Frequently Asked Questions about Parking

Where can I park? As a visitor? As an employee?

Visitors/Patrons typically park at the short term (3 hour or less) meter/pay stations located primarily in the business district. There are some short terms meters dispersed all over downtown,

As an employee, an on street permit is typically the best value ($80 per month) and allows for parking long term in designated permit areas. We now have an employee permit and zone for employees who make $20 an hour or less at a cost of $20 per month.

If you carpool, we have a $60 per month permit good at designated carpool spaces.

Maps and information can be found on the Parking Services website.

If I’m parking downtown, where’s the cheapest place to park?

If you are parking hourly, the coin operated meters are the cheapest.

How long can I park?

You can park as long as the posted time limits allow (look for the signs). The City has a 24-hour maximum for continuous parking on the street, which very few citizens are aware of.

Do I have to pay for on-street parking downtown on Saturday or Sunday?

As of this June 2018, only the Vancouver Center parking garage requires payment 7 days a week. All other public owned locations are free on weekends.

Is parking enforced in the Vancouver Center garage on Saturday and Sunday if you do not have to pay on-street meters?

It should always be assumed that the garage is enforced.

How do I avoid a ticket?

Know the rules. Being unaware of the law is not an excuse for violating it.

Know what time your meter expires and plan to be back to your vehicle before then. Setting an alarm on your phone can be a helpful tool. Taking a photo of your receipt to pull up in case you forget the time is also a good idea.

How do I dispute a ticket?

Directions are on the back of the citation. Per State law, you have 30 days to appeal. The back of the citation must be filled out along with an appeal form that can be obtained via the Parking Services website or at the Customer Service Desk at City Hall.

What are some of the things I can get ticketed for?

Common citations are:

  • No Receipt Displayed – When you do not have a receipt displayed.
  • Improper Display – When your receipt is displayed somewhere other than the dash (or otherwise displayed improperly).
  • Overtime – When you have gone beyond the signed time limits (even if you have money in the meter).
  • Expired Tabs – License plate tabs are expired.

What do I do if a pay station or meter is not working?

  • If a pay station is not working you can use the nearest pay station instead. Another option is to use the Parking Kitty app.
  • If a meter is not working, you should use another parking space. The Parking Kitty app can be utilized here as well.

It is also helpful if you can report the issue to Parking Services by calling the number on the machine.

Can you explain the terms the City uses for its managed parking resources (such as Lot 1, Lot 18, Lot 11)? Are those locations signed with those names?

The City uses both a number and a name for our public lots and garages. The main ones are:

  • Lot 1: Smith Tower Lot
  • Lot 2: Evergreen Lot
  • Lot 11: Broadway lot
  • Lot 18: Vancouver Center Garage

Why doesn’t the City make developers build more parking for apartments? (asked by residents and visitors)

Historically, the City has incentivized new development by requiring only 1 space per unit.

Why does the City require developers provide so much off-street parking? (asked by developers)

Minimum requirements are intended to lessen the burden on the on-street supply.

How much parking are developers required to build?

Per VMC 20.945.070 developers are required to build according to the following:

  • Residential – 1 space/dwelling unit
  • Transient lodging – 1 space/living unit
  • Congregate care facilities – 1 space/two (2) living units
  • All other uses – 1 space/1,000 sq. ft. of floor area

Developments located within the Transit Overlay District may be subject to special parking standards contained in VMC 20.550.

How much does parking cost to build?

There are many variables (geography, number of levels, structural system, above-ground, below-ground, etc.) when estimating the cost of a new parking garage. The average structural cost for a parking structure varies with geographic market and can range from $35 per square foot to as much as $65 per square foot. Below-ground parking is more expensive than above-ground (15%-45% higher cost at two levels) and gets more expensive the farther down it goes.

Do we require new buildings have bike parking?

Bike parking is currently optional for developers to build. However, in 2018 the City will examine this policy and consider making it mandatory.

Do Parking Enforcement Officers have ticket writing quotas?

The officers do not and never have had quotas.