Arbor Update

Ann Arbor Area Community News

Public Parking Workshop, March 29

28. March 2007 • Juliew
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The City of Ann Arbor is holding a public workshop to discuss downtown access and parking issues on Thursday, March 29 from 6pm to 8pm in Council Chambers, 2nd Floor, City Hall. The meeting is an open house format, which will allow attendees to participate and interact with project team members. The goal is to find perceptions of access to downtown, transportation priorities, how parking can be managed to support the community’s overall goals and objectives, and give input on what best practices from around the world could be applied in Ann Arbor

This meeting is part of the second phase of the City’s efforts to establish a long-term parking strategy as part of the A2D2 project.

In addition to the public open house on Wednesday, there will be a work session at the Ann Arbor Downtown Library today, March 28 from 6:30pm to 8:30pm with Ann Arbor’s transportation policy makers, including City Council, Planning Commission, DDA, and AATA, to obtain input and direction on the parking study. The public is welcome to attend and observe this meeting as well as attend and participate at the public open house on March 29.

  1. The public is welcome to attend and observe this meeting as well as attend and participate at the public open house on March 29.

    Hee, I wonder how they are going to keep people from participating in the discussion tonight. Maybe issue gags at the door. I can’t quite imagine a discussion of parking in Ann Arbor without having audience participation. It isn’t usually something people keep quiet about!

       —Juliew    Mar. 28 '07 - 09:59PM    #
  2. juliew wrote: “Hee, I wonder how they are going to keep people from participating in the discussion tonight.”

    As Transportation Program Manager for the City, Eli Cooper will, I imagine, be on hand.

    During small talk before the focus group this past Monday evening, Eli revealed that in high school he had worked as an usher in a movie theater. And later he worked what he called ‘security’.

    So my guess is that he’ll rise to the occasion, if necessary. ;-)==

       —HD    Mar. 29 '07 - 03:30AM    #
  3. I was at the discussion tonight and I think it was very interesting. I really, really, REALLY encourage people to attend tomorrow’s session.

    I think one of the most productive things about the working session tonight is that it brought together people from the DDA, the City Council, the Planning Commission, and the AATA. It was great to hear other people’s perspectives.

    Here are some of the issues we covered (to the best of my remembrance):

    —There is interest in redeveloping existing lots to make them more mixed use, meaning putting retail on ground floors. The general consensus was that people may want parking, but they don’t want parking to take over the downtown. So we need to find better ways to create parking that doesn’t increase the parking footprint downtown.

    —There was a general sense that we need to improve other forms of transportation options. Some ideas to do this include express bus service, park and rides, and increased reach of the getDowntown program.

    —Folks were defintely in favor of having people pay for on street parking past 6pm.

    —There is also consensus that people don’t necessarily want more cars downtown, and that downtown Ann Arbor is a great place. We just need to enhance the strengths while ensuring that we guard against development that will negatively impact the city.

    —People were defintely talking about increasing transit options, including enhanced bus service, street cars, and commuter rail. It is clear that policymakers want to increase the scope of transportation choices.

    That’s a very general summary of one person who was there. Maybe some of the others will comment as well.

    Hope you all can attend the session on Thursday night!

       —Nancy Shore    Mar. 29 '07 - 05:44AM    #
  4. “So we need to find better ways to create parking that doesn’t increase the parking footprint downtown.”

    At the first workshop several months back I asked the consultant to look into why there’s no parking allowed on the west side of First Street between William and Jefferson. (Would someone please follow up on that tonight? I don’t think I’ll make it.) Likewise, I’ve talked with Susan Pollay in the past about adding parking in the right lane on S. Main between William and Packard (as there’s often a delivery vehicle blocking that lane anyway, so it’s use for traffic is compromised. Besides, most drivers—AATA excepted—don’t move over until after the Packard intersection.) Another potential “road-dieting”/parking-enhancement area (again, discussed with Susan) is on Catherine between Division and Main.

    Using existing roadway to store cars when it involves the elimination of a second or third (i.e., unnecessary) lane seems like the simplest, most cost effective alternative. It would also calm traffic and reverse the trend of traffic inducement that the addition of lanes in the past has led to. The proposed changes for Fifth and Division are good steps in the right direction.

