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New Spokane Parking Meters Won’t Allow You to ‘Pay It Forward’ — Will Zero-Out Leftover Time

Spokane to install new digital parking meters - no more extra time
(Photo by Justin Sullivan/Getty Images)

In the Lilac City, the days of putting extra money in the meter for “the next guy” will soon be gone.

In hundreds of communities across America, people often overfill their parking meter to make sure they don’t get a ticket, and whatever time is still leftover benefits the next motorist.

However, the City of Spokane this week unanimously approved the purchase of over 1,300 new digital parking meters that will accept change and credit or debit cards. But there’s a catch.

The meters will have technology that zeros out the time when a car leaves. While only a handful of people attended Monday’s city council meeting to comment, the new plan created a huge stir on local radio and television Facebook pages.

One such commenter said, “How dare you zero out the meter!” City Councilwoman Nancy McLaughlin said in a statement:

“It’s always fun to find a meter that has an extra 20 minutes on it. It’s like, ‘Look what I found. I don’t have to pay for 20 minutes.’ But we have to remember it’s a fee, not an entitlement.”

While the money from parking meters in Spokane does go to help pay for maintenance of downtown sidewalks and roads and the bond on the Riverpark Square Parking garage,  perhaps Councilwoman McLaughlin should remember parking meters have never been a big favorite of drivers in the first place.

The city will implement 800 of the meters in first phase with nearly 1,350 planned by 2016.

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