Lansing is offering free 2-hour downtown parking this summer

Free parking is coming to downtown this summer.

Starting June 3, the city will offer two hours of free time on Fridays for metered street parking in downtown Lansing and Old Town.

“Summer is a great time to encourage people to head downtown or Old Town and visit some of our great local restaurants and shops,” Mayor Andy Schor said in a news release. “By offering free metered parking on the street every Friday, we hope to encourage residents and visitors to shop and eat locally.

Free parking – like the program that took place for the month of December 2021 – will continue until September 2. Maximum time limits in parking zones and security violations will continue to be enforced.

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Officials said the decision provides the city with a way to support downtown businesses while officials work on long-term solutions for parking in the city.

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“We were thinking, ‘What can we do to support downtown businesses this summer?’ said Director of Planning and Economic Development Brian McGrain. “Can we play around the edges and do things to get people downtown, while realizing that parking is a valuable asset and we can’t give it away entirely for free?”

Downtown business owners have long been asking the city to consider free parking, and many enthusiastically supported a similar free parking program in December.

“It was wonderful,” Peanut Shop owner Adam Seyburn said of the December program, which allowed people to park downtown for free for two hours for the entire month. “If that was the long-term plan…?”

Downtown Lansing Inc. is working with the city and business owners to improve parking.

“It also allows more people to open our local businesses every Friday during the summer,” said Cathleen Edgerly, executive director of Downtown Lansing Inc., in a press release.

Deadlines are always important to enforce so people don’t sit in front of a business all day and prevent customers from parking, Schor said.

“Friday seems like a lighter day so we definitely want the cars to run,” he said. “It’s worth trying.”

However, there are challenges in enforcing time limits without charging for parking, Schor said.

“How do you pay someone to enforce the time limit when you don’t get money from parking?” he said. “The only way to do that would be to give people tickets, and we don’t want to give people tickets.”

Read more: Lansing sends 2 years of parking tickets as meter revenue lags

The City will strive to find a balance by experimenting with free parking this summer and conducting a parking study later this year.

“It comes down to… a holistic look at parking,” said city communications director Scott Bean. “How it works. How people park. It will be huge.

People parking downtown should check signage near where they park to determine the maximum time allowed in the area. For most spaces along Washington Square, the time limit is two hours, but some locations allow for a longer period.

To learn more about parking in Lansing, visit lansingmi.gov/parking.

Contact reporter Elena Durnbaugh at (517) 231-9501 or [email protected] Follow her on Twitter at @ElenaDurnbaugh.

David H. Henry