Payment to park is enforced from 9:00 AM to 5:00 PM Monday to Friday. Payment is not required outside of these hours. Time-limited parking (for example, with a 2 hour limit) is enforced based on the time posted on the street sign. Paid public parking and time limited parking are not enforced on City holidays.
Do holders of a disabled hangtag or license plate need to pay to park?
No. Vehicles displaying a current disabled hangtag or license plate can park in any paid public parking spaces at no charge and without abiding by the posted time restrictions. Please note: the city-wide prohibition against remaining parked in one spot in excess of 72 hours still applies.
Parking meters in downtown Bellingham accept payment by US coins or the PayByPhone app. Most meters cost 75¢ per hour and have a two-hour limit. On the outskirts of downtown are meters that cost 25¢ per hour and have an eight-hour limit. Meter rates and time limits are posted on each meter.
The PayByPhone app can be used to pay for, and manage, parking right from your smartphone. Required codes are posted on each meter and on street signs. If using the PayByPhone app, payment will not show on the meter – the meter time will continue to flash expired. Payment by phone will register in the parking system so scanning the vehicle's license plate will confirm that payment was made. Please note that the posted time limits are programmed into PayByPhone and cannot be exceeded.
Parking Pay Stations
For longer stays and in addition to on-street parking, parking is available in the lowest level of the Commercial Street Garage at 1300 Commercial or Railroad Pay Station Lot at 1100 Railroad for 75¢ per hour up to $6.00 a day. Longer stays are also available in the 1300 block of Bay and in the Civic Center (by the Downtown Library, Courthouse and City Hall) for 75¢ per hour for the first two hours with higher hourly rates for extended stays.
- Payment at these locations is by card, cash or coins at automated pay stations or by using the PayByPhone app.
- Paying to park is based on your vehicle's license plate number.
- The printed receipt stays with you and records your expiration time. If using PayByPhone, the app will show your receipt and expiration time.
- If a variable rate applies, longer stays after the first two hours are as follows:
|3 hours $3.00||4 hours $4.00||5 hours $6.25||6 hours $9.00||7 hours $12.25||All day $15.00|
- Daily payment is required Monday to Friday (in other words, long-term vehicle storage is not allowed).
- Time can be added to your initial transaction if needed. Adding time needs to be done based on the original payment method used: at a pay station or PayByPhone, as applicable. If via pay station, the transaction can be done from any pay station and does not need to be where you first paid. Entering your vehicle's license plate number will automatically recognize your current transaction. Follow the on-screen prompts and a new receipt will show your adjusted expiration time. If your original time has expired, start a new parking transaction.
Parking Permit Locations
Outside of the hours of 8:00 AM to 5:00 PM, Monday through Friday, when a parking permit is required to park in City permit facilities, parking is free and open to the public, with the exception of the South Lot that has event-related parking restrictions. Signs will be posted if parking is not available in the South Lot.
Parking by City Hall
The City of Bellingham has a few free visitor parking spaces at each end of the lot directly north of (behind) City Hall for people coming to City Hall on business. Please use the spaces marked "Visitor." There is a two hour limit on these spaces.
Pay Station Frequently Asked Questions
How do I use a pay station?
Follow the step-by-step instructions on the screen to guide you through your transaction. Press any button to “wake" the unit from power save. Enter your vehicle's license plate number and follow the prompts on the screen. An on-screen message will inform you when the unit is ready to accept payment. Insert payment and collect your receipt from the cup below. Take your receipt with you to remind you what time your parking expires. Display of the receipt in your car is not required.
How do officers monitor the parking without a receipt on my vehicle?
When you enter your vehicle license plate number and pay to park, whether at a pay station or using PayByPhone, the data from your transaction is immediately transmitted to an online data system and your vehicle's license plate will be scanned to show that payment was made.
What do I do if the pay station is inoperative?
If the unit you are using seems to be malfunctioning, any pay station in the area can accept your payment. To report malfunctioning pay stations or if you continue to have difficulties, contact Parking Services at (360) 778-7780 and staff will be happy to assist you.
What if I paid to park but am mistakenly cited?
The most frequent error is drivers entering an incorrect license plate number when they pay. But your receipt provides proof of payment or staff can easily research whether you paid. Take your receipt and citation to Parking Services in City Hall immediately and, if we can confirm payment, Municipal Court should be able to void the citation. If you cannot find your receipt or if payment cannot be confirmed, you will need to go to the Court to schedule a hearing to formally contest the citation.
Please note that if the citation is for an amount other than $15, it was issued for another reason than not paying to park. The reason will be noted on the citation.
Do pay stations give change?
No. In order to conserve processing energy, the pay stations do not give change, nor will change be given from the Parking Office. If exact change is not available, the balance can be paid by card.
Payment made outside standard parking hours
If payment is made outside the paid parking hours of 9:00 AM to 5:00 PM, an on-screen message will inform you that payment is not required until the next business day. The transaction can be canceled at this point. If payment is made, the payment will cover the next time payment to park is required.
For additional information, contact Parking Services at (360) 778-7780, or submit your comments or questions via email to email@example.com. We are located in the Finance Department of City Hall.