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Wednesday, June 19, 2019  Spokane, Washington  Est. May 19, 1883
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Spokane City Council may loosen street parking rules in residential neighborhoods

UPDATED: Tue., June 11, 2019, 1:02 p.m.

Cars parked in Browne’s Addition in 2001. (Torsten Kjellstrand / The Spokesman-Review)
Cars parked in Browne’s Addition in 2001. (Torsten Kjellstrand / The Spokesman-Review)

The Spokane City Council may triple the time people can leave their cars in front of their homes without getting parking tickets.

The proposal would allow people to leave their cars in front of their homes for 72 hours instead of 24 hours. Boats and motor homes could be parked in front of a home for 48 hours.

Councilwoman Karen Stratton, who sponsored the ordinance, said constituents and city employees contacted her after receiving parking tickets for leaving their cars in front of their homes for more than a day. She said many homes in the city’s poorest or oldest neighborhoods were also built without driveways or street parking in mind, leaving residents with few options.

Stratton said the city has encouraged people to take the bus or find alternative transportation, and shouldn’t penalize people who leave their cars at home.

Arielle Anderson, a West Central resident who contacted Stratton with parking concerns, said her neighborhood has had several issues with parking tickets over the last few years. She said her first issue with parking enforcement was for a red pickup she parked in front of her home that she only used on clean-up projects on the weekends. She has since sold the pickup, but is concerned about getting more parking tickets this summer, when she doesn’t have to drive her son to school every day.

Anderson said the new rules wouldn’t have prevented her issue with parking her pickup, but it could be a short-term solution for people leaving their cars in front of their own homes.

“I think it’s a move in the right direction,” she said.

Councilman Breean Beggs, who represents the South Hill and downtown, said the Cliff and Cannon street neighborhoods have also had issues with street parking and tickets. He said tickets are mostly complaint-based, but the council is concerned that neighborhoods close to downtown may be getting tickets even if their neighbors haven’t called in to complain.

He said the council may also give people a week, instead of three days, to leave their cars in front of their homes.

Mayor David Condon’s administration has asked the City Council to hold off on the new parking laws over fears that it could make parking rules harder to enforce.

City Spokeswoman Marlene Feist said law enforcement and the city’s legal department are concerned that giving motor homes two days instead of one to move could make it more difficult for police to approach people illegally living in motor homes. If police have to wait a few days to resolve an issue with a vehicle that may be parked illegally, it could slow down the process.

She said the city also had concerns about how the rules could affect snow plows in the winter.

“It might create unintended consequences,” she said.

Feist said the administration wasn’t opposed to most of the proposal and wanted more time to see how the new law could affect parking enforcement.

Depending on feedback from the public, or other council members, Stratton said the council may amend the ordinance to change the time limits before they vote on it at the meeting Monday.

“We’re just trying to find something reasonable and fair,” Stratton said.

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