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Monday, December 3, 2012

Respect the Five Feet!

Posted by on Mon, Dec 3, 2012 at 8:52 AM

Someone wants people to see their driveway knows the rules...



Comments (46) RSS

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Was it painted yellow?
Posted by doceb on December 3, 2012 at 9:21 AM · Report this
How much did you pay for that sign?
Posted by suddenlyorcas on December 3, 2012 at 9:32 AM · Report this
Living in the city is full of petty annoyances. Those who can't handle petty annoyances, like this dick-munch, should move.
Posted by Pol Pot on December 3, 2012 at 9:44 AM · Report this
@3 While an odd response, having your driveway blocked is a bit more than a petty annoyance. Especially if you are on your way to some important meeting or job.

I've had to tow a few people who have blocked mine and it's not fun to have to explain to a client that you'll be an hour or more late because some douchebag blocked your driveway.
Posted by giffy on December 3, 2012 at 10:04 AM · Report this
@3, Some people will find petty annoyances to get enraged over no matter where they live.
Posted by JenV on December 3, 2012 at 10:05 AM · Report this
@4, seems to me this person is mad because people are parking too close to his/her driveway, not blocking it.

Unless he/she's on an extremely narrow street, he/she should get the fuck over it. And get some yellow paint.
Posted by JenV on December 3, 2012 at 10:10 AM · Report this
Someone needs to realize how lucky they are to have a driveway in the city in the first place and stop kvetching.
Posted by Vitriolforbreakfast on December 3, 2012 at 10:12 AM · Report this
Atl2Sea 8
@ #3

Pol Pot: we have laws, and government for that matter, because society cannot rely solely on our fellow man's conscience to always act in a responsible manner. If you feel otherwise, you must live in a world where homes don't need doors, you leave your parked car or bike unlocked, and lease property to tenants without a lease because those hip, city dwellers are of course gonna pay their rent on time, every month like clockwork, and would never ever damage the property they're renting from you.

You're the dick for mocking people who obey laws and politely remind others of them. And, shame on the Stranger for posting this photo in a mocking manner. I'm willing to bet my right testicle that the Stranger's offices have door locks and that they retain legal counsel on contingency for any trespassing or copyright issues that might arise. Bloody hypocrites.
Posted by Atl2Sea on December 3, 2012 at 10:14 AM · Report this
@6 Looks to me like they just copied the statute which starts off with blocking, then references the five feet. Charles is focusing on the five feet part, but I am not sure that was the signmakers intent.

But, yeah if they are just whining because people are parking to close to, but not obstructing, their driveway then that is indeed something to get the fuck over.
Posted by giffy on December 3, 2012 at 10:18 AM · Report this
@9: parking too close to a driveway or intersection can create a dangerous situation for cyclists and other vehicles on the road. It can be nearly impossible to know that it's clear to pull out if a box truck has parked 2 feet from your driveway. Furthermore, vehicles on the road can't see the person pulling out to avoid potential accidents.
Posted by doceb on December 3, 2012 at 10:24 AM · Report this
Simone 11
Good for their driveway. I don't remember that rule but I'm glade that their driveway knows the rule.

I'd like to see them come out of the house to bitch to an ambulance or police car that parked within 4 feet of their driveway.
Posted by Simone on December 3, 2012 at 10:25 AM · Report this
BombasticMO 12
The sign makers mean the 5 feet. Had someone blocked their driveway they would have been towed and wouldn't need a passive-aggressive sign.

My problem with this is that it is essentially a free giveaway of 15+ feet of public-owned and maintained street to whoever owns the driveway.
Posted by BombasticMO on December 3, 2012 at 10:35 AM · Report this
i cant believe that no one has ripped that sign down yet
Posted by Cassette tape fan on December 3, 2012 at 10:37 AM · Report this
Matt from Denver 14
@ 6, it's a lot easier to see around cars that aren't within that five foot zone than ones that are.

