Jeff Humphrey

Stop Plugging Parking Meters

Jeff Humphrey, Media Content Coordinator, 509.625.6308

Wednesday, August 30, 2017 at 11:51 a.m.

It’s Justin Harding’s job to make sure you can find a place to park your car when you visit downtown Spokane.

The problem is, people who work downtown want those convenient curbside parking spots as well.

“We’ve noticed, by and large, it’s usually employees who work at the businesses. They come out, they put a little time on it at lunch time and try to get through the rest of the day,” Harding, a parking enforcement officer said.

That’s why the City of Spokane is trying to get perennial parkers to stop plugging meters.        

It’s a hard sell, but downtown businesses are depending on daily commuters to free up some parking spaces.

Harding worries, “if they have to circle the block two or three times to find adequate parking, they’ll sometimes drift up north to one of the malls or, they’ll just shop on line.”

And that’s why time is running out for workers who routinely plug meters.

Parking enforcement officers are trying to wean people off their coin dropping habit by leaving behind warnings that look like bookmark for drivers who have stayed beyond their time limit. 

Harding feels, “as long as you’re sharing the space and leaving it at the appropriate time its gives more opportunity for another citizen to pull in and use that same prime space.”

So this summer, the City launched an educational campaign called “Park Like a Pro”, along with tips on finding more affordable long term parking.

Beginning in September, you might even find a friendly bookmark reminder on your windshield, even if you still have time on your meter.

“Our actual intent is to ensure, with the limited amount of spaces that we have, a maximum amount of the citizenry can utilize and share that space,” Harding said.

But Harding knows these two-hour restrictions don't sit well with people who think as long as there is time on the meter, their car is legally parked. But the windshield warnings will be replaced with real tickets beginning October 1st.

The plugging prohibition comes at a time when the City is expanding the number of 12-hour meters. For around four bucks, you can use your phone to buy a parking spot that’s yours for the keeping all day long.

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