Where should I park? A downtown dilemma

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By Alexis Howell
Listen Up, Lansing staff reporter

If you’re thinking about taking a trip to downtown Lansing, you might want to figure out where to park before you get downtown. Along with parking meters, there are also pay stations and ramps in downtown Lansing accessible to park in.

Planning your day ahead of time can be very helpful when picking the cheapest rates for parking. For example, some ramps have daily maximums. According to publicly posted rates Vietnam Veterans Memorial Lot located on 794 W. Allegan St. has a daily maximum of $8. Tower Parking Ramp located at 205 W. Allegan St. has a daily maximum of $10 along with North Grand Parking Ramp located at 245 Grand Ave. and North Capitol Ramp located at 336 N. Capitol Ave.

Brenda Sweatman, worker at the Victor Building, says that she doesn’t park at a ramp because she can find free parking about six blocks away from her job. She also said that although parking is far, it saves her a lot of money because a permit would cost $80-$90 a month.

“I’d prefer to park closer to my job, but walking saves me money so I’ll continue to walk until the parking rates go down, plus I feel pretty safe when walking so I am not worried about the distance I have to walk to get to work. The only disadvantage I’d say about walking is that I have to leave home earlier,” said Sweatman.

Contradictory to what Sweatman says, Bob Johnson, City of Lansing Department of Planning and Neighborhood Development Director says, “No parking is free. Somebody is paying for parking. Laying the asphalt cost, cleaning out the catch basins cost, so although neighboring cities may seem to have free parking, parking is not really free.”

This is the application for a parking permit.

This is the application for a parking permit.

The Parking Services building is located on 219 Grand Ave., Lansing, MI 48933.

The Parking Services building is located on 219 Grand Ave.

For those who work downtown, parking passes can be purchased at the Parking Services Office located on Grand Ave. Parking permit prices range depending on the lot they are parking in. The Map of Parking Downtown parking structures can be helpful when deciding where to purchase a permit. The map shows that prices range from $85 all the way up to $167. It also shows that city of Lansing parking lots range from $22 to $70 and where each lot is.

“I get free parking downtown because I work at LCC. We all do. I usually choose parking based off the proximity to the library. I personally don’t know how much parking is, but if I had to buy a permit I would park further away and find free parking,” said Lansing Community College librarian Ami Ewald.

Susan Stachowiak, Department of Planning and Neighborhood Development Zoning Administrator, says that there are specific codes when it comes to parking. She stated that in the city of Lansing, each parking structure has to have a specific amount of parking spots based on the type of business.

Ewald also stated that sometimes lots are full. Based off the Michigan Codes of Ordinances, they do not build parking spaces for every single worker.

For residential properties, the Michigan Codes of Ordinances says two parking spaces are required for each dwelling unit. Churches however require one for each three seats or six linear feet of pews in the main worship area. Hospitals are required to have two parking spaces per bed in addition to parking for outpatient facilities and offices.

When these facilities run out of parking, visitors and workers of downtown Lansing can park on the street and pay for metered parking. Metered parking can be beneficial for those visitors not staying downtown long; however, if the meter runs out, according to the online ticketing Website for downtown Lansing parking, the ticket for the meter is $10 for early pay and it continues to go up after. The meter is $20 after two hours and after 14 days, the ticket becomes $30 and goes up to $40 after 28 days.

Lansing’s online parking website also says that CashKeys can come in handy for those who don’t carry coins. They work as a debit card for meters. CashKeys can be purchased at the Parking Services Office for $25. Each insertion gives you 25 cents on the meter. For more information about parking in downtown Lansing, you can visit its Website at www.lansingmi.gov.

This is the application for a CashKey.

This is the application for a CashKey.

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