Improving downtown Ann Arbor streetscapes is becoming a priority. The downtown streets have different primary functions, but the Downtown Development Authority wants to make sure all are as vibrant as possible.
The Ann Arbor Downtown Development Authority plans to install more electric vehicle charging stations, as use of the stations continues to grow.
A report to the U.S Department of Energy, which provided a grant that covered the cost of installing 18 charging units at six locations around town, shows usage grew from about 2,700 kilowatt hours in the third quarter of 2012 to over 14,000 kilowatt hours in the fourth quarter of 2013.
DDA director Susan Pollay says Ann Arbor residents tend to gravitate to and embrace new technologies like electric and hybrid vehicles.
Ann Arbor City Council has approved the site plan and development agreement for an apartment building at 624 Church Street. The proposal is for a 14 story apartment building built partially over the Pizza House Restaurant. The plan calls for 232 bedrooms in 123 units.
The project has been given positive reviews from the city’s Design Review Board but parking issues led to a lengthy conversation at the council table. The concerns centered around having spaces reserved in the Forest Avenue parking structure for the next 15 years, and three five year extensions to have spaces somewhere in the city’s parking system.
Council members say the city’s payment in lieu of parking program needs to be reviewed, as well as the requirement for parking at downtown developments.
The developers of the project hope to begin work in the spring with a targeted occupancy date in August of 2015.
The DDA has now hired Carl Walker for preliminary design, schedule, budget and phasing plan for replacing the southwest tower of the Fourth and William Parking Structure.
DDA Executive Director, Susan Pollay says the goal will be to have a more efficient and attractive elevator and stairs tower. She says the challenge will be to ensure two elevators and stairs remain open throughout the construction project.
Pollay says the tower improvements are expected to be only the first upgrades to the structure. Others may include incubator space on the ground floor, adding electric vehicle charging stations, and a new facade for the structure.
WEMU's Andrew Cluley reports on Ann Arbor's new policy to charge developers if their project results in parking meters being permanently removed.
With over 100 on-street parking meters removed in Ann Arbor since 2006 and an additional 12 meters pending, city council has approved a new policy dealing with the issue. Council Monday night approved the policy that would charge developers $45,000 per meter permanently removed plus the projected ten year value for the meter.
WEMU's Andrew Cluley reports on the success of Ann Arbor's Bike House that opened in the Maynard Street Parking Structure earlier this year.
The success of Ann Arbor's bike house inside the Maynard Street Parking Structure has officials with the Downtown Development Authority and the Get Downtown Program considering putting another one in other parking structures.
The enclosed and covered bike house opened in May with space for 30 bikes in what had been two parking spaces.
GetDowntown Program Director, Nancy Shore says the feedback they've gotten from users of the bike house is that it's another valuable option to get to work. She adds that they've also heard that some people that occasionally used a bike to get to work are doing so more frequently now that they have a safe place to store their bike out of the elements.
Shore says the bike house gets the most use from nine-to-five, primarily from people who work in the State Street area.
In this week's installment of Issues of the Environment, WEMU's David Fair talks with Susan Pollay about development in downtown Ann Arbor and how it fits into a more sustainable future for the city. Susan Pollay is Executive Director of the Ann Arbor Downtown Development Authority.
Ann Arbor City Council has once more postponed a decision on a policy to charge developers for the removal of on-street parking meters. Some fine tuning is expected before council votes on a policy to charge developers $45,000 if their project leads to the removal of on-street parking meters. The proposed policy was developed by the Downtown Development Authority in response to a growing number of parking meters being removed.
Ann Arbor's Downtown Development Authority has resolved a dispute with City Council on the replacement of lighpoles along Main Street by agreeing to fund the entire project. During the budget approval process in May City Council tweaked the DDA budget, leaving the city responsible for about $280,000 of the $580,000 cost to replace the poles that are rusting out at the base. In October however City Council failed to approve funding for their portion of the project.
DDA Board Chair Sandi Smith says this work is too important not to be completed. Smith says the additional funds will come from money leftover from a more than decade old State Street Improvements project, and next fiscal year's budget. She says based on how long the entire lightpole replacement project will take having the funds split between two budget years won't be a problem.
Ann Arbor's Downtown Development Authority has asked the city to commit the funds the DDA spent on the former YMCA lot to affordable housing projects. The DDA board yesterday passed a resolution to waive the reimbursement of their costs on the Y-Lot property, and encourage City Council to commit as much as possible to affordable housing as well.
DDA Board Member Keith Orr says to make a real impact on affordable housing as much money as possible is needed from the $5.25 million for the sale of the Y-Lot.
Ann Arbor City Council has delayed a vote on a proposed policy developed by the Downtown Development Authority to address the permanent removal of on-street parking meters. The two-week delay is so council can hold a public hearing on the issue.
The policy proposes a $45,000 fee per meter removed for reasons other than an overall benefit to the community.
DDA Executive Director Susan Pollay says the policy could help the DDA work with developers to get the best possible projects for all. Pollay says over the last few years about 150 parking meters have been removed for a variety of projects large and small. She says the policy includes an option for developers to appeal a fee to the city administrator to review if the meter removal is an overall benefit to the community.
A pair of consulting firms are working with Ann Arbor's Downtown Development Authority to create a framework to be used to make more active streetscapes. The DDA approved a $150,000 contract for the downtown street framework plan.
DDA board Member John Mouat says the framework will be designed so streets that face different challenges and issues can be tailored to meet their particular needs. He says the DDA, the city, or private developers should all be able to use the framework. Mouat says some additional civil engineering work may be done for the city to look at infrastructure under the streets.
A2 DDA approves expenditure for streetlight replacement project along main street, but expresses concerns over the city's request to fund three beat patrol police officers.
The Ann Arbor Downtown Development Authority has formally responded to one the funding requests that comes from the City of Ann Arbor. As WEMU's Andrew Cluley reports, it also put off a decision on another request for money.
Ann Arbor City Council re-establieshes the "Mutually Beneficial Committee" with the DDA under the new name, "Joint DDA-Council Committee".
Ann Arbor city Council and the Ann Arbor Downtown Development Authority will have reformed an old committee, with a new name and different method of operation. As WEMU's Andrew Cluley reports, the move last night comes as changes are considered to the ordinance that created the DDA.
Ann Arbor City Council meetings famously run long. Sometimes, meetings don't end until well after midnight. As WEMU's Andrew Cluley reports, council tonight will consider some measures that may help shorten up the sessions.
If Ann Arbor City Council gets its way, there will soon be three, new beat officers patrolling the downtown area. As WEMU's Andrew Cluley reports, the council Monday night passed a resolution asking the Downtown Development Authority to provide the necessary funding for those positions.
Ann Arbor City Council will dip into fund balance a bit further next fiscal year to give a boost to affordable housing and human services. As WEMU's Andrew Cluley reports, early this morning the City Council, passed an 83.1 million dollar general fund budget for the 2014 fiscal year.
Ann Arbor's Downtown Development Authority board members are speaking against a proposed city council ordinance amendment that would change the authority in several ways. Hear more from WEMU's Andrew Cluley.