Your Spokane Parking Advisory Committee (PAC) has been hard at work.
The PAC, overseen by staff at the Downtown Spokane Partnership, was established as an outcome of the Downtown Parking Update that was completed in 2011 and passed by City Council in June of 2013. The PAC advises the City on operations of the parking system and also investment of parking meter net revenue. Represented on the PAC are property owners, large and small business owners, downtown residents, workers, City of Spokane, Spokane Arts and Spokane City Council. The PAC identifies and vets project funding priorities for metered areas and presents a final slate of opportunities to the City Council, who approves fund distribution.
Late last month the Spokane City Council approved a proposal presented by the Spokane Parking Advisory Committee (PAC) to reinvest parking meter funds into beatification and streetscape projects in the downtown area.
Current and future recommendations for investments are the “frosting on the cake,” continuing to improve the experience that citizens and visitors receive in downtown.
Downtown businesses benefit from parking meter revenue investment because it provides an opportunity to ensure that sidewalks are as integrated into the downtown experience as the business itself. Businesses benefit when their sidewalks are attractive, functional, and well maintained.
The public benefits from the continued application of parking meter revenue to downtown streetscapes by gaining a more attractive, functional, vibrant downtown. Visitors to downtown will have an improved pedestrian experience through easily accessible parking meters, enhanced landscaping, ambient and decorative lighting, and improved sidewalks, all or part of it funded through parking meter revenue.
2015 recommended investments:
- Increased availability of on-street parking on Main between Division and Brown, more lighting, landscaping, and bike parking to support growing demand. This area has been identified as a key link between downtown’s major districts including the University District, Downtown Business Improvement District and retail and convention area. City Councilman Snyder, City staff and business owners in this area are meeting to determine what the final shape of these improvements will be.
- Street tree improvement on Main Ave between Howard and Stevens. Concrete lids will removed and replaced by metal grates on 22 trees in this two block area, allowing for work on the sub-surface electrical and irrigation systems to be completed. At completion, LED lights will be installed, extending the tree lighting currently located on Main between Lincoln and Howard.
- The installation of high-durability bike racks throughout downtown.
Previously approved investments:
- Hanging flower baskets in the downtown core and at the Division off-ramp/gateway.
- A streetscape enhancement plan, nearing completion.
- Contribution to the Division off-ramp/gateway construction.
- The Spokane Falls Blvd/Division traffic triangle (Convention Center) capital plan which will add significant new landscaping and public art elements to this location. The project will begin in late summer/early fall.
Overall, investment of parking meter revenue into downtown’s public realm is resulting in projects which are improving the quality of the downtown experience and is beginning to have a noticeable impact, both at our gateways and in the downtown core.