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Posted on Mon, Apr 16, 2012 : 2 p.m.

Journey to the bottom of the underground parking garage in Ann Arbor

By Ryan J. Stanton

Four stories down at the bottom of Ann Arbor's new underground parking garage, daylight from the world above splashes onto the concrete floor.

That's possible because of the architectural design of the main pedestrian staircase descending from Fifth Avenue.

And that's just one of the features of the $50 million project being financed by the Downtown Development Authority with parking fees and tax dollars.

Amy Sullivan, project manager for contractor Christman Co., took on a journey to the bottom of the parking garage on a recent afternoon.

Ann Arbor DDA officials are planning a July 12 party to celebrate the soon-to-be-completed garage on Fifth Avenue between Liberty and William streets.


The view from the bottom of the pedestrian staircase four stories down from Fifth Avenue.

Ryan J. Stanton |

The event will serve as an unofficial kickoff to the Rolling Sculpture Car Show when more than 400 antique, classic and concept cars will be on display on Main Street.

In fact, each level of the new parking garage, extending four stories underground, will have its own classic car theme once a set of wayfinding signs is installed.

"They're actually very large signs," Sullivan said. "And of course every level will have that distinctive color system. So if you can figure out the color and the type of car you're looking for, you can find your spot on your way back to your car."

Landscaping work remains to be done and stainless steel railings and glass canopies still are in the process of being installed at ground level.

"It's going to be a fantastic parking structure from an aesthetic perspective," Sullivan said. "The concrete finishes are just fantastic on this project. I really couldn't ask for anything better."

Since the parking structure is underground and doesn't have ready access to outside air for ventilation like above-ground garages, a fan system is being installed to exhaust air from each level. A large air intake system is in place at the bottom level, and large exhaust fans are located at the north and south sides of the garage.

Masons were still blocking up the fan room on Level P1, the first floor below ground, on a recent afternoon.

Carbon monoxide detectors also are located at each level and tied into the system to increase the exhaust air if needed, Sullivan said.

There also is room at the bottom level of the structure for future office space. Sullivan said the original plan was to make an office for Republic Parking, but as a cost saving measure, the office fit-out will not be completed at this time.

"The lower level office space is a core and shell ready for a future office fit-out," she said. "Currently a portion of that space will house the IT operations for the parking structure."

DDA board member John Splitt gave an update on the project this month and said the goal is to re-open Fifth Avenue by the end of May and complete the project by the end of June or early July.

That comes as welcome news for both nearby businesses and the Ann Arbor Transportation Authority, which announced on Monday the expected re-opening of Fifth Avenue near the Blake Transit Center will allow the AATA to return 14 routes to their regular routing.

Details on the changes to each route will be available at

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 email newsletters.



Tue, Apr 17, 2012 : 11:45 p.m.

Having spent years parking in an underground structure in another city, I have the following comments: 1. It is more dangerous, which is why a lot of them have full-time security officers employed, and do not allow patrons to self park. Many have officers watching video cameras of the garage. Assuming they have these officers, they may be willing to walk you to your car, and hopefully they are trustworthy. 2. Hopefully there are boxes with alarms to pull all over the garage, to get to police, in case there is something suspicious going on. 3. The air quality tends to be horrendous in these. 4. Many underground garages are locked down at night and require keycards to enter, because they are so dangerous. 5. I have been held up in one, and it is not fun when there is no easy escape. Be prepared to fork over cash and pray. I let my child run quickly away while I dealt with the young men requesting money. It is easier to get away in an open garage, while running down instead of up, or screaming. I personally liked the set-up of the library lot before, and never had any problem getting relatively cheap parking in downtown A2. I do bemoan the downfall of Ann Arbor, being overtaken by developers, who knock down old houses, build too many new apartment buildings, and sell boondoggles such as imported German fountains, and underground parking lots. I think these developers come in and play upon the unsophisticated City Council members to sell them a bill of goods. And then leave behind a city that has wasted a lot of taxpayer money, with their own pockets full.


Tue, Apr 17, 2012 : 1:48 p.m.

