The other day I wrote an article about how Grand Rapids should block cars from driving on Monroe Center and return it to a pedestrian mall like it was in the 80s. The COVID-era changes to outdoor seating have been a welcome addition to the Downtown GR experience and have helped boost the number of people spending time downtown.

Google Maps
Google Maps

During the pandemic, the City ate the costs of the parking spots being used for outdoor seating. However, it seems discussions have been ongoing for quite some time as the City is still figuring out how to use these spaces long-term.  Returning the spots to parking is not off the table according to a report by FOX17.

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City parking meter in Billings Montana
Nicole Riley TSM

The parklets have been a welcome change for both the visitors and owners alike, with Apartment Lounge owner Bobby Johnson saying it has been a "lifesaver".

"This allowed us an extra area to be able to work with, and it allows us to increase our sales by about 40%. And that is huge"

Currently, the city of Grand Rapids is offering businesses the ability to rent a parking space for $50 and pay $30 for a concrete barrier each month. This is in line with a post the official City of Grand Rapids Transportation Reddit account made this statement in response to a thread discussing whether this program would be ending sometime last year.

byu/TypicalAccountant603 from discussion

Let the City know if you're a fan of the outdoor seating and want it to stay, or would like to see Monroe Center be pedestrian-only. You can find contact information here.

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