MAILBAG: Can I park downtown overnight?

Denise of Grand Haven asked, "What are the rules for parking overnight in downtown Grand Haven? Do I need some kind of permit? And if I do, where do I get it?"
Mark Brooky
Sep 10, 2012



Denise, it's all waiting for you at Grand Haven City Hall, 519 Washington Ave. Go right when you enter the front doors and stop by the clerk/treasurer's office.

You can also download the brochure from

In a nutshell, resident parking permits are only available to long-term downtown residents. They are $120 per year or $10 per month, and can be pro-rated. Residents may obtain either a resident parking permit or a transferrable parking permit.

You will have to complete the registration at the city clerk's office. Bring a proof of vehicle registration, proof of residency in the downtown district, and contact number for your landlord if you're renting.

You will hang the permit from your vehicle's rearview mirror.

There's more rules, too. See the brochure, which I've attached at the bottom (Related File).

Short-term renters can get a temporary resident parking permit from the clerk's office, too. That's $20 per month. The brochure has all that info.

Overnight visitors can obtain an overnight permit from the kiosk at the corner of First Street and Franklin Avenue. It's $5 per day.

If you have permit questions, call 616-842-3210. For enforcement and citation concerns, call 616-842-3460. After hours, on weekends, and holidays, call 616-994-7850.

Do you have a question for the Tribune? E-mail it to, and type MAILBAG in the subject line. Or mail it the old-fashioned way to: Grand Haven Tribune, MAILBAG, 101 N. Third St., Grand Haven, MI 49417. We'll do our best to get you an answer! A new Mailbag appears on at 5 p.m. Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays.



I don't understand why they cannot designate a parking lot for people who go to the bars and restaurants downtown and who may have partaken in some "adult beverages" and they don't want to get behind the wheel and decide to call a cab. If they leave their car, because they want to be responsible, they get towed and ticketed. They could find a parking lot, but the rules are that the cars must be out of the lot by 8am so the businesses could use it during business hours OR use the empty lot on 1st and Fulton. It's empty. It could save lives...


They used to have a parking pass system you just had to ask at a bar and they wrote a pass on a napkin and you put it on the dash of your car. Apparently it was stopping drunks from driving though and was decreasing revenue for the department so they did away with it.


Perfect solution... ask your bartender for a parking slip... I used that a few times and it worked great.

Tri-cities realist

It's all about the revenue, not making it easier for area residents to patronize local restaurants and bars, and if they've had one too many, take a cab home. For being responsible you get a ticket or towed. But I guess it's better than a DUI. Thanks GH city council.


yep, i was responsible and paid the price, thanks Grand Haven


Same thing for me,,over $300 in fines,,learned the
hard way,,thanks you Grand Haven


park in the municipal lot, the city does not tow or ticket there


If you park in the Municiple Marina parking lot you don't get a ticket-do it all the time!


As boaters who live in this community we occasionally stay at the municipal marina and we will have a car parked in the lo and you are right, it has never been towed. However on the weekends especially during the summer that lot is full and being used by people who pay for boat slips. Sometimes its not full and if someone can park there overnight, great. However the city needs a designated parking area for people who want to be responsible and not drink and drive. You don't need to be drunk in order to get arrested, maybe 2 drinks will put you over "their" limit.
Like I wrote in a previous comment, designate 1st and Fulton's empty lot as a "non-tow" lot. If they are concerned about revenue, charge $10-$20 a night to park. It's not hard to make changes, you just need people willing to make decisions.


You can always park a block away on the street as well and not be ticketed provided its not winter time (after Nov 1 I think).


It is crazy that the people get their car towed or ticketed because they needed to take a cab home from downtown. How does this make any sense?? I understand the condo lots which are residential situations but the lots available for public parking need to be available for those who need to call a cab. Maybe make them moved by 8 a.m. or sometime before the downtown stores reopen at 10 but definately stop making it hard for people to do the right thing and leave their cars downtown. I am sure it makes people not go downtown because they don't have the security of knowing if they have a couple of drinks at the downtown establishments they have an option of taking a cab. We keep giving people more and more reasons to not hang out downtown. The police tell us it only takes 2 drinks to get a DUI so people are more and more aware of the fact they shouldn't get behind the wheel. This is a good thing, not something they should be punished for. I absolutely don't understand this at all... I can't believe the city is doing this just because of financial gain, it makes no sense at all.


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