Um, Fletcher structure, anyone? This isn't a brave new world here. That goes at least 4 floors down. Heck, nearly the entire thing is underground, hence why Top of the Park used to be held on top of it. Everyone wants better access to the downtown area, but where do you expect people to park? There's only so much surface area real estate. As a chick, do I worry about someone raping or mugging me? Sure, which is why I know me some karate and keep my mace on a short leash and my brass knuckles along with it on my key chain which I carry in my hand for nights when our still uncaught rapist is feeling amorous. I worry about this on the roof of an above ground structure. Stuff happens. But even I know that logic tells me that parking underground and leaving street space to businesses makes more sense than not doing so because "someone could get mugged or raped". Fine. Hire a dude to drive around in circles all night (then make sure he doesn't sit in a parking spot all night smoking doobs instead). I never enjoy watching people urinating all over ideas without providing solutions. There should be a blanket requirement for every "You shouldn't do this because" an equal suggestion for what might work better instead or a solution to the problem that they highlighted to begin with. Otherwise, you're just complaining to complain and the only thing worse than that is Charlie Brown's teacher, "Wha wha whaaaa".


Tue, Apr 17, 2012 : 12:46 p.m.

About 172 cars fit in an acre. So, at $70k per spot for this project, that is about $12 million per acre. So, if the city paid $12 million per acre for a park, you bet I'd be equally dismayed. I hope everyone else would be.


Tue, Apr 17, 2012 : 11:21 a.m.

Judging from all the comments ,if all the people who think this is such a grand, safe and wonderful idea would just park there . it would free up all the surface parking for those who think this boondoggle is just the opposite...Problem solved....


Tue, Apr 17, 2012 : 8:34 a.m.

I think most people wouldntve had an issue with this thing had it not been an untimely gross expenditure for what is looking like a very minimal gain. People are paying the same or higher tax dollars, yet are being told to expect scaled back citywide services, that if they give up some services, other services wouldn't be cut, if they do with less, it will be for the greater good. With the recent rash of crime hits, it's apparent that the mayors comfort level of cutting police services meshes with the perps comfort levels. If the city provides the parking structure, it should also provide the users with a certain sense of security with it. The city continues to cut fire and safety services to the point where it is considered substandard - if you can't afford to take care of your citizenry, then the last thing on your agenda should be to build a monstrosity of a parking structure - just as the purse strings should be closed on public artwork. When the city cleans up its weedy backyard, then it can spend taxpayers money on luxuries (like the proposed $150,000 art for the justice building). Priorities are skewed within the city's leadership. I've parked in plenty of underground structures, and while not my first choice, it's better than no parking. Certainly the footprint is better than an above ground structure or lot. But the fact remains that there's a large population out there that has no confidence that this will be managed with any thought to safety. Liberty Square was allowed to be inhabited by squatters all autumn & winter. What makes anyone think this structure will be immune to occupancy? There was a serial rapist last summer, now we have a large hole that cellphone usage may not be reliable for emergency use in case someone is attacked. Several assaults on East Liberty, now we have an concrete arena for future assaults. It's not paranoia fueling this, it's proactive vs reactive thinking. Not unreasonable for any female (or male) to think this


Tue, Apr 17, 2012 : 6:15 a.m.

Overall from a civil engineering standpoint, an excellent way to reduce congestion and leave a small physical footprint for such accommodation. On the safety concerns, the fact that it is below ground makes absolutely no difference in the "safety" of it. Many cities have underground structures with absolutely NO connection to higher crime in them. One person labels an entire facility "ridiculous" because they feel unsafe? If you are out at a time of night where you must worry about getting in trouble in any place, then your out too late.


Tue, Apr 17, 2012 : 4:28 a.m.

I'm sure this will open up just as the Dream Nite Club gets another liquor license. At least the bullets will stay underground.


Tue, Apr 17, 2012 : 3:47 a.m.

Actually looking at these pictures, I thought I was playing a FPS video game. I'm glad Christman and Co. designed such a good level for the next Skyrim.


Tue, Apr 17, 2012 : 3:46 a.m.

I'm glad the city fathers had the foresight to build a nuclear fallout shelter and call it a parking garage. That's getting dual use!

Jojo B

Tue, Apr 17, 2012 : 2:23 a.m.

*THIS* side up! No, no, no, not *THAT* side up!!!! See the arrow is supposed to point UP, not DOWN! Great, that will put us another two months behind schedule.


Tue, Apr 17, 2012 : 2:06 a.m.

