arcturus

Creston Neighborhood

Recommended Posts


Unfortunately Hollywood Fashions only moved, north to Plainfield and Sweet.

 

When I think of glitz and glamour, Hollywood Fashions is the first thing that comes to mind.  I am relieved we have not lost this local treasure.  That was a close call, there.

Edited by x99
  • Like 1

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

 

Now things get interesting, as the Creston Business Association is asking the Parking Commission to perform a parking study for the area as they are concerned about a lack of parking in the city owned lots. The Parking Commission flatly denied their request.

GRBJ: Commissioners squelch Creston parking study

 

 

 

 

I'm troubled by this knee jerk reaction to charge for every single parking space in West Michigan. Business is still struggling in that area and like downtown, is in a fragile state. The fact that 616 wants to build a bunch of apartments there speaks to the shortage of available land in the city, not that it's a hot destination for employers. To ignore the concerns of the dentist office and other employers in that neighborhood is egregious. Again, where are the pro-business voices?

 

I don't think anyone said that the city should add more surface lots, but the city should slow down a bit and review these applications carefully before waiving a bunch of parking requirements. 

 

As far as a "mobility study," If you work in that area, the chances that you live along the Plainfield Rapid line are very low (I know several people who work in that area, and two of the business owners, none of which live anywhere near Plainfield Ave). For most, you'd have to take a bus to central station and transfer to the Plainfield bus. Who has 2 hours to do that every day? It's unrealistic to expect in West Michigan where you can traverse the entire metro area in 20 minutes. 

 

I've heard more than a few people on the Creston board expressing concerns about all of these projects (hadn't seen them all until today) and I can see why. 

 

To think that these (mostly) young people moving into these apartments are going to live without cars is .... I mean seriously. :) "How do I get to the Y? How do I get to my job in Walker? How do I get to Meijer for groceries? How do I????" 

 

Asking as a serious question. Anyone know? 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

During the day, the west lot is packed, but at night it's totally empty. Employees will use the parking lots during the day; residents use them at night and on weekends. Doesn't seem like a big deal to me. 

 

(1415 Plainfield is getting a new paint job, too. A small but nice addition to the overall facelift.)

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Would a 2-level parking deck on the city lot on Buffalo Ave be feasible?  Certainly there's space for it, but financially feasible for the area?  Assuming these will not be the last projects in the area, is that something that should be considered?

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Would a 2-level parking deck on the city lot on Buffalo Ave be feasible?  Certainly there's space for it, but financially feasible for the area?  Assuming these will not be the last projects in the area, is that something that should be considered?

 

Rockford Construction is adding their own parking deck on their Fulton Place project. 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
I've heard more than a few people on the Creston board expressing concerns about all of these projects (hadn't seen them all until today) and I can see why. 

 

To think that these (mostly) young people moving into these apartments are going to live without cars is .... I mean seriously. :) "How do I get to the Y? How do I get to my job in Walker? How do I get to Meijer for groceries? How do I????" 

 

Asking as a serious question. Anyone know? 

 

I don't think there is an easy answer to your question, and I don't think anyone responsible for making parking decisions cares.  The current answer mindset is to get rid of the parking and jack up the cost so that people will be coerced into taking the bus.  We'll just have to wait and see how well that approach works.

 

One partial solution would be to eliminate parking requirements entirely, and revise the parking permit system to allocate long-term permits to properties on the basis of their street frontage.  Then make the permits a transferable property right.  The permit system cured some of the problem, but did not deal with multiple-unit apartment complexes with inadequate parking.  If a developer wants to build with no spaces--fine--but don't come crying when you can't fill apartments because tenants can't find a place to park their cars and neighbors won't sell their permits.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I'm curious, has anyone ever been to a neighborhood either in GR or otherwise that you attribute their decline too few parking spaces? I can't think of any of the top of my head. Any place that I have ever been too that had a jammed parking situation also struck me as vibrant and a success. Most dead neighborhoods commercial areas that I can recall have too many parking spaces, too many buildings torn down for the provision of parking. 

