Saturday, May 12, 2012

Wall Street Redux: Residents Give Input on Proposed Parking Stucture

Photo by Zach K Flickr
One of the things that mostly all Ann Arbor residents and frequent visitors know about parking in downtown Ann Arbor and around the University of Michigan is that it is very limited! Not to mention, costly if you forget to feed the meter.

The Ann Arbor Chronicle recently reported that The University of Michigan is planning to construct a 700-space parking structure on Wall Street and residents were given the chance to gather at the Kellogg Eye Center in late 2008 to discuss their viewpoints. The overall goal of this meeting was to get the input of the 2000 people that live around the area that the structure will be located in, about 15 residents attended. Residents offered many valid viewpoints, such as placing the structure as far away from the residential area as possible to making the structure pedestrian friendly.

While the city of Ann Arbor has a great transportation system and has vehicle sharing programs, such as ZipCars, one of the most important factors that went into the need of a new structure is the rising employment at the UM medical school.
In 2009, the UM medical school and hospital complex employed about 19,000 people. Today, there are nearly 21,000 employees. “That’s pretty significant employment growth,” Peterson said.
With the employment numbers rising for the medical school, it is important to be able to have enough parking spots for employees.

However, parking structures are not necessarily a good thing for neighborhoods and local residents expressed their feelings against the structures and future plans for even more parking:
Mortimer said there’s a general recognition that the leadership of UM hasn’t done a good job in educating its staff about the need for alternative transportation or off-site parking to minimize the impact on the neighborhood. UM leaders don’t have the courage to tell staff that if they don’t want to accommodate a sustainable, environmentally sensitive approach to transportation, they can work somewhere else.

Read the complete article at the Ann Arbor Cronicle with lots of background and comments.
photo credit - Zach K Flickr

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