       —Steve Bean    Mar. 29 '07 - 05:19PM    #
  5. I second all of Steve’s suggestions. The parking on Main, down to Packard, sounds like an especially good idea and would certainly give a boost to any business opening on the ground floor of the Ashley Mews building. The people who live there would also probably appreciate the extra parking, not to mention the slight traffic calming that would most likely occur. Parking along the street also makes people on the sidewalks feel safer by providing them with a buffer between themselves and traffic.

    Moreover, I suspect that the absence of on-street parking along the street there contributes to the notion that anything south of William is no longer “downtown.”

       —Parking Structure Dude!    Mar. 29 '07 - 07:56PM    #
  6. Thank goodness for a parking topic! AU had become a ghost town lately; so quiet, no comments.

    But with the arrival of a new parking thread, people are back!

       —Cooler Heads    Mar. 29 '07 - 08:36PM    #
  7. This is only tangential to parking, but I’d be up for some draconian traffic enforcement downtown.

    Blocked intersections (people getting caught by a red because they didn’t insure clearance before entering the intersection) and parents stopping in traffic to pick up kids from the karate dojo are all things that make driving in downtown a pain at certain times of day. Like other drivers, I try to avoid Main Street when I’m drving downtown by using other arterial roads to get north (Division) and south (Fifth, or First) but when you do have to use/cross Main (because, say, you’re looking for parking or headed to a lot or structure) these kinds of irritants contribute to my feeling of not wanting to go downtown at all. Parking, or lack of parking, is just a part of the overall “hassle” factor that drives some people away (and has the DDA fretting).

    I know slapping tickets and warnings on folks does not seem, at first glance, to be a way to make downtown Ann Arbor more “friendly,” but I think you need to do something to get people to be better citizens when they’re driving. While they are writing tickets, perhaps they can also remind drivers what that mid-block crosswalk between Williams and Liberty means!

    Reading this, I am astounded at my own curmudgeonly tone.

       —DowntownSemi-Regular    Mar. 29 '07 - 09:15PM    #
  8. People should check out an op-ed article in today’s NY Times called “Gone Parkin’”. The author advocates what he called “performance-based” rates for on-street metered parking. He suggests a system which raises and lowers meter rates, hour by hour, to cause the on-street parking to be about 85% full. He says doing this reduces the number of people circling downtown looking for bargain on-street parking, if done right.

    He gives as an example Redwood City, California. A big selling point there was that the increased revenue stays within the downtown area for such things as increased police protection and cleaner sidewalks.

       —David Cahill    Mar. 30 '07 - 01:02AM    #
  9. DC, I think matching enforcement hours to peak usage of meters (evening) is a cheap and easy first step to market rate metering. As I recall, local business has opposed this as customer-unfriendly, but it’s good to hear there was support for the idea at the workshop.

    That said, I don’t like the idea of auctioning parking to the highest bidder or parking policy based on revenue increases. I’d rather see efforts directed to better info on where to park and better connections between parking and final destination.

    I’m anxious to hear how the meeting went.

       —Scott TenBrink    Mar. 30 '07 - 08:22AM    #
  10. Santa Monica has real time readouts on which parking structures are empty and which are full:

    Compress that data into something as small as the AATA’s “mobile ridetrak” and you could reasonably check out parking from your passenger’s cell phone to be sure you got a space without hunting.

    The absurd thing about Ann Arbor weekend parking is that the bus system shuts down at 6pm. If those buses ran until 10 or 11 or midnight they’d be plenty full, and the parking lots would be that much emptier.

       —Edward Vielmetti    Apr. 1 '07 - 06:58AM    #
  11. how about metered parking the whole way between Huron/Washtenaw between Main Street and Geddes during off-peak hours, say M-F 10am-3pm, 7pm-2am. I know it is a major artery, but I think on-street parking would make a busy, fast road like Huron more pedestrian-friendly, while still allowing it to move traffic in the busier times. Might make that section of campus more pedestrian friendly too.

       —Dennis    Apr. 2 '07 - 06:58PM    #