Reader asks about rules for people parking in front of gate

In Marysville, someone on 145th Street Northeast kept seeing cars blocking their fence gate.

In my neighborhood, there’s an unspoken rule about who gets to park where on the street.

Generally, people should use the space in front of where they live.

It’s public space and isn’t in a parking zone where permits are required or with signs over how long someone can park there free.

But people get into rhythms about where they can leave their steel carriages.

Julian Johnson of Marysville asked about the rules on 145th Street Northeast, east of 58th Drive Northeast. A photo sent to The Daily Herald showed cars parked along the road in front of a home’s fence gate.

“I live in Marysville and I would like to know if there is any recourse for me in getting them to move their vehicles away from my fence at the very least,” Johnson wrote in an email.

Some bad news and some good news, Julian.

Bad news: there is no city code or rule prohibiting anyone from parking there.

“There are no restrictive signs along this section of right of way,” Marysville Police Department officer Dave Vasconi said in an email.

Good news: you or anyone else can ask the city to consider a section of public right of way for additional “no parking” signs. Call the city’s public works department at 360-363-8100 during regular business hours and submit a request to the traffic safety committee.

On that road, there’s also a trail that leads from the road past the fence to a park. Johnson said cars park at the end of the road.

That’s a violation. Vasconi said he saw two signs likely approved by the city to keep the entrance free of parked vehicles.

He also saw an unofficial “no parking” sign posted to the right (south) of the two official warnings, but because it’s not from the city, no enforcement or restriction applies.

“We encourage citizens to report violations to 911 when they are in progress, providing us with the best chance of witnessing the violation, subsequently allowing us to take the appropriate action to resolve the issue,” Vasconi said.

Free street parking could become a thing of the past, if some economists and city planners get their wish. There are growing calls to begin charging for them because the space, which is funded and maintained by the public, technically has a restricted use. Basically, because taxes fund it, if someone wants to claim it for one-third of a day or more to stash their car which then precludes how other people could use it, they should pay.

Tyler Cowen, an economics professor at George Mason University and Bloomberg Business columnist, argued in the New York Times back in 2010 that cities should begin charging for street parking.

“Many suburbanites take free parking for granted, whether it’s in the lot of a big-box store or at home in the driveway,” he wrote. “Yet the presence of so many parking spaces is an artifact of regulation and serves as a powerful subsidy to cars and car trips.”

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