The garage cost much more than necessary because it was built strong enough tgo support a large hotel and conference center above ground. That makes me wonder if the garage was built even deeper to leave room for the foundation of the proposed conference center the city doesn't need and which was voted down. Also, I hope access to the underground garage is large enough to accommodate a fire engine. They did remember that cars have engines and can catch fire, didn't they? They did remember that someone could have a medical emergency and that a fire engine might need to enter the garage along with Huron Valley Ambulance? (Of course we also need to have enough firefighters in order to be able to send firefighters and engines to a fire anywhere.)


Tue, Apr 17, 2012 : 1:52 a.m.

Let's explore some business ventures for the lower levels Coffee shop - the Park-n-Mug. Quick lunches? The Stab-n-Grab. Desserts? I Scream & You Run Treat Shoppe. A new run on burgers - Stake-n-Shake You Down, or Pimpy Burgers. An answer to the housing crisis - Scum-Do-Minimums. And don't forget to support all this by installing an ATM (Assault Take Money) machine.


Tue, Apr 17, 2012 : 6:17 a.m.


Stuart Brown

Tue, Apr 17, 2012 : 1:38 a.m.

This garage was supposed to be the place where a hotel and conference center was built. The company that was selected to build the hotel thought they were getting a sweet-hart deal from the city with the city essentially absorbing all of the risk for the conference center (the national experience with such things says they are a bad investment.) There is currently over-capacity in hotel space in Ann Arbor, so public funds would have been used to compete with and potentially close down existing businesses in Ann Arbor. The existing hotels pay property taxes while the new owners of the city subsidized hotel expected tax abatement as an incentive to build in downtown Ann Arbor--a really bad deal for the residents of the city. While it is a good thing this sweet-hart deal was quashed, it begs the question of what were local officials thinking. The hole by the library is an expensive monument to an even worse outcome that would have happened had citizen activists not been paying attention and organizing opposition.

Ron Granger

Tue, Apr 17, 2012 : 1:31 a.m.

Only one thing is certain when the DDA is involved - it is sure to be a journey to the bottom of YOUR WALLET.

Odile Haber

Tue, Apr 17, 2012 : 1:30 a.m.

Well when one thinks of all the others alternative that could have been created with $50 million dollars! it is too bad that the commoners and citizens never had anything to say about it because they were not invited to the table. Many women simply would have liked a playground next to the library, a bench to sit on, some flowers or tall grass, little water fountain or waterfall to dream with, something beautiful instead of this mass of cement to house cars. Cars that are part of this genocide going on our planet as so many species are disappearing every day. How far are we going to take the greed instead of building a community.

Jake C

Tue, Apr 17, 2012 : 2:43 a.m.

Umm, had you been to this lot before it was rebuilt? It used to be just a giant concrete slab, so it's hard to make it look worse, considering everything is below-ground. And did you look at the photos? The at-ground-level zone will include some pretty sizable flower planters. So if anything, this lot will look even nicer than it did before (when it was just a giant concrete slab).


Tue, Apr 17, 2012 : 1:21 a.m.

Welcome to RapeDrome. Two cars enter, one car leaves.


Tue, Apr 17, 2012 : 1:33 a.m.

Maybe one of the office could be a cafe - Park-n-Mug


Tue, Apr 17, 2012 : 1:20 a.m.

I journeyed to the bottom of the 5th Avenue Hole, and there was a Hobbit there. He asked me when they were gonna finally open the darn road.


Tue, Apr 17, 2012 : 1:17 a.m.

Unbelievable number of paranoid, negative folks here that may just want to leave A2 for somewhere more to their liking. We need parking and we'll soon have it. Sounds like there will be space available with all the naysayers who won't be taking advantage. And why won't it be structurally safe? Does Julie?? have any idea what it takes to get things past inspection these days?


Tue, Apr 17, 2012 : 1 a.m.

City should cut their losses and sell it to the U of M Hosp for their employees. Win-win for both parties. I'll never go down that rabbit hole. Über creepy and not with the upswing in crime. And I use ride the El in Chicago all the time.


Tue, Apr 17, 2012 : 7:48 a.m.

Um. Yes, I have ridden the sub. Good job comparing a sparsely populated self contained crypt to a busy transportation system.

Jake C

Tue, Apr 17, 2012 : 2:40 a.m.

Good job comparing an above-ground train with a below-ground parking structure. Ever ride the Subway in NYC and find it "Uber creepy"?

joe sheppe

Tue, Apr 17, 2012 : 12:55 a.m.

