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City of Seattle
Ed Murray, Mayor

SUBJECT: Seattle to give parking scofflaws the boot starting July 5; Pay outstanding parking tickets now through June 30 and save money

6/1/2011  1:00:00 PM
Jeff Kappel, Seattle Police Dept., 206-684-5520
Gary Ireland  (206) 684-8710

Seattle to give parking scofflaws the boot starting July 5
Pay outstanding parking tickets now and save money;
collection fees and interest waived through June 30 if tickets are paid in full

SEATTLE – Beginning July 5, 2011, scofflaw vehicles – those with four or more overdue, unpaid parking tickets – found in public-right-of-way may get the boot, a wheel-locking device, whether they are parked illegally or legally.

To avoid the boot and save money, motorists are urged to take advantage of the Seattle Municipal Court’s “collections reduction event,” which waives all collections fees and interest on parking and traffic infractions if tickets are paid in full. This event ends June 30, 2011.

Once a vehicle has been booted, all unpaid scofflaw-eligible parking tickets, collection fees and interest on that vehicle, as well as the $145 boot fee, must be paid to get the vehicle released. After the payment has been made, or time payment entered into, the vehicle will be removed from the scofflaw list. The boot fee is paid to the city’s boot vendor, PayLock.

If all unpaid parking tickets and associated fees are not paid within 48 hours, excluding weekends, then the booted vehicle may be towed and impounded.

After impounding, if the scofflaw-eligible parking tickets and associated fees (including tow and boot fees) are not paid in full or a time payment plan is not established with Alliance One, the Municipal Court’s collection agency, within 15 days, then the vehicle may be auctioned.

Net program revenues are projected at $1.1 million in 2011 and $1.8 million in 2012. The revenues generated from scofflaw enforcement are expected to start out strong and then drop off as the scofflaws backlog declines. The city is owed $25.8 million for the scofflaw citations; another $3.7 million is due to the city’s collections agency, although not all of that will be collectible through the boot program.

SPD parking enforcement officers (PEOs) will patrol city streets with two license plate recognition technology equipped vehicles. When a scofflaw vehicle is identified, PEOs will apply a notice to the vehicle (which includes boot-removal information), and lock the vehicle’s wheel with a boot.

Motorists have three payment options if their vehicles have been booted:

  • Pay via telephone, 24 hours a day, seven days a week.
  • Pay in person during business hours (8 a.m. to 4:30 p.m.) on the first floor of the Seattle Municipal Court, 600 Fifth Ave.
  • Enter into a time payment agreement with Alliance One, the Municipal Court’s collection agency.

Motorists are responsible for returning the boots, which should be placed in the vehicle’s trunk for safety purposes, to one of three boot drop-off areas:

  • Park 90/5, 730 S. Stacy St., Building “C”
    Monday through Friday, 8 a.m. to 5 p.m.
  • Southeast Neighborhood Service Center, 3815 S. Othello St., Suite 105
    Monday through Friday, 9 a.m. to 5 p.m.
    Saturday, 10 a.m. to 2 p.m.
  • University Neighborhood Service Center, 4534 University Way N.E.
    Monday through Friday, 10 a.m. to 6 p.m.
    Saturday, 10 a.m. to 2 p.m.

If motorists do not return the boot within two calendar days of release, a fine of $25 per day will be levied. If motorists intentionally damage or fail to return a boot, a replacement fee of $500 can be levied.

As of May 15, 2011, 23,000 vehicles are listed as eligible for booting. While some of the license plates on the list are inactive, vehicles with four or more overdue, unpaid tickets that have since been sold to a new owner will not be on the list, provided the new owner has noted the sale with the Washington state department of licensing, as required by state law. The number of vehicles on the city’s scofflaw list is always changing as parking tickets are regularly issued or paid in full.

There are an estimated 500,000 parking spaces in public right-of-way and about one-fifth of these spaces are regulated (i.e., paid, time, loading, permit, or other restrictions). In 2010, the city’s General Fund realized approximately $27.8 million in paid parking meter revenue and $21.4 million in parking fines. SPD issued 600,543 parking tickets in 2010.

In adopting the 2011 budget, the City Council passed Ordinance 123447, which created the parking scofflaw program. Accompanying the legislation was a Statement of Legislative Intent (125-2-A-3), which called for a business plan to be developed by an interdepartmental team, composed of staff from the Department of Finance and Administrative Services, Seattle Municipal Court, SPD, SDOT, the City Budget Office, the Seattle Office for Civil Rights, and the City Council. The business plan was presented to the City Council’s Public Safety and Education Committee today. The business plan is available online at:


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