 

I don't mind letting the market bear how many parking spaces are needed. Having parking shortages causes creative solutions, whether it be people choosing to walk/bike/transit or pay for the space or not go to the destination. I'm not thrilled of transferring public property (street space) that we all pay through gas and property taxes for the financial benefit of specific property owners. If they were to buy it for its market and operating value, then that would be an interesting public policy conversation to have. 

 

Knowing that structured parking usually costs $15k-25k per space, I am perfectly content having the public (including myself) pay for the true cost of the space. 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I don't mind letting the market bear how many parking spaces are needed. Having parking shortages causes creative solutions, whether it be people choosing to walk/bike/transit or pay for the space or not go to the destination. I'm not thrilled of transferring public property (street space) that we all pay through gas and property taxes for the financial benefit of specific property owners. If they were to buy it for its market and operating value, then that would be an interesting public policy conversation to have. 

 

Knowing that structured parking usually costs $15k-25k per space, I am perfectly content having the public (including myself) pay for the true cost of the space. 

 

I would agree that there are some issues with ceding street parking to adjacent landowners, but this is, in effect, what parking permit systems already do.  They just don't deal effectively with dense multiple family scenarios.  And I'd like to see the city try to sell off the land in front of someone's house for parking... Good luck with that.  Allocating on frontage is the most realistic fix.  It's fairly similar to the way lakefront property already works, actually.  You can't park a boat long term in front of someone else's cottage.  I have no idea why we allow cars to park long term in front of someone else's house...

 

Fact of the matter is, I think GRDad is right--very few people with reasonable incomes will choose to live in this town without a vehicle.  My view is that if the city will not regulate adequate parking because of pie-in-the-sky notions of bicycles and buses, it is not fair to allow developers to use surrounding neighborhoods as free parking lots.  Effectively, they are allowing developers to fob off land-acquisition costs onto entire neighborhoods because city government had it's head shoved up it's collective posterior. 

 

I'll grant you that we shouldn't require lots of parking--it should be a developer choice--but it only works in residential areas like Creston when there aren't huge free parking lots all over the place commonly known as "street parking". 

Edited by x99
  • Like 1

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I'm curious, has anyone ever been to a neighborhood either in GR or otherwise that you attribute their decline too few parking spaces? I can't think of any of the top of my head. Any place that I have ever been too that had a jammed parking situation also struck me as vibrant and a success. Most dead neighborhoods commercial areas that I can recall have too many parking spaces, too many buildings torn down for the provision of parking. 

 

I don't mind letting the market bear how many parking spaces are needed. Having parking shortages causes creative solutions, whether it be people choosing to walk/bike/transit or pay for the space or not go to the destination. I'm not thrilled of transferring public property (street space) that we all pay through gas and property taxes for the financial benefit of specific property owners. If they were to buy it for its market and operating value, then that would be an interesting public policy conversation to have. 

 

Knowing that structured parking usually costs $15k-25k per space, I am perfectly content having the public (including myself) pay for the true cost of the space. 

 

 

Don't let your hubris about hot neighborhoods get the best of you. :) There's a tipping point where a hot neighborhood becomes someplace where no one wants to go because it's too much of a pain in the ass. Or where all of the businesses move out of or stay away from. Where is all of the hottest and biggest business investments in commercial and retail going in right now in West Michigan? Hint: not in the city. The only major investments are apartments and non profits. Don't get me wrong, the investments in the city are great too see and are rejuvenating a lot of areas. But it's WAY too early to start taxing everyone to death with added parking costs, and making the people who live in the nearby neighborhoods not have anywhere for their guests to park. 

 

Plus, does pushing out the businesses in a neighborhood to make way for residents make sense? A business owner and its workers pay a lot more taxes than apartment dwellers and their landlords do. 

 

Don't get blinded by the "appearance" of economic growth. And don't get greedy. That's alls I'm saying. 

 

Developers should be responsible for providing their own parking, as the city zoning requires. UNLESS (big unless), there is an overflow of ample available city-owned parking nearby that won't impact the current residents. 

 

That's what happens when a lot of developers do apartment complexes: they shove the parking onto everyone else because its "just tenants, who cares if they have a place to park." Try to sell those units as condos (homeownership) and see how far that conversation goes (ie: Icon on Bond).

