UM Regents OK Wall Street Parking Structure

A new 500-space parking structure on Wall Street – estimated to cost $34 million and adding 500 spaces to the parking system – was approved by University of Michigan regents at their April 19, 2012 board meeting. The structure would be located between Wall Street and Maiden Lane, just east of the bridge over the Huron River leading to Fuller Road. [.pdf of map showing location of proposed structure]

The history of parking in that section of town – near the massive UM medical campus – was laid out in a cover memo provided to regents. A similar project had been previously approved by regents in September 2008 to address parking needs in that area. It had been opposed by residents, who attended public meetings held by UM to argue against the location. [See Chronicle coverage from December 2008: "Neighbors Weigh In Again on Wall Street Project."]

Subsequently, the project was cancelled in mid-2009 and the university entered into a partnership with the city of Ann Arbor to build the Fuller Road Station, a controversial project proposed on city-owned land in Fuller Park that had been used for nearly two decades as a surface parking lot. In addition to parking, the project was intended to include a bus depot and eventually a train station. It was approved by regents in January 2010. However, UM pulled out of the project earlier this year, in February. [See Chronicle coverage: "UM, Ann Arbor Halt Fuller Road Project."]

Demand for staff and faculty parking is expected to increase According to the staff memo from UM chief financial officer Tim Slottow, about 300 prime UM employee parking spaces were reallocated to patients after the opening late last year of the new C. S. Mott Children’s and Von Voigtlander Women’s Hospital. The memo states: “More employees are parking remotely and traveling by bus to work. On a typical day, we estimate that 2,500 employees are parking in remote lots and taking a bus or shuttle to the medical center. Additionally, there are about 1,500 employees utilizing alternative means of transportation, including riding the bus from home, ridesharing, or van pooling.”

Slottow told regents that staff would be moving very quickly on construction, but would update various studies that had been originally conducted in 2008 – including traffic and environmental studies. The university also plans to hold public forums about the project and work to give the design a neighborhood feel through open space and architectural details, he said.

The action by regents on April 19 included selecting Walker Parking Consultants and the Stecker Labau Arneill McManus (S/L/A/M) Collaborative architectural firm to design the project.

This brief was filed from the Michigan Union’s Rogel ballroom, where the board held its April meeting.