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Posted on Thu, Apr 15, 2010 : 6:04 a.m.

Parking meter plan pushing forward despite objections from downtown Ann Arbor businesses

By Ryan J. Stanton

Back home in Portland, C.W. Jensen says city officials have raised on-street parking rates and expanded enforcement hours.

"It just keeps people away from the city core, which shouldn't be happening," he said as he visited Conor O'Neill's Irish Pub while in Ann Arbor on business Wednesday.


A visitor to downtown Ann Arbor uses one of the parking pay stations on Main Street Wednesday. It took him about two minutes to get the machine to accept his payment. After unsuccessfully trying coins, he resorted to using a credit card. "It has a couple kinks, but it's practical," he said. "We lost a little time, but that's fine."

Ryan J. Stanton |

"We have the same kind of machines in Portland, and they expanded the hours and they increased the price of it," Jensen said. "And what it does is it causes people — when they're making choices on where to spend their money, where to go to restaurants or where to go to movies — to go out of Portland. And so, if you want to drive business to your downtown core, this isn't the way to do it."

The Ann Arbor Downtown Development Authority is expected to issue a report to City Council on Monday that lays out a comprehensive plan for managing the downtown parking system. The aspect of the report getting the most attention is a proposal to extend parking meter enforcement hours from 6 p.m. to 9 p.m.

That proposal — coupled with continued parking rate increases — has several downtown businesses upset with the DDA.

"I just don't see the logic behind it right now with the economy the way it is," said Ali Ramlawi, owner of Jerusalem Garden, a Middle Eastern restaurant on South Fifth Avenue. "We should be trying to get more people to come downtown and have it more affordable. We shouldn't be putting more obstacles in the way for consumers."

It currently costs $1.20 an hour to park at a metered spot downtown between 8 a.m. and 6 p.m. Monday through Saturday. Parking is free on evenings, Sundays and all federal holidays. The DDA's proposal would extend the hours to 9 p.m., but offers the tradeoff of a free hour of parking from 8 a.m. to 9 a.m.

The Main Street Area Association recently came out in opposition to the changes, saying one hour of free parking in the morning isn't enough. Board member Tony Lupo said the association opposes the extended hours altogether, but if they must be implemented, there should be at least one hour of free parking after 6 p.m.

"I think overall we want to create a welcoming atmosphere downtown," Lupo said.

DDA Chairman John Splitt said the DDA's Operations Committee finalized its plan on Wednesday and looks forward to presenting it to the council next week. He said the plan doesn't include changes suggested by the Main Street Area Association.

Splitt, who owns Gold Bond Cleaners downtown, also sits on the board of the State Street Area Association, which unanimously approved a resolution in support of the DDA's plan this week.

Splitt said the expanded enforcement isn't about increasing revenue for the city or the DDA. He said it's primarily to encourage turnover on the street and make more parking available to customers — which DDA officials think will be good for businesses.


Tony Massey, an employee of Varsity Barber Shop on East Liberty Street, passes time on Wednesday by playing guitar while he waits for customers. He said customers frequently complain about paying for parking, and extending meter hours would only deter more people from coming downtown.

Ryan J. Stanton |

"We've had our own interns out looking at what happens on the streets in the evening and people park at 5 o'clock or 4:30, put a dollar's worth in, and remain there for the rest of the evening," he said. "It's the same thing that would happen during the day if we didn't charge for parking during the day. The folks who get down here first who work down here would have their cars on the street, and customers wouldn't have any place to park."

Caroline Kaganov, general manager of Conor O'Neill's, launched a petition in opposition to the expanded hours when the proposal first was introduced in December. She gathered signatures from hundreds of downtown employees, business owners and customers that were submitted to the City Council, which then delayed voting on the issue.

"Obviously no one wants to pay more for something, but if it's something they are going to do, they should do it with some kind of free component like a couple hours of free parking in the structure," Kaganov said, echoing the position of other Main Street businesses.

Ramlawi of Jerusalem Garden said the only reason he can see for the increase is to raise parking system revenue for the city and DDA and increase the number of tickets being written.

"It's not going to make the city more welcoming for out-of-town visitors," he said. "I mean, there's nothing worse than getting to your car and seeing a parking ticket. That says, 'I won't come back downtown. I won't bring my dollars here.'"

Splitt said the DDA isn't looking for money.

"The point in the city asking us to do this is that it's a small part of a larger picture, and so they were talking about generating revenue by going into areas that didn't have parking meters," he said. "I think the DDA feels that anything you look at needs to be part of the big picture. I don't know at this point, without actually instituting things, if we know exactly how it's going to affect revenue. The parking system needs a certain amount of revenue to operate, so we're going to safeguard the overall health of the parking system certainly, but in terms of what the impact of whatever we institute is going to be, I'm sure we're going to want to keep it revenue neutral."

Ryan J. Stanton covers government for Reach him at or 734-623-2529.



Wed, Apr 21, 2010 : 7:17 a.m.

Ryan, Apparently, you didn't interview anyone from the Kerrytown neighborhood. If you did, you would have found that we are overwhelmingly opposed to the 9 pm extension as well as all the increases, both hourly time as well as fine increases! Our customers are really upset at the way the mayor, council, planning commission, and DDA are handling this parking issue. I would like to know the total amount of revenue the city takes in right now. I know that the new lot where the YMCA used to be alone takes in $30,000 a month. How about some nice investigative reporting, for a change?


Tue, Apr 20, 2010 : 7:16 p.m.

Hair dresser moves downtown, no parking, new hairdresser. Dentist moves downtown, no parking, new dentist. The list goes on and will seemingly get longer with restaurant, bars, shops if parking fees are extended to 9am.


Mon, Apr 19, 2010 : 2:24 p.m.

A2 has ALWAYS been parking/enforcement crazed. It's as if the parking dept. was it's own little fiefdom ruled by the meter-ticketing staff and enforced by the auto-towing companies. If the meters could handle paper money it might ease the *$@*% I don't have enough coins.


Mon, Apr 19, 2010 : 12:51 p.m.

The revenue generation is the ( wait for it) -- tickets -- they write not the parking fees. That is why the city wants to extend the metered time to 9:00 PM. It generates money, justifies larger beaurocities, courts, police and jails. How they can afford to contract out the parking collections. note the address on your envelopes, and the fee to pay on line. if service was the issue the drive the up window would not have been done away with, there are seeveral vacant bank windows around town, has one been included into the new addition at city hall? The payment of parking tickets should not require you to expose yourself or your children to the dangers of such heavy traffic and reduced parking to pay your $10. parkingicket. The thought is, it is more trouble than it is worth so you will mail it and pay the higher amt. As in many other cities you would have collection boxes at the parking lots. that are small yellow, dedicated parking ticket boxes. Where the envelope with payment can be deposited, and collected by the city meter collectors. but that would eliminate the obsticles that have been put in the way of service. The attitude at city hall is that the people are there to serve city needs not the other way around.


Sun, Apr 18, 2010 : 11:06 p.m.

All you people complaining that the meters will cost money longer - kind of like, oh, the surface lots and the parking structures which already make up the majority of the downtown parking. I'm just wondering: were you the same people who said that nobody would come downtown any more if they changed the fee structures so that meters cost more per hour? How'd that work out?


Sun, Apr 18, 2010 : 9:53 p.m.

