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Posted on Wed, Nov 2, 2011 : 2:59 p.m.

Ann Arbor DDA gets earful on parking rate increases from downtown businesses

By Ryan J. Stanton

Several downtown business leaders gave the Ann Arbor Downtown Development Authority an earful Wednesday about proposed parking rate increases.

The DDA is proposing to increase on-street parking meter rates from $1.40 to $1.50 an hour starting in September 2012, in addition to a number of other increases at downtown parking facilities that are scheduled to take effect in January.

The on-street meter rate most recently went up from $1.20 to $1.40 an hour in September, and DDA officials had been considering a new tiered-rate proposal that included increasing the rate to $1.80 an hour in prime locations like Main Street. But that's no longer being considered for now, nor is evening enforcement of parking meters past 6 p.m.

Maura Thomson, executive director of the Main Street Area Association, reminded DDA officials that many Main Street businesses are opposed to evening enforcement hours.


Ann Arbor DDA officials say they need to raise downtown parking rates to meet financial obligations, including financing this $50 million underground parking structure on South Fifth Avenue.

Ryan J. Stanton |

"We really appreciate the fact that in this current proposal you have elected not to extend evening enforcement hours," she said. "We feel very encouraged. We feel that you not only really listened to the concerns of our members, but that you really heard us."

But DDA board member Roger Hewitt indicated at today's meeting that even though the evening enforcement proposal is being pulled back for now, "at some point there will probably be fees charged in the evening for parking." He said more time is needed to talk it through.

The DDA's staff is expected to give a presentation on the proposed parking rate changes at a Nov. 14 work session of the Ann Arbor City Council.

Among the downtown business representatives who addressed the DDA's board today was Jerusalem Garden owner Ali Ramlawi.

"I believe some of the recent steps are actually choking off downtown," he said. "I think the continuous rate increases and complexity in the structure is becoming discouraging for a lot of people to come downtown. A lot of businesses … are struggling to stay alive."

Ramlawi said he's happy the extension of meter enforcement hours isn't being pursued for now. He said that would be "the nail in the coffin" for many businesses.

Both Ramlawi and Herb David, owner of a guitar studio on East Liberty Street, expressed concerns about the $50 million underground parking structure the DDA is building downtown.

If the goal of the project was to make downtown more vital, they said, it's doing the opposite. David said his guitar studio may go out of business after 50 years in early 2012.

Before the project started two years ago, he said, his business was growing between 4 and 5 percent every year. Since then, he said, he's seen a 40 to 45 percent dive.

David, who joined Ramlawi in suing the city at the start of the project, said if the DDA continues on a track of continuing to increase parking rates, that'll likely mean the end of his business.

Ramlawi also expressed concerns about the DDA's statement that the parking rate increases are needed to keep up with not only maintenance and repairs related to the parking system, but also an "increasing financial obligation to the city."

He referenced a new parking agreement that has the DDA transferring 17 percent of parking revenues to the city. He said it's not the DDA's job to balance the city's budget.

Pangea Piercing's j.c. potts also addressed the board, saying the No. 1 complaint he hears from his customers is about parking.

"When pressed further for more details, honestly, it's not usually the lack thereof or even the cost of it — most of the time it's the aggressive enforcement," he said. "It's the fact that if you run 10 or 15 minutes over … we have the resources to have a whole army of people downtown to make sure that you get that ticket."

Luckily, potts said, not all of his eggs are in one basket.

"I'm not expanding my operations in downtown Ann Arbor at all," he said. "We're expanding in Pittsfield, we're expanding in Ypsilanti, because that's what the market's dictating. People are asking, 'Please, don't make me have to drive to downtown Ann Arbor anymore.'"

Added potts: "The goose with the golden eggs can be killed if you just keep putting up enough roadblocks to people wanting to come down here. They will eventually stop. I mean, Briarwood's opening new businesses. Have you looked at Liberty lately?"


