The City Is Giving You A FREE Gift This Holiday Season! - Spokane, North Idaho News & Weather KHQ.com

The City Is Giving You A FREE Gift This Holiday Season!

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SPOKANE, Wash. - As part of citywide efforts to improve customer service, the City of Spokane is announcing a few changes to its parking system, including the gift of free parking during evening hours for the holiday season.

First, the gift:  Starting the day after Thanksgiving—Friday, Nov. 23—parking will be free at downtown meters after 5 p.m. The promotion will continue through Saturday, Jan. 5, to accommodate holiday shoppers. Parking meters usually have to be paid until 7 p.m.

The City's gift of free parking is part of an overall new approach to parking that focuses on the customer. The City's parking enforcement staff are now parking ambassadors. The ambassadors—re-branded from their heads to, well, their motorized parking interceptors—will provide directions and answer questions related to parking. They are now our Parking Services group and will work closely with the Downtown Spokane Partnership and downtown businesses.

The City also is making it easier to accommodate the vehicles of people who live in downtown.  As part of a pilot project, citizens who live in a limited number of buildings in west downtown can purchase a monthly parking pass that's good at 10-hour parking meters. They can get the passes through their building landlords. Next year the City will evaluate the test program for potential expansion to other parts of the city.

"People and activity make a vibrant downtown. We want to make it easier for people to live, work and play in our core.  Parking is part of that," says Jan Quintrall, the City's Division Director for Business and Development Services.

"We want to thank the City for their innovative new approach to parking," says Marla Nunberg, interim President of the Downtown Spokane Partnership (DSP). "I want to encourage people to take advantage of the free parking and the fun holiday offerings planned in downtown."

The DSP reminds us that there's lots to do downtown during the holiday season, including:

  • Holiday tree lighting and the arrival of Santa at River Park Square on Nov. 16.
  • Traditional horse and carriage rides.
  • Free ice skating at the Riverfront Park Ice Palace from participating retailers.
  • And, of course, lots of great shopping and dining.

For more information on what's happening downtown during the holidays, go to http://www.downtownspokane.org/holiday-season.php.

Over the last year, Mayor David Condon has implemented changes to enhance customer service.  The changes grew out of recommendations advocated by the Mayor's Transition Team and included in the Mayor's 100-Day Action Plan.

Last month, the City unveiled its new My Spokane customer service desk on the first floor of City Hall that's designed to provide citizens with an easier way to do business with the City.

The City also is working to improve customer service and communication with citizens in other ways.  The City is working on an update to its website, enhancing use of social media tools, and working to enhance the number of services that are offered online.

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