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Parking problem downtown - too much of it? Not enough?


GRDadof3

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The big issue i see isn't parking, it's traffic congestion. If the city was to add more spaces downtown it would encourage even more people to drive, rather than find an alternative mode of transport. I do like what the city has done with dash lot and new dash bus system, but it needs to be improved on. From the cities point of view, I can see how encouraging turnover is key to success. 

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1 hour ago, GRJohn said:

Is there a city similar in size and climate that we can compare GR to for parking access and availability?  I'd be curious to see how similar cities are grappling with this issue.

You're talking stuff like Akron, Sioux Falls, and Fort Wayne.  I would be a little reluctant to include places like Des Moines or Madison since they double as state capitals.   Of the first three, none of them charge anything even close to what Grand Rapids does for parking by, well... a lot.   Des Moines is still cheaper by about $50 to $75 monthly.  Madison is about on par.  But it has almost 100,000 more people, is the state capital, and has a major university which makes GVSU look like.. well... not UW-Madison. 

IMO, it's pretty clear that Naramore/city are 100% on board with jacking up the rates, causing the congestion, and trying to force a "mode shift".  Well, that will mode shift people, all the way out of town to a place that isn't run by ideological morons who think they will save those dumb suburbanites from their evil cars.  Eventually, CWD is going to have to crack under the pressure, list their acres of empty space and/or lower rates, and then the true scope of the office market ugliness will be out there.  Downtown isn't exactly a place any sane, growing employer wants to put an office or have an office at the moment.  It's an OFFICE PARK with NO PARKING.  I have talked to multiple employers who have had to have serious discussions about getting out when their leases are up.  They don't have options.  They can't hire because people can't park.  And what do all of those thousands of suburbanites who work downtown tell their friends?  Yup.  Parking sucks.  Stay away.  And now more articles about rates getting jacked up even higher?  Oh, dear.   The message NEEDS to be: WE ARE ADDING SPACES AS FAST AS POSSIBLE AND HAVE XYZ GARAGES COMING ONLINE.  It ain't.  It's still, "take a bike" and it's COMING FROM THE GUY RUNNING THE PARKING DEPARTMENT which is PLAYING WITH FIRE.

[As for congestion, the worst of it was intentionally manufactured with unused bike lanes on Division.  Or, construction derived. There is almost no congestion except congestion that has Division or construction as its cause.  Before that bike lane on Division, there was none.  That bike lane backs traffic up on Division, and all feeders, often well past Ottawa because you can only cram about 25 cars on all of Division southbound, maybe, and there is no right turn lane or secondary thru lane].  

Edited by x99
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1 hour ago, x99 said:

You're talking stuff like Akron, Sioux Falls, and Fort Wayne.  I would be a little reluctant to include places like Des Moines or Madison since they double as state capitals.   Of the first three, none of them charge anything even close to what Grand Rapids does for parking by, well... a lot.   Des Moines is still cheaper by about $50 to $75 monthly.  Madison is about on par.  But it has almost 100,000 more people, is the state capital, and has a major university which makes GVSU look like.. well... not UW-Madison. 

GR has a way bigger MSA and labor force than all of those cities.  Rochester NY and Buffalo are more comparable IMO.  Richmond may be too... it's a bit bigger and is a state capital, but our economy is growing faster and we may need to start looking at models a little bigger than ourselves.  Can't really speak to their downtown parking situations though.

BTW @x99based on your mood today you might want to start trying some of that legalized weed.

Edited by RegalTDP
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Is there a resource that we can go to find the number of parking spaces available in a city's core?  I'd be curious to compare the cities that everyone listed with GR.  For instance, I know Lansing is a state capital and has a major university but what is their parking situation compared to ours?  I would assume with both the capital and MSU, they would have more parking or similar parking as GR even though they have a smaller MSA.  I'd also be curious to see what Ann Arbor has done to mitigate their parking woes.  I think it would be wise to see what similar cities are doing and take good ideas from them.

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15 hours ago, GRDadof3 said:

Madison is more like Ann Arbor than GR. With the capitol and the university right downtown.

But you park and walk 4 or 5 city blocks? In GR? Can you give us an example? 

Usually I just park on the west side, along or near seward , or in heritage hill and walk in to downtown.  But if I'm trying to get closer to where I'm going, then the downtown market has free 30 minute parking, the monroe ramp has free 60 minute parking, there is free street parking towards the south on Commerce, La Grave, and Ionia, and there are quite a few free spaces on State street.