Herb David Guitar Studio, at the corner of Liberty and Fifth Avenue, and Jerusalem Garden, next door on Fifth, report declines in business from the underground parking structure construction, which closed Fifth Avenue.

Ryan J. Stanton |

Ray Detter of the Downtown Area Citizens Advisory Council expressed his group's support for the parking rate changes, calling them needed to maintain the parking system.

"Obviously, no one wants to raise rates, particularly in times of economic hardship," he said. "But we strongly support all of those increases."

Detter pointed out that the parking system pays for itself today — something that wasn't always the case, not when the city was managing it.

"The City Council's wise approval of the DDA's taking over the parking system in 1992 changed all of that," he said. "The DDA has done a superb job of rehabilitating, maintaining and developing our parking system — and doing something that everyone thought was impossible, and that is making it financially self-sufficient."

Detter and Hewitt both dismissed claims that people are being turned away from downtown, pointing out more people are parking downtown than ever before.

"This fear of parking increases will always remain," Detter said, referencing a time in the 1970s when some argued a proposal to increase parking rates from 10 cents to 20 cents an hour would be detrimental to the downtown. He said that same argument has been made every time there's been an increase over the years and it's never proven to be true.

Hewitt, owner of the Red Hawk Bar & Grill, pointed out he and other DDA board members are independent business owners in the downtown and care about its vitality a lot. He also pointed out the city, not the DDA, writes the parking tickets.

Hewitt said Ann Arbor, thanks to the DDA's investments, now has one of the best maintained municipal parking systems in the country and the DDA intends to keep it that way.

"This is where a lot of communities are saving money is by not doing that annual maintenance, which runs about $2 million a year," he said. "So we're trying to balance the desire not to raise rates with the financial demands we have and the fiduciary responsibilities we have."

Hewitt said it also takes more than $16 million a year to operate the parking system, and the DDA also has debt service obligations for improvements it has made in recent years. He defended the decision to build a new underground parking structure.

"Certainly, five or six years ago when we started looking at this, we saw a parking system that was nearing capacity," he said, adding that with continued development in the downtown there was going to have to be more parking or else downtown would stagnate.

"If you look at hourly patrons in the lots and parking structures — that's the people who come in and pull a ticket, not the monthly parkers — we now have approximately 450,000 more people a year coming in and pulling those parking tickets than we did just five years ago," he said.

"There is a huge demand in our system and it has been growing steadily for the last five years," Hewitt concluded. "Without a new parking structure, overall business would not be able to grow in the downtown."

DDA board member John Splitt also pointed out the latest census figures show just about 1,000 more people are living in downtown Ann Arbor than there were 10 years ago.

Ryan J. Stanton covers government and politics for Reach him at or 734-623-2529. You also can follow him on Twitter or subscribe to's e-mail newsletters.


Snarf Oscar Boondoggle

Sun, Nov 6, 2011 : 4:09 a.m.

Herb David Guitar and Jerusalem Garden >should< bea ble to document their losses and receive comnpenastion ... from dda


Sat, Nov 5, 2011 : 2:16 a.m.

DDA needs to go away, they don't care what you say, they're appointed by the mayor whose views that they share, they don't answer and they don't hear, they'll do what they want, want parking lots to cost a lot.


Fri, Nov 4, 2011 : 1:51 p.m.

Please remember that the DDA - all of the members - serve at the leisure of Mayor Hieftje. If you want change - get rid of HIeftje.


Fri, Nov 4, 2011 : 2:42 a.m.

Herb David Guitar and Jerusalem Garden are part of the character of Ann Arbor. The 5 level, underground garage wih the extra expensive strength needed to support the conference center that likely won't be built (hopefully) is wasteful and diminishes the character of the city. When we pay for costs that diminish the city, we hurt local businesses that make Ann Arbor the city it is.


Thu, Nov 3, 2011 : 11:11 p.m.

Ann Arbor SUCKS. It used to be VERY nice when Fiegels,Goodyears etc. were there, but it's all restaurants now.


Fri, Nov 4, 2011 : 2:44 a.m.

