Hourly Parking

​​​Enforcement Hours

Paid parking is enforced from 11 a.m. to 6 p.m. Monday to Saturday. Payment is not required outside of these hours. Paid public parking is not enforced on Sundays and 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 parking in one spot for more than 72 hours still applies.

Parking Meters

Parking meters in downtown Bellingham accept payment by US coins or a mobile payment app. Card payment is coming soon. Paid parking costs $1 per hour. Rates and time limits are posted on each meter. 

Mobile Payment

Mobile payment apps can be used to pay for, and manage, parking right from your smartphone. Parking can currently be managed through the PayByPhone app. The City is adding ParkMobile as an option soon. Required codes are posted on street signs. If using a mobile payment app, payment will not show on the coin-only meters – 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. Learn more about how the PayByPhone app works.

Off-Street Parking

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 $1 per hour. These locations are encouraged for longer stays. Visit the Parking Permits page for maps of off-street parking locations.

Parking Pay Stations in Downtown Bellingham and Fairhaven

  • Payment at these locations is by card, coins, or by using a mobile payment 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 a mobile payment app, the app will show your receipt and expiration time.
  • Daily payment is required Monday to Saturday (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 a mobile payment app, 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

Parking is free and open to the public outside of the hours posted and on Saturdays in areas where a parking permit is required to park, with the exception of the South Lot which is sometimes unavailable due to events. Signs will be posted if parking is not available in the South Lot. Visit the Parking Permits webpage for more information.

Parking by City Hall

The City of Bellingham has four free visitor parking spaces directly in front of City Hall at 210 Lottie Street for those coming to City Hall on business. Two of the stalls have a 30-minute time limit, the other two have a 15-minute limit.

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 a mobile payment app, 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 $30, 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.

What if I try to make a payment outside of the standard parking hours?

If payment is made outside the paid parking hours of 11 a.m. to 6 p.m., 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.  ​

Additional Information

For additional information, contact Parking Services at (360) 778-7780, or submit your comments or questions via email to parksmart@cob.org. Parking Services is located in the Finance Department of City Hall.  


Changes to Parking

Important Notice: Changes to paid parking start May 1, 2022 in downtown and Fairhaven.