SPOKANE, Wash. – Big changes are coming to parking in Downtown Spokane.
The city is looking to get tough against people who camp out at parking meters. It could lead to more freed up spots, but at a cost if you do not follow the rules.
By estimates from the city, 40 percent of folks using meters are staying there all day long and finding a spot to park can be downright hard.
"I'll circle the blocks to find the perfect spot. If I don't find it, I'll have to go somewhere else," said Travis Bruce.
To prevent that annoyance, Bruce once decided to camp out at a two hour parking meter. He was parked for hours, filling it up with money throughout the day. But, it was not enough to keep him from getting hit with a ticket.
"It was only 10 dollars but it was 10 dollars I could've spent elsewhere," said Bruce.
Plenty of people have suffered the same fate and soon, it could get even worse. Faced with an increase of so-called "meter feeders," city workers are getting tough. Under a new proposal, the city hopes to use license plate readers to find folks camped at parking meters. With the scan of a computer, the goal is to get parking spots freed up so more people have an equal chance to take in Downtown Spokane.
As far as the city is concerned, people using meters should be there for two hours and two hours only. After that, you are encouraged to find an entirely new spot. City officials say "meter feeders" prevent other folks from doing business Downtown, potentially robbing nearby shops of revenue. Bruce says money in the machines should still count for something.
"You're spending the money already to park. It should be what it is," Bruce explained.
City leaders will be voting on this proposal 14 days from Friday. Should it pass, the changes will happen immediately. City leaders said they will have a new giant information campaign for weeks before anyone is actually ticketed.