Schlenker's Hardware (sp?), Kline's, and of course, our beloved Borders.

Go Blue

Thu, Nov 3, 2011 : 6:40 p.m.

What will the DDA think of next - charging for the air we breathe? Maybe the daylight? So refreshing to visit places like Dexter, Saline, Chelsea, Ypsi where they do not rake you over the coals to park. What's with the parking greediness in Ann Arbor?


Thu, Nov 3, 2011 : 2:17 p.m.

These proposed meter increases are crazy. Street parking in almost every major US city is far cheaper than Ann Arbor. And, believe it or not, this does hurt business. Think about it, you drive downtown and have to worry about getting ticketed because a police officer thinks you are about to go through a crosswalk with someone waiting - TICKET. 99% of the time it is completely subjective. Then you've got the ridiculous parking prices and some of the most stringent parking meter enforcement possible. I get that if your meter expires you pay, but I cannot tell you how many times I've received a ticket for being 1 minute over. That just tells me the meter maid is waiting to write one extra ticket. Something else I've notice... Coin meters used to give you a 10 minute grace period. If you're time expired you had 10 minutes to get back to your car without penalty, the new system doesn't work that way. Whatever the case, and sorry to say, the parking situation and cost does hurt downtown business. I'm not sure what Roger Hewitt is talking about either, from what I've heard Red Hawk is struggling.

hut hut

Thu, Nov 3, 2011 : 2:31 p.m.

Please name the major cities that you allege are cheaper to park and then tell us what the parking rates are in those cities. Every major city I've ever been in the parking rates and the penalties are much higher than Ann Arbor. Parking enforcement is not subjective. The meter runs out, you get a ticket. Stringent meter enforcement? Go to Chicago, Toronto, LA SF, or NYC. My car was towed for an expired meter in Toronto!

Chelsea Larry

Thu, Nov 3, 2011 : 12:34 p.m.

Yes, parking downtown can be a challenge at times. But I gotta tell you, I go downtown during a wide variety of hours, morning, noon and night. Sometimes I park on the street, sometimes in a lot, sometimes in a deck. Doesn't much matter to me. But I always find a spot. Sometimes I have to walk a bit. But I can use a little walking. Many of us can use it. Some can't, and for those, there should probably be more "legitimately enforced" handicap parking. You can take that however you want. But the cost is not that bad. I travel for business, to cities all over the country. We have it pretty good on the cost side for parking. Supply may actually indicate that we're underpriced. But I get the idea of these comment sections. People that are OK with how things are handled, usually don't say much. But every issue has a ton of detractors. IMHO, the REAl problem Downtown A2 is the anti-development force. Time after time, men & women with good ideas, and the cash to back it, are turned away. Turned away during the worst economic times of most of our lives. Turning away more jobs for the area, both in construction and in the businesses they're building. And please, while you are driving around, looking for a spot, please don't even think about cutting off a pedestrian!


Thu, Nov 3, 2011 : 11:24 a.m.

This is the beginning of the end of the down town area that many other small towns have seen. All the big box stores and the mall offer hassel-free, abundant, and most of all, FREE PARKING. Meanwhile the small business owners are having the DDA run their customers off and their profits dwindle. Keep it up DDA, be fore long you have all the small businesses shut down, making way for more Meijers, Targets and Wallmarts.


Thu, Nov 3, 2011 : 11:23 a.m.

Didn't Bob Ficano say that the DDA staff should get lucrative voluntary severance clauses added to their benefits?


Thu, Nov 3, 2011 : 10:34 a.m.

Daytime driving and parking in Ann Arbor is a nightmare. Too many construction projects and no place to park have sealed the deal for me, I can dine and shop elsewhere.

hut hut

Thu, Nov 3, 2011 : 2:40 p.m.

Construction is necessary to maintain and improve infrastructure and build new buildings. In growing cities, as opposed to dying or stagnant ones, it happens everywhere all the time. Construction also creates jobs. Feel free to buy gas at 3.50+/gal and enjoy the time you spend driving to dine and shop elsewhere.


