Pair Of Ann Arbor Business Owners Question Proposed Parking Rates Increase
For the first time in two years most parking rates in Ann Arbor could be going up in January. Downtown Development Authority board members say the increase is needed but some downtown business owners want more services in return.
This includes better snow removal, planting flowers, and more removal of cigarette butts and litter.
Jerusalem Garden owner Ali Ramlawi is concerned the price hike will continue the negative perception many have about parking in Ann Arbor. He questions the need for the increase. "Giving a holiday, maybe saying hey we made so much money lets give one day or three days during the Christmas season free parking. Help encourage and not just saying well, listen, we can squeeze a little bit more out of this cause we can, cause this is where the lines intersect on the supply and demand chart," Ramlawi says.
DDA Board Member Roger Hewitt counters that the organization spends about $2.5 million maintaining the parking system annually. This cost is only expected to increase as about 1,000 spaces have been added in the last few years. "Clearly nobody likes to see the price of anything go up. The rate increases are, as we pointed out in the past, are pretty much inflationary to cover increased costs of maintenance of the structures and labor expenses," Hewitt says.
Hewitt says some concerns have been raised, but nothing like the outcry when the DDA proposed extending parking meter hours into the evening.
DDA Board Member Al McWilliams wants the organization to investigate using technology to help people find where spots are available on their phone. He thinks this might be a low cost way to meet at least one of the concerns raised about parking in the city.
Under the plan, parking meters and surface lots would cost an additional ten cents per hour. Hourly rates in parking structures don't change, but permit parking rates will increase.
The DDA board is expected to vote on the proposed rate hike next month.
The proposed rate hikes include: