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Closings and Delays

Kalamazoo Parking Plan Needs Revisions, Board Says

Parking Meters in Downtown Kalamazoo - file photo by Sehvilla Mann, WMUK
Sehvilla Mann

A parking plan for downtown Kalamazoo is on hold for at least a little while. On Monday the city’s Downtown Development Authority said the proposed five-year plan needs more work before the Authority can vote on it.

Instead, the DDA sent the plan back to the parking committee of Downtown Kalamazoo Incorporated for revision.

At the DDA's regular meeting on Monday, board members questioned several ideas in the wide-ranging proposal. Derek Wissner says a plan to end 90-minute free parking on Michigan Avenue and the Kalamazoo Mall is aimed at stopping people who flout the rules and park there longer. Wissner says there’s a better way.

"I think that way is to incentivize employees to park elsewhere, in non-prime spaces for free or reduced rates and to frankly aggressively enforce those expired meters," he says.

Development Authority Vice Chair John Schmitt, who also serves on DKI's parking committee, says DKI would get better feedback on its parking policy if it met in public.

"It would be helpful at the time to hear the stakeholders, whether they’re a shopper, whether they’re a store owner, whether they’re a resident, whether they’re a developer, to give their input on what their feel is at that point," Schmitt says.

The wide-ranging plan proposes everything from rate increases at meters and ramps to a shuttle service to reduce the need for parking downtown. It’s not clear when the DDA will vote on a final parking proposal.

Sehvilla Mann joined WMUK’s news team in January 2014 as a reporter on the local government and education beats. Before that she covered a variety of topics, including environmental issues, for Bloomington, Indiana NPR and PBS affiliates WFIU and WTIU. She’s also written and produced stories for the Pacifica Network and WYSO Public Radio in Yellow Springs, Ohio. Sehvilla holds a B.A. in French from Earlham College and an M.A. in journalism from Indiana University.
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