Frankly, I'm surprised that the point of this thread isn't that people shouldn't drive cars at all. It's funny - the most densely populated neighborhoods and cities also have the worst traffic and highest concentration of cars, even though those places are the ones where you don't need one.
Posted by Matt from Denver on December 3, 2012 at 10:39 AM · Report this
@4- I think the context here is that people park too close to the drive way, not that they are blocking it. People park too close to my driveway every day. It's annoying. But it's a busy street in the city. I don't post passive aggressive signs to vent my frustration. I take a deep breath and move on.
@8- Your thought process is a train wreck of epic proportion. Up your meds, then move back to Atlanta.
Posted by Pol Pot on December 3, 2012 at 10:45 AM · Report this
Queen of Sleaze 16
@5 is correct. People leave the city and move out to the Snoqualmie Valley where I live then they complain about noise from chickens and bitch about having to look at livestock and vegetable gardens on neighboring farms while obsessively mowing their field to look like a golf course. Nevermind the fact that those farms existed for 50+ years before they decided they wanted to move to the country for "peace and quiet". Some people are impossible to placate and its best to just roll your eyes and ignore them.
Posted by Queen of Sleaze on December 3, 2012 at 10:53 AM · Report this
Seattle is a city full of people who own several cars, but don't park in their garage or in their driveway. My neighborhood is full of houses like this.

And yes, given Seattle's tendency towards narrow streets full of parked cars, parking too close to a drive does make it both difficult and dangerous to pull in/out of the driveway or drive or ride past the driveway in a hazard free manner.
Posted by tiktok on December 3, 2012 at 11:02 AM · Report this
NotSean 18
@10 is right. It's a matter of safety for the driver, pedestrians, and cyclists.

The rule promotes much-needed visibility. In some areas, depending on traffic density and speed, the rule is more important than in others.

@12, in the light of a safety issue, for everyone, then it is not a giveaway to anyone. It is a rule for the benefit of many.

Posted by NotSean on December 3, 2012 at 11:05 AM · Report this
SPG 19
My neighbor down the street is a retired guy who likes to go fishing at sunup in the warmer months. When someone parks right up to his driveway edge, it is physically impossible to pull out with a boat trailer, so when people ignore the cone with the note on it he has to miss a day of fishing. (I'll respond for you: yeah, boohoo, some old guy can't murder fish for a day)
The five foot rule is unknown to most drivers. For most people, on most streets, it's not that big of a deal. You pull out, it's a little harder to see, but you survive. If it's a busier street with bike traffic, it can be deadly.
Posted by SPG on December 3, 2012 at 11:10 AM · Report this
theophrastus 20
do you know how far you are required to park from a fire-hydrant? 15 feet either side. this isn't enforced because that would cause most Seattle neighborhoods to go mad-max if they had to clear 30 feet all over the place. ah... but if you have a dick neighbor then they can, and do, use that law just against specific people they don't like.

there should be a name for these laws; somehow 'blue law' doesn't cover the notion of "laws only enforced for petty revenge".
Posted by theophrastus on December 3, 2012 at 11:16 AM · Report this
keshmeshi 21

I think I've only seen parking enforcement ticket cars parked within five feet of the hydrant. Although modern fire trucks don't use hydrants, so I'm not really sure why we need them.
Posted by keshmeshi on December 3, 2012 at 11:22 AM · Report this
Ph'nglui mglw'nafh Cthulhu R'lyeh wgah'nagl fhtagn 22
I've had four of them ticketed and two towed in the last six months for parking too close to my driveway. Don't like the petty annoyances of ticketing and towing? Move.
Posted by Ph'nglui mglw'nafh Cthulhu R'lyeh wgah'nagl fhtagn on December 3, 2012 at 11:31 AM · Report this
@12 -- That 15 feet of right-of-way was not free. You can easily calculate the price of adding a driveway to an existing lot by visiting the DPD website and asking about a permit.

When you live in a crowded area like a city, you need to act politely. Don't crowd your neighbor's driveway. Don't park one car badly on the street in a space where two cars could park. If your elderly or disabled neighbor has regularly parked her car in front of her house for twenty years, think two or three times before taking her spot.

Also, don't post sign when someone encroaches upon your space. The correct response is to write a passive-aggressive note and leave it under the offensive car's wipers (or to let all the air out the car's tires and then call a tow-truck).

We're not Republicans, people.
Posted by six shooter on December 3, 2012 at 11:34 AM · Report this
The yellow paint is not required.

