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Posted on Tue, Nov 1, 2011 : 5:59 a.m.

Ann Arbor DDA proposes parking rate increases but drops evening enforcement idea

By Ryan J. Stanton

Downtown Ann Arbor parking changes won't involve an extension of enforcement hours past 6 p.m. or a tiered-rate system that was discussed two months ago.

The tiered-rate proposal included increasing the on-street meter rate to $1.80 an hour in prime locations like Main Street.

Neither option remains a consideration, officials said — at least for now.

The Ann Arbor Downtown Development Authority is holding a public hearing Wednesday to hear comments about a remaining proposal to increase the cost of parking downtown.

The plan being considered includes a jump from $1.40 to $1.50 an hour for on-street parking meters starting in September 2012, among a number of other increases. The on-street meter rate most recently went up from $1.20 to $1.40 an hour in September.


The DDA has rolled out a revised proposal for downtown parking rate increases, including a jump in on-street meter rates from $1.40 to $1.50 an hour starting September 2012.

Ryan J. Stanton |

DDA Executive Director Susan Pollay is circulating a flyer that spells out the proposed changes, and it stresses twice in bold, underlined letters that the DDA is not proposing evening enforcement hours — a controversial idea many downtown businesses have opposed.

According to the DDA's flyer, the increases in parking rates are needed to keep up with maintenance, repairs and an "increasing financial obligation to the city."

Under a new agreement with the city, the DDA is required to transfer 17 percent of downtown parking revenues to help augment the city's general fund — possibly through June 2033.

Regarding enforcement, Pollay said, the DDA's Bricks, Money and Transportation Committee determined it wanted to give more time to the new Parking Enforcement and Operations Committee. She said the committee only recently began to meet and DDA officials already are learning important insights about how enforcement and operations can work together.

"And as to the three-tiered system, this was also discussed, and the decision made not to proceed with this," Pollay wrote in an e-mail to "Instead, at this time they are proposing to put more effort into creating more visibility for our 'Park & Walk' parking meter locations, which offer 10-hour parking at half price."

She said that allows the DDA to continue to expand the demand for parking more broadly throughout the parking system with a very easy-to-understand pricing differential.

Wednesday's public hearing starts at noon at the DDA's third-floor board room at 150 S. Fifth Ave. Three minutes will be allotted to each speaker and there is no need to sign up.

E-mail comments also are welcome at

The full parking rate plan is as follows:

Parking rate increases recommended to begin January 2012:

  • Raise the daily cost of meter bags by $5/day from $15 to $20
  • Increase the premium monthly permit rate by $5/month from $175 to $180
  • Increase the Art Fair rate by $2/entry from $10 to $12
  • Increase the evening and weekend entry cost to Liberty Square and Ann Ashley $1/entry, from $2/entry to $3/entry
  • Increase 415 W. Washington monthly permits by $10/month from $80 to $90 and increase the daily entrance rate from $3 to $4
  • Increase the First & William lot monthly permit rate by $10/month from $105 to $115
  • Charge the actual cost to install meter bags on Sundays and holidays. Meter bag fees are often waived for nonprofits but DDA officials say there is a cost to install the bags on Sundays and holidays, as Republic’s union contract sets a minimum four-hour call for an installation. Depending on the number of meter bags needed, DDA officials says it's anticipated the charge could be $70-$140 or so.

Parking rate increase recommended to begin September 2012:

  • Increase the hourly structure parking rate from $1.10/hour to $1.20/hour
  • Increase the hourly parking lot rate from $1.30 ($1.50 after three hours) to $1.40 ($1.60 after 3 hours)
  • Increase the hourly parking meter rate from $1.40/hour to $1.50/hour
  • Increase the monthly parking permit rate from $140/month to $145/month

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.



Wed, Nov 2, 2011 : 3:07 a.m.



Wed, Nov 2, 2011 : 1:10 a.m.

As much as I hate to conform, I will also fervently ask for some detailed info on the DDA. If there's enough digging and/or DDA-volunteered info, it seems like it would have potential to be a good story for the site, not just fodder for all us alarmist/extremist/grizzled common sense types. - How long has the DDA been around? - Quick recap of its creation - Who's its boss? Who's on it? How are they appointed? How much are they paid? Who pays them? - What necessitated the organization? What's its purpose? - What are 5 (or whatever) things they've done in the last 5 (or whatever) years that they believe are hallmarks/justification of their existence? - Are those things actually good hallmarks/justifications? - What do they think would happen if they weren't around? - What does this (copy/pasted from the front page of their website) mean: "The DDA welcomes use of information available on this website, but it must be noted that though we strive for accuracy we can't guarantee its accuracy"


Tue, Nov 1, 2011 : 6 p.m.

