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City to replace entertainment district signs

Thu., March 12, 2009, 3:51 p.m.

The City of Spokane will replace the signs it placed last month on meters in the new downtown Entertainment Parking District in an attempt clear up confusion over who can park there, and for how long.

The city has mandated special rules for parking in a three-block area around the Fox, Knitting Factory and Bing theaters. On those streets, persons with disability plates or stickers on their cars can only park for four hours at a time. In all other parts of downtown, cars with disability plates or stickers can park for an unlimited amount of time.

Last month the city had put up signs that resembled the standard disabled parking symbol – a white stick figure in a wheelchair on a blue background – with another sign that said “4 hour limit.” Those signs were attached to meters with varying time limitations on them, and in areas not normally reserved for the disabled, causing confusion among drivers.

City officials said the changes in parking rules are needed to give the entertainment facilities in the district greater ability to block off sections of the street to unload musical instruments, stage equipment or the audience for their shows.

But the signs, designed by the city Street Department, were confusing to many motorists, said Marlene Feist, city spokeswoman.

The blue and white signs were “an automatic don’t park there if you’re not disabled,” Feist said Thursday. “When you put up a sea of them, it said to the average citizen ‘I can’t park here.’”

The city will remove the signs from the meters and post new ones on the corners that say “disabled parking limited to 4 hours” and an icon of a car being towed away.

Feist said the signs will be switched out over the next week as Street Department crews get time. The old signs will probably be recycled, and the change will cost “a few hundred dollars,” she estimated.

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