I'm not opposed at all to building more parking ramps, however,  I also don't mind raising the street parking rates and/or extending their operational hours. I don't think they should blindly extend all of the meters to 8pm and enforce on the weekends. Rather, they should only extend the hours in areas where the parking is consistently full at those times in order to encourage turnover. I also wouldn't mind seeing some 15 or 30 minute parking spaces.  If they're going to build more parking ramps, I would love to see area 7(behind the Big Boy) turned into a massive parking ramp that acts as a commuter station with dash busses running out of it frequently.

Edited by Kinkema
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17 hours ago, Kinkema said:

Madison is pretty similar in size and climate. Parking there is much more limited, meters everywhere, much more expensive, and they charge on Saturdays(but not Sundays). People seem to use parking ramps more or walk further.

Honestly,  outside of monthly permit parking, GR parking is easy to find, easy to use, and cheap. I never pay for parking and usually walk no more than 4 or 5 blocks to where I'm going. If I were willing to pay, there's always a spot within a couple blocks. I really find it hard to sympathize with people who complain about parking in GR /:

 

17 hours ago, RegalTDP said:

Same

 

17 hours ago, mpchicago said:

Yep

So wait, someone from San Diego, someone from Glendale and someone from Chicago all feel parking isn’t too bad when they go to downtown GR?  Excuse the snark, but seriously?

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16 hours ago, x99 said:

You're talking stuff like Akron, Sioux Falls, and Fort Wayne.  I would be a little reluctant to include places like Des Moines or Madison since they double as state capitals.   Of the first three, none of them charge anything even close to what Grand Rapids does for parking by, well... a lot.   Des Moines is still cheaper by about $50 to $75 monthly.  Madison is about on par.  But it has almost 100,000 more people, is the state capital, and has a major university which makes GVSU look like.. well... not UW-Madison. 

IMO, it's pretty clear that Naramore/city are 100% on board with jacking up the rates, causing the congestion, and trying to force a "mode shift".  Well, that will mode shift people, all the way out of town to a place that isn't run by ideological morons who think they will save those dumb suburbanites from their evil cars.  Eventually, CWD is going to have to crack under the pressure, list their acres of empty space and/or lower rates, and then the true scope of the office market ugliness will be out there.  Downtown isn't exactly a place any sane, growing employer wants to put an office or have an office at the moment.  It's an OFFICE PARK with NO PARKING.  I have talked to multiple employers who have had to have serious discussions about getting out when their leases are up.  They don't have options.  They can't hire because people can't park.  And what do all of those thousands of suburbanites who work downtown tell their friends?  Yup.  Parking sucks.  Stay away.  And now more articles about rates getting jacked up even higher?  Oh, dear.   The message NEEDS to be: WE ARE ADDING SPACES AS FAST AS POSSIBLE AND HAVE XYZ GARAGES COMING ONLINE.  It ain't.  It's still, "take a bike" and it's COMING FROM THE GUY RUNNING THE PARKING DEPARTMENT which is PLAYING WITH FIRE.

[As for congestion, the worst of it was intentionally manufactured with unused bike lanes on Division.  Or, construction derived. There is almost no congestion except congestion that has Division or construction as its cause.  Before that bike lane on Division, there was none.  That bike lane backs traffic up on Division, and all feeders, often well past Ottawa because you can only cram about 25 cars on all of Division southbound, maybe, and there is no right turn lane or secondary thru lane].  

Well stated all around. Grand Rapids is never going to shift to a mass transit and bike culture. It is quite simply not something the average resident in the area is interested in, no matter how much we invest into it. I'm as progressive as the next millennial, but I drive an SUV and enjoy the freedom that allows. I can go where I please, when I please and get there in relatively short time (except my 30-40 minute commute halfway across the metro in the morning). If I am this way as someone that actually agrees with the lifestyle of mass transit and biking, just imagine what the average non-progressive millennial in the area is like. They have zero interest in taking a bus from Cascade/Grandville/Hudsonville/Kentwood/Ada, etc. to downtown and back. They want to drive into the city to enjoy the city life, park their vehicle in a safe and cheap place, and drive home after their experience. To not provide them with what they want is to turn away paying customers and potential employees. The city may think that it will just encourage alternate forms of transportation, but it will instead just force them out to the suburbs. They will not bend on this.

Edited by GRLaker
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50 minutes ago, wingbert said:

 

 

So wait, someone from San Diego, someone from Glendale and someone from Chicago all feel parking isn’t too bad when they go to downtown GR?  Excuse the snark, but seriously?