Seriously, I'd like to echo several of the other commenters: can we please have a detailed report on the DDA, what it does, how much it costs, what value it brings, how its members are selected, with maybe even a little investigative reporting and digging on the side to see what's out there?


Tue, Nov 1, 2011 : 5:51 p.m.

They should raise the price of meter bags to $500/day. Then maybe they wouldn't be used so freely.


Tue, Nov 1, 2011 : 5:16 p.m.

Heres another idea you will get a laugh out of; Business's used to be able to validate parking pass's for doing business with them. Ha ha ha


Tue, Nov 1, 2011 : 10 p.m.

Herb David still does.


Tue, Nov 1, 2011 : 4:26 p.m.

BRILLIANT! Did Kwayme or Monica Conyers come up with this idea? Has the City Council and DDA cronies seen the vacant store fronts around town???? Downtown Dexter, Brighton, Saline will be seeing even more traffic now. Isn't this parking already paid for with our tax dollars?? it was 20 years ago Wasn't the fee simply for maintenance needs originally? as i said BRILLIANT


Tue, Nov 1, 2011 : 4:26 p.m.

We want Ann Arbor to be friendly. We now have the capability to change when the meters accept money. (With the dumb ones we had no ability to). Stop charging during non-enforcement times is one way to make the downtown more welcoming. The DDA should be about promoting a warm, friendly downtown. Not playing a shake-down game for someone who miss reads the fine print.


Tue, Nov 1, 2011 : 3:24 p.m.

I haven't parked downtown for so long I don't even recognize he landscape anymore. Just not worth the hassle. Find a space, find the magic box, try to read the magic box in the glare of whatever light, ... KNOW WHAT TIME IT IS, now I've forgotten what I came here for. No thanks, I'll use the malls or shop online.


Tue, Nov 1, 2011 : 3:18 p.m.

Ryan. I noticed several readers expressed a desire to know more about the DDA. I too would like to add to this request. I thought I had a handle on them but I guess like others I don't. Is it possible to write an article on the purpose and function of this quasi governmental body?

Roy Munson

Tue, Nov 1, 2011 : 2:54 p.m.

Have you ever seen people attempting to parallel park on the street here? That is reason enough not to spend $1.50 an hour to park on the street. Save your insurance deductible too.


Tue, Nov 1, 2011 : 2:26 p.m.

Downtown employees and residents may have some legitimate complaints here. But as someone who drives downtown to shop or eat or hear music or have my hair cut, it makes no difference to me whether the hourly rates are $1 or $2 or $4. As long as the rates and hours are displayed clearly and I can avoid a ticket, I'm okay with that. Frankly, for me, the problem is when I can't find a spot at all or have to drive around from lot to lot -- now *that* keeps me from using the downtown.


Tue, Nov 1, 2011 : 2:14 p.m.

I'm embarrassed to ask (I seldom go near downtown) - what is a meter bag?


Tue, Nov 1, 2011 : 2:42 p.m.

Thanks, zigziggity - should have figured that out - but I didn't. Now I know for sure.


Tue, Nov 1, 2011 : 2:16 p.m.

It's a bag they put over a parking meter to reserve the space for a specific organization's use for the day. Say you're having construction done, and you need 4 meters in a row blocked for a trash bin and two trucks. You must pay for meter bags for each space for every day you block it.


Tue, Nov 1, 2011 : 1:58 p.m.

When I moved downtown in 2007, 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.


Tue, Nov 1, 2011 : 1:49 p.m.

Maybe if the city and DDA would live within their budgets like the rest of us, there would be no parking fees at all. We don't need to "governments" running the city, close down DDA. What a marvelous savings that would be especially since they continually prove to be fiscally irresponsible.


Tue, Nov 1, 2011 : 11:37 p.m.

Huh? No fees... So how are the parking structures maintained? How about the lots?


Tue, Nov 1, 2011 : 1:49 p.m.

Yesterday I paid $3.60 to park in a lot to have a $13.00 meal (not including a tip) at a downtown restaurant with friends. That is a 27% increase to the price of eating downtown for lunch. We will not eat downtown again but patronize the areas where parking fees are not charged.


Tue, Nov 1, 2011 : 5:54 p.m.

Plus, a lot of us neither live downtown nor have the time to spend half an hour walking when we go for lunch.


Tue, Nov 1, 2011 : 4:43 p.m.

...Or you could ride your unicorn. Life isn't rainbows and glitter Dan. Many people can't ride bikes or walk that distance (like my spouse). Being insensitive to people with challenges, is an arrogance of a naive fool. Your 'opinion' is offensive. PS While you don't have these issues in mamby-pamby land, in the real world, we also have inclement weather.