Their is already two levels of underground parking at 4th & Washington and Ann and Ashley. Hmmmm no muggings or rapes in them garages and seem to be full every time i try to park down their ! Stop crying you should welcome more parking for your downtown ANN ARBOR !!!!!!!!!


Tue, Apr 17, 2012 : 1:01 a.m.

Why more parking? All the shops are closed.


Tue, Apr 17, 2012 : 12:55 a.m.

Even the Pontiac Silverdome looked good when it was first built. What we have here is the Ann Arbor Money Hole. At $50 million, 10% is $5 million, meaning each spot needs to make $20 a day to make this garage a 10% investment. Not including the cost to run it, which is going to be high based on the city pension people working there will earn... Heck, I'll settle for 5%. Meaning, if the DDA doesn't have at least a $2.5 million Cash Surplus every year because of this Garage, giving the money to the city for better services (as in, can my leaves go back in the street guys??? ), it will have been a total waste of money. Maybe the people working at City Hall should have to use the lowest portion of the garage, and leave the good spots they currently fill up to the public. It's only a short walk, or they can take the AATA since it is such a great thing to have in the city. It is such a lovely garage, after all, with so much light down there for them...


Tue, Apr 17, 2012 : 12:44 p.m.

About 172 cars fit in an acre. So, at $70k per spot for this project, that is about $12 million per acre. So, if the city paid $12 million per acre for a park, you bet I'd be equally dismayed. I hope everyone else would be.


Tue, Apr 17, 2012 : 11:17 a.m.

Love the idea of the employees of cityhall having to park there ...add the DDA too ...

Jake C

Tue, Apr 17, 2012 : 2:39 a.m.

Do you base all your criticisms of city projects on how much money they generate? How much money did Vets Park generate last year? How about the Arboretum? Or Gallup Park? Did they meet your 10% minimum? Maybe we should also evaluate projects based upon the quality of life improvements they provide, and the benefits to nearby businesses even if they provide a 0%, or (god forbid) a negative profit return.


Tue, Apr 17, 2012 : 12:51 a.m.

From what I can see is this. UM is going to be jealous because now they want to build their 500 unit garage as well. I guess it goes without saying. Anything you can do I can do better. No you can't, yes I can and so on and so on. What a waste of land space I say.


Tue, Apr 17, 2012 : 12:20 a.m.

I guarantee you I will never venture into this huge muaw of a building. I would not feel secure as a woman at any level in this thing. I'm still not convinced that it is structurally sound. What about security? Will there be security PEOPLE at each level...or just cameras. Women should travel in groups in this structure at all times.


Tue, Apr 17, 2012 : 12:52 a.m.

And they still have not caught that rapist yet, have they?

Random Man

Mon, Apr 16, 2012 : 11:08 p.m.

It looks good. Hopefully, during restaurant week I won't have to hover for half an hour now to find a parking spot. As for the underground thing, well in big cities they have these things called underground parking garages, subway's and skyscrapers. (I also heard the world is round.)


Mon, Apr 16, 2012 : 11:07 p.m.

Does anyone want any cheese to go with the Wine? Do you people know how many thousands of times more likely you are to be victimized by crime by a family member or known acquaintance than you are to be mugged in a parking garage? Do you apply the same paranoia to your home and workplace? Do you sleep with one eye open? Good grief. Quit being such a bummer and knee jerk alarmist. Oh and just an FYI. None of you can go into this structure and yell fire, like you seemingly are able to do hear at will.


Mon, Apr 16, 2012 : 11:04 p.m.

A lot of comments about security & crime. Valid, perhaps, but my guess is things will be just fine. However I am also NEVER going to park in this structure. I am 100% morally opposed to the construction of this monstrosity. Aside from the absolutely astronomical COST, an insane burden upon us city taxpayers, the ENERGY WASTE disgusts me the most. How many megawatts required to run the ventilation system 24/7 ? Vs. an above ground structure that requires no such thing. How much more energy to construct? (i.e. 2 years of way more intensive work than a simple ground-level or above ground structure. Ann Arbor city government is not green at all. The new city hall and this structure will be their pathetic, permanent legacy of waste and ineptitude. Combine them with the ridiculously wasteful university, and you have a town with a very false image. Disgusting. Sorry, end rant.


Tue, Apr 17, 2012 : 11:13 a.m.

Stupidity in the form of local government may come ( and with the current crop can't go fast enough ) but their monuments to vanity and ego will last forever..unlike the pyramids I doubt that 50 years from now the fema trailer and this bombshelter will be a toursist attraction...


