SPOKANE, Wash. -- Finding parking downtown in Spokane can be difficult sometimes but there are plans in the works to make it a little easier.
About seven percent of parking revenue comes from people using their phones to pay for a spot. The program is just getting started but soon it could get a lot bigger thanks to a potential expansion that will make it easier to park downtown.
Annika Stough works in downtown Spokane and has circled the downtown blocks time and time again trying to find a spot. To help people like her, the City of Spokane contracted with a new company to take over the phone-to-park program. That was earlier in 2017 and by all indications, the cooperation has worked. Not only are more people using their phones to park but there are also plans in the works to expand the program.
In the near future, city workers hope to expand the system so you can see which spots are open. Simply swiping your phone could save you the hassle of rounding the block over and over again.
"There's not really time to go and say 'Hey, I'm gonna wait for you to get out of your spot.’ So you go around the block a few times," Stough said.
City workers said the system will be similar to that of traffic signals. Sensors will detect when spots are both full and empty and let drivers know nearby.
“People don't have to carry around change. Everyone has a cell phone and they can use that to park at any of our meters," Jonathan Mallahan with the City of Spokane said.
Plans for the new system are just getting underway and it could be another year or two before it actually starts. When it does though, ease and efficiency, instead of ineffective, could be the new norm for parking downtown.
Potentially underscoring the need for an improved system, is other changes coming to downtown parking. There is a chance several downtown parking lots will be torn u, making competition for spots even more intense.