LETTER TO THE EDITOR: New Burien Residents Upset With Parking Enforcement

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We’re relatively new to Burien, having only purchased our home here a little over a year ago. We love Burien, and fully support the local businesses and the city’s growth and burgeoning prosperity. That said, we’re a little tired of supporting the city’s burgeoning prosperity through ridiculous parking tickets. Please understand that I’m not in any way saying that parking enforcement shouldn’t be done, or even that the tickets I’m referring to were written in error. My beef is with the fact that it seems as if our local parking enforcement officers get joy in eeking out any tiny little infraction they can stumble upon, in order to strengthen the city’s coffers.

A perfect example happened this past weekend – My 21 year-old, full-time college student niece was visiting, and parked on the shoulder of the road across from my house on 155th St. As anyone that’s familiar with 155th knows, there isn’t a lot (if any) clearly defined shoulder parking, and there’s certainly not a lot of enforcement of the vegetation overgrowth that slims down the available parking even further. She parked her car on the shoulder of the road, as far off as she could get it without parking in the trees/bushes, leaving about 1.5 inches of her tires on the blacktop.

Yes, I admit, TECHNICALLY she was parked on the road, that’s in no way in dispute. But why does the city of Burien feel it’s a good idea to ticket someone for such a miniscule infraction, when there are plenty of opportunities to handle REAL crime a mere block or two up the street? Is the city really in such dire straights financially that they feel the need to further burden the good, tax-paying citizens in order to relieve financial strain? Or was this particular officer (who seems to pop up on most of the “questionable” tickets in the neighborhood) simply bored on his early morning shift and looking to make his quota?

We may never have the answers to these questions, but as someone who would like to see Burien become the next “up and coming” area of Seattle, I’d hate for this handling of their citizens to discourage that growth.

Best Regards,
Kari Edwards

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13 Responses to “LETTER TO THE EDITOR: New Burien Residents Upset With Parking Enforcement”
  1. Redleg says:

    Parking on a street and just blocking the travel portion of the roadway is like being a little bit pregnant. If the street is partially blocked that can be a danger to passing vehicles or pedestrians and can also cause emergency vehicles such as ambulances and firetrucks to be delayed. Not much of an excuse, but maybe you would like some cheese with your wine.
    If you have a complaint, call the Burien Police and talk to a supervisor and call the Burien City Hall to get the bushes trimmed back and ask for a sidewalk to be built, but like you said, you were “technically” illegally parked.
    As for handling “real crimes” up the street, the last time I looked, parking illegally is a real crime.

    • Kari says:

      Redleg — feisty!

      I have done everything you assumed I didn’t (contacting both the department and city ordinance enforcement), and had you seen the area where she was parked, you’d see that there was no way possible that she was impeding traffic. I’m sure the Burien Police appreciate you jumping to their defense, but it might be time for you to consider that they really MIGHT have been being over-zealous.

      And I WOULD like some cheese, thanks!

    • Al Z says:

      Redleg – I think you may have meant cheese with your “whine”, if you’re going to be insulting at least be somewhat intelligent about it. Last I heard 1.5″ wasn’t a real obstruction to traffic or a safety hazard. It seems, in your case, an 1.5″ does make a huge difference.

  2. becktwoc says:

    I was park legally in a handicap parking spot. While in the shop, the parking enforcement guy decided he would park behind me so I could not get out. So when I came out I found my car block and he was nowhere to be found. The postman saw me and stated that he has seen the parking enforcement block the car/cars frequently and then runs into the store or goes and talks to another business owner so people have had to sit there before. He came back about 5 minutes later check to make sure I was legal and then let me go. I was so furious by this time it took everyone of strength not to yell at him. He did not even offer an apology. This happen months ago and it still make me so mad.

    • Keith says:

      Did you get the officers name/badge number and speak to his supervisor? That is harassment plain and simple and should be dealt with.

  3. Eaton B. Verz says:

    Send them to my street! We have numerous neighbors who have so many cars/ visitors they often block the sidewalk! Good luck getting a wheelchair by. Complainimg has done no good. They will come by as the workload allows. Yet I see them parked at the church acrossfrom the old Burien library just BSing . Talk about frustrating!!!