Knowing the five foot rule IS required IF you properly obtained a WA drivers license. See RCW 46.61.570(i).
Posted by RonK, Seattle on December 3, 2012 at 11:35 AM · Report this
@21 --

Did you just make shit that up? Modern fire trucks (and by trucks you mean fire engines) most certainly need hydrants and you're a complete motherfucker if you park in front of them.
Posted by six shooter on December 3, 2012 at 11:37 AM · Report this
ScrawnyKayaker 26
You know what *really* makes it easier to pull out? When you can see THROUGH cars that aren't actually monster trucks, and/or don't have their windows tinted to a ridiculous degree.

Three feet vs. 6 feet from the edge of the driveway or alley really doesn't make a huge fucking difference in the distance you can see down the street when it's an opaque fucking Chevy Tahoe (or Volvo 870) blocking the view.
Posted by ScrawnyKayaker on December 3, 2012 at 11:47 AM · Report this

Could you define "properly"? I moved here from elsewhere. WA DOL punched a hole in my old license and printed me a new one.
Posted by Tawnos on December 3, 2012 at 11:52 AM · Report this
@21 -- Grrrr.... Fire trucks and fire engines park on streets for all kinds of reasons that aren't fire related.

The fire lane at your grocery store? Where else is a huge truck supposed to park? How else can you insure the truck won't be blocked if it needs to leave suddenly?

The space created by the fire hydrant zone? Where should the fire engine park when the EMTs aboard are busy saving your grandmother's life? What if they need help? In an emergency, should the people coming to help park a block or two away and walk?

Jesus. I know the SLOG doesn't want to see the policing sausage being made, but please believe me when I assure you the fire department isn't out creating bullshit rules just to inconvenience you.

Pull the fuck over when you hear sirens.

Don't lolly-gag in front of an emergency vehicle in the crosswalk because "pedestrians always have the right of way".

Don't throw a little baby-fit when forced to follow a few basic rules of common fucking decency.

(sorry K. I'm not implying you're guilty of any of these. You sound like a reasonable person most of the time. You just poked at a sore spot this morning.)
Posted by six shooter on December 3, 2012 at 11:57 AM · Report this
keshmeshi 29

If that's what the fire hydrant space is actually for these days, then I humbly suggest that the city paint the curb red wherever appropriate and put up a sign indicating that it's an allotted space for emergency vehicles in general. As it is, since parked cars regularly take up space within five feet of the hydrant with no penalty, there's no way a fire truck could fit there, and even an ambulance would probably have to parallel park to fit in that space.

And, in my experience, emergency vehicles stop wherever they need to, even in the middle of the street, and I don't begrudge them that one bit.


That's news to me. It was my understanding that firefighters don't bother with them in most cases because hydrants don't have as much water pressure as the machinery on the trucks. That was the explanation for why the faulty fire engine responding to the Fremont house fire several years ago didn't switch to using a hydrant.
Posted by keshmeshi on December 3, 2012 at 12:13 PM · Report this
@27 -- You are correct. When presenting a non-expired license from another state you are encouraged - but not required - to familiarize yourself with the Washington Driver Guide.

BTW, this loophole transforms drivers from several other states into elevated hazards to cyclists, pedestrians and other living things.

I've hopped from state to state a number of times, and IIRC I've usually had to pass at least a cursory written test ... but not in Our Fair State (which I think also automatically permits me to operate as a global terrorist).
Posted by RonK, Seattle on December 3, 2012 at 12:15 PM · Report this
Matt from Denver 31
@ 29, I think they have to get the water from the hydrants and then pressurize it more with the pumps on the trucks. They certainly can't anticipate how much water they would have to transport to the scene of a fire. And they probably don't enforce a large zone because all they really need is direct access to the hydrant.
Posted by Matt from Denver on December 3, 2012 at 12:20 PM · Report this
Matt from Denver 32
@ 30, I had to pass a written test when I moved to Seattle from Denver in the 90s. I'd be very surprised if they don't require that anymore.
Posted by Matt from Denver on December 3, 2012 at 12:21 PM · Report this
A fire engine in the city of Seattle carries 500 gallons of water in its tank. If the fire engine is well maintained and its driver well trained, it can push 500 gallons of water out of the smallest firefighting hose it carries in under 3 1/2 minutes.

Hooray if the firefighters on the end of that hose put out the fire before running out of water. Boo if they're in a hazardous environment and suddenly run out of water.

Every SFD firefighter is trained to attach their engine to a hydrant within 3 1/2 minutes -- to "secure a supply" from a hydrant. Any firefighter who doesn't believe his driver can "make a plug" before he runs out of water should not enter a dangerous environment until he knows for sure someone else on scene can.