Tue, Apr 17, 2012 : 12:53 a.m.

I am wondering two things. Is it end of year proof? And the other? Earthquake proof. With everything else going on never know.


Tue, Apr 17, 2012 : 12:22 a.m.

All valid points and well said. Thank you.


Mon, Apr 16, 2012 : 10:51 p.m.

Ann Arbor can't fill up it's current parking structures. The thought that Republic Parking is going to actually care about the safety of its female customers, can be summed up in one awesome picture. A computerized pay station. Imagine the things that could have been improved downtown for $50,000,000. Or better yet we could afford to put another lane on Jackson Rd to keep that from becoming a nightmare. It just seems like the city is becoming more out of touch with its citizens everyday.


Mon, Apr 16, 2012 : 11:05 p.m.

It really, really does. Unfortunately, big projects like these take so many years to plan and approve, that public taste and economic conditions can shift dramatically within their initial lifetime. My guess is that most politicians in this town are pretty embarrassed at this point. I know I am.

Linda Peck

Mon, Apr 16, 2012 : 10:42 p.m.

It looks about as safe to enter as a dark woods at night.


Mon, Apr 16, 2012 : 10:31 p.m.

I give the designers an A for effort, but I will still not park there. I've never liked underground garages and won't use this one. I'll park somewhere further away and walk if I have to. But for the sake and safety of those who do park there, I certainly hope the city has a strong security plan for this garage. The article fails to mention anything about that.


Tue, Apr 17, 2012 : 12:54 a.m.

Why park in something you can catch a bus to and from another place in the area. Briarwood to the library and back. No brainer.


Mon, Apr 16, 2012 : 10:29 p.m.

Sorry, but don't think I will be parking there. Just would not feel safe.

Jake C

Tue, Apr 17, 2012 : 2:35 a.m.

Thanks, more spots for the rest of us who need to get to work.

Ricardo Queso

Mon, Apr 16, 2012 : 10:29 p.m.

An office in the basement of an underground parking structure. Where do I apply?

Stephen Landes

Mon, Apr 16, 2012 : 10:29 p.m.

As I have described to AATA officials in the past, the ground level (current top of the garage) should be the home for the new downtown bus facility. No matter what is built on top of the garage, having the Blake Transit center integrated with the garage makes this a transportation hub -- very useful for a conference facility, major housing, new hotel, or whatever the ultimate decision is. This plan would also put the transit facility between two major downtown roads (Division and Fifth) each one-way and three lanes wide. Larger arteries for entry and exit would reduce constriction and eliminate many of the tight turns buses currently have to negotiate. With a larger transit center footprint the center could also host U of M buses, so the two bus routes could operate more efficiently. You probably will not be surprised to learn that AATA officials told me a year ago that it was "too late" to move the proposed new Blake Center from lot across from the Library to the new garage no matter how good an idea it is. That before a shovel was put in the ground or even a serious drawing was made. Ah, bureaucracy.


Tue, Apr 17, 2012 : 3:53 a.m.

Since the library lot was underutilized when it was open I am willing bet my mortgage the DDA is going to allow some type of business that can guarantee a certain amount of parking or purchase a significant number of leases to justify the cost. You will also notice the picture of the automated pay station; that means less cashiers/employees to notify if something suspicious is going on.

Stephen Landes

Tue, Apr 17, 2012 : 3:02 a.m.

The Library could certainly be integrated into whatever is built on top of the garage. That would free up the footprint of the existing Library for other uses -- amphitheater, performance venue, whatever. This move would create flexibility and that is something that most downtowns don't have.

Stuart Brown

Tue, Apr 17, 2012 : 1:15 a.m.

How about building a new library on top of it in the future? The space where the current library is could be space to build an ampetheater for holding events downtown; think Hart Plaza in Detroit and not park as in Liberty Plaza.


Tue, Apr 17, 2012 : 12:56 a.m.

After reading all of these posts? It seems to me Ann Arbor and its council can't seem to agree on anything at the moment.


Mon, Apr 16, 2012 : 11:08 p.m.

Wow, that's a pretty good idea, actually. I haven't thought much about these issues in terms of city planning yet, but that idea seems painfully obvious after reading your post. Amazing how inept our city government is at such serious planning.


Mon, Apr 16, 2012 : 11:04 p.m.

