Many cities and Snohomish County have rules where semi-trucks and RVs can be parked. (Lizz Giordano / Herald file)

Many cities and Snohomish County have rules where semi-trucks and RVs can be parked. (Lizz Giordano / Herald file)

Heavy trucks face new parking restrictions in neighborhoods

Snohomish County leaders passed a 12-hour parking limit for unincorporated residential areas.

EVERETT — Complaints about heavy trucks, trailers and other commercial vehicles parking on residential streets prompted the Snohomish County Council to enact new restrictions last week.

A new parking limit of 12 hours within a 24-hour period will apply to tractor trailers, large construction equipment and other types of vehicles on urban residential streets and adjacent areas outside city limits, where the county has jurisdiction. The restriction passed Wednesday on a 4-1 vote.

Councilwoman Stephanie Wright suggested the legislation after fielding calls from people who objected to trucks parking on arterials leading to 164th Street SW, such as Manor Way, Ash Way and Alderwood Mall Parkway. People reported semi trucks parking in those areas for weeks, even months.

“Each situation is different, but often it creates visibility issues, safety issues and complicates residential parking,” Wright said by email, after the vote.

Over the summer of 2017, three local teens died and another was injured when the car they were in crashed into a semi trailer parked facing the wrong direction along Alderwood Mall Parkway. Authorities said excessive speed, an inexperienced driver and marijuana use were factors in the early-morning collision, but said the semi was parked in a legal zone.

By law, a violation could be subject to a fine of up to $250. In practice, the ticket amount might be much less.

Council members included a sunset clause, effective Oct. 1, 2020. That should allow them to address unintended consequences or other concerns before enacting any permanent restrictions.

“We can test drive this for the next year and see if this vehicle helps out with the issue,” Wright said at Wednesday’s public hearing.

The restrictions would impose the parking restriction for heavy vehicles next to mobile home parks, townhomes and other multi-residential zones, as well as single-family neighborhoods.

Snohomish County is hardly the only jurisdiction looking to cut down on heavy trucks lingering near homes.

Since last year, both King and Pierce counties have updated their parking rules for commercial vehicles.

In Everett, vehicles longer than 20 feet, wider than 8 feet or heavier than 16,000 pounds are prohibited from parking in residential areas, unless they are on a job, loading or an emergency vehicle, a city official said this summer. In Marysville, semi-trucks are not allowed to park on city streets, except if it is an emergency vehicle, a city or public utility truck at work or is being unloaded or providing a service, such as construction, carpentry, plumbing or landscaping.

The new Snohomish County ordinance will apply to vehicles weighing at least 14,001 pounds.

Council Chairman Terry Ryan said he’s been noticing an increase in commercial vehicles parking in residential areas he represents in and around Lynnwood and Mill Creek, Bothell and Brier.

“I’m just thinking 20 years ago — I don’t remember trucks being parked everywhere,” Ryan said.

Councilman Sam Low cast the only no vote. He said he supports reforming the rules, but also has concerns about how the ordinance might impact small-business owners who need the vehicles for their livelihood. He believes mom-and-pop businesses are increasingly operating the heavy equipment, rather than large corporations.

“I definitely know we need to address it,” Low said. “I’m just not sure I got a solution that was balanced.”

The restrictions are likely to take effect in early November.

Noah Haglund: 425-339-3465; Twitter: @NWhaglund.

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