Public parking lot hours are changing at Washtenaw County buildings in downtown Ann Arbor
Drivers on the hunt for free parking near Kerrytown prompted a rule-change that starts Wednesday in the parking lots for Washtenaw County’s trial court and administrative buildings in downtown Ann Arbor.
The administrative parking lot will open to the public at 6 p.m. Monday through Friday, and the courthouse parking lot will open to the public at 5:30 p.m. Monday through Friday.
Chris Asadian | AnnArbor.com
The change is necessary because of traffic problems when the lots shift to public parking at 5 p.m. weekdays, said Greg Dill, infrastructure management director for Washtenaw County.
Both parking lots are accessible from North Fourth Avenue.
During business hours on weekdays, both lots are strictly for permit holders and traffic is controlled by a gate. At 5 p.m., the arms to the gates go up and the lots become free public parking.
The draw of the free public parking in an area near many Ann Arbor destinations in Kerrytown has resulted in cars lined up outside the lots at times, waiting for the arm to go up, Dill said.
Several car accidents have been narrowly avoided in the driveways to both lots, Dill said.
Pedestrians are at risk, too, based on an announcement from the county: "(O)n several occasions there has been someone waiting at the exit gate before it opens. This prevents employees from leaving the lot and endangers pedestrians as they try to avoid being hit by cars speeding into the parking lot to secure a parking space."
Dill described the traffic flow out of the parking lot at the end of the work day, and the counter-flow of people seeking public parking after 5 p.m. an “Indy 500” situation.
By opening the lot to the public later to allow county staff to leave the lot at 5 p.m., installing signs and painting traffic arrows on the parking deck, county staff are hopeful it will fix some of the traffic problems.
“We’re hoping that will facilitate some corrections,” Dill said.