What the apologists for the parking fee increases don't get is that this issue is about the city meeting the needs of its citizens who live here. Yes, life will go on if parking fees increase after 6:00pm, but whose needs are really being met here? A huge block of citizens feel increasing fees is a poor way to meet the needs of Ann Arbor's residents. I count myself as one of the people who do not feel well served by being forced to pay more to park downtown. The city should not be using punitive fines as a means to fund public services. These fees are not about regulating parking (I prefer the free after 6 even if the supply is short approach) but about increasing revenue. If the city needs more revenue, the city should go to voters and sell them on a tax increase. If this is not feasible, then don't ask and don't spend the money.


Sun, Apr 18, 2010 : 12:05 p.m.

I'm not sure I understand the really strong objections to having to pay for meters after 6. It seems like there is pretty good evidence that many of these spaces are grabbed by downtown employees who park there until the town closes down. I can see if the complaints are from these folks, but that doesn't seem to be the case (and their interests are not being ignored anyway). So are those who are complaining the few who manage to get free parking at meters in the evening and now wont be able to? For anyone else, how is life going to be worse off if parkers have to pay for metered parking? Metered spaces will be more available but no one will be forced to park in them. Free parking will still exist a block or so further away and it should be even easier to get since some who now park there will pony up to park at meters (and the people who say theyll never come downtown again will be freeing up some spaces for the rest of us). At any reasonable rate, the meters will fill up. If the price is too high, it can be lowered. Is there some principle at work here or is this just an aversion to change coupled with an unsupported assumption that the economic health of downtown A2 hangs in the balance? So if its the the sky will fall on downtown A2 that underlies the objections, whats the evidence to support the worry? Heres one piece of evidence to the contrary. My wife and I stopped in Royal Oak for dinner yesterday. You have to pay for parking in downtown--they have meters on the street (2 hours max for the one we used), meters in lots (3 hours), and structures (looks like $3 for the night). Hourly rates are higher after 5 pm than before (because, presumably, demand is higher after 5, which is what demand-based pricing is all about). And the downtown had lots of people in it. It took us only two blocks to find a space; we saw spaces opening up regularly. We didnt check the structures but the meters and the lots were pretty full but you could almost always see an open space or someone getting into her/his car. Somewhere along the way the folks studying parking must have checked to see what happens in cities like A2 when metered parking goes from free to paid. Did the downtowns in these places shrivel up because lots of people (like some of the commenters here) decided that they were going elsewhere or staying home? The evidence from Royal Oak is that the place is doing just fine. Exactly why should we expect A2s experience to be different? This reminds me of the smoking ban debatelots of pass the ban and the sky will fall talk rooted in fears that customers will avoid bars and restaurants if they cant smoke. Today's paper says the bar owners can't wait. And the evidence from New York Citys smoking ban is that on the whole the bar and restaurant scene is as healthy as ever.

Left is Right

Sun, Apr 18, 2010 : midnight

Get a clue jackson72. I don't care if you understand the "logic" or not. And in fact I don't think that any of the responders said, "This is my logic...," in any case. For me it's not the money; it's the inconvenience and the fact that our AA "parking nazis" will be out looking for more revenue in the form of parking tickets for meters that have expired because I didn't have four pounds of change in my pocket (and then that I didn't feel like disrupting my dinner to run back to feed the meter). Parking garages and lots? Too hard to get in and out. If I have to be thinking about meter-feeding and parking tickets at night, downtown AA will be a LOT less attractive. I spent a chunk at Gratzi the other night. I find Northpoint in Dexter or the Common Grill in Chelsea preferable to me both in food in value but a bit further afield. I will continue to visit downtown AA but less often if changes go into effect. Don't paint it as an economic issue. It's not. Except for the businesses that will be affected. Of course, maybe I'm one of only a few with this "silly, convoluted logic" and there will not be a perceptible change in business. That may be true for Ann Arbor where I've always said the motto is, "See a line and get in it." I, however, will exercise my options without regard to your opinions.


Sat, Apr 17, 2010 : 3:03 p.m.

I just don't understand the silly, convoluted logic of people saying that extending the meters by a three hours will affect whether they come downtown in the future. I also go downtown a lot in the evening and don't like the increase in metered parking hours either, but the fact that it might add a couple of dollars to my total evening bill isn't going to change that. First off, there is no guarantee that you will get a metered space any time you do come downtown. Tell me, if you don't get a spot on the street, do you really then drive out to Briarwood or cancel your plans altogether, turn around and go home? I highly doubt it. Second, for those of you that say you would not go downtown if the metered parking is extended by three hours, who are you kidding? You're going to go eat somewhere else because the parking might cost you three bucks more downtown? Why would you ever go downtown in the first place? There are plenty of restaurants that are not downtown that have free parking. I choose a restaurant for the food and ambiance...not the parking. And oh, by the way, I agree that Dexter, Chelsea and Saline have some nice restaurants and I like going there too. However unless you already live there, those of you that are disingenuous enough to say that you will drive to another city to save $3-$4 on extended parking hours in downtown Ann Arbor are conveniently forgetting to factor in the added expense of driving to each of those cities. Using the total cost of driving a vehicle, at a VERY conservative 20 cents per mile, a drive from Ann Arbor to Dexter (17 miles round trip) will cost you $3.40; Saline (18 miles round trip) will cost $3.60; Chelsea (31 miles round trip) will cost you $6.20. For those of you that are threatening to not come downtown because of this change, like others I would like to say thank you. Enjoy your evening stroll around Briarwood or down Washtenaw after dinner and thanks to you I will be able to find more on-street parking and will have much less of a wait at the restaurants.


Sat, Apr 17, 2010 : 11:30 a.m.

OK so there are now 111 comments on this story. I re-read the story and the biggest thing that sticks out is that this is NOT a revenue generation play. OK, so here is the solution. If the meters can max out at $1.20 per hour for 10 hours (8 am to 6 pm), that is a max income of $12/day. So, if they want "churn" (and not revenue generation) lower the hourly rate to $.90 for the 13 hours (8 am to 9 pm- this free hour in the morning is a ridiculous olive branch that is useless) of operation. Some quick math.... $11.70 max per day. That negative 30 cents should more than be made up by the numerous additional meters they are planting around town. How about that? Hmmm.. ok, I admit it, I go to have dinner downtown after 6, park on the street and stay for two or three hours. Maybe I do need to do my fair share. But if the City thinks that I should, so should they.


Sat, Apr 17, 2010 : 9:29 a.m.

I think it is ridiculous to charge for street parking. If these meters are the same kind as in Chicago and other major cities, they are also a double rip off. You prepay for time but if you don't use all of your time, you don't get any money back. Same as a parking meter, but the next guy that comes to that spot, cannot use your left over time. He must pay again for the time you already bought... the double rip off. My proposal. If you don't use all of your time, tape your ticket to the ticket meter so the next guy can use it!


Fri, Apr 16, 2010 : 1:27 p.m.

@annarborgirl it only takes one bullet to kill. If there is only one bullet point out of 99 that people have a huge problem with then that is all that matters


Fri, Apr 16, 2010 : 1:23 p.m.

Thanks Ed, I had to highlight and print selection, although that didn't include the title, b.c to do so would have included all the non article sidebar crap. Other news sites have print article, click and another page opens with printer version.


