Parking System Changes in the City of Grand Rapids

Parking is only one part of the overall mobility solution that is necessary to serve the future of the City. The City’s Mobile GR and Parking Services Department continues to evolve to support both the growth in demand for parking and mobility. The year ahead presents an opportunity to not only continue to support the operations, maintenance, enforcement and expansion of parking, but to provide support for additional mobility solutions.

The City’s parking system is currently at about 95 percent capacity of available monthly permit parking. Monthly spaces are currently only available in surface lots served by the Downtown Area Shuttle (DASH). We continue to have ample parking to support continued growth in visitors, special events and residential parking. To address current challenges, the City implemented a number of parking management changes on September 1, 2016:

  • Improvements to mobility options including expanded DASH and the fare less Silver Line in Downtown
  • On and off-street rate changes
  • Expanding parking supply

However, there remains a need to implement strategic additions to the current parking supply.

On Monday, July 24, the City broke ground on a new 300 space surface parking lot across from the Downtown Market. This is private property that the City will be improving and leasing to address parking challenges. The City will continue work on additional surface parking expansion with additional projects planned for construction in spring of 2018. We’re also exploring structured parking facilities as part of public/private development partnerships. A new 750 to 900 space parking ramp proposed as part of a private development on City and DDA owned property is scheduled to begin construction by the end of the calendar year. The City will retain a lease on 300 parking cards for commuter parking.

The City is also using parking analytics and new technology to explore ways to optimize current parking facilities:

  • Deploying technology to allow for new parking programs in facilities like nights and weekends, residential programs, and student and event employee parking
  • Implementing an online permit system to improve the customer experience and allow use of some on-street parking to be converted to permit parking

These will be deployed later this fall and add hundreds of more parking spaces to the inventory.

The City continues to evolve and implement new mobility initiatives. The City Commission recently approved $200,000 to support a new Transportation Solutions program. In partnership with the Chamber and DGRI, this program will invest resources in mobility solutions to manage demand for parking like:

  • Transit accessible, lower-cost remote parking on DASH or other transit routes
  • Carshare, carpooling and bikeshare
  • Other employer-driven programs like subsidized transit passes and parking cash out

We are committed to continue to address mobility challenges. The City is currently conducting a commuter survey in partnership with the Chamber to better understand how employees use the current parking system, and help create solutions for any challenges. We ask you to please complete the survey and share it with your employees. Data collected will be used create a clearer picture of commuting, inform discussions on where and how to add additional parking capacity, assess demand for potential services such as car-share, and guide enhancements to DASH/transit options.

Take the survey here:


Anna Young Administrator
Digital Content Specialist
Anna is the digital guru for the Grand Rapids Chamber of Commerce
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