City Council unanimously approves new parking meters

SPOKANE, Wash. - 20702150

The Spokane City Council unanimously approved a measure to bring new parking meters to the downtown area Monday evening.

The city will now spend $1.5 Million from the parking fund to purchase 800 credit card ready parking meters, with the first of them to be placed in downtown Spokane by mid-August.

But the new meters aren't sitting well with some Spokane drivers. "How dare you zero out a meter," Dave White, who spoke out against the meters, said.

The new parking meters would have a feature that zeros out a meter when the car parked there leaves. That means if you pay for an hour and only use 45 minutes that extra 15 minutes is lost; it doesn't get passed on to the next person looking for a spot.

"Come on let's get it real it's not that much money," White said.

These changes sparked outrage on KXLY's Facebook page but surprisingly White was one of only two people who spoke out against the changes at the Monday night meeting.

"It's always fun to find a meter that has an extra 20 minutes on it. It's like look what I found. I don't have to pay for 20 minutes but we have to remember it's a fee not an entitlement," Councilwoman Nancy McLaughlin said.

Each year parking meters generate about $4.4 million. Two million dollars of that goes to pay off the bond on Riverpark Square parking garage. Another portion pays for the parking system itself. The rest, which can be anywhere from $200,000 to $650,00 will be used for sidewalks, maintenance, beautification and line painting to name a few. Next year it will also pay the salary of two downtown police officers.

The new meters will also notify parking attendants when your time has expired. But with these meters, you can use your debit and credit card along with change.

A five minute grace period will also be given and new technology will allow drivers to extend time and find a spot straight from your smart phone.

The city's plan calls for 1,350 credit card ready meters to be placed downtown by 2016.