'Secret Santas' to plug parking meters starting Monday

Random acts of "free" parking kindness

Julie Happy, 509.625.7773, jhappy@spokanecity.org

Friday, December 4, 2015 at 5:19 p.m.

Each holiday season, City Parking Enforcement crews perform random acts of free parking kindness, plugging parking meters for unsuspecting downtown shoppers as they arrive at their parking spot. Beginning Monday, Dec. 7 through New Year’s Day, the City’s ten parking enforcement officers will be out randomly providing free parking to citizens Monday through Saturday, 8 a.m. to 7 p.m. (normal parking meter hours).

The tradition is a goodwill effort to encourage people to come downtown during the holiday season to celebrate and support downtown businesses. In 2014, the ‘Secret Santa’ parking enforcement officers donated approximately $700 in free parking – the equivalent of about 300 free parking opportunities in the downtown area.

“Some people think we’re playing a prank on them at first, so our parking officers get a kick out of that,” said David Steele, Economic Development Specialist with the City. “But this has been a really fun way to encourage people to support our downtown businesses as well as to say ‘thank you’ to those downtown shoppers.”

Money used to plug parking meters is donated from the City’s parking meter revenue funds.

The ‘Secret Parking Santas’ do NOT re-plug meters for vehicles already parked at a metered spot. Parking enforcement officers only plug the meters of drivers who have just pulled into an open space. Vehicles are not allowed to remain parked at a meter beyond the maximum time allowed by that meter, per Spokane Municipal Code, Section 16A.61.561.