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National Cherry Festival Creates Parking Problems in Traverse City

During the summer, Parking in downtown Traverse City can be tough.

And with the Independence Day holiday and the National Cherry Festival nearly here, finding a parking spot in town can be real headache.

Parking services says they’ve lost more than 290 parking spots to fair rides and vendors for the festival.

National Cherry Festival hasn’t even started yet and drivers are already having a hard time finding a place to park.       

Driver, Katie Zagore says, “It gets pretty insane especially trying to find a parallel spot.”

The parking pressure is on, even before this weekend’s big events.

Zagore says, “We got here about 9 o’clock this morning there were a lot of spots on State Street, but there were definitely none on Front, glad we were here early.”

Nicole VanNess, Parking Administrator for Traverse City Parking Services says, “More people are in town more people are down shopping and having lunch and so the places that we’re used to parking are more full than we’re used to. I think it’s just that we’re feeling the incoming pressure.”

Parking Services says this is just the beginning, and planning ahead will pay off.

VanNess says, “Saturday, Sunday and Monday we’re expecting to fill both of the facilities by 11:30 a.m. and be at capacity until the airshow lets out just before 4 p.m. so especially with this being a Blue Angels year people will come early.”

Parking Services will extend parking in other lots and extend hours to 1 a.m., but they suggest alternatives.

“Being local sometimes it’s just better to make the decision to walk or to ride our bikes I know I rode my bike this morning because I just did not want to deal with it,” says VanNess.

That’s not the only option, Bay Area Transportation Authority is offering free shuttles to the festival every 30 minutes.

Community Manager for BATA Eric Lingaur says, “With cherry festival in town we see a lot of people a lot of congestion downtown and having park and ride locations and offering a free way to get downtown is an easy way to help people to avoid that frustration.”

The shuttles run from 10 a.m. to midnight from July 2 to July 9. For details on pick-up times and locations click . 

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