Parking Permits

Parking permits are ideal for drivers who need a place to routinely park in the downtown and Fairhaven business districts. Parking spots are available for much less than the daily meter rate. 

Parking Permit Price Changes Effective Feb. 1, 2023

In December 2022, City Council approved changes to parking permit prices for City lots and garages. Permit prices for more heavily used parking lots have increased while the cost of those less heavily have decreased. These changes went into effect February 1, 2023:

  • Decreased cost of Commercial Street Garage monthly permit for floors 2-5 from $70 to $30, with permit required to park from 7 a.m. to 6 p.m. Monday-Friday;
  • Decreased permit price for North Railroad Avenue (1500 block) parking from $45 to $25 per month, with permit required at all times;
  • Increased parking permit cost for Railroad Ave Garage (1215 Railroad) from $70 to $80 per month on floor two and from $95 to $105 monthly at the street level;
  • Increased permit cost for Central Avenue Lot (near Prospect Street post office) from $65 to $75 monthly, with permits required 7 a.m. to 6 p.m. Monday-Friday.

Staff have been monitoring the use of the City’s off and on street parking permitted lots. It has been found that some lots are underutilized while others are exceeding target occupancy rates. As of December 2022, there is a significant waiting list at the Railroad Garage and at the Central Lot. We are looking to employ best parking management strategies of maintaining industry standard occupancy rates at 85% by adjusting the pricing models for these locations.

The City has underutilization in several other permit locations. We are looking to increase occupancy in those areas to support the use of the facility for intended purposes and increase available parking spaces on the downtown streets.

Learn more by watching the recorded December 12, 2022 City Council meeting and viewing the supporting documents (Agenda Bill 23571).

Downtown Permit Locations and Rates

Map of downtown Bellingham with red lines showing where paid parking is and squares to indicate where permit lots are.
Click on the map to open a PDF version.

Current rates for off-street permit parking (please note these rates changed in February 2023, see Parking Permit Price Changes above):

LocationMonthly Rate
Commercial Street Garage (1300 Commercial St)
* Permit required 7 a.m. to 6 p.m. Monday through Friday
Floors 2-5: $30
Mezzanine (alley access): $95
Railroad Avenue Garage (1215 Railroad Ave)
* Permit required 7 a.m. to 6 p.m. Monday through Friday
Floor 2: $80
Street level: $105
Depot Market Lot/South Lot (1100 Railroad Ave)
* Permit required 7 a.m. to 6 p.m. Monday through Friday
This lot may be closed during events, including the Saturday Farmers Market when in session.
Central Avenue Lot (West of Prospect St)
* Permit required 7 a.m. to 6 p.m. Monday through Friday

Rates for on-street permit parking:

LocationMonthly Rate
North Railroad Lot (1500 block Railroad Ave)
* Permit required at all times

Fairhaven Permit Locations and Rates

Map of Fairhaven with red lines along the blocks between approximately 8th Street, Mckenzie Ave, Finnegan Way, and 13th Street. One permit parking area on McKenzie Ave.
Click on the map to open a PDF version.

Rates for on-street permit parking:

LocationMonthly Rate
McKenzie Avenue Lot (1000 block McKenzie Ave)
* Permit required 7 a.m. to 6 p.m. Monday through Saturday

Apply for a New Parking Permit

​Learn more about parking permits.

Pay For Existing Parking Permit Fee

  • Via the Online Customer Portal.
  • In person at the Finance Office in City Hall.
  • Mail a check; please reference your customer number.

Update Current Parking Permit

Make permanent or temporary changes to your vehicle or contact information​:

  • Via the Online Customer Portal
  • If you do not have customer portal access, email with your name, permit or customer number if known, the vehicle license plate number, and vehicle description. Please let us know whether this is a permanent or temporary vehicle change. If temporary, include how long you will be parking this vehicle. We will update your permit record in the parking system so the vehicle will register as being permitted.​
  • In person at City Hall.

Residential Parking Permits

A residential parking zone has been established for certain streets within Bellingham city limits. To find out if your street is included in any of the zones, review the residential parking zone section​ ​of the Municipal Code for a list of the streets and rules governing the residential parking zones within the City. Residential Parking Permits are provided at no cost to residents within the parking zones.

Commercial Parking Permits​

The City of Bellingham offers Commercial Parking Permits (formerly “Mechanics Vehicle Permits”). This allows in-home healthcare providers, contractors, and other tradespeople who frequently work downtown or Fairhaven to park without paying meter or pay station fees while performing work. 

  • Cost: $250 per year per permit. Rate covers January through December and is not prorated. Can submit one application for multiple permits.
  • Permit can be shared by vehicles with the same company signage. Signage is to be permanent.
  • Virtual permits are used, meaning hangtags are not needed. Vehicle license plates are scanned to confirm permits.
  • Terms of use are on the permit application.
  • Purchase a permit from Parking Services in the Finance Department at City Hall, 210 Lottie St., in person or by mailing a completed application and check payable to the:
    • City of Bellingham
      Finance Department
      210 Lottie Street
      Bellingham, WA 98225

Low-Income Discount Permit Parking

The City of Bellingham offers an 80% reduction for full-time residents of subsidized low-income housing located within a parking management zone that is eligible for the utility discount established in BMC 15.04.070(C), subject to a limit of one discounted permit per household per permit period.


Contact City of Bellingham Parking Services at (360) 778-7780 or We are located in the Finance Office of City Hall at 210 Lottie Street.