You are viewing this article in the archives. For the latest breaking news and updates in Ann Arbor and the surrounding area, see
Posted on Thu, Apr 19, 2012 : 6:45 p.m.

University of Michigan will go forward with Wall Street parking garage

By Kellie Woodhouse

The University of Michigan Board of Regents agreed unanimously Thursday with administrators' vision to build a multimillion dollar parking garage on Wall Street in order to allay a Medical Campus parking shortage.


Proposed area of the Wall Street parking structure.

It was the second time the regents approved the proposal. In 2008, regents agreed to build a garage on Wall Street but scrapped that plan a year later in favor of a Fuller Road Transit Center plan. But earlier this year, U-M dropped its plan for a large parking structure on that site.

"Unfortunately we are not going forward with that project," U-M Chief Financial Officer Timothy Slottow told regents, saying U-M pulled out because the city could not abide by the original joint agreement to begin construction on the Fuller Road garage by the summer.

Slottow said the university wants "to move quickly and to construct a deck that’s similar" to the one proposed in 2008. He said the new $754 million C.S. Mott Children's and Von Voigtlander Women's Hospital and the recently announced plans to expand University Hospital are "increasing the demand on both patient parking and staff and faculty parking" and worsening U-M's parking shortage.

The university plans to build the 700-spot, $34 million parking structure on the east side of Wall Street, about one-half mile from University Hospital. It will be built atop a 200-spot parking lot and thus will add 500 parking spots on campus.

Unlike the parking structure proposed in 2008, the newest iteration will not include office space or a limited transit center.

The university originally abandoned the Wall Street parking structure in favor of the Fuller Road structure in 2009 partially because of outspoken opposition from residents who feared increased traffic congestion in their neighborhood. Opponents also said the Wall Street site is at the bottom of a hill and building a structure there would further pollute Ann Arbor's water systems.

"It's just barely above the water," said 1st Ward Ann Arbor City Council member Sabra Briere, whose district includes Lower Town. She added: "Adding 500 cars to the downtown area doesn’t impress anyone. Nobody thinks this is a good idea."

Kellie Woodhouse covers higher education for Reach her at or 734-623-4602 and follow her on twitter.


Frustrated in A2

Sat, Apr 21, 2012 : 12:36 a.m.

What the university wants the university gets even if it's at the expense of the city and it's residents.


Sat, Apr 21, 2012 : 10:16 p.m.

The university OWNS the land, so it can do what it wants with it. They tried to partner with the city for years on Fuller and look what it got them. Years behind a pressing need for parking!


Sat, Apr 21, 2012 : 12:26 a.m.

I think this is a rediculous spot for a structure due to the inaccessability of roads for such increase in traffic volumes. It is amazing that with building a new facility that parking for the 500 extra employees was not considered. There was already poor parking before the hospital opened. If this structure is built, I can see the parking permit going up which would be rediculous. We pay for parking and access to parking is at a low. I like the suggestion of a structure at the "pfizer" building, it would be easily accessable and would be able to handle higher traffic volumes and busses could be scheduled at very close intervals.

Gabriele Boccaccini

Fri, Apr 20, 2012 : 7:06 p.m.

Very bad decision. Parking lots do not solve the problem, they only attract more and more cars, more and more traffic, and add more and more pollution to an already critical situation. I cannot believed this decision was made by the Administrators of the University of Michigan, whose Faculty and Students are committed to environmental awareness and sustainability, leading America in the 21st century. It is a shame not to practice what one preaches. The answer to commuting is a modern and effective system of public transportation (as we teach in the classroom and even PBS programs repeat).


Fri, Apr 20, 2012 : 2:57 p.m.

Maybe a new structure will also keep the U of M employees from parking in the patient/visitor lot. See a lot of people with badges on going to their cars in the patient parking structures, for breaks in the middle of the day. Maybe this needs to be looked into more, so as patients we have a better chance at finding a parking spot in the structure that is designs for us.

Basic Bob

Fri, Apr 20, 2012 : 2:27 p.m.

Does that mean that the "Fuller Park" parking lot which was proposed as a parking garage can remain as is? I would hate to think that the city would allow a parking lot to be turned into a parking garage.

Ann English

Fri, Apr 20, 2012 : 11:07 p.m.

Speaking of Fuller Park, do you remember that it flooded one or two years ago, and videotaped two men FISHING from it? They caught fish, which must have swum there from the Huron River nearby.


Fri, Apr 20, 2012 : 10:45 a.m.

Has U of M explored Pfizer for a parking structure? Seems like a great option.


Fri, Apr 20, 2012 : 11:12 p.m.

Pfizer actually has a good size structure on site. Not sure if an option to build additional levels is or was considered. Interesting thought though.


Fri, Apr 20, 2012 : 8:44 a.m.

for the extra time an employee will spend getting to this lot,and from the lot up to the actual work site, in time for a workday's start,they'd find it actually better to have the pfizer location with a shuttle in. The access roads to this proposed location are narrow and contain intersections already composed of traffic slowdowns/and backups because of pedestrian crossings/competition with buses and limited widths to allow for lanes of traffic to handle this flow. The Pfizer site ,since on Plymouth Rd would have simple fast access coming in from US23 AND M14. Obviously, the biggest problem is the growth of the medical Center,and its awkward site location on the top of an embankment and thus,the service drive does not provide parking potential on both sides,which would normally have been an expectation. A longer term solution to the parking and access issues is mandatory here. The University can be doing a better job with all it's experts than to shove this foolish decision at the people and call it a is not.

