It’s an understatement to say that the subject of parking meters has long been an issue in Hamtramck.
Since at least the 1980s, there have been on and off again debates or discussions on whether to keep parking meters on Jos. Campau and in city lots.
Talk even included expanding parking meters to Conant.
The reliability of the meters has long been argued over, as well as the cost to maintain them and the revenue return to the city.
The biggest argument to get rid of them has been that the city can’t afford to turnoff would-be shoppers and visitors by charging them to park here.
Now, the city council has approved hiring a company to install state-of-the-art meters that do all sorts of fancy things, and make it easier to monitor time and issue tickets.
This comes at no cost to the city, as the company will receive half of the ticket fees and money collected.
These are the types of meters you see in cities like Birmingham, Royal Oak and Ferndale.
Those are cities with thriving retail outlets.
Hamtramck’s main business district – Jos. Campau – is anything but thriving. In fact, as the year 2019 closed out, three Jos. Campau businesses announced that they are closing.
Take a close look at the retail space on Campau and you’ll realize much of it remains vacant – largely because the owner of most of the empty buildings has an unrealistic requirement for would-be retail outlets.
While the revenue projections for what the new meters will bring into the city coffers is optimistic — $180,000 over the next five years — we view that figure with a healthy bit of skepticism.
We believe the new meters and their increased enforcement will only serve to turn away visitors.
Hamtramck is not anywhere near the point that Birmingham, Royal Oak and Ferndale are with their retail offerings.
We need to encourage people to come here – not drive them away.
If it were up to us, we’d rip out all the meters, and concentrate on ways to boost foot traffic on Jos. Campau.
But, that’s our opinion. We know there are strong feelings about this subject, and we encourage our readers to also weigh in.
Jan. 24, 2020