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Less is more, except in parking

MONDAY, JULY 16, 2007

The downtown life offers easy access to work, nightclubs, restaurants, shopping and cultural activities. What it doesn’t offer condo owners is much in the way of parking.

Condo owners pay premium prices for the cosmopolitan experience, but their luxury digs typically afford them just one parking space. In some cases, they have no on-site parking at all.

“It’s unusual to have two spaces for a condo,” said Patricia Sampson, a Spokane real estate specialist with RenCorp.

So those accustomed to two cars are learning how to make do with one or are catching parking when and where they can. Others park in off-site garages with limited access hours. What few are choosing to do is pay more for an extra spot when one is for sale.

A recent New York Times article told the stories of people willing to spend more than $200,000 for a Manhattan parking spot.

Spokane is a completely different story. Just one of three extra spots at The View condos in Spokane’s Browne’s Addition found a buyer at its $7,000 asking price, said Piper Peterson, who lives there with her husband.

“It seemed absolutely ridiculous to me,” said Peterson. Instead of buying an extra spot, the couple parks one vehicle in the building’s garage and their other car on the street.

Peterson said they don’t have trouble finding parking right in front of their building.

With things in walking distance, two cars aren’t necessary downtown, said Sampson. “Most people park their car and they walk everywhere,” she said.

That’s just what Ro Lisk and her husband do much of the time now that they live downtown in the Blue Chip Lofts.

“We’re learning how to live with one car. It’s turning out quite good,” Lisk said.

She and her husband are retired and try to plan activities that require driving around each other’s schedules. It works, Lisk said, but would be more difficult if they were both working and still had children at home.

“The reality is if people are thinking about long-term living downtown, they’re thinking ‘we really can live with one car,’ ” said downtown developer Ron Wells.

When his business, Wells and Company, penciled out a way to add a garage with a second car park to their Morgan Building project, they found out it would cost $18,000 per space for 30 spaces – more than the market would bear. They kept it at the one surface space they already had per unit.

All but five of the 28 units in the building have sold, Wells said. Still, some have balked at the prospect of just one parking space.

“We sort of look at it in Spokane as almost a constitutional right to have a place to park,” Wells said with a laugh.

Not Jonathan Smith. He owns a condo in the Oakley-Minnesota Building on First Avenue. It doesn’t have any on-site parking. Instead Smith parks his car at a nearby garage.

The one problem is that garage is accessible only from 6 a.m. to 7 p.m. weekdays. That accommodates Smith’s work schedule, but not if he wants to play golf on the weekend.

“Recently I’ve just restricted my activities to anything downtown,” he said. It’s that or plan for rides.

Parking on the street isn’t an option, Smith explained, because the last time he did that his car was broken into by thieves.

Still, Smith said he doesn’t regret moving into his condo. “It suits me. I’m single. I don’t have a family,” he said. “From a living and entertainment perspective there are a lot of pluses.”

Cleaner buses

Spokane Transit bus exhaust will be 90 percent cleaner by the end of the summer.

STA was given a $268,000 grant to reduce emissions and is installing new filtration systems on 83 of its buses.

The buses will be retrofitted with filters to catch vaporized oil and others to remove particles from the exhaust.

Passport Saturdays

The U.S. Postal Service will offer Saturday passport processing services this week and next at its Liberty Park Station at 1602 E. Sprague Ave.

The service is available on those days from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Applicants need to bring proper ID (Social Security number, driver’s license or photo ID and a certified birth certificate). Children under age 13 need to come with both parents.

The Saturday dates will add convenience, but applicants should still expect to wait about three months for their passports.

Slow going


I-90 has been reduced to two lanes in each direction in downtown Spokane for the viaduct repair project. Speed limits are reduced.

The downtown exits remaining open are eastbound Maple/Walnut, eastbound Division (for southbound traffic only), eastbound Hamilton, westbound Second Avenue, westbound Hamilton and westbound Division.

On-ramps remaining open are eastbound Browne, eastbound Hamilton and westbound Maple.

The Sullivan exits and on-ramps are closed.

North Spokane

Washington Street is completely closed from Indiana to Boone today and Tuesday, as is the intersection of Washington and Boone. Many side streets in this area will also be closed.

Ash Street is closed from Francis Avenue to Northwest Boulevard.

Highway 395/Division and Hastings Road work has created numerous lane restrictions. The speed limit has also been reduced in that area to 35 mph.

Liberty Avenue is closed from Madelia Street to Pittsburg Street, and Pittsburg is closed from North Foothills Drive to Bridgeport Avenue for repaving.

Mill Road is closed from about Addison Road to Arrow Court for sewer work.

South Spokane

Northbound U.S. Highway 195 is reduced to one lane in several places between Spangle and Hatch Road, and the speed limit is reduced to 45 mph in work zones.

Southeast Boulevard is closed from Perry Street to Third Avenue.

Spokane Valley

Sullivan is closed from Mission Avenue to Indiana Avenue.

Eighth Avenue is closed from Thierman Road to Carnahan until July 23.

Upriver Drive is closed from near Boulder Beach to a few blocks west of Argonne Road. The Centennial Trail is closed along the same stretch.

Highway 27 is reduced to single-lane traffic near 46th Avenue from 9 a.m. to 3:30 p.m.


Sections of I-90 may be reduced to single lanes between 7 p.m. to 5:30 a.m. Mondays to Saturdays from the state line through Coeur d’Alene. Speeds will be reduced to 55 mph.

Highway 95 work north of Worley will cause delays between Setters Road and Bellgrove Road as flaggers direct traffic.

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