Fri, Apr 16, 2010 : 1:06 p.m.

agh! the print feature above the article should only print the article or at least make article and article with comments be two different print options. Caught the printer before it printed 20 pages

ann arbor girl

Fri, Apr 16, 2010 : 12:57 p.m.

Its too bad that didnt do a more thorough job reporting on the breadth of the Public Parking & Transportation Demand Management Plan, and instead worked to foment controversy by focusing on a single bullet point in the plan. There are easily 100 recommendations that touch on a wide variety of ideas, including expanding transit options, encouraging electric vehicles, supporting downtown and near downtown residents with new parking and transportation solutions, and finding more efficiencies in the parking structures. The recommendations are intended to work together to fulfill the goal of the plan which is to expand upon an integrated set of transportation and parking approaches that support a strong, attractive, vital, and diverse downtown and core area. Other communities were looked to for best practice ideas, but most of the strategies came from the many dozens of community members who attended meetings to help us assemble this Plan. For those of you who are interested to learn about the other 99 ideas in the plan heres a link to the DDA website: (


Fri, Apr 16, 2010 : 1:09 a.m.

Parking fees and tickets feels like its just another vechicle or funding source this city uses to feed it's unending need for more money, taxes.(fill in the blank). Some well intentioned officals, volinteers, or group with a cause, plan, or agenda to make right, correct, save, or help, us(the tax payers). Do the thing we can't on our own, nor would if left alone. That being invest into their project, or social goal at our expence. Pls go help someone else. take your happyself elsewhere. give us the gift of a end of this petty theft by decree. Your legacy is generational tax debt for maintence, personel, Pensions, security, then eventually demolition of your well intended works. learn from other cities across this country. you are depersonalize and therein disinvest people from their communities. though well intentioned you are making the same mistakes. look around, go plant a tree yourself rather than have us the tax payers spend thousands of dollars to accomplish the samething. This Parking issue is just another example. We can not afford your spending appitite. Pls stop you have fixed, improved, and modernized, beyond our willingness or ability to pay. So now, do I move away because I know it's too expensive, now and in the future to live/retire here. When growing up we were fed, clothed and educated based on what we could afford. Why then is this city not as financaly responsible? You spend in anticipation of our future earnings piling debt upon debt. knowing you will be long gone, beyond blame or responcability when the accumlated bill comes due.


Thu, Apr 15, 2010 : 11 p.m.

The sense of having to be ever vigialiant because of parking leaves an unpleasant, unwelcome sensation any errand or event attended in A2. i live just off dwntwn n avoid dwntwn restr n busni because of it. I would rather drive out to stadium,jackson or arborland areas to shop. Saline for evening meals because of parking n prices.


Thu, Apr 15, 2010 : 10:13 p.m.

For over 25 years I lived in Ann Arbor before I moved to Ypsilanti. All I can say is, what took me so long? Everything is cheaper here -- gas, groceries, you name it. Ann Arbor is for young professionals and chumps. Ypsi has more charm in its little finger than Ann Arbor has in its whole body. And way more good, reasonably priced restaurants with no parking issues whatsoever. Good luck selling this canard, A2.

Jon Saalberg

Thu, Apr 15, 2010 : 8:09 p.m.

DDA and City Council - are you LISTENING to the people??????????No, they are not. If so, they would have never considered the "Great Dig", even in theory, yet here we are, with a big hole in the ground.

Anonymous Due to Bigotry

Thu, Apr 15, 2010 : 7:43 p.m.

The city should keep in mind that lowering business income will also lower their tax income. It's something that needs to be studied from a cost benefit perspective. I have a difficult time believing that there's really going to be that much increased income from parking meters due to this, but it will certainly discourage me from going downtown.


Thu, Apr 15, 2010 : 7:32 p.m.

The DDA has way too much power and money. They can say what they want about it not being about the money yet they continue to raise parking rates. Way to welcome consumers downtown.

Some Guy in 734

Thu, Apr 15, 2010 : 6:30 p.m.

Lokalisierung... Uh, no. No, it's not. People getting to this poll have already gone through a few levels of self-selection, right down to deciding whether they care enough to respond at all. If you gather a group of five-year-olds and ask them, "Do you think spinach should be increased at dinner?", I'm thinking the ones motivated enough to voice their opinions will overwhelmingly be "no" votes.

Some Guy in 734

Thu, Apr 15, 2010 : 6:16 p.m.

Gibby76... It's cool. You don't have to say $6. One of the establishments mentioned in this very story is happy enough to say it for you. All right, all right. I exaggerated... by 17. I went there this week, and including tax but not tip, the pint of Smithwick's I had was $5.83. Sjausi... Absolutely true. It doesn't make financial sense to make a fossil-fuel-powered jaunt across the county merely to save some pocket change for parking. But it definitely was one of the factors that made me increasingly ready to abandon my hometown. And when Mrs. Someguy and I feel like going on a date night after we're done at our Ann Arbor-based jobs, seldom do we drop our discretionary dollars in Treetown anymore. We're far more likely to stick closer to our home and hit the Corner, Depot Town or the Michigan Ave. strip. We're making a financial decision that's good for us and for our neighbors, and we feel great about that. I just bet there will be more of us to follow.

Edward R. Murrow's ghost

Thu, Apr 15, 2010 : 5:49 p.m.

Grumpy: How DARE you bring logic to bear in this discussion.;-)


Thu, Apr 15, 2010 : 5:46 p.m.

"Maybe we can go back to the ghost town on Main St. of the 70's. There's a bright side to that: lower rents!" were there strip clubs then too? Low rent and strip joints...sign me up!

Edward R. Murrow's ghost

Thu, Apr 15, 2010 : 5:46 p.m.

Oh that certain unnamed people might not come to Ann Arbor for dinner. One can only wish!


Thu, Apr 15, 2010 : 5:41 p.m.

"Total Votes: 1,494" Well Ron I don't really think 1/76th of the city voting proves quite what you're saying. Plus it's not that scientific is it? Basically the question is "do you want to pay more money?" Which obviously most people are going to say no to.

Left is Right

Thu, Apr 15, 2010 : 5:38 p.m.

I don't think it's smart to expand the enforcement district and hours. I haven't reviewed the DDA's report yet but we need a really well thought out parking plan and we need to wean ourselves from using parking revenue for anything other than improving access to downtown through better parking, better bike access, street maintenance, and desirable enhancements for pedestrians. Parking revenue to the city's general fund? Forget it. Interests are not aligned. I lived near downtown for ~30 years, walked down regularly, and took advantage of shops and--especially--restaurants. I had a manufacturing business downtown also. Now that I live just outside the city, I often drive down and have little trouble finding a free spot on the street. However, downtown feels a bit stale these days to me (and likely to many others). It's nice, but similar attractions are developing in nearby communities. Parking enforcement in Ann Arbor has always left a bad taste. And it's a branding thing for the city--something that visitors remember (being towed from one of the many business lots after business hours, for example). If all my free downtown spots suddenly become spots where I have to pay, visits to downtown Ann Arbor will drop significantly on my priority list. I can easily go elsewhere or cook at home with results rivaling downtown restaurants. It won't take much for me--expanded meter hours and area would do it. And I'd guess that many feel the same. Maybe we can go back to the ghost town on Main St. of the 70's. There's a bright side to that: lower rents!


