Parking Up Downtown

January 22, 2007
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GRAND RAPIDS — One indicator of business activity in downtown is the number of monthly parking spaces that are leased in the city's parking system. And the latest tally shows activity is up by 14 percent over the past four years.

In January 2003, Parking Services had issued 5,858 cards for monthly parkers. A few weeks ago, 6,692 were in use.

"There is a pretty consistent upward trend: about 250 cards per year," said Pam Ritsema, director of the city's Parking Services Department. "We're pretty full except for some ramp spaces."

Ritsema reported that there was room for 457 monthly cards in the system, but only at four facilities: the GovernmentCenter and Ottawa Fulton ramps and the Monroe North and DASH South Area 6 lots. Ritsema said she liked having a cushion of 400 spaces for future growth.

Construction has begun on a new city ramp at

Cherry Street
and
Commerce Avenue SW
that will add 313 spaces to the system. Another 80 to 100 spaces may be added at a temporary lot on the corner of Division and Fulton.

And Ritsema said it appears that the Area 4 and Area 5 lots on

Cherry Street
across from the Van Andel Arena will continue for the foreseeable future. The lots offer 565 parking spaces. KG Development, a Southeast Michigan firm, showed an interest in buying both lots to build a movie theater with a retail component on one and a mixed-use development with a hotel and condominiums on the other. But progress on both projects seems to have stalled.

"We haven't heard back from the developer on those lots," said Ritsema.

KG Development is a joint venture between Gershenson Realty and Development of Farmington Hills and Kirco Development of Troy.

The city has a total of 6,804 spaces in its downtown system of 21 lots and ramps. Of those spaces, 1,705 are set aside for visitors and 5,099 are designated for monthly parkers. Monthly parking cards can exceed the number of designated spaces because not all spaces set aside for monthly parkers are used at the same time.    

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