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Spokane, Washington  Est. May 19, 1883
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News >  Spokane

Coinage-free street parking coming soon

You can give all that change to the barista now.

Spokane is bringing in the first of what may be many parking pay stations that will accept debit and credit cards.

For the time being, downtown visitors will find the pay stations only on the north side of Main Avenue between Lincoln and Howard and in the City Hall parking lot, said Dave Mandyke, Spokane’s deputy director of public works.

Each block’s centrally located pay station will take the place of meters at each parking spot.

Drivers buy a ticket for the amount of time desired and then display it inside the front, curb-side window of their car.

The time-stamped receipt will show when paid parking expires.

The city is planning to test the system starting Feb. 16, Mandyke said.

Studies have shown that cities make more money on the pay stations than on meters.

The test period will last for about 90 days.

Oh, and if you still love using change, the pay stations will accept coins, too.

A shaggy dog on steroids

Most people think of an SUV as a monster-sized vehicle.

But the government has created its own really weird looking monster – something like a Saint Bernard crossed with a woolly mammoth – to teach you how to become a safer driver. The “Esuvee,” an SUV-sized beast, will be featured in television commercials, print ads and on a road trip across the country this year.

Ford Motor Company agreed to pay for the $27 million campaign as part of a settlement over state lawsuits alleging the company used its advertising to encourage people to improperly drive and load Ford Explorers.

The idea of the campaign is to appeal to the 18- to 34-year-old guy who is most likely to recklessly drive his SUV and be involved in a rollover.

In 2002 there were 2,448 deaths and 58,000 injuries in SUV rollovers in the United States. SUVs’ higher center of gravity makes the crashes more likely than with sedans.

Tips the Esuvee is supposed to teach drivers include:

Watch your speed.

Make sure cargo is distributed throughout the vehicle rather than just on top.

Regularly check tire pressure.

Buckle up. Eighty percent of the deaths in rollovers are unbelted people, many of whom are ejected from the SUV.

For a look at the beast, go to

Door-to-door service

From the “in case you didn’t know” file comes this tip about riding the bus in Spokane.

Spokane Transit Authority buses will stop at any location on a bus route after 7 p.m., even if it’s not a designated stop.

The policy is designed to increase bus passenger safety after dark.

Just tell the driver at least a block before the stop that you’d like a special drop-off.

Spring road restrictions

For those of you who missed it, Spokane County instituted last week its seasonal road restrictions on more than 100 miles of roads.

The restrictions are designed to prevent damage to the roads during the spring thaw, when road subsurfaces are often weakened by water accumulation.

The good news is that this year many of those restrictions won’t reduce speed limits for passenger vehicles.

County engineers found that such restrictions necessary for big rigs aren’t always necessary for lighter-weight cars and trucks.

Weight restrictions and any speed restrictions are posted on the affected roads.

For those who think this is coming early, the seasonal restrictions have been posted earlier.

In 2002 the county implemented them in early January.

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