With Royal Oak considering raising parking rates for prime downtown parking to $1 an hour(1), I thought I would venture into the proposed area and get a firsthand view of just how serious the parking situation is. I went during peak hours (8 pm on a Friday night) to get a feel for the availability of spaces.
It was no surprise that parking was definitely at a premium, with virtually no spaces available in the majority of the downtown area. The signs that directed me to public parking led to a couple of lots with no available parking. I managed to finally secure a spot about five blocks from my intended destination. While I don’t mind walking, I know that for various reasons (disabilities, time constraints, etc.) being close to where you need to go can be important.
Business and some property owners are already charging for parking in certain areas (one lot wanted $5), so a dollar an hour does not seem terribly exorbitant. I feel like the city is not going to have any problems in resulting loss of business if they were to raise the rates to a dollar an hour in prime spots, and I think it might even make the city seem more exclusive (in a good sense) than it already is.