Ypsilanti DDA may push for Saturday parking enforcement in downtown
Former DDA Community Development Coordinator Jake Albers proposed the Saturday parking that, if implemented, would be enforced from 8 a.m. to 4 p.m. This would include meter enforcement as well as time limits on some parking spots. However, any changes to parking first must be approved by city council. Parking is currently enforced Monday through Friday.
DDA Executive Director Tim Colbeck said the recommendation came about as a result of a parking study recently conducted by the DDA.
"We’re trying to be really proactive because right now, based on what we found in the studies, we have an adequate amount of parking but we have new businesses opening, buildings being renovated, and we fully expect at some point parking will be more of a bigger issue," Colbeck said. "This is an attempt to get ahead of that. That way, nothing hits us by surprise."
Colbeck said the DDA supports the recommendation.
"Particularly in areas where we've got kind of a residential mix," he said. "The residents will come in and snag up the premium parking spaces. (Parking enforcement) frees up parking for the businesses. I can't say we'd be against it."
Colbeck said the idea behind implementing Saturday parking isn't because the DDA or city is seeking more revenue, but it could boost parking revenue by 15 percent. There are approximately 1,530 public parking spaces within the DDA's three districts, which encompass the downtown area, Depot Town and West Cross Street.
In fiscal year 2011-12, the city received $310,924.25 in parking-related revenue. Parking revenue and expenses are controlled by the city and placed in the general fund.
Colbeck said the area businesses would not be the only ones who benefit from the enforcement as those who live in the area would benefit as well.
"Obviously there would be an uptick," Colbeck said. "I can definitely say the plan isn’t to generate more money for the city, but sometimes that will be an after effect. No one is looking at parking as a income generator. It would make parking more effective and allow it to be maintained better."
Mayor Paul Schreiber said he thinks the idea of enforced Saturday parking might bode well for businesses in the area.
"The goal would be to have a parking system that sustains itself and also provides better parking service to people that frequent the businesses," Schreiber said. "I think what that would do is it really wouldn’t affect much other than from stopping people from parking in spots that a business would like to have. I think it would be good for business."
Council Member Pete Murdock said at this point, he isn't "for or against" the recommendation, but he said issues have been raised related to parking.
"What happens I guess is on some Saturdays it just gets filled up and there’s no parking for customers," Murdock said. "I think that was the issue there. As we get more and more apartments down there, it would be more residential parking permits issued."
Eli Morrissey, co-owner of The Rocket at 122 W. Michigan Ave. in downtown, said he is supportive of the recommendation.
"Ever since we opened, I've always thought there was a parking issue," Morrissey said. "One of the big issues here is that a lot of the business owners and employees park on Michigan Avenue. They definitely need to have Saturday enforcement not only because of the residents. Saturday is the largest day in volume of sales for us."