Ann Arbor City Council to vote on extending downtown parking meters until 10 p.m.
The Ann Arbor City Council will vote on a resolution Monday that would extend the operating hours for downtown parking meters beyond 6 p.m. Monday through Saturday.
The resolutionÂ would be an alternative to the city adding new meters in areas outside of downtown, city officials said.
According to the resolution, "The Downtown has changed dramatically over the past 25 years, with much more evening commerce and activity due to a marked increase in the number of restaurants and entertainment opportunities.
Yet, the hours of parking enforcement has not been changed to keep up with the change in customer needs, as vehicle turn-over at the parking meters is just as important to businesses operating after 6pm as it is to businesses who operate only during daytime hours."
However, some merchants fear that extending the parking meter times could cause customers to rethink coming into downtown to shop and dine.
“It’s hard enough to keep up with the mall,” said Susan Little who owns the Michael Susanne Salon in Kerrytown. She suggested that the city offer free parking for holiday shoppers via a guest opinion published Friday on AnnArbor.com.
City Council member Sandi Smith, D-1st Ward, who is sponsoring the resolution, sees it as a way to help potential customers.
She says that it will open up short-term parking that is often taken up by employees of the downtown businesses. “They might park there at five or six o’clock at night, put in a little money, and then stay until two in the morning,” she said.
According to the resolution, 100 % of on-street meters were filled during evening hours versus 68 % during daytime hours, "demonstrating the need for evening parking enforcement as a tool to encourage parking turnover."
The resolution also includes a provision for net revenues from parking at the former Y site on East William to be directed to the city's budget instead of the Downtown Development Authority's budget.
The DDA's parking system is budgeted to generate $18.2 million in revenue in the 2009-2010 fiscal year. Parking expenses are forecast at $7 million.