Downtown Parking Study

Parking Study Timeline

Where we are with the Study

We are now entering Phase 2 of the Parking Study and the second phase is all about strategy development.

Nelson-Nygaard submitted key findings from the inventory stage of the Parking Study. Here is what they found regarding number of parking spaces:

  • there are 36,819 total spaces
  • 5,378 of these parking spaces are on-street, and
  • the remaining 31,441 parking spaces are in off-street lots and garages.

Nelson-Nygaard also observed parking demands at various times throughout the day. Here is what they found regarding use of spaces:

  • the City has a large number of available spaces, but parking can still be hard to find in key locations. These locations include:
    • the downtown core
    • the Hospital District
    • Kendall Yards area
    • near the courthouse and the freeway viaduct

OF NOTE: During peak hours, about 40 percent of the City's overall parking spaces are not being used.

Nearly 1,900 parking users participated in a parking survey in May, with the majority of participants being downtown employees or shoppers. The top three issues with downtown parking according to the survey were:

  • Off-street parking is too expensive.
  • Not enough available parking space at all times and locations, and
  • On-street time limits being too short.

As a result of the study and survey Nelson/Nygaard will be focusing on creating strategies for seven categories of improvement:

  • Maximize use of existing parking supply.
  • Optimize management policy and programs.
  • Enhance administration and operations.
  • Make parking simple to find and use.
  • Update City policy and zoning code.
  • Reduce parking demand.
  • Support strategic investments in shared supply.

For the next three months Nelson-Nygaard will be developing strategies that coincide with the categories of improvement.

Parking System Assessment

Ultimately, the State of the System Report establishes a shared understanding of what works well and what can be improved regarding parking in the downtown area. A primary focus of the Parking System Assessment is the summary of the parking inventory - the number and type of parking spaces, and level of parking demand in downtown.

The State of the System Report also summarizes:

  • existing work to date including stakeholder interviews,
  • community feedback,
  • data analysis,
  • documentation of key issues and challenges.

The report facilitates a robust and productive discussion of potential improvements and will set the framework for the next stages of the project.

Why are we doing a study?

Downtown Spokane is changing and the City is looking at parking as a key component to economic development and growth. The study will help to identify current parking conditions and create opportunities to hear from people who park downtown. Understanding business and residential parking needs supports strategies that promote community goals to create a workable plan.

The City contracted Nelson\Nygaard Consulting Associates to take a comprehensive approach to parking as part of the 2018 Update to the Downtown Plan.

Spokane is in a new era of vitality and diversity. Getting parking 'right' is essential to helping the City achieve its larger goals. We are excited to be working with the City, the community, and its partners to ensure the parking system supports all user types, while driving sustainable economic growth.

Phil Olmstead, Nelson/Nygaard Consulting Associates

The study will help us to identify current parking conditions, create opportunities to hear from people who park downtown, understand business parking needs, and develop parking strategies that support community goals for economic development, housing, and transportation.

What will the study address?

The study will look at many aspects of the parking system including where cars are parked and at what days and times, along with all modes of travel (biking, walking, and transit). This closer look will help identify what is working and what can change to effectively manage parking on the curb. Freight traffic, land uses, and pick up/drop off locations also drive the parking environment. Other components such as parking rates, payment systems, and finding parking are sure to improve the parking experience.

Further, many other planning projects are active that will benefit the study, such as the Central City Line, 2015 Pedestrian Plan, and Bicycle Master Plan. Coordination between these efforts are underway to support downtown development. Downtown Spokane has many projects underway and the ongoing development is being considered and integrated into the study, including Riverfront Spokane and a Spokane Regional Sportsplex concept for the north bank of the river.

Previous Parking Studies

See the last two parking studies:


For more information, contact MySpokane by calling 311, or

Items of Interest