I shared a similar sentiment with my council members. A lot was replaced with a garage, the library plans to replace their building, the AATA is working on their own. Why couldnt they have worked together? I know they are separate entities but I pay 1 tax bill and expect them to work to maximize my tax dollars. The current independent plans lack creativity.

toothless wonder

Mon, Apr 16, 2012 : 10:23 p.m.

The last pic in the series takes me back to the days-like five years ago, when that parking lot had just been rebuilt with the new lights installed, ah !! almost looks normal. The terrifying subterranean gauntlet of Hefty's Hole is reminiscent of : ... Omega Man with Charlton Heston,for some reason. One can almost see the tagging on the new concrete, broken bottles, with urine smell. Oh, and the chalk body outlines on the floors. Thanks for giving us"Surface-Folk" a glimpse beyond our realm of crime-horizons..the stage is set!

toothless wonder

Mon, Apr 16, 2012 : 10:26 p.m.,r:3,s:0,i:116

toothless wonder

Mon, Apr 16, 2012 : 10:24 p.m.

I guess you gotta highlight the link ,then click on it...

David Johnson

Mon, Apr 16, 2012 : 10:14 p.m.

Will it be free on Sundays?


Mon, Apr 16, 2012 : 10:13 p.m.

Seriously. What a bunch of Whiners. It's the same crowd that is never happy with advancements Ann Arbor is making. Give me a break. The place looks great and will add much needed parking. Good job to all involved and great photos Ryan.


Tue, Apr 17, 2012 : 7:43 a.m.

Liberty Square, with the car entrance on Washington and pedestrian exit on liberty street. One can see the multi-coloured elevator doors when walking east down liberty. If you've been around long enough, use to be a bank there.

Jake C

Tue, Apr 17, 2012 : 2:33 a.m.

Liberty St structure? I'm not aware of a structure on Liberty St, care to clarify what you're talking about CPLtownie?


Tue, Apr 17, 2012 : 1:15 a.m.

Great for businesses? What businesses? And the concern, or 'crying' as you put it, is valid. Ann Arbor is crawling with miscreants - put your ear to the street and listen to what goes on - car break in (employee of mine just had his broken into for the second time in as many months, in full view of our 4 alley cameras, in broad daylight), to the gun/knifepoint robberies, to people being assaulted in the middle of the day in public areas, yada yada yada. I use to use the Liberty St structure until i got tired of leaning on the last step to open the door and jump over the pools of urine and feces. Sorry, but this was a stupid waste of taxpayers money, and will be Ann Arbor's new warming center this coming winter, which might not be bad - its close enough to the public bath in front of city hall. Wish I had a $750,000 tub.


Mon, Apr 16, 2012 : 10:26 p.m.

Agreed. It's installed, it turned out great, it's going to be great for businesses, and will take pressure off the existing lots. How long is long enough to cry about the theorized potential for crime?


Mon, Apr 16, 2012 : 9:31 p.m.

Skateboarders and taggers dream!


Mon, Apr 16, 2012 : 9:04 p.m.

It's a parking structure. Whether above ground or below ground, it limits your theoretical ability to flee. It's no more or less likely to be the hangout of rapists, muggers, vagrants, or taggers than the upper floors of an aboveground lot. It's just as likely to have security cameras and parking structure employees, deterring said rapists, muggers, vagrants, and taggers. What's the alternative? No parking structures and no ability to park? You can't have a dense downtown and only surface parking lots. If you have nothing but surface parking lots, you will have empty surface parking lots, because no one will want to go there. Both aboveground and below ground parking structures work plenty fine in plenty of other cities, without an epidemic of rapes, muggings, accosting, and tagging.


Mon, Apr 16, 2012 : 9:27 p.m.

This page has tons of maps of various cities ... look at each city name and decide whether you'd like to visit and then look at the map ...


Mon, Apr 16, 2012 : 9:22 p.m.

Look at the map of Tulsa in this article:


Mon, Apr 16, 2012 : 8:52 p.m.

It seems like a good idea but as a female, I will try not to park there if I am alone. I don't like the above ground ones, let alone this one. It's always grand feeling like a target! (sarcasm)


Mon, Apr 16, 2012 : 8:37 p.m.

