SPOKANE, Wash. — Progress and construction will soon attract more people who want to live in downtown Spokane. Vacancy rates in Spokane County are pushing the city for more apartments and homes.
"What we've got is an 18% vacancy rate in our offices,” Spokane City Council President Ben Stuckart said.
But since new apartments are being built, many people had the question: What about parking?
We spoke with a few people in downtown Spokane to get their thoughts on the issue.
"I think it's really congested downtown, there's really no where to park it's kind of a hassle and it doesn't make me want to enjoy The restaurants in the bars that are downtown because there's just no where to park,” Tim Willson said.
"I think it's definitely going to make parking harder. Usually what I have to do is park in the mall parking lot and it kind of sucks because sometimes I am only down here a couple minutes,” Spokane resident Phaedra Castro said.
Others are just hoping for the best.
"I'm assuming that they are going to have their own parking there so I have no idea,” Michelle Lobdell, who lives in Spokane, said. "It may create an issue."
On a given day, many of us play the same game, circling the block until a spot opens.
"All day, as soon as I see a spot I'm cutting four lanes of traffic, you know what I mean? I'm hopping over,” Willson said.
"I think it's really hard to get parking downtown, super hard. And I come downtown a lot,” Castro said.
Stuckart agrees with many of these concerns when it comes to the future of downtown parking which is why he is looking for a solution to both this problem and the vacancy issue.
"We've been working with Senator Billig on a bill that he is sponsoring in the legislature that would allow us to get a tax incentive to build up on vacant lots, so that would be if somebody wanted to build an office building or covered parking garage,” Stuckart said.
Stuckart also said he and Mayor David Condon have gone to Seattle to speak with parking companies and get advice.
"The more people there are, you know, the more congested it's going to be. So, I just think they need to figure it out,” Willson said.
Stuckart said the city is planning to do just that.
"You can only build so much and you want a lot of retail downtown and you want a lot of people living there, but there are people here at city hall that are thinking about it every day,” Stuckart said.
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