 

Easy rule, and it's stated in the zoning: 1 parking space per residential unit (which even seems low), higher if you have a restaurant use on the ground floor. If you can't meet that, go back to the drawing board or rework your pro-forma. 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I would agree that there are some issues with ceding street parking to adjacent landowners, but this is, in effect, what parking permit systems already do.  They just don't deal effectively with dense multiple family scenarios.  And I'd like to see the city try to sell off the land in front of someone's house for parking... Good luck with that.  Allocating on frontage is the most realistic fix.  It's fairly similar to the way lakefront property already works, actually.  You can't park a boat long term in front of someone else's cottage.  I have no idea why we allow cars to park long term in front of someone else's house...

 

Fact of the matter is, I think GRDad is right--very few people with reasonable incomes will choose to live in this town without a vehicle.  My view is that if the city will not regulate adequate parking because of pie-in-the-sky notions of bicycles and buses, it is not fair to allow developers to use surrounding neighborhoods as free parking lots.  Effectively, they are allowing developers to fob off land-acquisition costs onto entire neighborhoods because city government had it's head shoved up it's collective posterior. 

 

I'll grant you that we shouldn't require lots of parking--it should be a developer choice--but it only works in residential areas like Creston when there aren't huge free parking lots all over the place commonly known as "street parking". 

 

 

In the most bike friendly cities in this country, only about 5% of people bicycle commute. In most urban areas, about 10 - 15% use transit on a good day. The only exceptions are the massive downtown areas like NYC or the Loop in Chicago, where you basically can't drive your car to work even if you had to. 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

There's a tipping point where a hot neighborhood becomes someplace where no one wants to go because it's too much of a pain in the ass.

 

Are you intentionally channeling Yogi Berra here?

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Are you intentionally channeling Yogi Berra here?

 

Ha. You'll notice I didn't say that no one will want to go there because it's too crowded. I said no one will want to go there because it's a pain in the ass (nowhere to park). Most urban retailers will tell you they need to have parking within eye-shot of their front door or it will hurt business. 

 

Did you see the comments from the dentist office owner who said people were angry and skipped their appointments because there was no place to park? The Creston Association even sent a representative to express concern about parking issues. So for the city to then say that no parking study for the area was needed? Not even to look at the situation? "Screw you people should ride the bus more."  :rofl:

 

I go to Reservoir about once a month or so either at happy hour or shortly thereafter, and the East lot is always at least half full, and is close to full by the time I leave.  :alc: (5:30 or 6:00). That lot (the East lot) has about 100 parking spaces. The proposed development has 60 units (1 and 2 bedrooms), requiring 60 spaces by the zoning code, even if you have a two bedroom with 2 tenants. It also has retail space requiring 13 spaces and a restaurant space requiring 31 spaces. They're asking to provide only 30 spaces total themselves. 

 

During the day and during the week, I'll venture to guess that 30 of those residents will be home part of the day (students), or work from home, plus the nearby business uses (Sun Title, offices, etc) that are already feeling the pinch. 

 

I've also parked in the West lot to go to Red Jet Cafe for lunch and that parking lot is generally 80% full in the middle of the day. It's maybe 70 or 80 spaces.

 

I think that asking for a waiver to only provide 30 spaces is asking too much. However, a "study" would be able to answer that question instead of spitballing it and hoping that it doesn't adversely impact the existing neighborhood. This isn't like New Holland where there are massive parking lots within walking distance and a DASH bus line running down the street. 

 

Edit: had to rework my numbers because I had the residential unit count high.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I'm curious, has anyone ever been to a neighborhood either in GR or otherwise that you attribute their decline too few parking spaces? I can't think of any of the top of my head. Any place that I have ever been too that had a jammed parking situation also struck me as vibrant and a success. Most dead neighborhoods commercial areas that I can recall have too many parking spaces, too many buildings torn down for the provision of parking. 

 

I don't mind letting the market bear how many parking spaces are needed. Having parking shortages causes creative solutions, whether it be people choosing to walk/bike/transit or pay for the space or not go to the destination. I'm not thrilled of transferring public property (street space) that we all pay through gas and property taxes for the financial benefit of specific property owners. If they were to buy it for its market and operating value, then that would be an interesting public policy conversation to have. 