Thu, Apr 15, 2010 : 5:02 p.m.

"I equally have no doubt that the downtown restaurants and other businesses will lose a LOT more revenue" I have no doubt that is redonkulus and will never happen. It'll be the same thing as it ever was. lots of people crying about a couple quarters, but nobody doing anything. Wait till this passes then go downtown...see how many empty spots there are on the street, see how desolate it is with all these people refusing to come; hardly.

Jim Walker

Thu, Apr 15, 2010 : 4:52 p.m.

I have absolutely no doubt that extending the paid meter parking hours to 9 PM will raise some revenue for the DDA. I equally have no doubt that the downtown restaurants and other businesses will lose a LOT more revenue from that change than the gain in parking revenue for the DDA. Adding one hour of free parking in the early morning is a joke of a "trade-off" for patrons of the evening restaurant trade that our downtown restaurants desperately need for profitability. IF common sense prevails, which is NOT a given, the DDA will drop this idiotic proposal and listen the downtown businesses and the citizens who resoundingly oppose the move. The current vote in the poll on this blog is 87% against the change. DDA and City Council - are you LISTENING to the people?????????? Regards, James C. Walker


Thu, Apr 15, 2010 : 4:22 p.m.

I worked in Downtown for a few years in the 90's...split between Huron/5th and E. William/Main. I took pleasure in parking off Spring/Miller and 3rd/4th/5th Streets. Heck, I was even pushed to 7th sometimes when they kicked the non-residents from parking in the nearby neighborhoods. Never, ever paid for parking and I was richer and healthier for it.

Ryan J. Stanton

Thu, Apr 15, 2010 : 4:16 p.m.

Somebody asked about the Chamber's position. From Kyle Mazurek, vice president of government affairs of the Ann Arbor Area Chamber of Commerce: "We haven't yet had an opportunity to stake out a position with regard to the DDA's proposed parking plan. It's my understanding that the plan is being tweaked at this very minute, in anticipation of its formal presentation to Council on April 19th. "I would hope that this isn't envisioned to be an action item on Council's agenda - but rather just a presentation of the plan. We are concerned about the proposal to extend parking meter enforcement hours. "We were concerned back in December 2009 when it was added to Council's agenda late in the day, so to speak, and right around the holidays no less. And we remain concerned. We understand that there are arguments to be made in favor of it if it's part of a truly comprehensive parking plan. In reviewing recent news accounts, the notion that the extension of parking meter enforcement hours has little to do with revenue seems somewhat disingenuous."


Thu, Apr 15, 2010 : 3:31 p.m.

Rusty, I encourage you to read @Chris Locks comment above. No better way to say it. Regarding your crazy and cheap comment, there is no maybe about it. Your mind is short circuiting spending 2 pennies per minute for parking and you say its not about the money? Hate to have to be the one to break it to you my friend, but it most certainly is about the money. How do I know you wont keep paying the meter to prevent turnover you ask? Because of your condition mentioned above. The meters will be more expensive so you will certainly choose the garage which is where you should be if you are going to spend 2 hours at JG, and another 2 hours at Encore and ABC. Speaking of your time at ABC, I hate to have to be the one that ruins your next trip there for a beer, but each gulp you take, you are burning about 50 cents. Thats because you are consuming a commodity beer. And you are consuming a commodity when you park your car in a space. And now you will have to pay what it is worth. If youre hearing a cash register in your head as you consume, I dont think AA merchants will lose that much business when you spend the rest of your future days at Hobbs anyway. RevenueTurnoverI dont care what they call it. This is about supply and demand and redistribution of cars to take advantage of a commodity in high demand. Try going downtown tonight at around 7P to find your coveted 4th Ave spot. 80 degrees, Thursday night, downtown will be packed. (JPs new roof deck will be perfect tonight BTW) You will not find on street parking and therefore you will end up at Hobbs. If everyone has a problem with the DDA gaining add'l revenue from this plan, DDA could make the remote Ann/Ashley lot totally free for evening workers as well as those that require a crowbar to open their wallet and would rather get a little exercise to save a buck instead. I realize the DDA wont do that, but I also dont think they should. If they can bring in more cash to pay for the MUCH NEEDED structures faster without driving away business, then Im all for it. There is a price point in the sweet spot that maximizes revenue and doesnt harm business. They should find that sweet spot and then back off a nickel. Right now the supply/demand for on street parking is out of whack. If you recall, a study was done that provided data to back that up. Although Im sure Rusty has a conspiracy theory that rejects those numbers. But the heck with the study. Anyone that spends a considerable amount of time downtown, (not these once a month on a Sunday people) knows on street parking is impossible to find.


Thu, Apr 15, 2010 : 3:01 p.m.

I am the type who will likely avoid going downtown if the parking charges get too high. Paying for street parking isn't a problem in and of itself (if it actually improves the chance of finding a spot), BUT I feel the rates are going up too fast. I am also annoyed with the new solar credit card meters...and avoid them whenever possible. They are awkward...and I end up paying for much more than I use since I cannot fine tune the amount paid and don't want to swipe my credit card twice. (The times I tried to add time, it didn't work.) I would MUCH prefer if the city would go to the parking card system...where you swipe when you park, swipe again when you leave and then are charged for the time you actually used. That might keep me coming downtown even in the face of evening fees.


Thu, Apr 15, 2010 : 1:53 p.m.

"Why would the city want to encourage turnover, when you have people using the parking spots and spending money at local businesses - after work hours." I would agree with you. Thier claim would be many of the people parking are employees of said businesses, and therefore costumers can't get a place to park to spend money. This is of course silly to me since there are parking structures everywhere.


Thu, Apr 15, 2010 : 1:46 p.m.

Hmmmm...people put in a buck or two in the meter and stay all night. Probably at one of the bars, or restaurants, spending money ALL NIGHT. Why would the city want to encourage turnover, when you have people using the parking spots and spending money at local businesses - after work hours. Illogical? Makes perfect government sense.....


Thu, Apr 15, 2010 : 12:59 p.m.

Does the A2 Chamber of Commerce have an opinion? Local cell phone while driving ban was considered bad. How about this with respect to people coming to town to conduct business?

John Galt

Thu, Apr 15, 2010 : 12:38 p.m.

I live in Ann Arbor. And have not been downtown in about 2 months. Too much of a hassle and costs for parking are a part of the reason. I prefer to shop and eat in outlying areas--Washtenaw/Stadium, Jackson Road, Briarwood and even Ypsi, Saline, and Chelsea. This just adds to the reasons I will continue to avoid Downtown.


Thu, Apr 15, 2010 : 12:32 p.m.

"maybe the longterm goal is to raise rates, get businesses to close," Yes that's right 3 more hours of metering time is going to bankrupt all businesses downtown, that can be the only answer. At least come up with something like they're trying to push people into their lots


Thu, Apr 15, 2010 : 12:27 p.m.

I enjoy free parking in neighboring towns. If I do go to downtown A2, I park for free on side streets. Come to think of it I don't think I've dumped more than $1.00 into those meters in the last 10 years. I probably shouldn't say that for fear of the DDA/City of A2 reading this.


Thu, Apr 15, 2010 : 12:08 p.m.

maybe the longterm goal is to raise rates, get businesses to close, than the city will snap up property so that they can turn main street into a no cars allowed place and create lots of downtown green spaces, with lots of public art.