  4. MsPp says:

    This is humerous. I say this because I have issued written complaints to the city ,quoting code violations for cars illegally parked on my street. These complaints were investigated by Officer Henry McLaughlin, who deemed my statements unmerited about the neighbors parking creating a safety hazard, even though the pizza delivery person hit a bicyle rider while backing out of the driveway at the complaint house. Officer Henry went on to state he wasn’t going to cite the party because I didn’t complain about the cars parked down the street or the ones around the corner. . .even though these cars violated code. These street are narrow and a mess and there are too many areas to enforce. He went on to condemn the vegetation between my and my neighbors driveway as the reason we couldn’t see oncoming traffic (I wasn’t complaining about seeing aroung their vehicles from my driveway – I can see fine from my driveway) and then accused me and my neighbor of illegally altering the city street by installing parking strips on city land. (Those strips were there when I bought the house 35 years ago). Anything to detract from the issue. The facts are: my neighbors park multiple vehicles on the street without moving them which is a code violation and the police seem to feel that enforcing the code is discretionary.

  5. 3TreeCellars says:

    Burien Municipal Code:

    10.15.070 Obstructing traffic/pedestrians.
    No person shall park any vehicle upon any street or sidewalk in a manner which obstructs or otherwise interferes with traffic upon the traveled portion of the roadway, or obstructs or interferes with the movement of pedestrians on sidewalks. [Ord. 262 § 7, 1999]
    10.15.080 Parking over 24 hours prohibited.
    No person shall park or stand any vehicle upon any street or public way for a period exceeding 24 hours, regardless of any other regulation then in effect. When any vehicle is parked or stands for a period exceeding 24 hours, the vehicle shall be deemed to constitute a hazard or obstruction to traffic or an abandoned vehicle and may be impounded. [Ord. 262 § 8, 1999]

    I think the writers expected that folks would park on city streets based on .080, particularly on residential non-arterial roads. They certainly do on mine. As long as the car is moved daily, they have allowed fairly long term parking on right-of-ways as long regular traffic can get by.

    You may have a valid challenge to the ticket if you can show that traffic was not impeded.

  6. Coverofnight says:

    Burien is so small-town; to have a parking enforcement officer is a joke! I’ve have sat in my car on the side of the road in front of Highline High School waiting for my kid to be let out of school and have seen this guy checking and marking the cars (that are only going to be there for what, maybe 8 minutes?) to ensure that no violations occur. Come on! The place is going to be a ghost-town in about 15 minutes; cut hard-working parents some slack! And is Burien so anti-business that we limit patrons time spent meandering through the quaint stores, restaurants, etc.? I can see this in Seattle but again, Burien? Give the citizens some credit for having a sense of community and not abusing parking in the area. Who wants to spend the day in our town when they constantly fear parking enforcement is going to go “Kojak” all over them? This, once more, is just another move by your local government to exert control over your life (remember those red-light cameras?) unnecessarily. We don’t need those cameras and we don’t need parking enforcement! In a similar vein, the City even sent out TWO (not one mind you) employees to my house to issue a corrective action request regarding tree branches from my property hanging down onto mailboxes. I cut them every year when the mailman requests it – now they waste our tax dollars on more public control/enforcement. Just another example of waste! I’m more concerned with the jaywalkers cutting out from between parked cars than some vehicle being 1.5″ in a right-of-way – yet, they won’t confront individuals, just the inanimate object that can’t talk back. And don’t get me started regarding the rampant pan-handling that the good citizens of Burien are constantly subjected to…

    People – it’s time to stand up and keep our small-town, “small-town”! We don’t need bigger city regulations – we’ve been just fine for decades without parking enforcement, cameras, etc. Time to downsize our local government! Let’s keep it simple and use that money for more flower baskets. They sure jazz up the place, don’t they?

  7. Jack says:

    I had a similar experience with an older male parking officer in front of the highschool. He had not even gotten a chance to begin writing the ticket because it was such a brief stop and made me wait ten minutes while he wrote it . The area that I parked at was so poorly marked that they needed to put flags on top of the sign to be seen. It was my luck that the car in front of me was a Suburban with a rack. He was very rude and seemed to be delighted with writing my ticket. The ticket was $50.

  8. Marley Stardog says:

    This is hilarious. I had no idea we had parking enforcement in Burien. I live in the Seahurst area and see parking violations on a daily basis. Whether it is at Lake Burien church on 14th and 151st or Seahurst Elementary, people park on the street or in residential driveways, any place other than the designated parking lot for either facility. It drives me nuts that these folks can’t park in the designated parking lot and walk an extra 100 yards. If there is parking enforcement available, they should come to Seahurst and redirect folks to the parking lot rather than the street. If not, there is potential for a lot of parking tickets.

  9. BeeTown says:

    Send the parking enforcement to the area between 150th and 149th on Ambaum. The east side of Ambaum to be specific. This has become a very dangerous area, due to people parking any which way they can. Sometimes the cars stick out 3 feet onto Ambaum. I see cars half sticking out on the street, people parking right up next to the fire hydrant and people pulling out with out using a turn signal. And…I havent even mentioned the litter that accumulates on that side of the street.

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