Michigan Hill Getting Parking Study

    GRAND RAPIDS — It will be the most expensive and most extensive parking and transit study ever to be done in a city business district.

    Walker Parking Consultants of Kalamazoo got the city’s nod last week to conduct the $153,800 analysis and six entities will share the cost. The study will cover the hill area of the Michigan Street Business District, a sector that roughly runs south from Michigan to Fountain and east from Bostwick to College.

    The work will analyze the district’s supply of parking and the future demand for it five years out. It also will look at the role that public transportation can play in the area, which has seen recent growth from building projects done by medical and educational institutions.

    The inquiry won’t be limited to the business sectors of the area, as it will also survey the residential blocks within the district.

    The work will take six months to complete and will get started when all the stakeholders are signed on the dotted line. Acting Parking Services Director Pam Ritsema said last week that she expected to have that done by the end of August.

    “Once that is done, we will be able to execute the contract with the consultant,” she said.

    Spectrum Health, the Van Andel Institute, Grand Valley State University, Grand Rapids Community College, the Interurban Transit Partnership and the city will each pay up to $25,633 for the study, which will be financed by the Parking Services Enterprise Fund.

    The Michigan Street Business Association launched the analysis by giving $500 to the project and by getting the Neighborhood Business Specialist Program to bring the city’s attention to the parking problems and traffic snarls that have plagued the area for more than a year.

    City commissioners approved the study last week, while parking commissioners did the same last month.

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