No Ann Arbor citizen should use this new structure. It is not safe for most people, especially females. AA leadership seems to be blind to this fact. Most other AA garages are hangouts for the bums and aggressive panhandlers that the AA leadership seem to like and protect. Most AA garages smell like old locker rooms and out houses. Another grand waste of tax payer money.


Tue, Apr 17, 2012 : 3:02 p.m.

"Dispute this list of facts"? Really? I see no facts listed. All YOU'VE given are overwrought, unsubstantiated fears. As someone else here mentioned there are plenty of underground parking structures all over the country that have no big issues. Does this mean there will NEVER be an issue? Of course not! There are issues walking down State Street or Main Street sometimes. But people still do it. I use A2 parking structures ALL the time and hardly ever encounter the issues you're speaking of. I think maybe you should just cower at your safe, warm, dry home and never come to downtown Ann Arbor. It's too scaaawy for you!

Jake C

Tue, Apr 17, 2012 : 2:28 a.m.

So clearly the solution to Ann Arbor's parking situation is... umm, do you have a recommendation, Goober? Or just complaints? Maybe a cleaning crew carrying fire hoses & big cans of Febreeze spraying down the parking garage stairs every Monday morning?


Tue, Apr 17, 2012 : 12:14 a.m.

Tell me you feel comfortable walking down smelly, slippery, dark stair wells, then, you have more guts than my street smarts. Not for me. Not a good image for Ann Arbor either - having to park in a hole and climb smelly, pee stained and slippery stairs. Dispute this list of facts!


Mon, Apr 16, 2012 : 10:16 p.m.

What exactly is the basis of your extreme aversion to this project? Still upset over the expensive art sculpture on Huron? I can totally sympathize there, but surely you can't really believe that ''No AA citizen should use this new structure''...


Mon, Apr 16, 2012 : 8:32 p.m.

Great canvas..I bet the taggers are out as this is written buying supplies...wonder if the city will remove it in a week.......monument to ego and stupidity....


Mon, Apr 16, 2012 : 8:13 p.m.

I don't understand why people are so upset by this structure being underground? How is an underground structure more dangerous than an above ground one?


Tue, Apr 17, 2012 : 12:58 a.m.

Earthquakes, zombies and other unknown entities could be lurking in the sub terrain of the under world. Then again, maybe not.


Mon, Apr 16, 2012 : 8:36 p.m.

It's no more dangerous. At all. People just like to complain. The underground garages beneath Grant Park in Chicago aren't especially dangerous, nor will this one be.


Mon, Apr 16, 2012 : 8:30 p.m.

You could drown.

Dog Guy

Mon, Apr 16, 2012 : 8:03 p.m.

The walls beg for some Tales from the Crypt artwork.


Mon, Apr 16, 2012 : 8:39 p.m.

Trust me - it is only a matter of time when street art will appear. Will AA city leadership then cite themselves to have it removed?


Mon, Apr 16, 2012 : 7:56 p.m.

Well I guess us bicyclists will just have to keep parking 10 ft from our destinations for free... weeeeeeee!!!

David Cahill

Mon, Apr 16, 2012 : 7:52 p.m.

Wow - I'm impressed! It looks like this structure will be even nicer-looking and more user-friendly than the Fourth and Washington structure. The new Library Lane parking structure is badly needed. I went to the Maynard structure last Friday afternoon about 1:45 and there were only 10 spaces available. A few minutes later, a friend of mine was unable to get in at all.


Mon, Apr 16, 2012 : 8:31 p.m.

did your friend have to *gasp* walk a couple blocks? The horror, the horror.


Mon, Apr 16, 2012 : 7:51 p.m.

Based on all the nervous comments here ... I hope follows up with a description of the structure's security measures! p.s. why is an underground structure less safe than the upper levels of an above-ground structure?

E Claire

Tue, Apr 17, 2012 : 2:52 p.m.

Jake C, trust me, you could hear me yell from 5 stories up. And the "perception" that someone could hear me might just make an attacker run away. I'm assuming by your name that you're a man so you have no idea of what a woman has to deal with in terms of personal safety. Common sense says don't go down into a dark hole alone. This comment brought to you by a female not dumb enough to put herself in a dangerous situation.

Jake C

Tue, Apr 17, 2012 : 2:23 a.m.

