Commission Will Take Up Parking Issue Soon
Correction - April 19, 2016: An earlier version of this story incorrectly implied that the Kalamazoo City Commission had to approve every aspect of the the DDA's parking plan for it to become law. In fact, while the commission has authority over parking fine amounts, the DDA has the final word on parking rate increases.
The Kalamazoo City Commission plans to consider a proposal for a new downtown parking policy at its next meeting. The plan before the commission was approved by the Downtown Development Authority last month. It will raise rates at meters, lots and ramps this summer. Next year it will extend meter enforcement to 9pm and add Saturday as a paying day.
Several people spoke against the plan at a commission meeting Monday. A woman who gave her name as Tia Wallace said higher parking rates would affect her kids’ access to cultural resources.
“Many of the activities that Kalamazoo makes available for lower-income families to be able to provide our children with literacy and enrichment are in the downtown area,” she said.
Former mayoral candidate Kris Mbah has started an online petition against the plan.
"I’m opposed to limiting access and affordability to our downtown by cost. Of course this is gentrification essentially in downtown," he says.
DDA President Steve Deisler says the parking system needs to raise millions of dollars in the next decade to pay for repairs and updates. The commission will hold its next meeting April 18.