In recent years parking downtown has become a greater challenge. On the one hand, that’s an indication of the positive growth the city is experiencing, but on the other, it can be a major headache when you are trying to enjoy this new nightlife, retail and other downtown activities.
Ellis Parking recently announced its intention to make parking during events less of a nightmare. The company debuted a reservation system tied to events at Van Andel Arena, DeVos Performance Hall, Grand Rapids Civic Theatre and 20 Monroe Live.
You can now go online and reserve a space at a nearby parking garage if you are attending an event at one of those venues. You are then guaranteed a space in that lot for that evening.
For example, Mike Ellis, president of Ellis Parking, said if you were attending last night’s Keith Urban concert you would have been able to reserve a space in one of five parking garages located near Van Andel Arena. Or if you are attending one of this weekend’s productions of “Number the Stars” at Grand Rapids Civic Theatre, you can reserve a space in one of two nearby lots.
Right now the reservation system is limited to specific garages tied to the four venues listed above, but Ellis said in the next six months Ellis Parking plans to roll out a full-time reservation system.
He said the biggest upside to the system is that people don’t have to arrive downtown as early just to search for a parking space.
Ellis expects the reservation system to become popular, particularly with Millennials.
The parking reservation system is through Parkmobile, a parking app which was selected because of its previous relationship with the city. Parkers will pay a premium for the system. Parking reservations for the Keith Urban show were $23 per space and for the Civic Theatre performances spaces were $17.25 per space.
Ellis said this is just the beginning of how technology is going to revolutionize how people park in busy cities. He noted right now Ellis Parking is looking at Bluetooth technology that could allow for gateless entry and exiting at parking garages.
*Photo courtesy of Thinkstock Photos