Grand Haven works to address downtown parking shortage

ByShannon J. Cortes

Oct 13, 2022

GRAND HAVEN, Michigan – Grand Haven continues to study a measure that could, once again, limit parking spaces throughout the downtown area.

FOX 17 has learned that the city will consider whether to continue closing a section of downtown, in an area made popular during the pandemic.

Wednesday evening, after a rainy and brisk fall day, there was plenty of parking for anyone who wanted to get into town.

“If you go back there now, you’ll see that the land is almost empty,” Copper Post owner Doug Vanse explained.

Vanse also owns 17 people who live above his establishment.

“I mean, residents just don’t come downtown during the summer because of all the traffic and parking issues,” Vanse said.

Right now, he says, he is fighting for them.

“Let them park. They have a sticker that says they paid you $120 for overnight parking. Park as long as they want. They live here,” Vanse added.

The Downtown Development Authority plans to discuss how to address parking issues, including lack of spaces, at a meeting Thursday morning.

“What information can these downtown residents and tenants use to find out where to park, when to park, and how they can park their cars overnight,” said DDA Executive Director Jeremey Swiftney.

There are currently parking limits in areas of the city from May to November. People can park for three hours before having to move.

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“In some cases, I’ve even had them towed,” Vanse added.

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There is another item on the agenda.

This is an issue that could make finding a vacant spot even more difficult, according to two business owners: a measure of what to do with a section of Washington Avenue, which has been closed for a few years.

“Last year we closed 25 parking spaces for outdoor dining. Next year we’ll see what our board and what the city council feels comfortable doing. S ‘they feel that what we’ve done this year is the same, so we’d be looking to close another 25 places. So you would have over 800 parking spaces in a three-block area,” Swiftney added.

“Now it’s no longer needed. It’s an unfair loss to every other business that depends on this parking lot,” J. Morgan Fine Jewelers owner John Morgan told FOX 17 on Wednesday. “I think there are ways to develop that kind of atmosphere without compromising the fairness of giving the spaces away to some sort of privileged group.”

Morgan says he fully supported the closure during the pandemic and while he continues to defend the area of ​​the social district where people can drink and walk the sidewalks, he has collected signatures from a few dozen business owners. who want the stretch of road back open.

“It’s not fair to give those rare parking spots to a handful of favorite businesses,” Morgan said.

“We try to make sure that we don’t have a negative impact on our traders and our stakeholders. We try to make sure that we represent them in the best possible way,” Swiftney explained.

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