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New parking enforcement measures implemented in downtown Grand Rapids

Imagine a large, yellow ticket that needs to be paid immediately before you leave your parking spot.

GRAND RAPIDS, Michigan — Marie Coin went downtown to enjoy the World of Winter festivities with a close friend late last month.

When Coin returned she didn't see the large yellow Barnacle on her windshield, but she heard its alarm after unlocking her car and opening the door.

"So once I shut my door, I saw the Barnacle completely across my windshield," Coin said. "The alarm eventually went off."

The Barnacle is a new parking enforcement device that has now made its way to West Michigan. 

Credit: Barnacleparking.com

Imagine a giant ticket suction cupped to your windshield that you have to pay immediately to get off. 

The device is being deployed by a new, local private parking company, Air Park. 

Coin says there was so much going on that she just didn't understand.

"When we parked, we read the sign that said text this number and we did. When we didn't get a response, we thought, 'Well, it says public parking, it must be free,'" Coin said.

13 ON YOUR SIDE did not receive comment from the company, but the Holiday Inn Hotel's general manager told us she understands that this process is new to everyone.

The hotel started contracting the lot with Air Park last spring, and the enforcement measures were added later in the fall.

While the Barnacle is a surprising sight, it was the price that really shocked Coin and her friend, Emily Schimmelmann, who had a matching Barnacle and fee attached to her vehicle.

"We had to pay $400 dollars, each," Coin said.

They got $200 back but only once the fee was already paid and the Barnacle was returned to its drop box. 

Credit: ld

The hotel manger told us they split the parking fee 50/50 with the company but the hotel does not profit from the enforcement in any way.

The regular parking fee is $2 per hour.

Coin said she wants to make sure this doesn't happen to anyone else, but as for her, she's only looking forward to parking one place downtown.

"In the future, I might just park at work, because it's the only place I know of that allows me to park there for free," Coin said.

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