Royal Oak DDA to offer free parking in structures, pedicab rides

By: Sarah Wojcik | Royal Oak Review | Published May 28, 2019

 Skoop pedicabs will transport visitors who utilize the free structure parking in downtown Royal Oak to their destinations four days a week throughout the month of June.

Skoop pedicabs will transport visitors who utilize the free structure parking in downtown Royal Oak to their destinations four days a week throughout the month of June.

Photo provided by Sean Kammer

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ROYAL OAK — June 1 is the day that the much-anticipated 581-space parking garage, located at 11 Mile Road and Williams Street, is set to come online. It will be accessible from 11 Mile, and in the future, a second entrance will open on Second Street.

To celebrate, the Royal Oak Downtown Development Authority will offer free parking in all of the city’s parking structures on Thursdays, Fridays and Saturdays in June, beginning June 6.

Combined with free parking on Sundays, visitors will be able to park in all of the city’s four structures at no cost four days a week in June. The structures are located on North Lafayette Avenue, South Lafayette Avenue, Center Street and 11 Mile.

Free structure parking will be available June 6-9; June 13-16; June 20-23; and June 27-30.

“The city isn’t able to give away free parking because of the bond restrictions on the parking system,” City Manager Don Johnson said in a statement. “If there is free parking, the parking system has to be paid by someone. The DDA has chosen to compensate the parking system for the lost revenue from the free parking days in June.”

Downtown Manager Sean Kammer said the city and the DDA have invested a significant amount into parking infrastructure and made it a priority. He added that the goal of offering free structure parking is to introduce people to parking garages who otherwise would only look for surface lot or street parking.

“It will help calm congestion and give people a free and safe option to park their cars when they visit downtown,” DDA Chair Jay Dunstan said in a statement.

Johnny Prepolec, owner of Mr. B’s Gastropub and its downstairs speakeasy, Johnny’s, said he felt the free parking promotion was a good move by the DDA.

“If you invest millions of dollars into a major asset, such as a parking structure, you need to spend at least a fraction of that to advertise it,” Prepolec said in a statement. “We need to let people in the area know that there’s more than enough parking in Royal Oak and that’s it’s easy to use.”

The DDA will also fund a pedicab service that will take pedestrians from the garages to their destinations in downtown Royal Oak for free. Skoop, a private pedicab service that operates a fleet of electric bike taxis in East Lansing, will provide free rides to downtown visitors during the June promotion.

“My team is super pumped to come to Royal Oak,” Skoop founder and CEO Josh Cooper said in a statement. “Skoop supports economic growth in so many ways.”

Beginning June 6, three pedicabs will operate from 5 to 11 p.m. Thursdays, from 6 p.m. to midnight Fridays, from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. and from 6 p.m. to midnight Saturdays, and from noon to 3 p.m. Sundays.

For more information, call (248) 246-3286 or visit www.downtownroyaloak.org.

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