Tue, Nov 1, 2011 : 2:33 p.m.

Or you could walk and you'd get 27% off!!


Tue, Nov 1, 2011 : 1:09 p.m.

By increasing the parking rate, does this increase the business activity Downtown? Downtown Merchants need to remember who puts people on the DDA and Vote for "regime change" on November 8th!


Wed, Nov 2, 2011 : 3:52 p.m.

I watched the video and find it uncompelling. Ann Arbor is not NYC. I don't believe that 29% of drivers are looking for parking spots in AA (Have you done studies to support this? The professors sites a study very loosely, yet it is a pillar of his argument), distances between attractions aren't even mentioned and would be very different in AA vs. NYC , I don't believe that people looking for spots are 'contributing to global warming' (like your expert states) and I don't believe that there is any evidence to suggest the DDA has done studies to confirm: whether AA already has 15% vacancy, needs 15% (why not 20% or 10%) and/or whether the 15% rule would be effective here, and/or where the 15% vacancies are/might be in relation to need etc... Your source has a political agenda and perhaps a viable argument in some places, (not sure about that) that bias his judgment. As you can clearly see, there are so many control factors that have not been considered your video becomes irrelevant. You sound like you work for the DDA and are defending your position, with good reason. If you chose to disregard the people, their very humanness, you get 15% rules.


Tue, Nov 1, 2011 : 9:46 p.m.

This isn't theoretical physics. This is empirically tested. He's gone and done this before.


Tue, Nov 1, 2011 : 7:52 p.m.

I guess XMO and I are just too stupid to disagree. I guess if you're a lemming then he IS infallible and we should follow the experts blindly as you suggest. If you are a thinking person, then you can disagree with an expert. After all, 1500 years ago, the 'foremost professor' knew that the Earth was the center of the universe. 500 years ago, the 'foremost professor' knew that the Earth was flat. And 40 years ago the 'foremost professors' KNEW we were heading for an ice age. Imagine what you'll know tomorrow.


Tue, Nov 1, 2011 : 7:33 p.m.

Right so I guess the foremost professor on urban planning and parking is just wrong then.


Tue, Nov 1, 2011 : 4:47 p.m.

I see zigziggityzoo, xmo is just too stupid to get it. Raising rates INCREASES business. Its not counter-intuitive, it's false! A lie perpetrated by DDA advocates like yourself.


Tue, Nov 1, 2011 : 2:17 p.m.

It may be counter-intuitive, but yes, actually. <a href="" rel='nofollow'></a>


Tue, Nov 1, 2011 : 1:07 p.m.

I find the beauracratic greed of AA parking overpriced and hostile. I don't treat other people poorly and I don't have time for towns, bureaucrats and parking-shake-down schemes that treat me poorly. There is a poster of a collage of &quot;no parking signs&quot; with an ironic &quot;welcome to Ann Arbor&quot;. It's a funny poster, but it reflects an arrogant unwelcomeness to downtown that I find unpleasant and repells me. For example some downtown businesses open their lots in off hours. This is 'welcoming'. Most businesses do not open their lots even in non-business hours. This is 'unwelcoming'. Revenue being down at the DDA should be the GOAL-not a crisis. AA would be a more welcoming, friendly town if the politicians had that posture toward the DDA. Instead we have a 'gotcha' game by the revenue officers of the parking brigade shaking down the citizens to justify their department's existence. As further evidence of beauracratic greed, the new parking meter solar machines take money even after hours. These machines are diliberatly set up to take money from our visitors who don't pay close attention to the enforcement times. When you combine our reputation of overzealous enforcement with a machine that is programed to accept payment when no payment is due, you have payment by intimidation. There's another name for that...maybe one of you know it. I can't not support a government that treats people poorly. Until the DDA looks into ways to make itself a posative force in our community no increase is justified.


Tue, Nov 1, 2011 : 6:01 p.m.

(There is an Art Fair version, but both art fair and non-art fair versions exist.) My point is not whether the poster is accurate and literal, the emotion and sentiment is REAL. Our reputation as a city is accurately described in the poster and if the DDA and our political leaders were wise they would strive to make AA friendlier for our guests. Don't you agree?


Tue, Nov 1, 2011 : 5:53 p.m.

That poster's about Art Fair specifically, isn't it? That's a very different situation, where people who have to work and live here need to protect the parking they use on a daily basis from the 100,000+ visitors who come in for the event.


Tue, Nov 1, 2011 : 4:24 p.m.

