Dearborn’s latest effort to combat customer eschewing of the city’s public parking system begins Thursday night in west Dearborn: valet service.
The service will be available 5 p.m.-2 a.m. Thursday through Saturday, and will be free to patrons of participating bars and restaurants, which will validate tickets.
Other users of the paid parking will be charged $5 for the service per use.
Participating businesses as of Thursday include , , , , , iBurger, , , and The Well.
The idea introduced this month by local business owners and Cambridge Real Estate, and approved as a 90-day pilot program Monday night by Dearborn City Council. It also has the backing of the .
Participating business owners and investors believe it will encourage customers who are reluctant to pay for parking in the west downtown area.
“We have plans to promote the free valet system through various media outlets, in attempts to gain back the clientele that once brought prosperity to Downtown West Dearborn,” Cambridge Real Estate manager Yasir Kaskorkis wrote in a letter published on blog DeepsaidWhat. “The more parking rates increase, the more difficult it will be to attract customers and retain current business.”
According to a release from the city, participating business are paying $40 per month for each space used for valet parking–what amounts to the fee for a monthly parking permit. The total amounts to around $12,000 to be paid to the city for the trial period.
At least 100 spots will be reserved, with an expansion depending on the popularity of the service.
At the end of the 90-day trial period, the program will be assessed, determining whether it is to continue.
Drop-offs for the service will be located in public parking areas on West Village Drive between Monroe and Military. Two more drop-offs are planned for north of Michigan Avenue between Monroe and Mason in the future.
Several west Dearborn bars and restaurants will also offer drink and food specials on Thursday, Dec. 15, to kick off the program. Proceeds will be donated to the Dearborn Goodfellows.
Dearborn Mayor Jack O’Reilly called the program a likely win for the city, residents and businesses.
“The parking system is still collecting fees for the spots used by the valet service, businesses are showing their appreciation for their customers and generating more traffic, and customers have the added convenience and value of free parking and valet service,” he said.
Other metered parking is available in the business district for 50 cents, 75 cents or $1 an hour, depending on the spot selected. Ticketed parking lots and the city’s Parkmobile pay-by-phone system will also remain in place.
For more information on the valet service, visit West Dearborn Downtown Development Authority website www.dearbornwestonline.com.