Drivers who have parked around Spokane’s River Park Square recently may have noticed the city’s on-street meters have received an upgrade.
Around 180 new parking meters were installed last week across the area west of North Washington Street to North Monroe Street and south of Spokane Falls Boulevard to First Avenue. The installations are part of an effort to revamp the city’s entire on-street parking system, which hasn’t been upgraded since the late 1990s, according to the city.
A total of 326 single-space meters were uninstalled with last week’s changeover. They were replaced by 145 dual-space meters as well as 36 single-space models. A dual-space meter serves two spaces.
Equipped with digital displays, the new meters can take credit/debit cards, coin and payments through the Passport or ParkMobile apps. They will also be color-coded: two-hour meters are purple, four-hour meters are blue and all-day meters are green.
All of the meters installed last week are two-hour meters.
While the meters are getting an upgrade, parking hours and rates are staying the same, though there is a minimum $1.20 charge when using a credit/debit card or the mobile app.
“It’s exciting to see the new meters on curbs and the thousands of hours of preparation by the team come to life to enhance the parking environment downtown,” Steve MacDonald, the city’s director of community and economic development, said in a statement.
As the city works through some backend kinks in the new meters, users may see some meters indicate “Payment Not Required” until those units can be activated, Public Works spokesperson Kirstin Davis said. If it says, “Payment Not Required,” parking is free at that space during regular parking hours.
“One thing parking customers should look for is that with the new dual-space meters, the parking meter may actually be at the rear of their vehicle and not in front like they are used to,” Davis said. “Parking enforcement is focusing on education and warnings at the new meters spaces while we go through this period of transition.”
Anyone who has any issues using the new meters can call 311.
Last week’s installations represent the first phase of the on-street parking upgrade project.
The city has 3,400 paid parking devices.
Phase 2, set to start in June, will install meters and kiosks east of North Washington Street to North Browne Street and Spokane Falls Boulevard south to First Avenue.
Davis said meters across the rest of the city will be replaced as funding is available. Outside of the downtown core covered with the first two phases, most metered units will be replaced with kiosks for every six to eight parking spaces, according to the city.
As the upgrades progress, city officials said drivers can expect a combination of new and old devices in the on-street paid area for a few years, according to a parking meter FAQ document. Old devices can only take coin and mobile payments.
While some of the posts used for the old meters will be removed, others will be repurposed for bicycle racks.