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Old 02-18-2017, 07:46 AM
Location: Louisville
4,413 posts, read 4,228,033 times
Reputation: 7599


By the numbers: Downtown Grand Rapids' 95 percent full parking system | MLive.com

The growth in residences and office tenants has lead to somewhat of a crisis in parking for Grand Rapids. Daytime spaces are at 95% occupancy. This has lead to some bigger downtown office tenants shifting toward the suburbs. It has also caused some firms looking to relocate downtown, to stay in the convenience of the suburbs. The city's position seems to be to push a more european model of transit use, with biking, BRT, and shuttle services to be used more. Of course the developers and business owners are want more parking in order to keep occupancies high and grow the market. This also make take a toll on the booming residential sector downtown(although the high rents and saturation of units may play a bigger roll in that).

I can understand the city's position. Over the course of time as the core keeps emerging as a desirable place to be, it will attract a greater proportion of a resident base that will be inclined to be car free downtown. 20 years from now we can't have a downtown that is 40% parking garages at street level. At the same time, the momentum could be lost as people shy away due to the inconvenience of being limited in getting around down there. The bulk of commuters that use public transit downtown, are those who come from a demographic that can't afford a car. Even in cities with higher public transit use this is still mostly the case. It's not a bunch of lawyers and surgeons taking the bus anywhere. So the question becomes, how do you incentivize the middle class in a mostly car-oriented Midwestern burg to use public transportation instead of drive?
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Old 02-18-2017, 07:33 PM
27 posts, read 22,231 times
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1. If Grand Rapids gets too "hot," you need to cool it down, and that might mean looking at the root causes of what makes a city go wrong, and at its core, it's income disparity that can really wreak havoc. I say this has someone writing from Seattle who has seen the city completely lose whatever livability and sustainability it once had, due to rampant unchecked and unregulated development, wild speculation on real estate, and a crushing influx of tech industries that pay substantially more than other sectors. Grand Rapids must address its low wages in non-tech industries, so that the tech industries there do not end up crushing out whatever livability exists today in Grand Rapids. And don't be stupid like Seattle -- regulate and carefully monitor real estate development.

2. Increase bus routes. For payment, do not tax the population to pay for a service that is necessary for a city to function well; tax the developers and those within the city who are erasing sustainability. For example, in Seattle we should be taxing developers and huge multinational global corporations like Amazon, which have ruined the city. The problem in Seattle is that the government would not stand up the developers. I hope Grand Rapids will not suffer the same fate, especially as that is my home.

3. Build a network of streetcars and cable cars. This seems like a great alternative to buses and would be the least intrusive as far as disrupting neighborhoods and their businesses. The population of San Francisco in the late 1930s, during the heyday of the streetcar and trolley system, was about 600K. If San Francisco could make this transportation solution work during the height of the Great Depression, think of how fantastic such a system would be in Grand Rapids decades later during a boom period. It is better than the "driverless car" scheme being pushed relentlessly upon us by the media, in that it is in-city only and would not affect other sectors that rely upon human drivers to function.
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