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Royal Oak — The cost of parking in downtown Royal Oak is going up.

The Royal Oak City Commission voted Monday night to raise the parking rate at its lots, streets and garages. 

The commission act on a proposal from the Downtown Development Authority that called for the hikes, following a study by Rich & Associates, a private consulting firm.

In supporting the hike, commissioners and other city leaders cited the money raised in the rate hike to support the parking system as well steering drivers to a newly opened parking deck instead of street or lot parking.

“I feel comfortable with these rates, given the service we’re going to be giving,” Mayor Michael Fournier said.

The date for the rate rise to go into effect was not set Monday night.

The decision Monday means:  

  • Raising the hourly cost of street parking in high-demand areas from $1 to $1.25 before 5 p.m., and $1.50 after 5 p.m. (The cost in low-demand areas remains 75 cents an hour.)
  • The hourly cost of parking on surface lots in high-demand areas increases from 50 to 75 cents before 5 p.m., and from 75 cents to $1 after 5 p.m. 
  • The hourly cost of parking on surface lots in low-demand areas increases from 25 to 50 cents before 5 p.m., and from 50 to 75 cents after 5 p.m.
  • City-owned garages remain free for the first two hours, and the hourly rate after that will increase from 50 to 75 cents. (The flat rate for parking after 5 p.m. will remain $3 or $5, depending on the garage.)

The money generated is slated to help pay for revenue bonds associated with the seven-story parking deck Royal Oak that opened in January at Second and Center as well as another seven-story deck being built near the public library, City Manager Donald Johnson said.

Commissioners cited the need to change rates as the city  moves away from coin-operated meters and expands its Park Mobile option.

"The number of tickets are going to go down," Fournier said.

But some commissioners had reservations ahead of the vote.

"We need to be making improvements to our parking system, and I wonder if we should delay this increase until those improvements have happened," Commissioner Melanie Macey said.

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