In downtown Royal Oak, parking frustration is on the rise, and so is the pushback. A few months ago, the city updated their parking system based on feedback from drivers, but some community members would rather the new meters be removed altogether. Maryn O’Brien, who works at Lost and Found vintage clothing store downtown, drafted the petition in collaboration with one of the store owners to have the meter removed. The group has collected more than 1,100 signatures in just a few weeks. As of Wednesday morning, the number of signatures collected has risen to more than 1500.
O’Brain released a statement saying, “Unfortunately, a petition doesn’t guarantee action, but it does guarantee responsibility. A lot of the surveys that have been sent out for the city haven’t been very well distributed in a way that’s going to get the vast majority of who actually comes into downtown and frequents these areas.” She hopes that the petition reflects the downtown community honestly. Customers reportedly say its hard backing into spaces, the technology is complicated, and the meter has only a two-hour time limit. Police Deputy Chief Keith Spencer admits there were issues, but says they’ve been resolved along the way. He released a statement saying, “We’ve had some feedback from the public in using the system as we’ve continued to build this out. And we’ve taken that feedback and we’ve worked with our NPS partners to identify potential issues and make system enhancements.”
A new parking study was approved last week by Royal Oak’s Downtown Development Authority. Parking studies for the downtown area haven’t been conducted since 2018. The study may provide clarity for drivers, businesses, and city officials. During the study, downtown parking will be examined. City officials are hopeful that this new study will help resolve the parking issue in downtown Royal Oak.