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I live in Federal Way, Washington State. Many of my neighbors continually park their vehicles, blocking wheelchair access to our sidewalks. I can't find the RCW for it, but I am positive that it is illegal. The only alternatives, for those in wheelchairs, is to either use the grass (dangerous), or use the street (very dangerous). I am trying to build a case against these neighbors, for the sole purpose of making them cease this dangerous activity, and actually use common courtesy with regard to others. Previously, I've spoken with a few other neighbors, who have agreed with me that, regardless of the fact that the owner of the vehicle may not be at fault for a parking spot possibly being too short, it is definitely not at all the handicapped person's fault that the vehicle owner purchased such a large vehicle, and failed to find adequate parking. I have attached a photo of just one example of the many inconsiderate vehicle owners who I have as neighbors. Ford Pickup blocking sidewalk access.

  • Are there any handicapped people that are actually affected by this or this is more a theoretical question ? – Hilmar Dec 6 '19 at 18:07
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There is no state law that addresses blocking sidewalks: the closest that you can come are the rules against parking in or obstructing designated handicapped parking spaces. Sidewalks are generally within the purview of local government. Again there is nothing relevant that addresses parking. There is code (a chapter) that addresses sidewalks, but those ordinances pertain to a property owner's obligation to fix a sidewalk that they break, the snow-shoveling law, and so on -- nothing that prohibits blocking sidewalks.

Federal Way law defines "sidewalk" as

any hard-surfaced walkways within a right-of-way between the portion of the road designed or ordinarily used for vehicular travel and the adjacent property line, intended for the use of, or ordinarily used by, pedestrians or bicycles, including driveways.

We cannot judge from the limited details in the picture, but it appears that this is not a "sidewalk" in the legal sense. It looks like a paved walkway on private property – it does not meet the physical standards of city sidewalks (it is well below the minimum 5 ft. width standard). If this is private property, that gives you a simple solution: approach the property owner with an alternative proposal. Alternatively, you could consider whether the complex has adequately required with federal, state and local law regarding handicap access. It is not the vehicle owner's fault that the sidewalk is too narrow and not up to code.

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Illegal? Not at the state level. The law does prohibit parking on sidewalks, although it could be argued that what the truck in the picture is doing doesn't meet the definition of "on".

RCW 46.61.570:

(1) Except when necessary to avoid conflict with other traffic, or in compliance with law or the directions of a police officer or official traffic control device, no person shall:

(a) Stop, stand, or park a vehicle:

(ii) On a sidewalk or street planting strip;

But the law says that's not a sidewalk. It's adjacent to a parking lot, not a roadway or public highway.

RCW 46.04.540:

"Sidewalk" means that property between the curb lines or the lateral lines of a roadway and the adjacent property, set aside and intended for the use of pedestrians or such portion of private property parallel and in proximity to a public highway and dedicated to use by pedestrians.

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