GRAND RAPIDS, Mich. (WOOD) — There will soon be more places in Grand Rapids where you have to pay to park.
It's no secret the city is expanding and so are the areas with new parking meters.
The city is adding 120 parking pay stations in the next month and an additional 120 stations by the end of the year. Each pay station covers about six parking spots.
Meters are popping up on Michigan Avenue and Bridge Street NW in front of the new Meijer-owned market and staple bars like Kale's Korner and The Anchor. They can also be found on the east side of town on Wealthy Street SE near Eastern Avenue, by restaurants like Donkey Taqueria and The Winchester.
Patrons of those establishments who talked to 24 Hour News 8 Tuesday were upset.
"Why?" one of them, Nick Hingley, wondered. "It's always been this way. It's a great benefit to the neighborhood as well as the businesses. Why would it change?"
The city says adding meters will actually have positive effects because they will lead to more turnover, which will create more open spots.
"You prevent people for parking for eight hours, 10 hours. So if you are a restaurant, bar a retail shop, you have the availability to have more parking on the street," explained Josh Naramore, who runs Mobile GR and Parking Services.
Some businesses disagree.
"It's not a win for the customers and it's not a win for the staff members," Eli Harper, the general manager of New Holland Brewery's Bridge Street location, said. "A lot of times people can't go out have their full experience in two hours."
Some people wonder if it's really just about revenue for the city, but Naramore said that's not the case. In fact, he said, in the first couple of years, there won't be much profit because of all the costs. Each meter costs $7,000 plus monthly maintenance fees and enforcement costs.
Like it or not, the city says more and more places in Grand Rapids will be making you pay to park.
"Change is very difficult," Naramore said.
The new meters will start to go into effect next month.