Birmingham Makes The Move To Smart Parking Meters

The City of Birmingham, Michigan is joining Ann Arbor, Detroit, and other nearby Michigan cities in the trend of modern parking technology. The city's outdated coin-only parking meters have been replaced with smart meters that offer the option to pay for parking with a credit card. Visa, MasterCard, and Discover are all accepted by the new meters.

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The City of Birmingham will actually be absorbing the processing fees associated with using credit cards to pay for parking. Visitors will also have the option to pay via Parkmobile, an app that allows for people to pay for parking on the go. Payments appear both on the meters and on mobile devices, offering a convenient option for people running late or without spare change to pay to park legally.

Vehicle detection sensors also allow parking patrons to use phones, computers, and in-vehicle apps to locate parking nearby Birmingham destinations, such as shopping, dining, and recreational activities.

With other downtown areas around Metro Detroit leading the way, Birmingham is transitioning from stress and wasted time to easy and convenient options for finding a vehicle parking spot. When drivers cannot find a parking spot, they may linger in lots looking for open spots or block traffic on streets - actions that may possibly lead to an automobile accident. The new smart parking meter technology will help minimize confusion and risks for drivers, and will provide yet another reason to visit Birmingham, Michigan.

Easily accessible and easy to use parking in popular areas around town is important for visitors and residents alike to have an enjoyable experience in downtown Birmingham. As always, it is important to follow safety signs and watch for other moving vehicles in order to help prevent a parking accident. If you or someone you know has been a victim of a motor vehicle crash in Birmingham, Michigan, contact The Michigan Law Firm, PLLC at 844.4MI.FIRM for a free consultation. 

Stay Safe At The Summer Drive-In Theater

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Summer is in full swing, and with kids everywhere out of school, parents are looking for ways to keep their children busy. While the pool, park, and zoo are excellent options for a fun day out, many Michigan families are spending summer evenings at the drive-in movie theater. A drive-in typically takes place in a large parking lot, where vehicles can pay to park and watch movies on theater-size big screens, as they sit comfortably in their cars and listen to the sound on the radio. Some drive-ins even have concession stands where people can buy snacks and drinks. The drive-in movie theater is an entertaining way for parents to use their cars for something other than driving, while making the kids happy, too.

The drive-in movie theater is not a new concept. In fact, they weren’t even called drive-ins originally, but a “park-in” because of the parking lot movie theater setting. In the summer of 1933, motorists parked their cars on the grounds of Park-In Theaters in Camden, New Jersey, the site of the first ever drive-in movie theater. As the idea caught on, more drive-ins popped up all across the country. According to, one of the largest drive-ins featured parking space for 2,500 cars, a kid’s playground, and a full service restaurant, spread out across 28 acres. If only extravagant drive-ins like that existed today, parents would never have to worry about their children being bored!

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Today, however, there are less than 350 drive-in theater locations across the country. Luckily for Michigan residents, the United Drive-In Theatre Owners Association (UDITOA) says our state is home to 8 different theaters with 18 total movie screens. Metro Detroit is home to two drive-ins: the USA Hockey Arena Summer Drive-In located just off M-14 in Plymouth, and the Ford Drive-In in Dearborn. Movies begin at dusk, and films change weekly, showing everything from Disney cartoons to the latest action blockbuster. 

However, just because vehicles are parked at the drive-in, does not mean they aren’t still dangerous. Children often run around and play in the parking lots at a drive-in as they wait for the movie to start, putting them at risk for a severe injury or fatality from a moving vehicle nearby. The National Highway Traffic Safety Association (NHTSA) recommends summer motor vehicle safety tips, including tips for kids.

Motorist and Child Safety Tips for Drive-In Theaters

  1. When backing out of a parking space at the drive-in, walk around your vehicle first to look for children running and playing. Children playing are often oblivious to cars around them.
  2. When using a backup camera, it is important to remember that kids might be out of view, but may still be in the path of a vehicle. Additionally, all vehicles have blind spots that increase in size as the height and size of the car increases.
  3. There are lots of people and vehicles moving around upon entrance and exit to the drive-in, so drivers must pay attention to their surroundings and parents must watch out for their children so as to prevent a motor vehicle from backing or running into a pedestrian.

Summer drive-ins transform everyday vehicles from modes of transportation to a relaxing place to kick back and catch the latest movie. The rare and old-school format of drive-ins make them fun for families of all ages. Still, warm weather calls for summer safety tips, and safety at the drive-in is just as important as on the roads. Anytime a motor vehicle is involved is an opportunity to practice automobile accident prevention safety, and the drive-in movie theater is no exception. 

Summer is a great time to enjoy the warm weather at a local drive-in movie theater. Children playing at the drive-in should watch for moving vehicles and drivers must be aware of their surroundings, in order to prevent an injury or fatality from a car crash. If you or someone you know has been involved in a motor vehicle accident, contact The Michigan Law Firm, PLLC at 844.4MI.FIRM for a free consultation. 