Kai Petainen

Fri, Apr 20, 2012 : 4:26 a.m.

According to the environmental report for the fuller lot... it shows a listing of the spills that occurred within a 1/4 mile radius of the proposed lot. that report was not up to date, as it did not include the spill that i saw that covered the huron river. now, we know which outfall the spill came through and that outfall was within a 1/4 mile of that lot, so... it should be on that report, if they were to make the lot at fuller. however, officials were unable to solve the spill and people just didn't seem to care. and in my judgement, they would have to update the report, otherwise it would be incomplete. and in my opinion, this is an unsolved crime. why does this matter for the wall street lot? because, it lies about 1/2 mile away from the spot where the petroleum (UofM report) or phosphoric acid (initial AAFD report) entered the river. wall street is outside of that radius and hence that spill will never appear on the environmental report for your parking lot. enjoy. that case was unsolved. for those living near that lot -- make sure you get the answer to this question: Will they, or will they not use phosphoric acid to clean the parking lot? Have they ever used phosphoric acid to clean parking lots on campus? what if you have a midnight dumper that uses the lot for an oil change? will security be conducted by campus or city? if by either, will you be informed of any crime nearby in that lot? to those on wall street -- solve that petrochemical spill into the river and i'll join your efforts at complaining. and if you don't care about the spill... then i guess.. NIMBY until it happens to you.

Eugene Daneshvar

Fri, Apr 20, 2012 : 2:23 a.m.

I would be grateful if there was a story or a link that clearly went over why the fuller road project fell apart. I remember that govt funding was mis-assumed, but how much and by whom? I would be happy to write a senator to get the funding for the project. Didn't we already pay a ton of money to get professional designs made and move water lines?

Eugene Daneshvar

Fri, Apr 20, 2012 : 4:39 p.m.

Thank you Ryan. Yes I was referring to your article when I was remembering the details. The added detail I was looking for what what led up to the change from the Federal Rail Administration if there was one at all. Multiple years went by and I imagine there was discussion early on regarding the funding assumptions. Another article of yours (9/01/11) mentioned that the entire cost of the project was expected to be $121 mil. Could the parking lot phase not be separated? If the total cost of the parking lot alone was $40 mil and the city was expecting to pay $10 mil of it, then was it $10 mil that stopped the parking project from moving forward? Apparently the city got $2.8 mil for planning. Has that been used up? I think that there is a lot of blame being put on the University for putting up the parking structures, but I know that they were willing to build them elsewhere until the timing didn't work out. I just want to clear up the facts and assumptions so that we can understand what caused the fuller plan to unravel.

Ryan J. Stanton

Fri, Apr 20, 2012 : 4:03 a.m.

Here's my story from the day the news broke: You can click on the Fuller Road Station tab for subsequent coverage


Fri, Apr 20, 2012 : 1:57 a.m.

Soon, we will be able to teleport and these parking garages will be the dinasours of our era. MSC, I am commanding you, make it SO!

Jojo B

Fri, Apr 20, 2012 : 12:56 a.m.

Couldn't they just build a new parking structure on the toxic forbidden zone that used to be the Kroger shopping mall? I say that tongue-in-cheek, but what else will happen to that sad wasted space?


Fri, Apr 20, 2012 : 11 a.m.

I agree, that is valuable parking spot land if I ever saw one. Why has that space remain dead for over a decade is beyond me!


Fri, Apr 20, 2012 : 2:09 a.m.

That fence around the old Kroger lot makes me sad.


Fri, Apr 20, 2012 : 12:45 a.m.

Well, it's 16 million dollars less than the cities 700 sport garage. That's a bargain.

Ron Granger

Fri, Apr 20, 2012 : 12:27 a.m.

Of course they will. They couldn't care less about the local community.

Joel Batterman

Fri, Apr 20, 2012 : 12:24 a.m.

Over the last 48 hours, nearly 100 UM community members have signed a petition asking UM to consider smarter alternatives to the garage. One hopes the University is beginning to realize that spending $68,000 for each new additional parking space is not a testament to leadership, and will soon shift to more cost-effective, sustainable alternatives. The petition is available for signing by UM community members here:

Kai Petainen

Thu, Apr 19, 2012 : 11:54 p.m.

excellent. a good decision. this is a better spot than the fuller spot.

Kai Petainen

Fri, Apr 20, 2012 : 2:06 a.m.

i'd object to the wall street location too as it is near the river, as they have yet to solve the spill that occurred near the fuller location. however... no one ever cared about that spill and it covered the river. the hrwc was too busy planning art and not addressing this issue. if i have to choose the lesser of 2 evils, i'd choose the wall street spot. it's also not taking up some parkland. i chose my battle with fuller, i won't choose a battle with this spot unless we want to talk about the possibility of pollution, spills, phosphoric cleanup jobs, etc.... but for those nearby this lot... you might want to read about that unsolved spill.


Fri, Apr 20, 2012 : 12:30 a.m.

Kai, I believe you are under the misperception that this is an "either or" situation. I'm sure U of M fully intends to do both. They are using the current lull to build the Wall Street structure. They will then follow through on the 2005 master plan to build the whole Wall Street corridor. At some point down the road, the opportunity will arise again for Fuller Rd and that structure will be built as well.

Eugene Daneshvar

Fri, Apr 20, 2012 : 12:10 a.m.

Hi Kai, I respect your opinion, but how do you define better? For me the Fuller road location was better since it made more sense being closer to the Hospital where the workers would be walking to. Now we will have lots of unnecessary cross traffic and congestion at the nearby intersections.