 

Knowing that structured parking usually costs $15k-25k per space, I am perfectly content having the public (including myself) pay for the true cost of the space. 

 

I think one example is the Cherry Hills area. With Brewery Vivant, Grove, the Greenwell, etc and the proposed building that will take the front half of the existing of BV parking lot. The area is booming, but I wonder if its at capacity? That area is packed Thur/Fri/Sat nights. Its too busy that I pass on that area as its no longer worth the hassle. I think a parking structure while a large investment, certainly helps the area long-term. 

 

Planning for bikes and buses for a city of 200,000 vs parking is just short sighted.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Don't let your hubris about hot neighborhoods get the best of you. :) There's a tipping point where a hot neighborhood becomes someplace where no one wants to go because it's too much of a pain in the ass. Or where all of the businesses move out of or stay away from. Where is all of the hottest and biggest business investments in commercial and retail going in right now in West Michigan? Hint: not in the city. The only major investments are apartments and non profits. Don't get me wrong, the investments in the city are great too see and are rejuvenating a lot of areas. But it's WAY too early to start taxing everyone to death with added parking costs, and making the people who live in the nearby neighborhoods not have anywhere for their guests to park. 

 

Plus, does pushing out the businesses in a neighborhood to make way for residents make sense? A business owner and its workers pay a lot more taxes than apartment dwellers and their landlords do. 

 

Don't get blinded by the "appearance" of economic growth. And don't get greedy. That's alls I'm saying. 

 

Developers should be responsible for providing their own parking, as the city zoning requires. UNLESS (big unless), there is an overflow of ample available city-owned parking nearby that won't impact the current residents. 

 

That's what happens when a lot of developers do apartment complexes: they shove the parking onto everyone else because its "just tenants, who cares if they have a place to park." Try to sell those units as condos (homeownership) and see how far that conversation goes (ie: Icon on Bond).

 

Easy rule, and it's stated in the zoning: 1 parking space per residential unit (which even seems low), higher if you have a restaurant use on the ground floor. If you can't meet that, go back to the drawing board or rework your pro-forma. 

 

Well snap, now I am confused. Help me out here.

 

"There's a tipping point where a hot neighborhood becomes someplace where no one wants to go because it's too much of a pain in the ass." -- as Yogi Bearra said "Nobody goes there anymore, it's too crowded." 

 

My question was not as blind and pro economic development than it was apparently interpreted. I am simply asking, have any of you seen a place that is seeing an influx of market-rate real estate development and a scarcity of parking, and the neighborhood is actually on the decline? This was not a loaded question. When I think of the neighborhoods in GR, Chicago, heck even Detroit, if they are facing increased parking shortages (real or perceived), they have begun to stabilize or are on the ascent. No where did I ever state or advocate for a tax to fix the ills. 

 

I am not arguing that parking is not an issue, and there may be some areas where the quality of life has been impacted, but after living in dense urban areas in several American cities and a few international ones, three truisms are prevalent among them all: 1) humans everywhere gripe about the lack of parking all the time, 2) somehow people adapt and life goes on, and 3) attempts at "fixing" the parking problem tend to create more harm than good. 

 

I absolutely believe in sound zoning and public policy to provide predictability to new and existing property owners, businesses and other residents, but also think the concerns of parking tend to become self-correcting over time. The Icon is a perfect example. No good parking solution, but people are happily living there (and griping about parking), and the rents are adjusted correctly

 

 I personally struggle with the interplay of the free market and strong social policy, and it would appear that we all are. X99, who strikes me as a free market kind of guy, is advocating for transferring publicly owned property that was improved and maintained by taxpayer funds should be transferred to or held for the exclusive use of native homeowners. Dad, you hare making the argument that existing retail businesses have greater standing than the individuals who freely purchased the property at market rate for their own benefit. Doesn't the 616 project have retail in it? 

 

Again, my original question was not intended to stoke a blind "urban development everywhere is good all the time" theme, it was simply to tease out ones thoughts on the interplay of investment and stabilization.

 

Now I will cease. 