As someone that lives in GR, on the Westside, a mile away from the downtown core, I definitely feel the parking situation isn't bad at all. That being said, I'm only ever downtown after 6 PM and on the weekends where I never have to park more than a few blocks away from my destination or take a $6 uber and get dropped off right there. 

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22 hours ago, GRLaker said:

I drove around a three block radius of Luna three times on Tuesday at around 6:15 and couldn't find a single meter spot in that radius. I wasn't about to pay for more parking that day on top of the event I paid to attend, so I just headed home. The event got my donation and didn't have to serve me food and drinks for it.

Having no available street parking at 6:15 is precisely why paid parking (or first-hour free parking) on street being extended to 8 should be considered as an option in the central business district. People can leave their cars parked on the street all night after 6pm for free. This does not encourage turnover for those running an errand or grabbing dinner or drinks for an hour or two and pushes those seeking short-term parking to the parking structures. 

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1 hour ago, wingbert said:

 

 

So wait, someone from San Diego, someone from Glendale and someone from Chicago all feel parking isn’t too bad when they go to downtown GR?  Excuse the snark, but seriously?

1

Okay, maybe it's not completely fair for me to say that Grand Rapids parking is't a pain since I don't live there, and don't work in downtown GR (anymore).  But truthfully I have never had a problem parking in downtown Grand Rapids or any of the "hot" neighborhoods.  As an example when I come on a Friday or Saturday of ArtPrize....No problem parking.  Can I park on Monroe Center, or right on Bridge Street, no, but I don't have an issue parking in a ramp, or walking several blocks.  Frankly, I don't even think there is a big parking problem in Chicago.  There is parking right in my building, and surface lot parking a block from my building.   I don't park downtown mainly because I have no patience for the Chicago traffic and would rather spend my time reading or sleeping on the train.   

Edited by mpchicago
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5 minutes ago, demhem said:

Having no available street parking at 6:15 is precisely why paid parking (or first-hour free parking) on street being extended to 8 should be considered as an option in the central business district. People can leave their cars parked on the street all night after 6pm for free. This does not encourage turnover for those running an errand or grabbing dinner or drinks for an hour or two and pushes those seeking short-term parking to the parking structures. 

The city could also ban overnight parking in those locations

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2 hours ago, GRJohn said:

Is there a resource that we can go to find the number of parking spaces available in a city's core?  I'd be curious to compare the cities that everyone listed with GR.  For instance, I know Lansing is a state capital and has a major university but what is their parking situation compared to ours?  I would assume with both the capital and MSU, they would have more parking or similar parking as GR even though they have a smaller MSA.  I'd also be curious to see what Ann Arbor has done to mitigate their parking woes.  I think it would be wise to see what similar cities are doing and take good ideas from them.

2000 meter spaces in and around downtown. I want to say there are close to 7000 city-owned parking spaces in lots and ramps, with about 1400 allocated to visitors. The rest are monthly passes (basically sold out).

http://s3.amazonaws.com/downtowngr.org/general/GR_Forward_A4.pdf?mtime=20151119112738

MobileGR keeps touting that there are 30,000 (!) parking spaces for visitors but for the life of me I can't figure out where they get that number. 

 

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19 minutes ago, mpchicago said:

Okay, maybe it's not completely fair for me to say that Grand Rapids parking is't a pain since I don't live there, and don't work in downtown GR (anymore).  But truthfully I have never had a problem parking in downtown Grand Rapids or any of the "hot" neighborhoods.  As an example when I come on a Friday or Saturday of ArtPrize....No problem parking.  Can I park on Monroe Center, or right on Bridge Street, no, but I don't have an issue parking in a ramp, or walking several blocks.  Frankly, I don't even think there is a big parking problem in Chicago.  There is parking right in my building, and surface lot parking a block from my building.   I don't park downtown mainly because I have no patience for the Chicago traffic and would rather spend my time reading or sleeping on the train.   

I would much rather park in a ramp than try to get into a parallel parking spot with impatient drivers around. I don't know why more people don't use  the ramps, unless their only experience is "EVENT" nights where the ramps charge a flat $7 or $8.00. Who determines at the city what constitutes an EVENT night? Van Andel Arena events?

Also, pro-tip: if you tell the attendant at the booth that you're not going to an "event" and just going out to dinner, they only charge you the hourly rate (they give you a parking stub like you would normally get and pay on the way out). 

People are red hot about the proposed meter changes. Even reddit which is generally progressive is pretty against it. 

