Kalamazoo Commission voting as city plans for more free parking

The City of Kalamazoo plans to make more free parking available to downtown visitors. (Watershed Voice file photo)

The Kalamazoo City Commission is scheduled to vote Monday, July 1 on the installation of meter kiosks along the mall to discourage speeding and increase turnover in the area.

The city says it also plans to offer more free parking options in the downtown area and adjust parking rates in other areas of downtown.

The proposed meter rates would start at $2 per hour and would apply to some on-street parking spaces near the south and north streets of the mall.

The city also is considering implementing a parking management system using Flowbird Group, which would allow customers to pay for parking using their license plates rather than displaying a receipt on their dashboard.

“This stems from recommended best practices for downtowns in the retail analysis done by Gibbs Planning Group,” City Planner and Deputy Director of Community Planning and Economic Development Christina Anderson said. “The project aligns with the city’s Streets for All plan to create a more connected city. We anticipate that the meters will result in more visitors who stop and shop at local businesses and venues.”

The city says the parking spaces near the Kalamazoo ramps are currently available for free for 90 minutes.

The proposed changes are part of a multi-phase plan to revitalize the downtown area and make it more accessible for visitors and residents.

The plan also includes a recommendation to expand overnight parking in downtown for residents and guests using a monthly permit system.​

In addition, city staff recommend adjusting the garage monthly rate to $115 and the lot monthly rate to $75, as well as updating the daily lot maximum to $5 in lots 1 and 20.​