FERNDALE (WWJ) – Changes to Ferndale’s parking system are not going over well with residents or visitors.

Last month, the city replaced 900 parking space meters with about 20 pay stations in public lots. The city also raised parking rates in most lots from 50 cents an hour to 75 cents or $1 an hour, depending on the location and time. Some spaces are still 50 cents an hour, but all on-street spaces now cost $1 an hour.

The changes are part of a plan to improve the city’s parking system — which has been complained about for decades. Ferndale has about 1,300 parking spaces and some studies have indicated the city needs about 600 more spaces to be all accommodating.

While Ferndale resident Ruben Robiles said he would eventually appreciate having more places to park, he’s disappointed with the price increase.

“I think it’s terrible, I mean, anytime prices increase I think that’s going to be the response,” he said.

Others, like Derek James, said getting used to the pay stations might take some time.

“I guess it’s more convenient to pay with change at the meter than to find a station to pay with a credit card. But, if that’s what they’re doing then you’re forced to do it,” he said.

Jeff Lee, who doesn’t live in Ferndale but often visits the city, said he might not be visiting as much.

“I’d rather find somewhere else to park for free and walk, that’s for sure,” he said.

Mayor Dave Coulter said he knew there would be an adjustment period to the rate increases, but the changes have been “rockier than we expected.” Nonetheless, he said the changes are necessary to improve the city.

“The rates are higher than they were,” Coulter told the Daily Tribune. “Part of the reason is the desire to save money so that we can increase our parking capacity.”

Coulter said the city council will likely discuss parking system complaints at their meeting next Monday, and parking rates at their March 11 meeting — adding that the city is “committed to getting this right.”

What do you think of the parking rate increase? Will it affect your plans to spend time in Ferndale? Leave your comments below.


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