Thu, Nov 3, 2011 : 10:22 a.m.

What is being done by City Council and the DDA is totally nonsensical, illogical and counterproductive. We have to make some paradigm shifts in our so-called leaders in Ann Arbor--they are definitely not the best!


Thu, Nov 3, 2011 : 3:54 a.m.

The problem with the parking structures is that they are poorly designed. If they were longer and maybe thinner instead of rectangular they could have a ramp up the side that goes straight to each floor. Instead, you have to drive around and around and it's slow, obnoxious, and even sickening. It's a shame that the city is spending $50 million on yet another obnoxious structure. It seems like there are more and more meters with bags over them lately too. I wanted to go to Banditos for lunch the other day and it seemed like half of the meters downtown were closed.

Red Floyd

Thu, Nov 3, 2011 : 3 a.m.

After they bulldoze historic Germantown, all those section 8 folks who'll move in are going to need places to park, people!!!


Thu, Nov 3, 2011 : 2:21 a.m.

I parked across from the public library last week and had a hard time figuring out how someone could leave without having a credit card on them. I never did figure it out, and thought that if anone was in there without a credit card, it seems like they would be stuck there endlessly. I couldn't find any alternative way to pay, and without the ticket being stamped you are not getting through the gate. Very harsh. what if you loose your ticket?


Thu, Nov 3, 2011 : 10:31 a.m.

The ticket machine on the left takes cash, sometimes. The card readers are junk, and there have been several times I've tried to leave when the sensors won't read anyone's tickets until you've tried 20 times, then when it finally reads the ticket it won't read your credit card. Last time I had to walk elsewhere to get cash and come back, and it shorted me on the change. Of course I could have called for assistance - if I had a cell phone, which apparently is a requirement for parking in that lot because the ticket machines don't have a call button for help, or at least not any that work. I'm actually quite amazed that the gates haven't been busted off out of frustration by anyone yet.


Thu, Nov 3, 2011 : 1:04 a.m.

Look people, it is obviously very expensive burying parking lots and the DDA needs to raise rates so that they can harass more small business owners and bury other parts of the city. They will then sell t-shirts and flashlights to visit "Underground Ann Arbor". It's pure genius from our unelected "representatives". The DDA is really overstepping its original purpose...


Thu, Nov 3, 2011 : 12:58 a.m.

It's risky. A supply and demand trade off. Raise rates and more people will shop elsewhere. Or maybe not. Maybe worth a try but could backfire. I can tell you I have slowly started shopping and visiting restaurants outside of downtown quite a bit more in the past year. Not completely, but noticeably.


Thu, Nov 3, 2011 : 12:38 a.m.

the people were well within their rights to complain about these outrageous prices.


Wed, Nov 2, 2011 : 11:35 p.m.

Take a look at the new head of the DDA. He's been very successful at pushing through county projects that are costly and now he's heading the DDA. Expect more of these actions.


Wed, Nov 2, 2011 : 11:33 p.m.

I have a sneaking suspicion this is all coming from city council. I avoid downtown like the plague because of the parking rates and difficulty finding a space. That said I have to admit that my step daughter, during visits from NYC was delighted to find A2 parking so cheap. I am hoping that a lot of rich folks who don't care about the fees will park in the new lot so they don't have to search and that will leave meter spaces more available. Hopefully the hours will not be extended.


Thu, Nov 3, 2011 : 2:44 a.m.

You find it difficult to find a space yet you would readily direct the rich folks to park in the new structure? That's what I don't get... The common complaint is that there's no parking yet there are structures on every corner. There's literally a structure within 2 blocks of anywhere in the core.


Wed, Nov 2, 2011 : 11:26 p.m.

Here is how it looks to me. I will catch a bus for that price and go downtown. Catch the last bus to the Park and Ride and go home. I will not pay $1.50 Sam I am because I can go to Canton, to the same restaurant and park free. Sorry Ann Arbor, but parking in your lots are too much for me. Our child uses a bus on Sundays to go the library in Ann Arbor simply because of the parking fees.