 

 

 

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22 minutes ago, GRDadof3 said:

2000 meter spaces in and around downtown. I want to say there are close to 7000 city-owned parking spaces in lots and ramps, with about 1400 allocated to visitors. The rest are monthly passes (basically sold out).

http://s3.amazonaws.com/downtowngr.org/general/GR_Forward_A4.pdf?mtime=20151119112738

MobileGR keeps touting that there are 30,000 (!) parking spaces for visitors but for the life of me I can't figure out where they get that number. 

 

Awesome!  Thank you.  So how do those numbers stack up against Buffalo, Rochester, Madison, Des Moines, Sioux City, etc.  I'm just curious how we measure up to similar cities.  

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There seem to be two trains of thought here:  One--> You can usually find a space if you are going downtown for a visit (unless it's near the Arena, which can be a nightmare).  Agreed.  However, that's not a real issue, apart from whether the spaces meet what is needed to facilitate restaurants.  Two -->The major issue is OFFICE parking.  And it's out of stock.  Not a single post yet claiming I've mischaracterized a bit of this.  Just that they can find some restaurant parking if they want to pay enough for it. 

Sorry to go off on a rant, but everytime this Naramore guy opens his mouth I'm just astonished by what comes out of it.  I wanted to figure out what his deal was, and I think I did.  He wants to do anything but efficiently and effectively run the department that facilitates essentially all of the meaningful economic activity downtown.  People want to buy steaks, but he would really rather be selling tofu.  

Edited by x99
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50 minutes ago, x99 said:

There seem to be two trains of thought here:  One--> You can usually find a space if you are going downtown for a visit (unless it's near the Arena, which can be a nightmare).  Agreed.  However, that's not a real issue, apart from whether the spaces meet what is needed to facilitate restaurants.  Two -->The major issue is OFFICE parking.  And it's out of stock.  Not a single post yet claiming I've mischaracterized a bit of this.  Just that they can find some restaurant parking if they want to pay enough for it. 

Sorry to go off on a rant, but everytime this Naramore guy opens his mouth I'm just astonished by what comes out of it.  I wanted to figure out what his deal was, and I think I did.  He wants to do anything but efficiently and effectively run the department that facilitates essentially all of the meaningful economic activity downtown.  People want to buy steaks, but he would really rather be selling tofu.  

Agreed. Office parking is THE issue. Residential parking can be a problem in certain buildings/developments.

I feel like Grand Rapids has done a really good job since the mid-90's getting people downtown for leisure, which helped make downtown cool, which led to office and residential development. Hotel / Convention business followed, and while retail hasn't taken hold, I think buying habits have changed so much, that may never be a massive part of the mix. But the city has built up really well and balanced. Not too heavy in one direction or the other. 

My concern is that city/parking commission seems to have veered off course in recent years. Parking will not only stunt growth of office space, it'll contract. And the vision of being able to walk / bike / take public transit is predicated on being able to work, live, and play in a reasonable distance. You throw one of those out of whack, and the momentum that was built dies out.

Everyone knows that Parking ramps don't need to be these monolithic, single use structures (38 Commerce is great example, Studio C is another (though I feel like the developer was more progressive than the city). There's plenty of opportunity to retain companies as they grow AND expand parking options. But it seems like the city is more concerned about what will happen 30 years down the road (which you can't predict) vs. what is happening now (which you can).  

Joe

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We oughtta build some high-rise automated parking garages like they have in Japan. Then no one could complain about the wasted space of a parking ramp, all we'd have to contend with would be the aesthetics of enormous featureless towers dotting the skyline and also the high cost and maintenance.

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For the city's idea of a parking ramp at Fulton and Ionia "wedge lot," I'd be surprised if they find a developer partner who will do spec office space any time soon. They should move forward with it and make it capable to be built upon in the future. If they build it, monthly and visitor parkers will come. Can't they issue bonds for something like that? 

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  • 2 weeks later...

Apparently there is a “public” meeting at 8am Thursday but I think they are intentionally downplaying this so few show up.  I am personally in favor of the longer meter times but if they do that then they need to accommodate the regular parkers in garage spots.  I know many residents rely on the street parking because of the park g waitlists.

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Quote

Community partners,

The City of Grand Rapids is tapping the brakes on staff-initiated changes to on- and off-street parking management and rates following the implementation of a series of parking and mobility solutions over the past few years. City Manager Mark Washington has issued a moratorium on staff-initiated parking management and rate changes, saying he needs time to work with Mobile GR and Parking Services staff to establish strategic priorities for the Fiscal Year 2020 proposed budget.

For more information, please CLICK HERE.

 

Thank you for sharing this information with your membership, clergy, family, fellow employees, friends and neighbors.

 

 I hope you're all happy. :) 

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