@E Claire: "Once down a few levels the perception is that you are stuck alone" Yes, the key word there is "perception", not reality. If you are attacked on the 5th level of the parking structure at Washington & 4th, it doesn't matter if anyone is on the street below, because you're so high up they probably wouldn't hear you anyway unless you're hanging directly over the edge. And that's assuming anyone is even walking underneath you. And even if someone did hear you, how are your rescuers supposed to know what level you're on in the 60 seconds before the attacker finishes whatever s/he is doing and flees? This post brought to you by Common Sense.

Jake C

Tue, Apr 17, 2012 : 2:19 a.m.

"a description of the structure's security measures!" You'll be pleased to learn that a minimum of 4 automated crime-preventing machine guns have been mounted on each level and will open fire upon detecting illegal activity. Ann Arbor found a good Michigan-based partner in OCP from Detroit!

E Claire

Mon, Apr 16, 2012 : 8:30 p.m.

Because one can yell for help to passersby on the street below. Once down a few levels the perception is that you are stuck alone with no where to run. I'll never park there.


Mon, Apr 16, 2012 : 7:47 p.m.

To everyone who says this was a complete waste of money because its much less safe to park underground: Yea, I totally agree; even though there is likely a constant turnover of general public (especially during normal operating ours, and even though the parking structure constructed so that all levels have line-of-sight access to day light, and even though yells for help propagate much better through the levels of a structure with walls (compared to a structure with no walls around the perimeter), I would totally feel MUCH safer parking a couple to a few stories above ground, where I if I'm getting mugged I can safely jump the 20-100 feet to the concrete below! What on earth was AA thinking, putting this structure underground, just so that more surface area could be freed up in the prime downtown area?! :/


Tue, Apr 17, 2012 : 4:03 a.m.

Um...100 onto concrete is pretty much a death sentence. 20 feet...broken legs, ankles, feet and anything else you land on.


Mon, Apr 16, 2012 : 7:31 p.m.

With the amount of crime happening and the aggressive panhandlers/homeless I don't think id ever park in an underground parking spot..seems like a open invitation for someone to mug someone..I sure hope they have a plan for some type of security protection ..just seems a little unsafe to me.


Tue, Apr 17, 2012 : 2:35 a.m.

@jake, Walls. -1 level you are surrounded by concrete WALLS. At least +1 level you *might* has a reasonable chance of escape, but once you are down a hole, you're in a hole, and it sucks to try & flee uphill than down. And, if given a dire circumstance, I'd rather take my chance jumping than battling a wall.

Jake C

Tue, Apr 17, 2012 : 2:15 a.m.

The parking structure at Washington & 4th has an aboveground & below-ground section. They are all lit up with pretty much the same brightness, regardless of whether it's high noon or 2 AM. Am I more at risk by parking at level -1 compared to level +1? What exactly makes a below-ground parking zone more of a hazard than an above-ground one?


Mon, Apr 16, 2012 : 6:56 p.m.

I would have liked to see a poll with this article. I'm curious how many people will choose this parking option over others. Also with regard to safety, many women I know have said repeatedly they don't feel safe in parking garages and think an underground option is even more daunting. I would have to agree with that. I can pretty much see myself never parking here.


Tue, Apr 17, 2012 : 1:19 a.m.

I was going to write a lengthy response, but the sirens.................


Mon, Apr 16, 2012 : 7:55 p.m.

The CHUDs took care of the Morlocks.


Mon, Apr 16, 2012 : 7:44 p.m.

And then there is the Morlock problem -


Mon, Apr 16, 2012 : 7:34 p.m.

Lifetime free parking in that structure wouldn't be enough to make me park there. I'll give it a month after opening before someone gets mugged!

Dawn Nelson

Mon, Apr 16, 2012 : 7:32 p.m.

As soon as I saw the first photograph I decided I would not ever feel safe in such a structure and will likely never park there. A poll would be great, I hope to see one soon.


Mon, Apr 16, 2012 : 6:44 p.m.

All arguments about its merits and costs aside, it looks good ... or as good as an underground parking garage ever looks, anyway.


Mon, Apr 16, 2012 : 6:27 p.m.

See there, so it was worth the $50 million, 2 years and darn putting the busineeses on 5th ave halfway to the poor house. See there, we do it up different. Ain't it great!


Mon, Apr 16, 2012 : 6:15 p.m.

I will never ever use this ridiculous parking garage. I am a female and it would not be safe to do so. A woman was raped in one of our parking garages. All of the ABOVE ground structures already smell like pee in the elevators and stairways. I foresee this structure being a hang out for vagrants and street punks.