  • Like 2

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I think one example is the Cherry Hills area. With Brewery Vivant, Grove, the Greenwell, etc and the proposed building that will take the front half of the existing of BV parking lot. The area is booming, but I wonder if its at capacity? That area is packed Thur/Fri/Sat nights. Its too busy that I pass on that area as its no longer worth the hassle. I think a parking structure while a large investment, certainly helps the area long-term. 

 

Planning for bikes and buses for a city of 200,000 vs parking is just short sighted.

I know that parking has gotten to be much more of a problem over the past 6 years for my wife's office in East Hills.  Clients and her agents grumble about parking during the day...the store owners around there are very "aware" of the lack of parking and it's a fight to keep spaces by their stores.  I'm all about walking a couple blocks in the city and I enjoy it, but I can see how that neighborhood is getting tighter and tighter and harder for clients/employees and customers to have decent access - especially in the winter.  She's moving because she's growing and wants to own and not rent, but I know they're all VERY excited about better parking availability at the new place.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Well snap, now I am confused. Help me out here.

 

"There's a tipping point where a hot neighborhood becomes someplace where no one wants to go because it's too much of a pain in the ass." -- as Yogi Bearra said "Nobody goes there anymore, it's too crowded." 

 

My question was not as blind and pro economic development than it was apparently interpreted. I am simply asking, have any of you seen a place that is seeing an influx of market-rate real estate development and a scarcity of parking, and the neighborhood is actually on the decline? This was not a loaded question. When I think of the neighborhoods in GR, Chicago, heck even Detroit, if they are facing increased parking shortages (real or perceived), they have begun to stabilize or are on the ascent. No where did I ever state or advocate for a tax to fix the ills. 

 

I am not arguing that parking is not an issue, and there may be some areas where the quality of life has been impacted, but after living in dense urban areas in several American cities and a few international ones, three truisms are prevalent among them all: 1) humans everywhere gripe about the lack of parking all the time, 2) somehow people adapt and life goes on, and 3) attempts at "fixing" the parking problem tend to create more harm than good. 

 

I absolutely believe in sound zoning and public policy to provide predictability to new and existing property owners, businesses and other residents, but also think the concerns of parking tend to become self-correcting over time. The Icon is a perfect example. No good parking solution, but people are happily living there (and griping about parking), and the rents are adjusted correctly

 

 I personally struggle with the interplay of the free market and strong social policy, and it would appear that we all are. X99, who strikes me as a free market kind of guy, is advocating for transferring publicly owned property that was improved and maintained by taxpayer funds should be transferred to or held for the exclusive use of native homeowners. Dad, you hare making the argument that existing retail businesses have greater standing than the individuals who freely purchased the property at market rate for their own benefit. Doesn't the 616 project have retail in it? 

 

Again, my original question was not intended to stoke a blind "urban development everywhere is good all the time" theme, it was simply to tease out ones thoughts on the interplay of investment and stabilization.

 

Now I will cease. 

 

 

When I said "tax" I meant charging for parking. Meters and parking charges are a form of taxation. Some times it's justified but using that "tax" to penalize people who haven't really done anything wrong and who are just using the system that is given to them is wrong, IMO.

 

There is always a balance, that many times can be achieved with proper planning and neighborhood input. I believe you do have to extend some deference to the people and businesses who are already there. That's why the city commission and planning commission pretty much require developers now to have neighborhood/environmental/traffic impact studies done. It makes good business sense to do so and makes good community sense.

 

But if you look at most of the developments in Grand Rapids in the last 10 years, the great majority of them provide their own parking, or most of it. The ones that have not, like the projects along Monroe Center, have 5000 parking spaces within 100 yards; parking ramps that are not being fully utilized. 

 

I've heard on many occasions from people who live in Eastown or East Hills or the West Side about what happens when parking spills over into the neighborhoods: driveways get blocked and you have no idea who the owner is or when they'll be back, dumpsters get run over, lawns get driven on, yards get pissed in. It can actually decrease property values and quality of life, and it doesn't have to be that way. 

