Parking fiasco: Reducing on-site spots in Grand Rapids

Parking is a struggle for people in Grand Rapids.

GRAND RAPIDS., - The Grand Rapids Planning Commission is meeting on Thursday, Sept. 28 to possibly approve a waiver of 91 percent of the on-site parking spots for a new restaurant coming to Michigan Street.

In October, the Planning Commission waived 79 percent of required parking spots for a 44-unit apartment building, prompting many complaints.

"The city, in a one block area, has been waiving parking requirements for all the bars and businesses that are coming in," said Bob Quay, owner of Bob's Bar on Michigan Street. "That's 107 spots disappearing in a one-block area."

Quay said the street is already too crowded on weekends, and it's overcrowding his lot.

"We have a very difficult time keeping people not coming to our establishment parking in our parking lot and going to other establishments," he said.

People at the incoming properties will be able to park at some of their lots just down the street, said David Levitt, principal at Third Coast Development, which owns both the apartments and the restaurant.

The Grand Rapids City Planning Commission said in a statement that although parking is an issue, it could strain economic growth to push through too much on-site parking, especially with new forms of transportation coming to the forefront.

Julius Hayes, who lives just across the street from Bob's said the street parking on Michigan is too clogged.

"I don't even drive because there is no place to park," Hayes said. "What somebody should do, they should create a [new] parking lot."

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