(DDA Press Release, March 8, 2013)
The Ferndale Downtown Development Authority, while continuing to support a wide range of recent upgrades to the City’s parking system, will urge the Ferndale City Council to rollback increased parking rates and expanded hours of enforcement at council’s Monday, March 11, 2013, meeting.
“We continue to stand by our Parking System Priority Resolution, which only supports a rate increase in tandem with the stated goal to increase capacity of the parking system,” said Michael Hennes, Chairman of the Ferndale DDA Board of Directors.
“Adequate parking is crucial for maintaining the businesses we have and for growing the city for the future,” said Hennes. “Downtown Ferndale has a parking deficit; confirmed by users who have looked for and not found a place to park and by professional audits. However, our support for a rate increase was entirely dependent on a plan to use the additional revenue to increase the number of quality, usable parking spaces.”
The DDA Board passed a Parking System Priority Resolution, outlining the parameters of its support for a rate increase at its January 11 meeting and presented it to Council at its January 14 meeting. The resolution clearly states that the DDA would support a rate increase if the increased revenue would be focused on expanding the available parking in the Central Business District (CBD). It urged Council to adopt the resolution as part of Council’s passage of rate increases and extended hours of enforcement. The DDA resolution was not included in Council’s action that evening.
“Although each public body agrees on the parking and growth issues facing our downtown, without the resolve of all parties to embrace and adopt these goals, we don’t feel it appropriate to burden the users of public parking with additional fees until we reach a full consensus,” Hennes said.
Ferndale’s parking system includes more than 1200 paid spaces, providing parking for 350+ businesses and activities within the Central Business District. The system is owned and operated by the city and is funded entirely through the Auto Parking System, which collects revenues from meters, employee passes and a portion of parking tickets to maintain and improve public parking in the CBD.
For nearly a decade, the DDA has identified parking as economic development and urged increasing the capacity of the system, not only for existing users, but to facilitate future growth and density in the downtown and throughout the city, meeting the intent of the City’s Master Land Use Plan and Downtown Development Plan. While the DDA has urged the city to improve the system, it has also become a partner with the city as a member of the City’s Parking Management Team. The DDA advocates for increased capacity and better management with professional audits and ongoing vetting of best practices in downtown parking management. In 2008, the DDA established its own Parking Committee to directly address the issues of the parking deficit and try to provide relief to business owners frustrated by the issues of inadequate parking spaces.
In February, the city began a system-wide upgrade and installed 20 state-of-the-art, multi-space pay stations. However, the new system – now called Ferndale Park+ — came under fire when users experienced long lines at the stations, were frustrated by inadequate lighting and confused by pay station prompts. In response to infrastructure issues, the city shut down the parking system while it revamped the program, ordering more stations, better lighting and reprogramming of pay stations to make them more user-friendly. The issue of increased rates and public rejection of them further compromised the success of the system. At its Feb. 27 meeting, Council shut down the system thru March 11, 2013, declaring free parking until then.
Taking advantage of the hiatus to revisit all the changes to the system, the DDA, its board and parking committee members and staff, have met with members of council, business owners, city staff and parking experts. The DDA continues to support the installation of the pay stations and the decision to add more essential components to a better managed system. It also stands by its Parking System Priority Resolution, only supporting a rate increase in conjunction with a city resolve to increase capacity of the system. Until such a plan is in place, the rates should be rolled back to previous levels.
“The DDA Board is confident that the proposed rates are what the parking system needs in order to generate the revenue required for increasing capacity. As well as redirecting employee parking to lower volume areas in order to facilitate available consumer parking that is closer in proximity to businesses. It will be critical to making the system business-friendly today and growth-ready for the future,” said DDA Board Secretary John McQuiggin of Level One Bank.
The Ferndale Downtown Development Authority manages and markets Downtown Ferndale, a district of approximately 350 businesses located over 3.9 linear miles, intersecting at the iconic Woodward Avenue & Nine Mile Rd. For more information on Downtown Ferndale, please call the DDA at 248-546-1632, visit www.downtownferndale.com or Downtown Ferndale on Facebook.
For previous stories on parking see: