New Grand Rapids parking meters frustrating residents, business owners

GRAND RAPIDS, Mich. -- Earlier this month, Grand Rapids announced the addition of more than 100 new pay stations at parking spaces that were previously free. Drivers can pay at the meter or use the Motu app, but there is still some confusion about how it works.

Residents like Josh Cohen and Haile Kulczyk used to be able to park on the street in front of their Cherry Street apartment for free until the meters showed up.

"We’re parking at this closed building right here, on the weekends we’ll park at J&H Auto," says Cohen. "So we’re trying to figure out ways to park now that there’s meters."

Kulczyk adds that simply running errands around the neighborhood has suddenly become more difficult.

"We have to go to the laundromat and go grocery shopping and having to walk down the street with our groceries to get into our apartment, when originally we could just pull right up out front, is kind of an inconvenience."

It's also frustrating local store owners like Sandra Otte, who owns Under the Vines on Cherry Street. She fears the paid parking spaces will hurt business.

"We have a lot of older people that come during the day that frequent the Cherie Inn and a lot of them don’t have cellphones, they don’t do the computers and some of the them are handicapped, and it’s just going to be hard for them to understand how to put their license in and the pay."

Otte has two designated parking spaces outside her store, but she's worried about people parking there to avoid the meters.

Residents can purchase monthly parking passes but everyone else will have to pay to park Monday through Friday, from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m.

You can read the letter from the city with more details here.

View a map of all newly added paid parking spaces here.

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  • Papa

    It is sounding a lot like what happened in Pontiac, inside the “Loop” during their “Renaissance” years. I rented the entire 2nd floor of the A.C. Rich building with my brother, which is 19 N. Saginaw Street, the main drag in downtown Pontiac. It was the parking situation in front of our building and surrounding block that made it impossible for us to stay there after 2.5 years of dealing with it. The building proprietor was absolutely no help, leaving us with no option but to vacate. Sadly, downtown areas are not conducive to private residences. Period.

  • steve

    The city has a very bad and persistent habit of avoiding “what happens if…” before they make their decisions. When that happens, the question becomes “how do we fix it?”. Also, the vision of people falling in love with bicycles and buses is unrealistic because of two factors. One, the weather, and more importantly, people aren’t going to give up the personal flexibility afforded by their own vehicles. The Wannabe Big City concept simply won’t fly here..

  • Michael John Kulczyk

    As a business owner in one of these neighborhood business districts, I feel like we have worked very hard to build these districts and now the city wants to come in and get their piece of the pie. These are not benefits for the districts, they are deterrents!

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