Thu, Apr 15, 2010 : 12:04 p.m.

interesting, this was decided on wednesday, yet the DDA had a meeting with the Kerrytown District merchants this morning (thurs) to discuss the "possible changes to parking"...nice waste of time for the merchants.


Thu, Apr 15, 2010 : 11:59 a.m.

Has everybody here written City Council? That would be a start. If 87% of the people polled are against this, then 87% of the people motivated to answer the poll should be writing City Council. Here's the page with all their email addresses:

Christopher Lock

Thu, Apr 15, 2010 : 11:58 a.m.

As a boaster of "never paying for parking" and roaming forever for a space, I worked for world parking expert (seriously!)Don Shoup on his Parking Bible at UCLA, and was enlightened. It's quite simple: Small nearby towns can offer free parking because they can due to light traffic, if the number of visitors overwhelms spaces, no parking is ever available... and malls ring themselves with vast fields of asphalt. Making your town look like this is a high price to pay for convenience (and very un-green). It also promotes the very destructive habits that kill towns. If the purpose of metering is for revenue, it could drive away business being too high. If metering is to allocate choice street parking for quick stops, flexible kiosk-style systems adapt to time of day, use, etc. so the price exactly matches demand, and can stay just low enough to push long-term parking into off-street garages while only costing a coin to run quick errands (credit swipes eliminate hassle). The key is moving longer-term parking into out of sight structures. Everyone wants free parking so they can take a space for hours, but obviously this leads to "no spaces". Though street parking is always the easiest, this should be for short stops, and metering provides this. Very cheap or free parking structures, if designed well (safe/attractive/efficient) is a learned habit, but once adapted, cars are stored out of the way leaving streets for quick stops, at a fair price. People don't realize that they tote a giant ton of metal wherever they go, and storage of that is expensive, and compounded when multiplied by a shopping/working population. "Think of your downtown as the best, most eclectic mall in the world", I'd say. Stack free parking in convenient garages, if the local will insists on a free parking option, but realize that tax money must build expensive garages, so consider a modest flat fee to pay for it over, say, 40 years. As my professor taught, "Peope like to imagine there's no cost, but there really is no such thing as free parking."

Stephen Landes

Thu, Apr 15, 2010 : 11:55 a.m.

PS to Ryan Stanton: Thank you for the helpful info re: interview with Splitt. Ann Arbor needs more help from "experts" just as we needed help from those wonderful architects who gave us the ring around the stadium, the fountain in the new city hall, and the number of one way street signs to buy. Maybe what we need is a new prayer, something like "God please save us from experts trying out some new scheme on our dime".


Thu, Apr 15, 2010 : 11:48 a.m.

Come over to Ypsilanti! We have some great restaurants and historic ambience.

Stephen Landes

Thu, Apr 15, 2010 : 11:43 a.m.

We need to give us as complete a picture as possible of which entities are supporting this change in parking rates and hours. According to the story the State Street Association supports the change and Gold Bond Cleaners in particular. OK, I haven't used Gold Bond since I was a student, but I can discourage others from using them. As for the State Street Association -- I will take my business to other parts of town. These DDA types won't listen to the voice of people, but they will listen to the voice of money.


Thu, Apr 15, 2010 : 11:36 a.m.

Having said what I said I am just as sick of hearing "this is for the good of businesses." The city says it's broke and it needes money so it's getting some, just be honest with us. "I mean, there's nothing worse than getting to your car and seeing a parking ticket. That says, 'I won't come back downtown. I won't bring my dollars here.'" Sound ticket and you never come down town again. Jesus.


Thu, Apr 15, 2010 : 11:27 a.m.

"for extended metered parking is annoying but I highly doubt that anyone will stop going to their favorite place because they can't park at the meter for free." This is the truth. Do I want to pay a meter after 6? Of course not nobody does. But let's stop the whole grumpy "I'm nbever goiung downtown ever again" schtik. Also, the parking rates are not out of control like many are saying.


Thu, Apr 15, 2010 : 11:24 a.m.

Will AATA run all routes late at night? That's the problem I have with this scheme. I use the bus during the day, almost every day of the year but at night I drive & park for free. I certainly will not go downtown if I have to pay for parking. I pay more than enough already in property taxes.


Thu, Apr 15, 2010 : 11:04 a.m.

Rusty. You provide a perfect example to support my argument. And any other examples you could give would do the same. When you used to go to JG, where did you park? If you say at all of the free parking on the street, I wont believe you because there are only a handful of street spots near there and they are NEVER empty. And there is no parking in front of JG on fifth. I guarantee you parked in the library lot. And I guarantee you paid 40 cents for every 30 minutes of your stay. Are you telling me you spent 4 hours at a $10 eatery? Come on. You popped in for a half hour, ate your food, and were gone. Maybe 80 cents lighter in the pocket at most. And this meter change isnt going to change that one bit. You are either going to pay a buck in the new library garage or a buck at a meter in front of JG. If youre spending $4 on parking, you are hanging out all night at ONeils or having a big long dinner at Palios or Chop House. That is Mike Ds point. And it amazes me that none of the complainers understand that. Rusty, Im curious, do you understand this point? Those that chose Haabs in the past for parking and convenience will choose Haabs in the future for parking and convenience. Net effect = ZERO. Those that choose JG for the AA atmosphere, people watching, ability to go for a walk to another shop, bar, theater, or sit in the grass with an ice cream cone after dinner at a downtown park (Oh wait, we dont have one of those) will not be affected and will actually have increased convenience if they want a To Go order from JG because they can pop in and pop out for a nickel for 3 minutes of on street parking without having to drive in circles in a structure both on the way in and out and deal with stopping at a gate to pay a human for such a short stay. It completely boggles my mind that there are people that dont understand this. And again, if this idea goes the way of all the fear mongers screaming about this being a new tax and small business killer, then they can always reset the meters and change it back. We wont know if we dont try.

Peter A Webb

Thu, Apr 15, 2010 : 10:58 a.m.

Mike D said, "There is currently no such thing as street parking downtown in evenings because people leave their cars on the street for hours, so it's all full, all the time." This reminds me of the Yogi Berra line about a busy restaurant: "Nobody goes there anymore; it's too crowded."


Thu, Apr 15, 2010 : 10:58 a.m.

If they really want to increase turnover, try chalking the tires and towing the cars. Those complaining about $1.20 per hour should visit a city where is costs $20 per hour. It encourages use of mass transit - a direction we should all be headed. However, encouraging use of public transit means buses need to run more often than every 30 minutes...

Al McWilliams

Thu, Apr 15, 2010 : 10:49 a.m.

Money huh. Where could we have saved some money? It's a good thing we replaced those mechanically operated, easy-to-use, already-there parking meters with what I like to call, "The Solar Powered Things That Replaced Things That Didn't Need Power In The First Place" or "TSPTTRTTDNPITF" for short. At least it's hilarious to watch people try to figure out how to use them. Way to go guys.

Ryan J. Stanton

Thu, Apr 15, 2010 : 10:37 a.m.