 

So to make the claim that "it will all sort itself out" as some people are claiming, or that "millennials are living without cars" is such a fallacy. I can maybe count on one hand the number of people I know who don't own a car, and those people generally work in the bar/food service industry and live within a mile or two of work. 90% of the rest of millennials in West Michigan own a car. In my opinion, if you're going to develop, figure parking into your pro-forma. If the numbers don't work, don't ask the neighbors to absorb the costs in a diminished quality of life. 

 

*I used Icon because as a condo project, it did not fly mainly because you only got 1 parking space with each unit, which was not acceptable at the price point where they were selling. 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Just read the Mlive article. Arlen Smith needs sober up or be less selfish. His employees use most of the parking spaces in the west lot, and now he might lose his free piece of real estate. What a joke. 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Wouldn't Smith be selling one of his properties (corner of Plainfield and Quimby) on Plainfield to 616?  Confused by his position on this

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

 I personally struggle with the interplay of the free market and strong social policy, and it would appear that we all are. X99, who strikes me as a free market kind of guy, is advocating for transferring publicly owned property that was improved and maintained by taxpayer funds should be transferred to or held for the exclusive use of native homeowners.

 

Not exactly.  What I'm trying to do is to find a way to balance the basket of rights in a fair way.  Our existing permit system already "transfers" this "public" parking from nearby commercial districts to residents, if the residents want it.  I mow the (city owned) grass between the road and sidewalk, pick up the trash, water the trees, plant the flowers, you name it...  If I don't cut the grass and rake the leaves, I get fined. Yet, I do not technically own it.  Expecting some right to park in the road right of way, when I am forced to maintain about half of it, is not unreasonable. 

 

One permit for every, say, 30 feet of frontage fixes a lot of problems in transitional areas where single family residential meets high density residential.  You aren't giving away public rights, you're just allocating the right to use it fairly. 

 

So far as spaces in city-owned lots, it seems to me that a 4-hour restriction could fix the problems, or maybe the businesses could take ownership of the lot and petition for a special assessment district to pay for and maintain it.

Edited by x99

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Wouldn't Smith be selling one of his properties (corner of Plainfield and Quimby) on Plainfield to 616?  Confused by his position on this

 

I thought he was renting it for storage, but that's a good point. Nevertheless, most contractors/parts distributors have a warehouse and parking lot that comes property tax. In this situation, tax payers subsidize his parking, and I don't blame him for taking advantage of the long free ride.

 

What bothers me is this: the neighborhood has suffered from years of neglect, and this is an important opportunity to change that. Arlen, however, uses one-way mirrored windows to actively discourage walk-in traffic, so he's not going to lose customers either way. I hate the idea of putting parking meters back there, but it would instantly solve the problem. 

 

The other business owners are just being myopic. The potential increase in property value is a gift from heaven. 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Wouldn't Smith be selling one of his properties (corner of Plainfield and Quimby) on Plainfield to 616?  Confused by his position on this

 

The sale of property and the concern that a lack of storage may adversely affect your business are not mutually exclusive. In addition, he was asked to be a representative of the business association. I don't think his reputation should be trashed in the process. 

 

I assume someone put a post about this discussion on the Salon page? I keep seeing "Facebook" as a user at the bottom.  :whistling:

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

The sale of property and the concern that a lack of storage may adversely affect your business are not mutually exclusive. In addition, he was asked to be a representative of the business association. I don't think his reputation should be trashed in the process. 

 

I assume someone put a post about this discussion on the Salon page? I keep seeing "Facebook" as a user at the bottom.  :whistling:

 

You're totally right. I should keep my passion in check and not knock the dude. Will stand back and see how it plays out. I don't rock the FB, though! 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

You're totally right. I should keep my passion in check and not knock the dude. Will stand back and see how it plays out. I don't rock the FB, though! 

 

I do wish his windows weren't like that though. Yuck. 

 

There's always a middle ground. And I don't think 616 is in the business of pissing people off like some developers tend to be. Like you said we'll see how it shakes out. 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Create an account or sign in to comment

You need to be a member in order to leave a comment

Create an account

Sign up for a new account in our community. It's easy!

Register a new account

Sign in

Already have an account? Sign in here.

Sign In Now

  • Recently Browsing   0 members

    No registered users viewing this page.