Royal Oak Parking Gestapo
What do you hate the most about Royal Oak?
Don’t get me wrong. We at UrbaneBlog love this little city. We love the food, the shopping, nearby cultural events in Fabulous Ferndale, local museums, quirky gyms (see here and here), the opportunity to meet other engaged citizens, and our local characters (see here and here). We even love the small-town DRAMA!
But ask your friends who live, work, shop, drink, dine, or visit you what they hate about Royal Oak. I’d be willing to bet that one of the first things they mention is the parking situation. But it doesn’t take a polling firm or a consultant to tell you that the parking situation in Royal Oak sucks. A few more thoughts, as well as what UrbaneBlog hopes to DO about it, after the jump.
First, we get that it’s probably unreasonable to have a parking free-for-all where somebody can their jalopy in front of Pronto! and abandon it. But, have you ever lived in a city with a more aggressive parking patrol? (By the way, the City of Royal Oak is still apparently hiring enforcement officers. The gig pays $14 an hour, apply here.) If your meter is over by even 5 minutes here, there’s a very high chance that one of the city’s plentiful and aggressive meter maids will nail you with a ticket. And don’t try to challenge it — part of the job description of the meter maids includes testifying in court against people challenging their fines.
What does this do for Royal Oak? What does it do for its businesses and its citizens? Does it make it a place that you want to visit? Does it make you relax and think about visiting a few shops after having lunch downtown, or are you more worried about getting some quarters from your server as you look at your watch, wondering whether you’ll be able to finish before you’re in the RED.
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.