You have totally missed my point. We want Ann Arbor to be friendly. We now have the capability to change when the meters accept money. (With the dumb ones we had no ability to). This is one way to make the downtown more welcoming. The DDA should be about promoting a warm, friendly downtown. Not playing a shake-down game for someone who miss reads the fine print.


Tue, Nov 1, 2011 : 2:08 p.m.

All parking meters take money during non-enforcement times. Even the dumb ones before the meters. The enforcement times are listed on the screen. It's no one's fault but ones own if they don't read it.


Tue, Nov 1, 2011 : 1:05 p.m.

Here is an idea. Stop spending money so you don't have to raise rates! Why is that mammoth parking project going on next to the library? This is a waste of everyone's money. I think I violate the 5 minute idling ordinance everything I drive by there due to the main through way road being closed and the mistimed lights.

Jim Mulchay

Tue, Nov 1, 2011 : 12:55 p.m.

I'd suggest the parking authorities set an annual schedule for review which would include one annual rate adjustment - just one a year and a regular date for it (and stick to that date); It concentrates all the discussion / debate / arguments; It allows everyone to know when things will change; I'd strongly suggest one street parking rate for the city - it makes life easier for everyone;


Tue, Nov 1, 2011 : 4:50 p.m.

I'm not sure stiffling debate to once a year is a good idea... Unless that date is a day or 2 before reelection, then I would be all for it!


Tue, Nov 1, 2011 : 12:54 p.m.

I would like AnnArbor.Com to write a story on what we need to do to get rid of the DDA. Seriously. What value do they add to our town? I just don't see it.


Tue, Nov 1, 2011 : 1:52 p.m.

I agree.

D T King

Tue, Nov 1, 2011 : 12:47 p.m.

One more reason to stay away from the downtown. I think that some people just don't get it, this is at the expense of the small businesses, after all, at the Malls, you park for free. Just look at Chelsea and Dexter, they have free parking in the downtown and the small businesses are doing just great while in Ann Arbor the small businesses are going away. A perfect example of this, on Sundays the parking is free in downtown Ann Arbor, and the parking garages are full. Businesses who want to encourage shopping have sales. ie, lower the price. Raising the parking rates will discourage people from coming downtown. Just wait and see the damage after this goes into effect, then some will say, I told you so.

Lou Perry

Tue, Nov 1, 2011 : 12:21 p.m.

I still do not understand what DDA does with the money it collects.


Tue, Nov 1, 2011 : 12:10 p.m.

&quot;According to the DDA's flyer, the increases in parking rates are needed to keep up with maintenance, repairs and an 'increasing financial obligation to the city.'&quot; In other words, everything the DDA has control of, such as the fancy new electronic meters, and the amount they return to the City, has gotten more expensive. Why do we need the DDA again?


Tue, Nov 1, 2011 : 1:52 p.m.

We don't.


Tue, Nov 1, 2011 : 12:09 p.m.

Parking rates need to be *just* high enough to promote about a 15% vacancy rate for parking on each street. There shouldn't be just one fee for all meters across town. Main Street shouldn't cost the same as Washington Street. Imagine always seeing 1-2 parking spaces free on Main in front of those prime businesses! Sure, it might cost you $1.25 for 30 minutes, but it's a prime spot for a reason! If you don't want to pay that much, that's why we have structures. Yes, it's a longer walk, but it's cheaper. That's how this should work.


Tue, Nov 1, 2011 : 12:06 p.m.

Another bad idea. We need more parking, not more expensive parking.


Tue, Nov 1, 2011 : 2:10 p.m.

<a href="" rel='nofollow'></a> I suggest you listen to this professor (Pfr. Donald Shoup). He's talking about NYC here, but the same principles apply here.


Tue, Nov 1, 2011 : 12:03 p.m.

I forgot that there is a silver lining in this increase. It will mean more money for downtown Art. Thanks Mayor


Tue, Nov 1, 2011 : 11:39 a.m.

Don't forget who now sits on the DDA and controls what policies it develops. You got it, our beloved mayor's fingers are in this as well


Tue, Nov 1, 2011 : 7:35 p.m.

Guenzel, just annointed as the Chair of the DDA is use to getting his way. He will bulldozed anything that he supports without thinking of the consequences it creates for citizens. He operated this way as County Administrator and don't expect him to change.


Tue, Nov 1, 2011 : 11:09 a.m.

The DDA should watch the movie &quot; The last picture show &quot; that's what downtown Ann Arbor will look like if they keep raising the rates and the ticket prices if your meter runs out...With the excepttion of the&quot; Saugatuck on the huron shops &quot; that's why the real businesses moved out in the first place.....