ROYAL OAK, Mich. (WXYZ) — Parking headaches have plagued downtown Royal Oak for years, but now city leaders believe they have a solution. New Sentry Meters make it easy to avoid ever having to get a parking ticket, but if used incorrectly, it also makes it impossible to avoid a ticket.
“It makes it easier to figure out when a meter is available for you to use. It does have a system that allows you to park for a couple of minutes for free,” said Royal Oak driver Robert Sump.
Drivers get a five minute grace period before they have to start paying. It is also possible to look up where to park on the ‘Sentry Mobile App”.
Once you park, drivers can pay through the app or with cash or credit card.
Once you pay, a light on the meter will turn green. If it’s red, that means you have not paid or exceeded the time you already paid. Instead of getting a ticket on your windshield, drivers have the option of paying off the exceeded time limit.
“It is very easy to avoid a ticket,” said Royal Oak Police Chief Corey O’Donohue.
O’Donohue hopes these new meters will change how people feel about parking downtown.
“Royal Oak hasn’t always had the best reputation for parking, and this is our attempt to fix that,” said O’Donohue.
If you do not pay off the time that you have parked, you will be ticketed. The meters have cameras inside, and take a picture of a drivers licenses plate. Those drivers will get a ticket in the mail.
“I’d like go back to just putting my own quarters in, figuring out how long I’m going to be gone, and come back in time, and if I miss it keep track of my watch. Simple,” said driver Tom Haupt.
These meters have been up and running in the streets of Hamtramck for about two months now.
“I think it is a waste of money, the money could have been used for something more valuable than this,” said Hamtramck resident Selecia Jordan.
Installation of the meters is still underway in Royal Oak, but they should all be up and running by the end of November.
Hamtramck is now considering adding these meters to some parking lots.
Both cities have been passing out informational pamphlets to people in the downtown area trying to help better educate the public on how the meters work.