Parking updates are coming this year for the city of Ypsilanti. The initiative aims to resolve the shortage of parking throughout the city by monetizing parking in Ypsilanti.
“This is a good problem to have, [it means that] we have many successful businesses, with that said, it’s still a problem. If people can’t park next to the businesses they’re not going to visit our businesses,” said Mayor Beth Bashert.
Although a clear solution would be to expand existing lots and create new lots, Mayor Bashert expressed that there’s not much existing land, or money to work with. The city of Ypsilanti sought professional advice for this issue through several parking studies.
Parking studies indicated that the free parking spots throughout the city were being used inappropriately. Analytical-based strategizing indicated that in order to remedy this issue, the city should expand the usage of the permit system and add paid time-limited parking to the downtown area.
“Nobody wants to pay for parking, I get that. But nothing is free,” said Bashert.
Revenue generated through the revitalized parking monetization will fund re-paving of existing lots, addition of handicapped spots, and re-striping of street lines, among other parking/road improvements.
The initiative is split into two parts, although Bonnie Wessler, Ypsilanti’s City Project Manager, explained “the stages will seem merged.”
Starting in the next couple of months, parking meter consoles will receive an update allowing payment with a credit card or through a smartphone application.
These modernized meters are being implemented with the belief that they will be convenient to the citizens, as the previous, standard “coins only” meters become increasingly obsolete as we move into the digital wallet age. Mayor Bashert hopes, through revenue generated by the new meters, to recoup the short term expenses in two years.
To put the cost of this initiative into perspective, Wessler explained that the repaving of the Frog Island parking lot alone will cost $750,000, placing a great monetary constraint on the city. According to Mayor Bashert, these constraints are expected to be relieved through new revenue from parking monetization and the new meters as mentioned above.
“One of the big improvements that we’re going to have is a lot more handicapped parking available. [This is important] especially as the population ages. We want to encourage our residents and visitors who have physical disabilities to come out and enjoy everything that Ypsilanti has to offer, which can be a little challenging if there’s no place for them to park,” explained Wessler.
Mayor Bashert added, “For visitors, [parking] is the first and last experience they have [when they visit Ypsilanti]. I want that to be safe and well maintained."
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