Birmingham, Michigan's Recent City Updates

The City of Birmingham, Michigan is effecting safety improvements, fixing roads, and making parking easier for everyone who spends time in this beautiful city. Read further to check out the latest local news developments.

Internet Purchase Exchange Zone

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The Birmingham Police Department has set up an internet purchase exchange location for buyers and sellers using websites such as Craigslist to buy and sell items. The zone is in the parking lot on the south side of City Hall, located at 151 Martin Street, with a sign posted in the designated area. 

Though residents are encouraged to make exchanges during daylight hours, the exchange zone is well-lit if it is necessary to meet after dark. The lot is also under video surveillance at all times. The internet purchase exchange location was established to minimize potential fraud and robberies that can be associated with these types of transactions. 

After-Hours Drop Box

A drop box behind City Hall is currently accepting parking tickets, absentee ballots, property tax paperwork, water bills, and other city documents, for those looking to take care of business after hours or during holidays. The green box is located in the parking lot on the south side of the building.

Local Construction Projects

Three local streets are being reconstructed this summer.

  • Oak Street, from Glenhurst Drive to Chesterfield Avenue. This street is the student drop-off area for drivers of children attending Quarton Elementary School. The street will be narrowed to allow sufficient space for the construction of a separate two-lane drop-off area. The work is scheduled to be finished before school starts in the fall. 
  • Poppleton Avenue, from Knox Avenue to Maple Road. This road is the entrance to the Kroger shopping center parking lot, so it will be kept open while under construction. The work will be done in phases to allow continued access to businesses. Residents living north of this construction area will be encouraged to use a different entrance into the subdivision for the five weeks the construction is expected to take place. 
  • Lawndale Ave, from Oakland Avenue to Woodward Avenue. This one-way section of road will be reconstructed to add extra green space to the traffic island in between Lawndale Avenue and Woodward Avenue, making the road 4 feet narrower than it currently is.
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Other local streets will be resurfaced with new asphalt during September and October. Those streets are:

  • Ashford Lane-South off of Quarton Road.
  • Millrace Court-South off of Lakeside Drive.
  • Hidden Ravines Drive, Trail, and Court-West off of Southfield Road. 

In addition to road construction projects, several sidewalk concrete repair projects are currently underway throughout Birmingham. All sidewalk repairs in the area north of Maple Road, between the Rouge River and Adams Road, are scheduled to be fixed, along with repairs on the northeast corner of the Central Business District.  

Traffic Control Technology at Parking Structures

The City of Birmingham installed new traffic control equipment earlier this year to make parking more reliable at all of the City's parking structures. Drivers must use a credit/debit card or IN card (a card that can be loaded with different amounts of money) to pay for parking. The system does not accept cash or require tickets, helping to prevent a backup at exits where drivers that stop to look for their tickets may hold up traffic. 

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IN cards can be purchased at the SP+ Parking Office at the Chester Street Parking Structure or at the Treasurer's Office in City Hall. They cost $10, and can then be loaded with $25, $50, $100, or $200. IN cards can also be purchased with a zero-dollar balance, for drivers parking under two hours. The parking office at 180 Chester can reload the card if the balance is running low. 

Other new technology that has recently been installed at local parking structures is a parking widget on the City website. Visitors can check the number of available spaces at each parking structure by visiting or by using the mobile-enabled feature on their smart phones to click on the green and white parking logo at the top right corner of the screen. Users are also able to review maps of the parking location and get directions to them. 

Additional improvements coming soon include new signs outside each parking structure that will display in real time  the number of spaces still available. Drivers do not even have to be in Birmingham to access parking information with the latest technology for the parking structures. 

With so much going on around Birmingham, it is important to stay safe and be aware of one’s surroundings, to help prevent accidents from happening. The Michigan Law Firm, PLLC cares about the local community, and helps keep residents informed so injuries don’t occur. 

Accidents can happen anytime, anywhere. Staying informed about improvements and construction in the community may prevent injuries. If you or someone you know has been injured in a Birmingham, Michigan automobile accident, contact The Michigan Law Firm, PLLC at 844.4MI.FIRM for a free consultation. 

GM Safety Feature Prevents Children From Being Left in the Car

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All too often, we hear about a parent leaving their child in a vehicle on a warm day, which may lead to the child’s death. Many parents forget their child was left in the car, become distracted, or think that a quick run into the supermarket won’t cause any harm. General Motors (GM) has found a potential solution to the problem, as the automaker is introducing a new feature on the 2017 GMC Acadia to help prevent these deaths. 

CNN Money reports that much like a seat belt alert, a warning tone will sound and a reminder to “Look in Rear Seat” will be displayed in the center of the Acadia’s speedometer. The feature will use the same sensor system that alerts the driver that one of the doors is open while the car is in drive. If those sensors detect a back door being opened and closed before the driver gets in and starts the car (or any time while the engine is running) then the back seat warning is triggered. According to Tricia Morrow, GM’s Global Safety Strategy Engineer, the feature is not optional and will be included in all new Acadias. 

On very warm days, it doesn’t take very long for small children to be overcome by the heat inside a vehicle. According to, 12 children have already died from heatstroke while sitting in a car this year. In 2015, 24 children died due to being left in the car too long. Since 1998, an average of 37 children died every year while trapped inside the vehicle.

More than half of these cases are due to parents forgetting their child was even in the car in the first place. This is even more likely to happen when the driver has a change in their everyday routine and is not used to having a child in the car with them.  Oftentimes, when children are left forgotten in parked cars, there is also a risk of the child getting hurt by way of parked car accidents. Even cars in a parking lot can be hit by passing by vehicles. And in the event that there is a child in the back seat, this could lead to severe injury or even death.

GM is planning on introducing this back seat warning feature for other four-door GM models in the future, Morrow stated. Morrow suggests that parents who are carrying small children in the back seat can put a laptop, cell phone or other item they ordinarily need back there as well, so that when it’s time to get out of the car at their destination, they will look to the back seat and see their child. 

Parents should never leave their child unattended in the car, but it is specially dangerous during the summer time when temperatures within the car can reach anywhere from 100 to 160 degrees Fahrenheit in as little as 10 minutes. If you or somebody you know has been involved in a car accident in which a child was left in a vehicle, call The Michigan Law Firm, PLLC. Call us today, at 844.4MI.FIRM for a free consultation. 

The Dangers of Leaving Children and Pets In A Hot Car

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As the summer is currently in full effect, this is a friendly reminder that parents should always make sure NOT to leave their kids or pets in a hot car by themselves.

While local news constantly covers the horror stories of parents forgetting about their kids when they go to work or go back into their house, sometimes parents intentionally leave their kids in a hot car. This is not because the parents intend to harm their child or dog, but because they rationalize that they will only be gone for a minute. Whether popping your head into a store to just grab one item or unloading a car full of groceries, it is wrong to leave a child in the car. A few minutes in a hot car could lead to death for a child, if hot enough. 

Recently, Kars4Kids sponsored the Hot Car Challenge in Lakewood, New Jersey, to see how long adults could last in a hot car. They were offered 100 dollars if they could sit in a hot car for ten minutes with the windows rolled up. The temperature was over 90 degrees Fahrenheit and though many probably thought the challenge would be a piece of cake, none of the adults could successfully complete the challenge. 

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Although people who did not partake in the challenge could remark that they could have survived the ten minutes or that the challenge was staged, they are missing the point. Many people don't realize how hot a car can get. Greg McKay, director of the Department of Child Safety did another demonstration on how hot a car will get within 10 minutes of the windows being rolled up. On the day of McKay’s demonstration it was also 90 degrees Fahrenheit. outside. However, after 10 minutes the temperature inside the car became 108 degrees because of the rolled up windows. And after 25 minutes the temperature rose to a whopping 124 degrees. This shows the serious danger of leaving a child or a pet in the car on a hot day. 

If the sheer temperature isn't enough to ship people from leaving children unattended in hot cars, here is an even scarier number. More than 750 children, mostly toddlers and younger, have died of a heat stroke in the back seats of cars since the mid-1980s, which is about an average of 38 kids per year.

The Hot Car Challenge was performed to remind people how easily it is for a child or a pet to die due to being left in a hot car. If adults can’t handle staying in a car for ten minutes, there is no reason to think that children can.

Tips To Prevent Hot Car Deaths

In order for people to ensure the safety of their child, here are some more old-fashioned methods that can help prevent hot-car deaths:

  1.  Leaving a purse or briefcase in the backseat with the child.
  2.  Removing your shoe, wallet or cellphone to put with your child.
  3.  Keeping a stuffed animal in the back seat car seat. When a child is in the seat, place the toy in the passenger seat as a reminder.

All of these tip help remind adults to check the backseat so that no helpless passengers are left behind when the adult exits the vehicle.

It is also important to note however, that exposure to extreme temperatures and their resulting symptoms are not the only way that children and pets may be harmed when left unattended in a vehicle. Motor vehicle accidents are very common with parked cars. Whether stopped on the side of a road or in a parking lot, collisions happen. While the vehicle is unoccupied the only concern may damage to the car and the hassle of dealing with auto insurance companies, however, when the vehicle has a child or a pet in it, the situation becomes very serious. In the case of a hit and run, a child or dog could be injured and could go unnoticed until the owner of the car comes back. 

The bottom line is, DO NOT leave children or pets unattended in a car.

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As summer reaches it's peak, it is important to be mindful of protecting children and pets from the heat. Children and pets should NEVER be left a hot car by themselves, for any reason. If you or someone you know has been injured in a car accident due to occupying a parked car, call The Michigan Law Firm, PLLC. Our attorneys are highly experienced in handling any time of motor vehicle collision, including those involving parked cars. Call us today, at 844.4MI.FIRM for a free consultation.