Free Parking Downtown Keeps Getting Scarcer
If you're like me, you know of places close to downtown where parking is free. Within walking distance of most major venues, these locations were a Godsend. Until now.
The city announced this week that they will be seeking to eliminate free parking along Ionia north of I-196, along Grandville near Founder's Brewery, and on the west side on Scribner, north of the newly redeveloped Bridge Street NW corridor.
City officials say it's more about managing parking issues near downtown than a money grab, but many people beg to differ.
Steve Dowhan, who works near the Scribner free spots getting gobbled up, recently told WOOD-TV 8 that the city created the problem they're now claiming to solve.
“They have no consideration for the people downtown who need to park,” Dowhan said. “They’re just approving project upon project and not allotting for any parking.”
City Parking manager Josh Naramore feels Dowhan's pain, telling WZZM-13, "The city's approach is sort of managing it from two different sides which is to manage the demand and provide more options for people. Providing more options means, how can we build and construct new parking ramps, like there's one behind the Van Andel arena, that's scheduled to be constructed more than double parking that area of town.
"But also looking at remote surface lots and utilizing our transit service to shuttle people into downtown."
That's wishful thinking say some downtown business people frustrated by both the cost and the lack of parking options.
Here's the areas the city is seeking to add paid parking.