Illegally parked cars can and have killed people.

I'm not saying the driver at the Fremont fire f*cked up -- I wasn't there -- but I'm also not not saying it.

(I believe most fire apparatus drivers would prefer to park someplace convenient for everyone if given a choice.)
Posted by six shooter on December 3, 2012 at 12:31 PM · Report this
does anyone know why Seattle paints its hydrants Green? it makes them hard to see, esp at night/rainy. They easily blend in with the background.

Why arent they painted red?

Can i paint the one in front of my house red? as a favor to the +\- 5 people a month who get tickets?

Posted by Cassette tape fan on December 3, 2012 at 2:08 PM · Report this
camlux 35
It beats slashing the tires and keying the paint of encroaching vehicles. A sign is just a sign.
Posted by camlux on December 3, 2012 at 2:09 PM · Report this
@34 -- Seattle Public Utilities maintains hydrants and chooses their colors. The colors are meaningful and should not be changed.

I imagine if you can figure out who posts parking signs you can make a case for placing one that says "no parking within 15 feet."

Good luck.
Posted by six shooter on December 3, 2012 at 2:27 PM · Report this
SPG 37
Parking enforcement will cite you when they catch you parking within 15 feet of a hydrant, not 5, not 10, but within 15 feet. They carry tape measures for a reason. My parking ticket was noted that I was 14 feet from the hydrant.
They really should be painting the curbs like the rest of the civilized world does, but for some reason they just don't do that around here.
Posted by SPG on December 3, 2012 at 2:58 PM · Report this
@37: Because it costs money, and then people scream about how we could build more highways if we weren't wasting money painting curbs and sharrows.

Also, Seattleites frequently park too close to intersections in residential areas, making it difficult to navigate all the traffic circles and further hampering visibility.
Posted by tiktok on December 3, 2012 at 3:30 PM · Report this
@32, be surprised, then. No test

@30, I think culture plays more into cyclist danger than any test could accommodate for. Where I lived before and here there was a somewhat vibrant cycling community (that I am happy to be a part of). A test cannot correct for what Douglas Adams correctly identified as the "Someone else's problem" field of invisibility.
Posted by Tawnos on December 3, 2012 at 3:53 PM · Report this
seandr 40
Yes to @10 and @18.

Another seemingly petty annoyance that endangers people - parking your car within 30 feet of the stop sign. Creates a totally blind intersection, especially if it's a truck, and increases risk of someone getting t-boned.
Posted by seandr on December 3, 2012 at 4:06 PM · Report this
Eastpike 41
Good shit. I'll throw in the minor difference between blocking a driveway and merely parking within 5 feet of it: One is considered a "tow-away" zone and one is (generally) not. That's all I have to add to this productive and charming thread. Oh, and if you're about to get towed, just take the ticket off the windshield, they can't tow it without the ticket.
Posted by Eastpike on December 3, 2012 at 5:05 PM · Report this
Ph'nglui mglw'nafh Cthulhu R'lyeh wgah'nagl fhtagn 42

Both of my kids are smaller than a fire hydrant. They don't always wear red. Please keep a sharp eye out and don't run them over. Thanks.

Also, maybe it's time for an Orca card?
Posted by Ph'nglui mglw'nafh Cthulhu R'lyeh wgah'nagl fhtagn on December 3, 2012 at 6:24 PM · Report this
Free Lunch 43
What drives me nuts is all of the restricted parking signs in Seattle with zero indication of the extent of that zone. If the curbs were ever painted, it's long gone now.
Posted by Free Lunch on December 3, 2012 at 8:13 PM · Report this
watchout5 44
I think the yellow line should be mandatory and kept up.
Posted by watchout5 on December 3, 2012 at 10:49 PM · Report this
Matt from Denver 45
@ 39, suprised I am. It makes sense not requiring a written test, but it seemed like one of those things they required just because they were the state.
Posted by Matt from Denver on December 4, 2012 at 7:25 AM · Report this
@42 he's not running over the hydrant, he's talking about people occasionally parking at what looks like a clear space of curb near his house, not noticing that it's got a hydrant. Get a fucking grip
Posted by tal on December 4, 2012 at 9:38 PM · Report this

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