SPOKESMAN.COM - Motorists could soon face heftier fines for parking too long at downtown parking meters. The Spokane City Council is scheduled tonight to consider raising parking ticket fines from $15 to $25.
"It's bringing us in line with a lot of metropolitan areas," said Council President Joe Shogan, who supports the change. "These aren't parking rates. These are fines that people get for over-parking."
But some downtown businesses question the increase. Parking fines were last raised in 2004, when they went from $10 to $15.
"There's already this false sense that downtown is overpriced for parking and difficult to navigate, and anything that makes that falseness feel true – people just stop coming," said Melissa Opel, manager of the flagship Auntie's Bookstore at Washington and Main. "If they keep on increasing the fines people will just stop shopping downtown."
The Downtown Spokane Partnership recommends holding off on raising fines at least until after the council is presented with the final results of a downtown parking study next month, said Marla Nunberg, vice president of the organization. That will allow the council to "take a more holistic approach," she said. The downtown business group paid $20,000 toward the $46,000 parking study; the rest was covered by the city.
Some council members say they'd prefer to wait to consider fine increases until the study is complete.