I posed the question to DDA Chairman John Splitt why the DDA is pushing forward with a plan that is opposed by many businesses. Here's his response: "We feel that we know parking systems well and I can understand from their perspective that this is the way things have always been and it would be a concern to them to start charging for something that has been free. They wonder what the ramifications of that are going to be. I'm guessing that there are not going to be any. But again, until you actually do something, you don't know. People are always afraid something is going to drastically change if we do this and the only way you can prove that it won't is to do it. But again, we'll see where it all goes. At the State Street Area Association board meeting yesterday the board unanimously supported the report. Again we have a different perspective and I understand Main Street's perspective."

Ryan J. Stanton

Thu, Apr 15, 2010 : 10:31 a.m.

@rusty shackelford The city previously had a plan to install parking meters in areas where there currently aren't meters. Some feared that represented a commercialization of near-downtown neighborhoods that are considered primarily residential. Here's a link to a previous story on the issue. The latest news is that there's a line in the city's proposed 2010-11 budget that reads: "Remove plan for installation of new parking meters, except Depot St. (-$449k)."


Thu, Apr 15, 2010 : 10:30 a.m.

If they really want to increase turnover, try chalking the tires and towing the cars. Those complaining about $1.20 per hour should visit a city where is costs $20 per hour. It encourages use of mass transit - a direction we should all be headed. However, encouraging use of public transit means buses need to run more often than every 30 minutes...

John of Saline

Thu, Apr 15, 2010 : 10:15 a.m.

Why not charge a reduced rate later on, or allow longer parking, after 6pm? The meters are electronic, so this should just be a software update. That's a compromise between just extending the time with the full present rate and doing nothing. Also, a reminder: the meters take dollar coins.


Thu, Apr 15, 2010 : 10:15 a.m.

@gibby76, not that you would know it from's crime report, but your car statistically is much more likely to be broken into in Ann Arbor than it is in Ypsilanti. By your comment, I would guess that you don't go to Ypi or Detroit often enough to form a realistic opinion of either.


Thu, Apr 15, 2010 : 10:04 a.m.

Any other nickel and dime ideas? Worst. Idea. Ever.


Thu, Apr 15, 2010 : 10:01 a.m.

I like how @greenwoodkody actually reinforces @Mike D's argument. Freeing up on street parking for quick in and out $4 purchases would benefit places like Sweetwaters, Cafe Japon, NYPD, Kilwins, Schakolad, and M-Den. People will gladly put a dime or quarter in the meter to be able to grab a quick coffee, ice cream, or pizza to go. I have friends that say they don't come downtown because there is "no place to park." I have been in a line of cars at lot entrances waiting for someone to come get in their car and leave to open up a space. Once in a while, I drive downtown with co-workers for lunch and realize what a mistake it is when it takes 15 minutes of our lunch hour to just to find a spot. And there are NEVER any street spots available day or night. We do need that new u/g parking structure. We do need to free up on street parking and increase turnover at those spots. If the garages and street spots are always at most 80% full and not 100% full, people will learn that parking in Ann Arbor is easy. If I'm wrong, the meters can always be switched back. We'll never know if we don't try. The threats of going to Chelsea, Dexter, Saline and the mall for dinner and drinks make me laugh. Enjoy the one or two good spots in those places with free parking. The reason spots are free and easy to get there is because people don't go there. Merchants in those towns would love to have Ann Arbor's problem of having too many customers and no place to put them. I'll take downtown Ann Arbor for an extra 25 cents for short stays and $4 for four hour stays any day.


Thu, Apr 15, 2010 : 9:41 a.m.

On behalf of Downtown Ypsilanti, I would like to thank the Ann Arbor DDA for helping to drive business to us, and remind all of the readers here that parking is free throughout most of Ypsilanti's diverse downtown. Just look at what we have to offer! Visit Sidetrack, Aubree's, JD's Mongolian or the Tap Room for a great meal, or catch Dueling Pianos with dinner at Pub 13. You can get authentic Mexican at La Fiesta, or the best of the Mediterranean at Tower Inn. If its liter fare you seek, try Cafe Luak, Da Lat Vietnamese, or our best little secret spot, Beezy's Cafe. Looking for a game? Visit Best Damn Sports Bar or Stix to watch all the action while you grab a brew and a game of pool. Coffee your thing? Head over to Bombahdill's or Ugly Mug for a fresh roasted treat. Craft beer what you crave? First stop is The Corner Brewery with it's huge outdoor beer garden. And, not only do all of our bars offer a fine selection of macro and micro brews, but our regular prices for drinks are usually cheaper than an Ann Arbor bar's specials! And when our specials start, you'll wonder why you would ever pay what they ask back in A2! Need to fill that shopping void? The Rocket, Puffer Red's, Mix Gallery, The Ypsi Food Co Op, Fantasy Attic, Ypsi Cycle, Dos Hermanos Market and so much more is waiting for you. Craving live music? This Friday alone, you can catch the Funk from Third Coast Kings (8pm @ Savoy) CrabGrass from Black Jake & the Carnies w/ Paul's Big Radio (10pm @ Keystone Underground) or Mysty Lyn, Jim Roll, and Danny Kline (10pm @ Elbow Room) and all within a block of each other! For about $12, you can hop all three, they are that close together! And all this while your car is safe and secure on one of Ypsilanti's many free parking areas! So what are you waiting for? You are clearly all tired of the outrageous parking rates and bone head moves of Ann Arbor and it's DDA, so head on down to Ypsi, where our city and businesses welcome you with open arms, so much to do, and free parking.


Thu, Apr 15, 2010 : 9:33 a.m.

@LiberalNIMBY haha actually suburbia is going away. Suburbia should design things centrally for efficiency or walkability as that is what people SHOULD do to live healthy lifestyles. just wait for gas prices to shoot to 7 dollars a gallon. then people will really consider what it means to DRIVE. ok i'm convinced, you know, $2 in the structure or $1.5 on the street really isn't bad when you consider getting your car out of the police impound or trying to find it when it's been stolen out of detroit or ypsi. considering what people pay when they go out. wake up America!! resources are FINITE!!


Thu, Apr 15, 2010 : 9:27 a.m.

Let's take a deep breath for a moment and put this into perspective. Eating and shopping downtown is a planned event. It has been for some time now. Charging for extended metered parking is annoying but I highly doubt that anyone will stop going to their favorite place because they can't park at the meter for free. The people that park in the structure still park there week after week and haven't stopped doing so to save a few bucks. I doubt the town will empty out and be replaced by businesses in other cities over a few bucks. The majority of Ann Arborites haven't check these places out so far, even when they must use the structured parking or pay at a meter. The Palm Palace on the east side has a huge parking lot. Why isn't it full of people escaping the parking crunch. Creekside Tavern on Jackson Rd. on the West side also has a mega lot. Anyone chose that over The Real Seafood? Remember to go to Los Tres Amigos on the south side, maybe over the Prickly Pear. Huge lot. Carson's on the north side? All these great places spend big money to advertise and attract new customers. If you haven't gone there by now are you really going there to save a few bucks. Chill out!

Adam Jaskiewicz

Thu, Apr 15, 2010 : 9:18 a.m.

If they're trying to encourage turnover in on-street parking, they should convert more structures to flat-rate parking.


Thu, Apr 15, 2010 : 9:12 a.m.

