks included with applications should be made out to the City of Seattle.

CVLZ Downtown Pilot Pricing Project (Updated January 2014)

SDOT is currently evaluating new strategies for managing commercial vehicle load zones (CVLZs) in downtown Seattle. Specifically, the pricing pilot project will look at how technology and pricing strategies can make more efficient use of CVLZs Downtown. During the pilot, SDOT may also review potential policy changes to the CVLZ program to ensure it is operating efficiently. This pilot project is funded by a grant from the Federal Highway Administration. On-street installation is expected in late 2014.

More information is available on the project website.

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How to License Your Vehicle as a Truck

Among the types of load zones the City uses are Truck-Only Load Zones. Any vehicle with truck license plates is allowed to conduct loading and unloading activities in a truck-only load zone for the time limit designated (typically 30 minutes). Truck-only load zones are not metered, but may sometimes be located on blocks that are metered.

Truck Licensing

Vehicles that are trucks (pickup trucks, commercial delivery trucks, tow trucks, etc.) are routinely licensed as such and bear a truck license plate. However, non-truck vehicles may be licensed as trucks. This option may be useful to small business owners who use a personal or company passenger vehicle to transport product for their small business and who wish to use truck-only load zones that are nearby to their place of business.

Licensing a non-truck vehicle as a truck is handled through the Washington State Department of Licensing (DOL). There are many local DOL sites in Seattle and King County - refer to this webpage for listings ( or call or visit:

King County Records, Elections and License Service
500 4th Avenue, Room 401
Seattle, WA 98104-2393
Office Hours: Mon - Fri: 8:30 a.m. - 4:30 p.m.
Telephone Number: (206) 296-4000

Steps in Licensing a Vehicle as a Truck

1. Obtain a certified scale weight slip. These are available from many of the service stations that cater to trucks and commercial vehicles such as those in the SODO or Interbay areas of Seattle. Phone book yellow pages also may have listings for certified scales under headings such as Service Stations, Scales - Public, Truck Repair & Service, or Truck Stops.

2. Bring the certified scale weight slip and other paperwork required for licensing your vehicle to a DOL office. The cost of a truck license varies according to the weight of the vehicle. Many 4-door passenger vehicles weigh in the range of 4,000 pounds with a base cost of $24.50*.

Truck plates look slightly different than regular vehicle license plates. Truck plates bear 7 digits that start and end with a letter (such as A12345B) whereas a regular license plate bears 6 digits that are a combination of 3 letters and 3 numbers (such as ABC-123).

* This fee based on the DOL August 1, 2003, Farm Vehicle Gross Weight Fee Chart for a 12 month truck license.

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