GRAND RAPIDS, MICH. - Saying it already is working to add to the parking supply downtown, the Grand Rapids City Commission defeated a parking resolution by one of its members on a split vote last week.
The walk-on resolution, introduced by Commissioner Dave Shaffer in the commission’s Dec. 12 meeting, was defeated by a 3-3 vote, with Commissioner Senita Lenear absent, and Mayor Rosalynn Bliss and commissioners Ruth Kelly and Joe Jones voting no.
Mobile GR and Parking Services is the Grand Rapids city department in charge of overseeing public parking. Downtown parking capacity has been at 95 percent for several months.
The resolution asked the commission to “instruct” Mobile GR to analyze the potential for adding parking via a proposed library parking ramp, public-private partnerships to increase the supply of parking downtown, and determining factors for potential projects, including demand, return on investment and the best potential land use.
Shaffer said he felt the resolution was necessary, given the likelihood of parking soon reaching full capacity.
“It’s important to acknowledge and send that signal that we need expediency, and it’s important to move forward,” he said.
Bliss objected to Shaffer’s wording in the resolution, saying Mobile GR already is working on the goals he asked them to expedite.
“The resolution implies we are not working on addressing parking needs in our city, and that is not accurate,” she said.
“We have been working with the community for the past two years on seeking and implementing both short- and long-term solutions. This work requires thoughtful planning to ensure we are making the right investments for both today and well into the future.
“We need to thoroughly vet potential projects and plans before we bring them to a vote by the city commission, and that was not the case with this resolution.”
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