Pixie Belle

Fri, Nov 4, 2011 : 3:30 p.m.

parking in structure is free on Sundays....Why is he or she taking the bus


Thu, Nov 3, 2011 : 3:12 p.m.

We live on the edge of where we can take AATA to downtown AA or drive to Canton. Either way, I'll drive to Canton and take a bus to AA.

hut hut

Thu, Nov 3, 2011 : 12:52 a.m.

Using the bus to not drive or pay to park downtown? Exactly and thank you! But to burn some gas and take the time to go to the same restaurant in Canton because of parking costs?

Angry Redneck

Thu, Nov 3, 2011 : 12:44 a.m.

You would really pay an extra $6 in gas to drive to Canton to avoid paying a $1.50 parking fee in Ann Arbor? That isn't very sound logic.....


Wed, Nov 2, 2011 : 11:15 p.m.

The DDA needs to be done away with, period. This is just but one example of how disconnected they are from the actual needs of most business owners, and the priorities of most citizens. Dump the DDA, and we could save far more money than they aim to raise in parking fees. Everyone I know in this town save for the few in the "let them eat cake" crowd wants them gone. How can we the citizens make this happen? Is there any way to kick them out with a ballot proposal? Maybe an Occupy Huron Street movement?


Wed, Nov 2, 2011 : 11:36 p.m.

I would prefer it to try to separate DDA from city council control. Elect DDA members and let them do what they are supposed to do, not be a pot of money for the city to steal from. The DDA is supposed to improve downtown. Let the city have the parking system back for areas outside the DDA or all of it, since DDA's are supposed to be funded by TIF taxes.


Wed, Nov 2, 2011 : 11:07 p.m.

I have stopped going into downtown Ann Arbor because of the parking issue. There are some restaurants there I like, but not enough to put up with the parking hassle.


Wed, Nov 2, 2011 : 11:27 p.m.

Same here. Parking is nuts.

Wolf's Bane

Wed, Nov 2, 2011 : 11:06 p.m.

Hmm, at the Mall parking is free and so is it at the Big Box stores. Downtown, if your meter expires, you instantly owe 20 dollars in a parking ticket. 20 dollars is lunch and dinner for 2 persons at Arby's or McD's. Or a 2012 Calendar or a box of underwear at Van Maur? My question to the DDA, how does it feel to "drive" business out of downtown?


Wed, Nov 2, 2011 : 10:30 p.m.

Close DDA, provide free parking, and watch the businesses downtown thrive. It has become apparent, that the city and DDA opt to do exactly the opposite of what the citizens of the city request.


Wed, Nov 2, 2011 : 10:23 p.m.

AS much as people do not want it, Ann Arbor needs a tiered rate parking system. On street convenient parking should be about $2-3 per hour. However structure rates should be $1 per hour or less. This would encourage both on street turnover and structure usage. Between the parking issue and the very unclear "pedestrian crossing" law, it is just easier to avoid Ann Arbor and stay on the perimeter.


Wed, Nov 2, 2011 : 10:21 p.m.

If the DDA was truly a separate entity from the city, then why is there a mandate that the DDA return 17% of its profits back to the city? If this wasn't necessary, would the DDA have lower parking rates? If after that 600 space structure is completed, how will this affect the on the street meter rates? I would hope to presume that it could be lowered with a one-hour time limit for those who are only trying to park while going in-and-out of a store. While those structures can address the needs for longer term parking. Strange though, the city can mount an aggressive form of enforcement to address concerns of bums hanging around downtown while addressing the concerns of business owners who've replied that these same bums are hurting their business, but, when the real culprits (parking) rears its ugly head, they become tone deaf. How befitting of this city.

Jon Saalberg

Wed, Nov 2, 2011 : 10:19 p.m.

This is a fact - unless you are talking about Art Fair, there is always parking available in our city, and even then, there is parking if you know where to find it. This was the case before the library lot was ever proposed. The city powers-that-be, despite never showing any solid need for the library monstrosity, when ahead with it anyway. So if you are looking for common sense on parking - good luck.


