Kirstin Davis, Communications Manager, Neighborhood & Business Services, 509.625.7773
Tuesday, April 21, 2020 at 5:05 p.m.
One of the first City of Spokane departments to spring into action to respond to the impacts of COVID-19 was Parking Services. When it was announced that restaurants and bars could no longer provide table service and only take-out, the City launched a campaign called #OrderUpSpokane. Parking Services jumped in to make it more convenient for people to access downtown businesses by placing FREE 10 –Minute Parking signs in metered areas near locations.
“Within a day we had hundreds of 10 minute curbside parking signs made and installed near restaurants downtown to make it easier for customers to access their favorite places,” says Kris Becker, Director of Parking Services.
Establishments like Indaba Coffee on Broadway Avenue were able to request signs at their location to open on-street space for customer convenience and to keep their business flowing. Their request was made in the morning and within hours the Parking Services team was able to install signage even though there weren’t meters in that area.
Parking for local business wasn’t the only situation that needed quick response. In order to accommodate the need for additional space around emergency rooms, the hospitals needed street parking reserved in the right of way around their facilities. Within hours, meter bags were put in place in order for additional staging areas to be activated.
The following week Governor Inslee issued the Stay Home, Stay Healthy order; and again, Parking Services went to work providing solutions for City of Spokane citizens. The 72 hour time limit for street parking was suspended to support the strategy for people to stay in their residences. Enforcement revised their citation parameters and complaints continue to be taken through 311. For example, you can still can get ticketed for blocking alley’s, parking in no-parking areas, parking in Commercial Loading Zones without a permit, or safety issues. The City will still tow vehicles, if they are a danger to the public, or blocking the right of way. Booting vehicles on the scofflaw list, or vehicles that have four or more unpaid parking violations at collections is currently suspended.
Additionally, residential parking passes were allowed to be used at any meter to reduce the burden on essential workers. And in order to protect citizens and Parking Services staff, all on-street and metered parking areas were no longer collecting payment by coin, credit card or the Passport app.
Parking Services employees are versatile too! Two employees from Parking Services, which is mostly suspended during the COVID-19 response, reported to Spokane Parks and Recreation Operations to begin a temporary work assignment. The Parking Services employees volunteered to do work similar to a Park Caretaker. Parks hasn’t been able to add their normal temporary/seasonal crew for park maintenance because of COVID response and needed help. Their assignment will continue until there is work available in their home department.
Just like any other place of operation, regular business needs to move forward as the City is in the midst of implementing new technology and systems based on the Downtown Parking Study. Once the community starts to recover and move towards normalcy, the plan will need to be ready to move forward and updated equipment ready to be placed on the streets.
For the most up to date information regarding Parking Services, please visit the City of Spokane website.