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About demhem

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    John Ball Park, Grand Rapids, Michigan
  1. This reminds me a lot of the multi-family buildings going up in Denver when I was out there last year.
  2. Although I also dislike the contrast between CHS and the addition, it seems like the brick color is very similar to Finkelstein Hall which is under construction. Did the neighborhood have a strong preference for brick in that color? I didn't actively pay attention to the NOBL public involvement process. They may be going in that direction over there as they build out the healthcare/medical campus. Nevertheless, the building looks very institutional. Although, I do like it better than the MSU Secchia Center, which is so institutional blah that it already looks 15 years old.
  3. The original study critiqued in the link is likely admittedly flawed; however, the critique is also flawed as the author is comparing overall car MPG (which he admits is unfair^1) instead of auto city MPG as well as comparing overall personal vehicle load averages instead of personal vehicle load averages for urban metros where buses run (which could arguably be different depending upon where you live). Although he also admits that autos have their lowest load factors during peak periods, with most urban areas reporting 1.1 to 1.15. If anything, that article solidifies the need for additional studies which take into account previous failures in methodology. 1: "My use of annual averages is somewhat unfair to buses for a variety of reasons. First, for autos, there is a significant amount of freeway driving, urban, rural, and inter-city, where high, constant speeds and high mileage factors are achieved – this type of travel is a relatively rare portion of urban transit bus usage."
  4. State universities are exempt from local zoning in Michigan so Allendale Township has little to do with why GVSU buildings are shorter out there. My understanding is that GVSU leadership wanted a village-like residential campus similar to the likes of Miami University in Ohio and Ohio University in Athens. If you look at the way that GVSU is structured it emulates the Miami model in a lot of ways (undergraduate focus, limited professional graduate programs, large presence of liberal arts in curriculum, theme dorms such as Women in Science and Engineering and the International House). Their strategy downtown may be similar in philosophy. 3-5 stories is human-scale, and provides a more intimate university setting than towering buildings. Obviously Eberhardt and Cook-DeVos are different; however, one of those is located prominently on the river and the other on the expressway. I think that all of this is not a lack of vision but an unwillingness to stray from the vision they already have for themselves.
  5. "So when I park in a ramp daily that has a handful of spots open, that's hearsay? [confused]" My statement was in regard to office vacancy, not parking.
  6. Spectrum won't leave because they don't have enough parking; not with the agglomeration economy they've created on Michigan Avenue with the VanAndel Institute, MSU Medical School, GVSU Health Science, and the Ferris Pharmacy program. An agglomeration economy is a strong force. This is what attracts firms to a downtown and what keeps them there. They will find other solutions as they have with paying for their employee's access to the Silver Line. Again, a shortage of monthly passes does not equal a shortage of available spaces. You have someone creating an artificial limit. That ratio can be adjusted if open spaces during the day are underutilized. This is a viable option. Until I see data on vacancy rates that provides a different story than the Colliers update, everything I'm reading is hearsay.
  7. The 95% number is only for monthly permit parking, so that number is deceiving and rarely explained in the news articles I've seen. I walked through several of the parking structures yesterday afternoon which indicated large parking availability on the GR Parking app, and (without counting every single space) there is a lot of parking available. I'm talking about a third-party study or research. The Chamber is basing its recommendations off of a survey of its members and meetings with them. While public outreach and involvement is important, it does not tell the whole story regarding existing conditions, as opinion is not always reality. I'm not a politician; public opinion alone doesn't do it for me. The Chamber is a fantastic organization, but it has an agenda. They offer solutions, which is great, and I think that should be part of the overall discussion. I am a huge fan of remote parking (one of the Chamber's recommendations) as I've used it in other cities, including DC, Chicago, and in Munich, Germany.
  8. I'm seeing the potential for a lot of assumptions here. Is there data from another source that tells a different story than Colliers? I'm trying to find metrics and indicators to explain the situation. GR Forward provides parking statistics as well but I get the feeling many of you wouldn't consider that as a legitimate source either. What facts are we using to educate our stance or opinions?
  9. What point have we gotten to though? Are there an immense number of vacancies that I'm not familiar with? Colliers International recently indicated in their annual report that office space prices downtown are still on the rise (and at an all time high) which suggests higher demand and low availability. The office vacancy rate in the downtown is currently reported at hovering between 7 and 9%. This is considered healthy by many standards and low for a mid-sized Midwestern City. This low vacancy is also evident in my experience in the building my company has leased for 20 years. The building owner renovated the garden floor and added three office suites which were immediately filled; my building has zero vacant units currently. Am I missing some signs of economic decay downtown? There is always business turnover in the marketplace.
  10. Sure, you are absolutely correct in that there may be quite a few spaces taken up by handicap and double parking; the app does not account for that. However, without doing a study and finding an average I'm not sure you easily come up with what that number is. Maybe the City should and note a potential margin of error on the app for users?
  11. I would assume that the margin of error is not over 1,000 spaces. Please point to where I'm spreading misinformation? I'm partaking in a dialogue about parking and offering explanations and options. Is it not possible for a private business to contract with another private business downtown for parking? That is precisely what my company does. Should I caveat my comments with "I'm not making black/white statements here, and i'm simply stating that there are always more options available than what is immediately in front of you?" I never suggested that the City hand over all of the public parking downtown to office space owners/users, just that there should be a dialogue about potentially adding more as a capacity solution. I also never suggested that all private lot owners provide monthly parking permits. Please don't strawman my comments. Incompetence is a strong term; I just think that we all disagree. Maybe there is common ground?
  12. That is only the public spaces available; that does not include the dozens of private lots as well.
  13. I'm only using the app in this case to challenge the mantra that there is a "parking shortage" downtown. I work downtown and my company pays for the spaces we lease. The lot we lease is never but half-way full and is used by at least a half-dozen other firms. If there are that many public spaces available at 9am on a Tuesday, we do not have a parking shortage. The discussion should be around increasing the number of reserved and monthly parking permits so that the price is reasonable. The solution is not to build more parking.
  14. If none of you have downloaded the GR Parking app I highly recommend that you do so. The app spits out live parking data at each of the City-owned ramps and surface parking lots downtown. There are currently over 1,000 open parking spaces in public lots. Do we have a parking problem? According to the current data, probably not. Do we have a monthly parking permitting problem for business owners? Possibly. Download the app and see for yourself. Each facility shows percentage currently occupied.