ROYAL OAK, Mich. – Frustration for parking in Downtown Royal Oak is growing, and so has the pushback.
In November, the city installed a new parking system. Over the last several months, the city has taken feedback from drivers to update the program, but some community members would rather the new meters be removed all together. Click here to see the petition.
Maryn O’Brien, who works at Lost and Found vintage clothing store downtown, worked with one of the store owners to create the petition. In a matter of weeks, they’ve collected more than 1,100 signatures.
As of Wednesday morning, more than 1,500 signatures had been collected.
“Unfortunately, a petition doesn’t guarantee action, but it does guarantee responsibility,” O’Brien said.
Her hope is the petition gives an honest reflection of the Downtown Royal Oak community.
“A lot of the surveys that have been sent out for the city haven’t been very well distributed in a way that’s going to get the vast majority of who actually comes into downtown and frequents these areas,” O’Brien said.
She said regular shoppers and sellers of Lost and Found are having a hard time with the new system.
“They’ve actually told us to our faces that they’re considering not coming back because they’ve had so many fines, so many tickets, so many just consequences of just trying to park and use the system that’s been installed down here,” said O’Brien.
Customers reportedly say the difficulty of backing into a space, confusing technology and a two-hour time limit are to blame.
Royal Oak police Deputy Chief Keith Spencer admits there were problems, but says they’ve been fixed along the way.
“We’ve had some feedback from the public in using the system as we’ve continued to build this out. And we’ve taken that feedback and we’ve worked with our NPS partners to identify potential issues and make system enhancements,” said Spencer.
Royal Oak’s Downtown Development Authority is stepping in, and last week its board approved a new parking study. The city hasn’t had a parking study done for the downtown area since 2018.
The study may bring clarity on a solution for drivers, businesses and city officials. The study will look at parking across the downtown area -- more details are available in the PDF below.
“We’d have to wait to see what that study says and how it details out how either this system or different system works, Spencer said.
Would you like to share feedback on downtown parking with the city of Royal Oak? Click here to find out how.