Ann Arbor has become a place for the wealthy and the "young professionals." As a retiree I used to love going downtown and browsing through the used book stores and having a coffee or beer at a sidewalk table. But spending several hours downtown has become more and more expensive. The resturants are more expensive, the coffee is expensive and the parking is increasingly expensive. I have already been priced out of the downtown. Sad really, but I just can't justify the expense on a fixed budget.


Thu, Apr 15, 2010 : 8:46 a.m.

I don't like the idea of paying for parking after 6pm, however all you folks who are indicating you will drive to Saline, Chelsea etc for the free parking are not saying anything about the the cost of the gas to get there.


Thu, Apr 15, 2010 : 8:45 a.m.

"He said it's primarily to encourage turnover on the street and make more parking available to customers which DDA officials think will be good for businesses." FYI, I'm not going to leave me dinner because my hour is up, I'm simply going to put more money in i.e. revenue generator. Why can't officials just tell us they're jacking up rates? The DDA is being forced to help fund the Taj maCity Hall. Separate entity--HA! August can't be upon us soon enough.


Thu, Apr 15, 2010 : 8:35 a.m.

The assumption is that we should all have our own private transportation and that parking should be provided for all. My guess is that this isn't a model for the long term. Perhaps for 10 years or so we can argue about how to continue an economy based on cars, but eventually, we need a better way. We can spend our energy arguing over parking spaces, or we could think about the long term.


Thu, Apr 15, 2010 : 8:30 a.m.

This is a terrible idea. I feel bad for the businesses downtown that it will affect. The parking prices are already outrageous and this will keep even more people from heading downtown for the evening.

Phil Dokas

Thu, Apr 15, 2010 : 8:29 a.m.

This just makes me happier that I'm moving from my downtown apartment to a quieter place in the east part of Kerrytown where parking is free. Living downtown is nearly impossible with a car unless you've got a real pressing desire to burn through cash.


Thu, Apr 15, 2010 : 8:26 a.m.

Bye Bye A2. I will be spending more of my entertainment dollars in Ypsi, Saline and Milan where they don't charge for parking.


Thu, Apr 15, 2010 : 8:26 a.m.

Downtown will NEVER compete with the mall and suburbia, nor should it ever try. Cities are full of people who pay for the privilege of not needing to drive everywhere. The more parking lots you have, the more stuff is spread out, and you have to drive everywhere (even "across the street" from the mall to the strip center). This is NOT a business-unfriendly proposition, it's just asking people to pay fair rent for all the space their SUVs take up. We already sell out paid lots on the weekends--I guess those people think downtown is worth it? And anyone who thinks that the current crop of folks challenging council seats (with one exception) will be MORE business friendly, I've got a bridge for you!


Thu, Apr 15, 2010 : 8:14 a.m.

Did you vote for the officials on the City Council? I sure didn't, and I will definitely think about voting for any of their opposition who runs on a platform of less government interference with business. This includes lower parking fees, lower fees, fines, and costs for city services, more integrity regarding the deal between A2 and the DDA, etc. Meanwhile, I go to Zingermans Coffee in Airport Plaza on my way martial arts class at the Japanese Martial Arts Center. There's free parking there, at Briarwood, and in the Mediterrano Shopping area.


Thu, Apr 15, 2010 : 8:13 a.m.

I am 100% for extending hours. It will cut down on the huge number people circling around town, playing the "free spot lottery." For what, three or four dollars? Agreed, you have to post really obvious signs and give "warning" tickets for a while until everyone understands what's happening. It seems that more of the businesses should've been on board with the plan first, however. (I'm wondering if the loudest complainers are the ones grabbing those prime free spots for the entire night.) Has anyone studied the effects of other cities extending hours? The number of metered on-street parking spots is such a small percentage of all the spot in paid parking structures and lots, all the hubbub seems to be misdirected anger at "big gummint."


Thu, Apr 15, 2010 : 8:10 a.m.

@Some Guy in 734 That's cuz we don't drink crap beer. Altho, I wouldn't say $6 for beer, I only did that back when I had disposable income and wanted to try those crazy belgian beers at Ashley's. This goes to show the deluded opinions people actually have for the way the city does things while actually trying to discourage people from wasting gas and going to the suburbs. HECK, when I go downtown I park way on the outskirts on 4th street and walk in, but I guess most people are lazy and like to park right up to curb, you know that strip mall thinking. Biggest travesty on the American people IMHO. So because I don't wanna be hassled with freaking and just want to go enjoy my beer and nuts and enjoy the feeling of an actual downtown, I get charged more. Well that's ok, I may soak it, since supporting downtowns is important to me...


Thu, Apr 15, 2010 : 8:05 a.m.

Downtown Ann Arbor has many things in its favor. The continuing rise in parking rates and high-rise and underground parking structures are not among them.


Thu, Apr 15, 2010 : 8:01 a.m.

@townie54 Yeah, paying $4 for a coffee is one thing, but if you factor in the $4 for parking, it's really an $8 coffee. People drive downtown to go to dinner and the bars, among other things. When you're essentially paying the cost of one of the two beers you're having down there, why not save that $4 by going to the microbrews in Dexter or Ypsi?


Thu, Apr 15, 2010 : 7:59 a.m.

This is a great way to keep the city clean and prevent business development. Finally, Ann Arbor residents will have a Green city that has nobody shops in.


Thu, Apr 15, 2010 : 7:54 a.m.

Mike D likes to assume that everyone who is coming downtown on a given evening is there to spend at least $100 at a local restaurant or bar, and therefore $4 or $8 or $12 is a tiny percentage of their total evening's cost, so what's the big deal? His logic is based on an enormous pile of faulty assumptions. Many of us are going downtown to stop in at our offices, or to dash into a store, or to pick up a baguette at Cafe Japon (best in the midwest, by the way), or to have a cup of $3 coffee. Not to spend $100 at one of Ann Arbor's overrated restaurants. If we have to spend $4 to park for the privilege of spending $3 or $4 at a downtown business, then we end up with people saying to their friends, "Nah, I don't want to go to Sweetwaters on Ashley....parking is a hassle. Let's go to Caribou at Packard and Stadium---at least there we can park." Etc., etc. I actually think there are many convincing arguments that on-street parking should be free at all times, with enforcement efforts directed at a maximum length of time that someone can park before they're ticketed and eventually towed.


Thu, Apr 15, 2010 : 7:54 a.m.

Its ok if you people pay 4 bucks for a starbucks coffee but 4 dollars for parking will drive you away?Incredible


Thu, Apr 15, 2010 : 7:51 a.m.

cook188 wrote it correctly. sad for the businesses in aa that will lose money. i like dexter, chelsea, saline and the malls first. maybe the folks that are making this decision should check the poll on this site. it is pretty decisive against the extended hours.


Thu, Apr 15, 2010 : 7:47 a.m.

WHY?! Do they care at all about this city? What kind of future will we have if there are no businesses to draw people here?


Thu, Apr 15, 2010 : 7:40 a.m.

Paying for parking doesn't influence me as much as crowds do. I hate waiting for a table or hunting for a space, for that matter.

Evelyn Griffin

Thu, Apr 15, 2010 : 7:39 a.m.

This is one big NO BRAINER. The city cries it needs money and then cuts out a great source of revinew which is the downtown businesses by making it more expensive to park. This has just made coming to Ann Arbor in the evening a non option to me. I am creative enough to find good entertainment elsewhere where I am not going to be gouged for parking. EvieG


Thu, Apr 15, 2010 : 7:35 a.m.

