By Johnny Matias
On Sept. 1, the City of Grand Rapids raised the prices of many parking meters downtown and elsewhere.
Meters, which were previously $1.25 an hour, have been raised to $1.50 an hour, and meters that were priced at 50 and 75 cents per hour have been raised to $1. Simultaneously, the city will be expanding public transportation services downtown. The Silver Line will now be free for those who get on and off north of Wealthy Street. The previous four DASH routes will be consolidated into two and modified to provide more service during non-peak times.
According to Josh Naramore, manager of Mobile GR and Parking, this was to shift the primary focus of the service from shuttling work-goers during peak hours to shifts around town, to now allowing workers and visitors to park once and use public transportation to get around downtown.
The rate increase was cited as a decision to use a demand system to determine parking prices rather than a proposed standard rate. Naramore said this change will free up parking for potential customers. “For businesses, if people are driving in an area and don’t see available parking, they’re just going to drive on by,” Naramore said. For visitors and workers hoping to get downtown, Naramore suggests, parking on surface lots on the West Side and using one of the newly expanded services, like DASH, to navigate downtown.