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Vote delayed on permanent downtown parking rules

Alex Doty • Aug 29, 2017 at 10:00 AM

Grand Haven City Council is coming closer to making a permanent decision about parking rules that were implemented in several downtown parking lots earlier this summer.

City Council had an item on the agenda Monday night to make permanent the temporary parking rules in lots behind Kirby House, Grand Haven Brewhouse and Tri-Cities Historical Museum, and the Centertown lot between The Bookman and Michigan Auto. The agenda item was postponed for a week.

“We received some feedback today from one merchant who asked that we hold back,” City Manager Pat McGinnis said.

If approved by council, the rules would be in effect from May 1 through Nov. 1, between 8 a.m. to 6 p.m. According to McGinnis, the concern of the merchant was that they didn’t feel the restrictions needed to last all the way through the beginning of November, and instead could end around the Labor Day weekend.

“We will take a breath and look at it before we make it permanent,” McGinnis said Monday night.

The temporary parking rules were implemented in early June. With the delay, City Council is expected to weigh in on the topic during its next meeting on Tuesday, Sept. 5.

“There is no rush to it,” McGinnis said. “We’ve got 90 days to do something.”

Traffic control orders issued by the Grand Haven Department of Public Safety are temporary until either the order is made permanent by an action of City Council or it is rescinded if there is no such action within 90 days of the imposition of the order.

The changes to the parking rules are based on findings from a 2016 Wade-Trim parking study, which was accepted by the city’s Planning Commission, Main Street board and City Council in January. The study notes that while the downtown has a surplus of parking, specific areas in the district have a shortage, with surplus space located in other lots.

The idea behind the rule changes is to alleviate some of that stress and provide more opportunity for shoppers and diners to park without the city having to invest in expensive alternatives such as parking decks.

Other recommendations from the study include public awareness campaigns, shared parking agreements with private properties, improvements to wayfinding signs and maps, shuttle services, new parking lot striping, and better enforcement of parking regulations.

The study includes a list of long-term solutions that could be implemented, as well. Those options include lighting and safety enhancements, promotion of alternatives to vehicular traffic, consolidation of off-street parking areas, new off-street parking areas, and metered parking.

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