A truck’s bed extends beyond the marked parking spot lines along Grand Avenue in Everett. As long as traffic can safely move past it in the roadway, it’s legal. (Sue Misao / The Herald)

A truck’s bed extends beyond the marked parking spot lines along Grand Avenue in Everett. As long as traffic can safely move past it in the roadway, it’s legal. (Sue Misao / The Herald)

Is it legal for a vehicle to be longer than its parking spot?

Yes. No. Maybe. Kind of. Sort of. It depends if traffic can move safely behind it.

Downtown Everett is a labyrinth of parking options.

There are scattered paid lots and a couple of garages, and plenty of angle and parallel spaces.

On some streets, those angle spots definitely stick out when a long vehicle, well, sticks out.

But is it illegal?

Yes, and no. Kind of. Sort of. Maybe. It depends.

Those SUVs, trucks and vans have to park somewhere, and more than half of the on-street parking in downtown Everett is angled. Of the 2,057 on-street spaces downtown, 1,124 are angle parking.

Even when the vehicle extends beyond a space’s marked lines, it isn’t necessarily an infraction, especially if the wheel nearest to the curb is within 12 inches of it.

“Parking enforcement officers and police officers must use their best judgment when deciding whether or not to take enforcement action on these types of parking violations,” Everett Police Sgt. MaryjaneHacker said in an email. “However, the general guideline is that as long as the parked vehicle is not impeding the flow of traffic in the roadway, enforcement action will not be taken.”

In Marysville, there’s lots of on-street angle parking but it hasn’t been tallied, city spokesperson Connie Mennie said.

Marysville Municipal Code 11.08.140 states that a vehicle can’t park if it leaves less than 10 feet of the roadway for traffic. But the city doesn’t specifically track these citations apart from its general parking infractions, Mennie said. Last year, the Marysville Police Department issued 490 parking tickets, which start at $40 for a standard violation and reach $450 for parking in a disabled parking spot.

Everett Municipal Code guidelines offer options and room for interpretation.

A vehicle can extend past the parking lines if it does not obstruct the safe flow of traffic. That qualification, “if it does not obstruct the safe flow of traffic,” is where law enforcement judgment enters the equation.

“But if other vehicles can safely maneuver behind the end of the parked vehicle, then it is not a violation,” Hacker said.

Also, a vehicle can pull onto the sidewalk if it does not obstruct foot or wheelchair access.

Or it can take up multiple adjoining spots to avoid those other two options, so long as it isn’t in a disabled parking space. This is why you may see a long truck or van park across a couple of angle spots (which is usually sure to draw ire when somebody just sees it as one vehicle taking two spaces).

Everett parking tickets, which cover infractions from exceeding the marked time limit to extending into the street, cost $40.

To be clear, it is absolutely 100% illegal to key a car. It’s equally satisfying to leave and annoying to receive a scathing note on the windshield about someone’s parking.

In general, motorists should take caution when they drive by angle parking. On-street parking can calm traffic and improve safety. But it’s up to the driver, especially when taking a wide berth into the oncoming traffic lane.

Have a question? Email streetsmarts@heraldnet.com. Please include your first and last name and city of residence.

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