Well, it is a double edged sword, right? If you give visitors to downtown free off street parking then we'll have cars parked along our streets 24 7. Yet, charging and extending the hours will probably drive quite a few folks to seek refuge in parking structures making off street parking VERY undesirable! I know that when we go downtown that last thing on my mind is feeding the meter. I'd rather think about a the play or movie I'm going to go see, my friends, and lunch or dinner. The structures will simply become filled sooner, leaving the late comers paying the EXTENDED fines.


Thu, Apr 15, 2010 : 7:35 a.m.

Welcome Ann Arborites to Chelsea and Dexter we do not charge people for parking and have numerous wonderful restaurants and shopping in both of these wonderful towns. I realize that Ann Arbor is trying as hard as they can to push people right out of your city - between giving you tickets for talking on the phone or attempting to institute a "city tax" if you work in Ann Arbor. So the good news is we have room for any businesses that would like to relocate as well lots of friendly folk!


Thu, Apr 15, 2010 : 7:27 a.m.

When going downtown during the day it usually is for a quick trip. But, in the evening, going out to eat and hanging around the bars is a 3-4 (or more!) hour venture. Not much 'turn around' time there, and I'll bet it's the same for a lot of folks who visit the dining/drinking establishments in the evening. Perhaps the interns should have done their survey during evening hours as well? They would have seen that the rationale to raise rates (and hours) to 'increase turnover' is based on bad data and won't work as planned.


Thu, Apr 15, 2010 : 7:21 a.m.

Question for AA.Com - I know the newspaper headlines are not (in most cases) written by the writer of the article; how does it work here? Is there a separate "Headline Writer", or do the writers of the articles write their own headlines? Thanks...

thomas h blaske

Thu, Apr 15, 2010 : 7:15 a.m.

A vibrant downtown & activities there after hours are treasures. The plan proposed by will diminish attendance at arts & cultural events too. All this to the detriment of the tax base & economy writ large. It's, to borrow an older phrase from another time, "penny wise & pound foolish."


Thu, Apr 15, 2010 : 7:09 a.m.

Now we have the local government governing against the will of the people. They don't care what we think, they only care to make up the revenue they have lost from declining property values. They are unwilling to cut where they really need to cut--public union wages and benefits. They resort to seeking to take more money from us in any way they think they can get away with it.

Michael Klapperich

Thu, Apr 15, 2010 : 7:04 a.m.

Thiis Republic Parking Authority has really become BIG business and they sure know how to rip the public off. I feel sorry for the merchants downtown who have to put up with this crap

Some Guy in 734

Thu, Apr 15, 2010 : 6:58 a.m.

Nice Yogi Berra logic there by the way... "Nobody's there. It's too crowded."

Mike D.

Thu, Apr 15, 2010 : 6:55 a.m.

Ryan Stanton, your headline is shamefully biased. You make it sound like all downtown businesses are opposed to this. In reality, some oppose it and some support it. You have the details buried in your story, but that doesn't excuse capping it with a headline that frames the issue based on one group's opinion. If you had the most basic concept of journalism, you'd know that "Parking meter plan pushing forward despite mixed reactions from downtown Ann Arbor businesses" or "Parking meter plan pushing forward despite objections from some downtown Ann Arbor businesses" would be fairer, if less sensational, headlines. But I guess I can't ask for actual journalism from

Some Guy in 734

Thu, Apr 15, 2010 : 6:53 a.m.

See, this is what I love about you Ann Arborites. It's adorable, really. You won't bat an eye spending six bucks on a pint of beer, or nineteen on a plate of mac and cheese, or $375,000 for a charming 1,300 square foot house in the right neighborhood. But charging for a few extra hours of parking? Quelle scandaleux!


Thu, Apr 15, 2010 : 6:51 a.m.

Sigh. Lame. I emailed my council members about my opposition and like normal I haven't heard anything back. If anything it's probably a move to make sure that people use the new structure, so it doesn't look like they ignored the data when they decided to build it.

Mike D.

Thu, Apr 15, 2010 : 6:48 a.m.

1. There is currently no such thing as street parking downtown in evenings because people leave their cars on the street for hours, so it's all full, all the time. 2. Even if you could currently find a spot, and it saved you $4, how much is this relative to your food bill? Assuming the average car has 2 people in it, what's the average tab for 2 at any downtown eatery? $50? I'm usually in a party with 3-4 and most have a drink or 3, and we're easily spending over $100. Even if you're spending half of that per car, are you really saying that the $4 it now will cost you to park (which you're already paying now because you probably give up on street parking and resort to a structure) is going to drive you to Dexter? OK, that will leave room for people who complain less, namely me.

Fred Bosick

Thu, Apr 15, 2010 : 6:38 a.m.

A city exists because of its people, not despite them. I think that all the parking meters should be removed entirely. When you nickel and dime too often, after awhile you end up with fewer dollars.

The Picker

Thu, Apr 15, 2010 : 6:35 a.m.

Just another nail in the coffin of downtown A2. It just going to be too hard to compete with on site parking and drive up service offered by business' outside the downtown area. Its not so much the expense as it is the hassle and sense of having had it stuck to ya.

Jon Saalberg

Thu, Apr 15, 2010 : 6:29 a.m.

Remember, this is a city that thinks it's wise to build a vast parking structure when one is unnecessary. Why stop at raising rates? Why don't we require people to have permits for on-street parking anywhere downtown and charge for those permits? And while they're at it, how about $3/hr? $4/hr? Why listen to the voices of the merchants you say you're trying to help?


Thu, Apr 15, 2010 : 6:28 a.m.

Lots of nice places to shop and eat in Chelsea, Dexter and Saline. They have free parking.


Thu, Apr 15, 2010 : 6:27 a.m.

Lots of nice places to shop and eat in Chelsea, Dexter and Saline. They have free parking.


Thu, Apr 15, 2010 : 6:17 a.m.

"Splitt said the expanded enforcement isn't about increasing revenue for the city or the DDA. He said it's primarily to encourage turnover on the street and make more parking available to customers which DDA officials think will be good for businesses." This seems disingenuous to me. I think it is clearly a revenue grab, basically another tax on doing business in Ann Arbor.

Jennifer Shikes Haines

Thu, Apr 15, 2010 : 6:15 a.m.

I spend a lot of my evening hours downtown, and this would absolutely change if the meter extensions go into effect. If I'm going to go out to dinner, this automatically gets tagged onto the bill in my mind - and then non-downtown restaurants, venues, etc., become the better bargain. Also, since many of the meters are NOT converted, the constant search for change is an issue. I'd rather see them charge on Sundays and see what the effect of that would be.


Thu, Apr 15, 2010 : 5:59 a.m.

DDA Chairman Splitt's intention to "turnover on the street and make more parking available to customers", will definitely be realized if expanded enforcement and rasied rates go into effect. However, it won't be for the reasons he has given. More likely additional parking spaces will be available downtown because there will be fewer people looking for spaces. All those potentional customers will be parking for free and spending their cash at the businesses outside of downtown.


Thu, Apr 15, 2010 : 5:50 a.m.

i was just visiting a city in ca. because parking fees were so high i didn't go back downtown and i would've spent money if i had.