Spokane Parking by the Numbers - Nelson/Nygaard Parking Study Facts

Monday, August 6, 2018

(as reported in The Spokesman-Review by Nick Deshais)

Parking motorists of Spokane, some facts that may surprise you:

There are 36,819 parking spots in the core of Spokane.

Parking occupies 30 percent of the city core, which includes downtown, the University District, the Gonzaga University area and around the hospitals to the south.

About 85 percent of the parking spots are in privately owned off-street lots or garages, leaving just 15 percent on the curb.

Of the 5,378 curbside, on-street parking spots, 30 percent are free or unregulated.

At peak use, about 56 percent of spots are occupied, which means at the absolute busiest times of day, there are still more than 16,000 parking spots available.

About 30 percent of commercial loading zones are occupied illegally at any given time.

There are at least 13 ways people can pay for parking, leading to a “confusing and challenging” experience for motorists.

The average cost of off-street parking is $2.65 per hour, while on-street parking runs about $1.19 per hour.

Diamond Parking manages more parking spaces than the city of Spokane.

The city collects $2.3 million a year in coin transactions from parking meters.

From 2005 to 2027, the city has paid and will pay between $1.4 million and $2.3 million a year to pay off debt from the city’s 2005 settlement related to the River Park Square garage controversy. River Park Square is owned by subsidiaries of the Cowles Co., which also owns The Spokesman-Review.

The city of Boise has seven publicly owned and managed parking garages with 3,395 parking spots.

Spokane has no publicly owned garages.

There are about 250 million vehicles in the U.S., and upward of 850 million parking spaces nationwide.

Nearly 99 percent of automobile trips do not pay for parking directly.

American motorists spend an average of 17 hours a year searching for a parking spot, which equates to $345 per driver in wasted time, fuel and vehicle emissions.

It takes an average of eight minutes for motorists to find a spot in American downtowns, and 30 percent of city core congestion is caused by drivers cruising and searching for a parking spot.

A horse ring is still attached to the granite curb near the intersection of Main Avenue and Stevens Street in downtown Spokane, a remnant of Spokane’s past – before the personal automobile – when parking meant making sure the horse wouldn’t run off while you went to the apple store, to buy real apples.

Most of these statistics come from a study done by Nelson/Nygaard Consulting Associates, of San Francisco. The company is in the midst of creating a new parking plan and strategy for the city by February 2019, which will be the first major review of the city’s parking system since 2011.

Other numbers are from the U.S. Bureau of Transportation Statistics, the National Household Travel Survey, Seattle-based transportation consultant Inrix, budget documents from the city of Spokane, shoupdogg.com and Spokane Historical.

Trent Avenue roundabout open

The roundabout on Trent Avenue opened last week with little fanfare.

The roundabout at Perry Street and Iron Bridge Way will act as the eastern end of Martin Luther King Jr. Way when the road is completed. When the road will be open is still unclear, due to disagreement between the city and the owner of Brown Building Materials about the road’s route through the store’s parking lot.

City officials anticipate MLK Way being done in October.