To: Royal Oak City Commission & Downtown Development Authority
Eliminate Sentry Parking System in Downtown Royal Oak
We request the reversion of back-in angle parking on Washington Ave and the replacement of Sentry meters in the surrounding downtown area. We implore Mayor Fournier and Commissioners Sharlan Douglas, Kyle DuBuc, and Pat Paruch to reconsider their initial votes for the installation of this system, and refer to examples of consistent, fully functional parking systems in surrounding downtown areas when considering a viable replacement (ex: Passport Inc. in Ferndale).
Why is this important?
The City Commission of Royal Oak’s mission is to create a “safe, healthy, sustainable community.” Narrowly passed (4:3 split) by the Royal Oak City Commission, the new Sentry system was never established to function in a state with rear license plates, requiring poorly executed back-in angle parking on Washington Ave, a high-traffic street downtown, to even attempt to function. The initial trial period for the Sentry system did not include back-in spaces, instead focusing on parallel parking spots on Center St, thus missing obvious design flaws.
Back-in parking on Washington Ave is counterintuitive and ill-communicated. Its inconsistent use and understanding leads to dangerous driving behaviors and increases risk of damage to both personal and city properties. Additionally, these new spaces require significantly more room for error, decreasing the total number of accessible street spaces for those elderly and disabled persons who cannot travel long distances on foot. Commissioner Kyle DuBuc claims to advocate for these folks, but clearly did not care to consider this negative impact when voting in favor of this plan.
With street parking limited to only 2 hours with no option for extending upon meter expiration, and the threat of a ticket which may or may not arrive before a late fee is added on, visitors don’t want to risk the potential consequence of $20+ in fines to get to know our city beyond their initial purpose. Small businesses, who rely on foot traffic for regular patronage, on and around Washington Ave are already seeing a notable decrease in patrons since the installation of these meters.
The Royal Oak Downtown Development Authority (DDA) claims, in its mission statement, to “promote economic growth in Downtown Royal Oak… by improving and maintaining a solid and user-friendly infrastructure.” The Sentry system is neither solid nor user-friendly. Both payment kiosks and individual space sensors function inconsistently, frequently refusing payment. The sensors do not recognize vehicles leaving and entering spaces at such a rate as these are utilized, leaving the kiosks inaccessible to newcomers as their vehicle’s presence was not recognized upon entering the space. The payment app-- separate from the established ParkMobile system-- confuses visitors and processes at an extremely slow rate. For those unaware of the additional Sentry system, this process of downloading an additional app, registering your vehicle, and adding a payment method easily overcomes the grace period on new vehicles, especially for those who aren’t technologically savvy.
While this multitude of errors certainly ensures an increase in revenue for the City and the corporation behind Sentry, it comes at the cost of alienating visitors and locals alike, as well as negatively impacting the local businesses that make downtown Royal Oak unique.
How it will be delivered
Join us at the upcoming City Commission, DDA, and Traffic Committee meetings!
We will be presenting this petition at the upcoming City Commission meeting on May 23rd. However, we will be attending additional meetings until changes are made, as the City signed on to a 5 year contract with Sentry.