If you park in downtown Flint, you need to know this

FLINT, Michigan—The Downtown Development Authority soon will implement a series of upgrades and changes to the parking system in downtown Flint.

Look for additional metered parking, a renovated Flat Lot, and a new way to pay for parking starting this year.

“This is part of a constant and ongoing effort to improve our parking system,” said Gerard Burnash, executive director of the Flint Downtown Development Authority. “These changes will make our system more efficient, easier to use, and ensure we have adequate parking for the increasing number of visitors coming downtown.”

The change that will most immediately impact those parking downtown will be the implementation of Passport, an app that can be downloaded to any smartphone that will allow parkers to pay the meter directly from their phones. The best part, Burnash said, is that app can also send parkers an alert when their time is almost up so that they can add more time and avoid getting a ticket.

Expect to see the app be implemented downtown this spring. Signs will be prominently posted to let visitors know it is available and how to use it, Burnash said.

The DDA is also expanding the area in which parking will be metered. Meters will be added to Beech and Harrison streets as well as Kearsley, First, Second, Third and Fourth streets. 

Essentially the meters will be added to one block east and west of Saginaw Street, which already is metered.

While adding more paid parking spots is never a popular decision, Burnash said it is necessary to ensure shoppers and visitors have easy access to parking close to their downtown destination. 

Side streets now often are filled with cars that stay parked there all day long. Burnash notes that reduced monthly parking rates are available in both the Rutherford and Riverfront parking ramps for those who work downtown.

And, Burnash notes that there still will be adequate free parking in downtown. It will just be one block further away. 

Another major change coming this summer is the overhaul of the downtown Flat Lot—which is a full block of parking between Saginaw and Harrison streets between Kearsley and First streets. 
The electrical will be updated to allow for even bigger events to be held there, the lighting will be replaced, and it will be entirely repaved. 

Recessed anchors will be placed in the lot so that tents, often used during downtown events, can continue to be put up in the Flat Lot—but will not damage the surface, Burnash said. 

Also, they will install a kiosk so that hourly users can pay upon entry to the lot. However, the lot will remain open after 5 p.m. for those looking to dine downtown, Burnash said.
The exact timing for the Flat Lot renovations has not yet been determined, but it is expected this fall. When it does occur, the lot will be closed on a Friday and reopened Monday to limit the impact to those who use the lot.

The projects are being paid for with a $600,000 DDA bond. 
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Read more articles by Marjory Raymer.