Wed, Nov 2, 2011 : 10:08 p.m.

We definitely avoid downtown due to parking costs. We often come in after 6 to avoid paying and rushing, or park on local streets and walk. Using garages during events means a 15 min or longer exit line.


Wed, Nov 2, 2011 : 11:29 p.m.

The number 4 runs all day Sunday. Gotta pay the bus fare, but it is definitely much better then paying what Ann Arbor want you to pay.


Wed, Nov 2, 2011 : 10:11 p.m.

And we have the library send books to Traverwood to also avoid parking. Luckily U of M gives free parking at student move-in...

Marshall Applewhite

Wed, Nov 2, 2011 : 9:30 p.m.

This is a business decision. There is high demand for on-street parking in Ann Arbor, judging by the lack of available spaces at any given time. Although the people complaining say this will keep them from coming into downtown, they are lying.


Thu, Nov 3, 2011 : 11:25 a.m.

not lying.


Wed, Nov 2, 2011 : 9:07 p.m.

Once you find yourself a parking space, thank a bicyclist. :)

Sandra Samons

Wed, Nov 2, 2011 : 8:57 p.m.

If you wanted to make a plan to drive customers away from doing business downtown, how would you do it? Raise parking rates? If you wanted to create an uproar and drive customers away from outlying shopping centers, try installing parking meters in the parking lots and see what happens! Duhh!

Edward R Murrow's Ghost

Wed, Nov 2, 2011 : 8:36 p.m.

Per the DDA's 2010-11 budget, the DDA expected $16 million in parking revenue while parking expenses (e.g., paying Republic Parking to operate the lots) came to $7.4 million. Source: <a href="" rel='nofollow'></a> So the DDA expected to run a $8.4 million surplus on its parking operations. And add to it that that the DDA expected to &quot;capture&quot; (euphemism for &quot;steal&quot;) another $3.8 million dollars in tax revenue from other area taxing authorities (e.g., AAPS, WCC, AADL, WISD), a process that costs the DDA not a dime to administer. Total funds available to the DDA to squander: $11.2 million in FY 2011 And it needs to raise parking rates . . . . . . WHY?????????? Also interesting note: we are now in FY 2011-12, and the DDA is yet to post its new budget to its website. Wonder why? Time to disband the un-elected and irresponsible DDA Good Night and Good Luck


Wed, Nov 2, 2011 : 8:36 p.m.

&quot;Hewitt said Ann Arbor, thanks to the DDA's investments, now has one of the best maintained municipal parking systems in the country and the DDA intends to keep it that way.&quot; A goose that laid your golden egg was patronage that support stores like Herb David's. Herb has been in downtown Ann Arbor since the early 1960s. That he has been exposed to a 45% drop in business should be of great alarm to the DDA. Why be alarmed? Because the other goose that laid your golden egg was the small business owners that made downtown Ann Arbor a destination. As far as raising parking rates forever. Sounds like the ego puffing of the once great Highland Appliance or Borders Books. Where is your point of diminishing returns, DDA? What you don't care? It's no surprise, since you don't earn your own money. And, you have no true liability for debt. 100% of the downside goes to Ann Arbor taxpayers, and local business. Puff away, DDA . . .


Wed, Nov 2, 2011 : 8:30 p.m.

When I moved downtown in 2008, the monthly permit rate for the structures was $125 per month. Every year, it has gone up $5. It is currently $140 per month, and this proposal takes it to $145 per month. While my wages continue to decrease, the annual increase in parking rates is not a sustainable model. As a city, we are trying to encourage downtown living. Therefore, it is essential that there is a two-tier system for parking. Residents should be on a more fixed schedule. Huge companies like Google can absorb a $5 annual increase in parking for their employees; residents cannot afford it anymore. An extra $20-$25 a month would be very helpful right now! I have contacted my city councilmen about this already, I hope they are listening to their constituents.


