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How about some free parking, Royal Oak?

I love living in Royal Oak.  The great cafes and bars, restaurants and shops, and the fact that I can get my haircut at 11:00 pm on a Thursday all make this my kind of town.

No town is perfect, of course.  Anyone who has lived in, shopped in, or visited someone in Royal Oak knows that it has one of the most aggressive parking enforcement operations in the state.  If the meter runs over just five minutes, there’s a good chance one of those guys who looks like he’s walking around with a desk calculator will slap a bright, orange ticket on your car.  And, since the meters are monitored from 10:00 am to 10:00 pm, Monday through Saturday, it can make a visit downtown a bit unpleasant, especially if you can’t find some loose change that’s fallen under your seat.

In Ferndale, however, parking is free Friday through Saturday, November 28 to December 28.  Sure, they’ll still ticket you on a Thursday, and it’s just for a month, but it seems like a great idea to get some shoppers downtown who will stick around (and hopefully spend some money!). The free parking program is sponsored by local businesses.

“Shopping local has never been easier or more important,” Cristina Sheppard-Decius, executive director of the Ferndale Downtown Development Authority, said in a statement. “Providing free parking encourages customers to shop longer, take their time dining and enjoy a leisurely exploration of all that our businesses have to offer.” –via

So, how about it Royal Oak?  Any chance the City and local businesses (through the DDA) will step up and match this resident/visitor-friendly policy?

For more on downtown Royal Oak parking, click here.  Note that parking is free in downtown Royal Oak on Sundays and civic holidays.  Also, most parking structures offer two hours of free parking on weekdays during business hours.

11 responses to "How about some free parking, Royal Oak?"

  1. Brandon Dec 14, 2008 at 20:43

    Just attended their ice festival yesterday — gotta tell you, it does make a difference not worrying about when the meter’s gonna run dry. We had a leisurely lunch, visited a few stores, and left with a good impression of Ferndale.


  2. Monica Dec 15, 2008 at 14:28

    Gotta love anything FREE!!! There are lots of perks about enjoying an entire afternoon in the R O and not having to run back to your car every hour to refill the meter:)


    • Sam Apr 28, 2011 at 22:36

      The Center Street & South Lafayette Structures are FREE for the 1st 2hrs before 5pm. After 5p, Lafayette is $3 and Center Street is $5.


  3. SallyN Dec 16, 2008 at 23:41

    Sounds like Ferndale has the right idea. Losing a little meter money vs. money spent in stores and restaurants – seems like a no-brainer. Royal Oak, you need to get creative!!


  4. Brandon Dec 17, 2008 at 12:42

    Agreed! Do it for just the month of December, or for the period between Thanksgiving and New Years…. Are other towns in the area doing this or is it only Ferndale?


  5. Frank P Dec 17, 2008 at 18:31

    Love the graphic!


  6. Brandon Dec 18, 2008 at 10:38

    Thanks! You gotta love Flickr! (Blogger secret revealed . . .)


  7. Brandon Jan 03, 2009 at 23:58

    Royal Oak. Are you listening?


  8. Royal Oak Parking Gestapo | the urbane life Feb 23, 2011 at 19:16

    […] So, what can we DO about this?  What kind of policies and prices are reasonable? For example, do we really need to feed meters until 10:00 pm?  On Saturdays?  Please submit your suggestions and thoughts in the comments below.  And watch this space over the next several months as we try to take some action on this issue — by attending Royal Oak City Commission Meetings, calling and emailing local officials, and trying to persuade Royal Oak to consider some creative solutions, such as Ferndale’s free holiday parking. […]


  9. Unwelcome Visitor Apr 27, 2014 at 20:18

    Unpleasant Evening in Royal Oak

    You are eligible for a parking ticket in the city of Royal
    Oak even after paying to park in a public garage. I learned this the hard way
    in March of 2014 when I returned to my vehicle after a night on the town.
    Imagine my surprise at receiving a parking ticket on my window in a public garage that I had paid to park in.

    I have since learned that the city of Royal Oak makes it a priority to issue as many parking tickets as it can to fund the city due to declining property values. It’s sad to see a municipality so desperate for revenue. Don’t believe the hype about how great a place it is to visit. I doubt if I will ever feel the desire to return.


    • RoyalVirg Feb 25, 2015 at 18:29

      Declining property values??? What is your source of information. You couldn’t be further from the truth.


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