Parking downtown keeps getting harder to find. And free parking, long a bonus even in the capitalist game Monopoly, is soon to be non-existent.

The DASH West Lot 7 WAS my little secret, and from what I could tell, the secret of about 50 or so other people as well.

It was a lot that featured free parking on evenings within walking distance of downtown, and now, as of September 1, it's going away.

As of September 1, the City of Grand Rapids is converting the DASH West Lot 7 lot to a paid parking lot on evenings and weekends. The DASH-7 lot runs along Mt. Vernon Avenue NW parallel to the David Hunting YMCA facility and parking lot on the west and the 131 freeway on the east.

Google Maps


The lot is currently free for parkers on evenings and weekends, making it popular with people heading out for a night in the nearby Bridge Street bar area which includes favorites like New Holland's Knickerbocker Lounge and Harmony Hall.

It was also a short walk to most downtown venues like the arena and DeVos Hall via the Pearl Street bridge. DASH shuttles also carried folks to convention facilities.

The DASH-7 lot will charge a monthly rate of $48. The city parking web site currently says evening and weekend parkers will be charged 'event rate' which is $6.

The David Hunting YMCA has informed its patrons the following:

Guests will pay to park in the City’s Dash Lot Area 7, including evenings and weekends. A $2 parking fee will be paid upon exit of Dash Lot 7 by cash or card. We will be validating tickets (members only) in the event that parking is unavailable in our main lot after 5 p.m. and on weekends. Guests, program participants and visitors of the Y are welcome to park in Dash Lot Area 7.


The Y has worked with the City to develop a validation system for our program participants and volunteers. The first 30 minutes will be free to ease short-term pickup and drop off parking needs.

The lot currently serves as free overflow parking for the Y.

The lot was a not very well kept secret for hundreds of Grand Rapidians, and it also means these secret spots are being eaten up at an alarming rate.

I know of two other free places to park within a short walk downtown, but I'm not sharing any more.

What about you, do you have any secret free spots left? You don't have to tell us where, just whether you do or not.

In the meantime, parking downtown keeps getting tighter and tighter.