The city is aware of the problems residents and visitors are having with Ferndale's new pay stations and are working on getting them resolved, city officials said Monday night.
Ferndale City Manager April Lynch and Downtown Development Authority executive director Cristina Sheppard-Decius addressed the parking situation during Monday's City Council meeting and answered questions from council members.
Ferndale rolled out new pay stations and parking rates late last month, and since then some residents have expressed frustrations about using the new system.
Sheppard-Decius said the concerns being expressed most include the lack of ParkMobile accessibility, not enough lighting around pay stations and long lines waiting to use the machines.
"ParkMobile is coming back," Sheppard-Decius said. City workers found that the stickers needed to identify space numbers for ParkMobile would not stick because of the cold weather and had to come up with a different method.
The Ferndale Department of Public Works is working this week, starting Tuesday, to get the parking numbers installed, she said. After that, ParkMobile will be fully compatible with the new system in all lots.
As for lighting, some pay stations were found to have "inadequate" lighting leaving residents unable to view the keypad at night. Sheppard-Decius said DPW is working to fix this issue and it should be addressed by the end of this week.
A solution is also in the works for the long lines at the pay stations. Data from the new system has offered insight into which lots are being used most, and city officials have decided to divert two pay stations from less-used lots and place them in more popular lots, Sheppard-Decius said.
"That will help to resolve some of the lines that we are definitely seeing there," she said, also emphasizing that lines will move faster as people become more familiar with the system.
- One pay station would only accept dimes. This is now fixed.
- A problem can occur when users accidentally put their credit card in the bill acceptor slot. This causes the pay station to "eat" your credit card and jams the machine.
- The two 'free 15-minute' parking spots in front of the library, used for patrons who need to drop off books, were removed during the pay station installation but will be coming back.
- Be patient - wait until the pay station directs you to "insert cash or credit" before trying to pay, Sheppard-Decius said.
- Tickets: The city is giving out courtesy tickets instead of actual parking tickets until people become more familiar with the pay stations.
Ferndale resident Chris Johnston, co-owner of the WAB, Emory and the Loving Touch, spoke at the meeting and questioned why the new system was implemented in the winter and whether it was fair to double the rate in prime parking lots.
"I don't think Ferndale should be on the high end of things," he said of the $1/hour rate. "This isn't Birmingham."
Johnston also expressed concern with the pay stations not giving out change and being unable to use the leftover time when someone leaves a parking spot.
"I think these two things are kind of anti-Ferndale, but I think we're stuck with them," he said.
More feedback wanted
Sheppard-Decius and Lynch both emphasized that the city is listening to and taking into account all feedback received from residents.
"We are receiving and hearing all the comments and we want to hear more," Sheppard-Decius said, adding that they are aiming for a 'seamless system.'
"We apologize for the inconvenience people have had. We are working hard," she said.
Residents and visitors are encouraged to submit comments by calling the DDA at 248-546-1632 or submitting a comment at ferndaleparkplus.com.
Consumers are asked to be as specific as possible and include the parking lot and location of the pay station in their comments. Those using a smart phone can directly access the comments site via the QR code posted on each space sign.