Wed, Nov 2, 2011 : 8:07 p.m.

Who is the DDA? We didn't vote them in, yet they are making MAJOR decisions for the future of Downtown Ann Arbor. It all seems quite illegal to me. How do they have so much power? Who appointed these people to MAKE these decisions for Ann Arbor? It all seems VERY fishy to me!


Wed, Nov 2, 2011 : 8:36 p.m.

Again, blah. It's not the same enjoyment for me to go to the mall as it is to go downtown.


Wed, Nov 2, 2011 : 8:08 p.m.

PS- Never forget.... it's FREE to park at the mall! Thanks DDA for your support of the downtown businesses!


Wed, Nov 2, 2011 : 8:05 p.m.

Why don't the &quot;Occupy&quot; crowd come here and protest the parking rates, the cost of U of M, the cost Health Care! Instead they are wasting their time on some trivia issues.

David Paris

Thu, Nov 3, 2011 : 5:21 p.m.

The cost of health care is kinda rolled into Occupy Wallstreet, since it was similar monetary control of Congress that abridged our health care reform as that that caused the recent recession, requiring government intervention.


Wed, Nov 2, 2011 : 7:53 p.m.

I have a personal parking spot right downtown, lucky me. Our friends always ride with us for that reason, but between the panhandlers and the overall cost of coming downtown, it's easier to stay on the perimeter. Everything you want can be had there.


Wed, Nov 2, 2011 : 8:24 p.m.

'Everything you want can be had there'... except the atmosphere. Blah. I personally don't get the same enjoyment from a stroll down Stadium or at the mall that I do from being downtown. That being said, I'd really like to see some restraint on the costs of parking while sufficiently covering the costs.


Wed, Nov 2, 2011 : 7:47 p.m.

Tax the panhandlers. They should be reporting that income.


Wed, Nov 2, 2011 : 7:41 p.m.

Here is how it looks to me: 1. A couple of years ago, parking wasn't so bad. I could usually find a spot on the street if I drove around for a couple minutes. 2. DDA starts work on $50 million underground parking structure. 3. Since then, parking downtown is horrible, discouraging me and others I know from going downtown because it usually means dealing with pain in the neck parking. 4. According to businesses in this article, parking obstacles caused by megamillion dollar construction have caused them to lose business. 5. DDA raises parking rates multiple times to pay for increased costs, most notably the increased costs from megamillion dollar parking structure construction. Unfortunately, it's becoming the norm in Ann Arbor government. Nothing makes sense, but it is all very expensive and very inconvenient.

Wolf's Bane

Wed, Nov 2, 2011 : 11:08 p.m.

The one strategy that has help us, is to park over at Kerrytown in the Farmer's Market area and walk into downtown. But, obviously, this is not a good alternative if your a couch potato?


Wed, Nov 2, 2011 : 7:40 p.m.

The business of the DDA seems to be superceding the businesses of Ann Arbor which is just the opposite of what the DDA's primary objective needs to be. To have implemented the parking meters that require walking at times a distance to get to the pay station and to then have to stand in line to wait your turn while x number of people ahead of you are fumbling around trying to get their information and money/card entered is frustrating. To then have to deal with malfunctions of these pay stations which at times are stuck on the credit card payment method and won't switch to cash input without efforts adds to the frustration. And forget about the receipt - if one doesn't react like greased lightening, you lose the opportunity to even get a receipt. The 50 million dollar new parking structure is going to add what benefits to the business of Ann Arbor? When I am alone, I will not park in a prking structure and if I can't get on-street parking when and where I need it, I am no longer a patron of Ann Arbor's business offerings. Making the cost of parking prohibitive to a percentage of patrons isn't going to bolster business activity. The DDA and the city of Ann Arbor need to do a better job of identifying the reason for the existence of the DDA and the bottom line responsibilities of the city. How much actual expense is the DDA incurring by existing - salaries, facilties, etc.? Is this part of the cost concerns?


