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Study Urges New Tech, Dynamic Pricing for City’s Parking | Government Technology

Overall, the report found a disjointed system that led to a “confusing, fragmented and frustrating experience” for motorists and stifled downtown’s vibrancy.

The study area — which included the downtown core, Spokane County government campus, the Spokane Arena and the South Hill hospitals — has more than 37,000 parking spaces. About 85 percent of them are off-street and privately-owned, and their rates are more than two times the cost of the remaining 15 percent of spaces, which are on-street and owned by the city.

On average, off-street parking in the core costs $2.65 an hour and on-street $1.19 an hour. The disparity in cost, the study said, prompts people to circle the block looking for an open meter and increasing congestion. It also encourages people to pump meters and stay parked in the most convenient spaces for long hours.

Beyond identifying downtown parking’s shortfalls, the study quantified the state of Spokane parking. During the busiest times of day, most parking spots are open. On weekdays between 10 a.m. and noon, occupancy peaks at 56 percent.

Of 1,900 people who responded to a survey, 68 percent said they drove alone to downtown, 20 percent carpooled, 4 percent took transit, 3 percent walked and 2 percent bicycled.

Sixty-eight percent said proximity to their destination was an important factor for parking location, 55 percent said cost and 45 percent said ease of finding a spot was most important.

Seventy percent said they could always find a spot within two blocks of their destination.

The study found that 7 percent of parkers overstayed their time limits in front of River Park Square, the “most convenient on-street spaces” in the core.

In 2018, the city collected $3.17 million in meter revenue and $1.25 million in citation revenue. The study predicted the city would collect $5.2 million in meter revenue in 2024.

The owner of the most parking is Diamond Parking, with 16 percent, followed by the city, with 15 percent.

The study criticized the city’s pricing and payment systems, as well as the “wayfinding” directions to lots, as “confusing and uncoordinated.” This leads unhappy drivers to ignore most parking options and concentrate their parking efforts in specific, limited areas of downtown.

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Study Urges New Tech, Dynamic Pricing for City’s Parking.

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