Wed, Nov 2, 2011 : 7:40 p.m.

I would rather go any where except downtown Ann Arbor I avoid it completely. @A2transplant I totally agree with you -with regard to being a driver in Ann Arbor - it is too dangerous - you might get a ticket for not stopping at an unclear walkway or if you do see it you might get rear-ended because the guy behind you didn't see you hit the brakes. Good luck Ann Arbor I think you are really going to need it!

hut hut

Wed, Nov 2, 2011 : 11:50 p.m.

@Heady. When you start paying an Ann Arbor property tax bill, or casting votes here, we'll talk. It may affect you, you may have to pay a few cents more to park or walk a block or two like I do, but until you actually walk a mile in my resident taxpayer and voter shoes, your opinion is just that the opinion of someone who doesn't live here and has no stake in what happens here. Please enjoy the many fine restaurants, retail shops, free public events, galleries, theaters, and museums in Dexter, Saline and Pinckney.


Wed, Nov 2, 2011 : 10:28 p.m.

@ocho Really - people don't just jump out in front of driver's in the downtown area - Really!!! @hut hut - you are right people from out of town have no right to voice anything regarding this issue - Really!!! So only Ann Arborites are the only ones this effects - Really!! On another note - please come out to Dexter, Saline or Chelsea we love out of towners and we all have great restaurants, great downtowns and again we welcome everyone!!!

hut hut

Wed, Nov 2, 2011 : 9:30 p.m.

We're doing just fine except for all the whiners and out of towners who want to tell us how to run our lives.


Wed, Nov 2, 2011 : 8:19 p.m.

Really?... a fear of being rear ended from stopping? Too 'dangerous'? I've read many of the rants regarding the crosswalks and while I see the concerns on a 5-lane road, I just don't see the problem on 2-lane downtown streets. I've been rear ended twice -- both at red lights. Maybe I should avoid red lights???


Wed, Nov 2, 2011 : 7:33 p.m.

I love downtown Ann Arbor, but am apprehensive about going as often because of the lack of parking available. I am not entirely opposed to the increase of fees. I am happy to hear they are not charging for evenings after 6pm. However, I have to agree with a comment that the enforcement of the meters is what keeps me away. There are times where one may be running late for whatever reason. There's nothing worse than trying to hurry through your meal, or a purchase / shopping, or from an event, only to find a ticket on your windshield. Can the DDA come up with some kind of leniency timeframe with the City for patrons before issuing tickets?

hut hut

Wed, Nov 2, 2011 : 9:28 p.m.

@Heady. It's a slogan, &quot;that's life in the big city&quot;.


Wed, Nov 2, 2011 : 8:24 p.m.

Why would anyone take the chance of getting a ticket if you're gonna be in town for a couple of hours...we gots us them tunnel type geerages where you pay. hut would actually walk a block or two? I quite often have people block my car in at my private parking space because they are too lazy to walk a block or so...makes me wonder who will use the new space when the William and Fourth Ave. structure is never even close to capacity...


Wed, Nov 2, 2011 : 7:50 p.m.

The solution is simple--park in a structure and not at a meter.


Wed, Nov 2, 2011 : 7:46 p.m.

@hut hut - the last time I checked Ann Arbor is not a big city!

hut hut

Wed, Nov 2, 2011 : 7:42 p.m.

I park downtown quite often for the last 35 years and have never had a problem finding somewhere to park, even if it's a block or two away. Ever. I've been ticketed a few times, but that's my fault for poor planning and time management. Part of living in the big city.


Wed, Nov 2, 2011 : 7:33 p.m.

All the businesses in the Briarwood area and the ones on Stadium have free parking. And no $25+ tickets.


Wed, Nov 2, 2011 : 7:11 p.m.

As a driver, I have to say that I'm just not feeling the love from this city....


Wed, Nov 2, 2011 : 11:02 p.m.

As a resident, me neither.

vicki honeyman

Wed, Nov 2, 2011 : 7:48 p.m.

as a small business owner, I'm not feeling the love either.