Stories indexed with the term ‘DDA parking data’

Column: Parking Oversight, Please

On-street metered parking in and near downtown Ann Arbor costs $1.50 an hour. Rates have not been increased since September 2012. By the terms of the contract under which the Ann Arbor Downtown Development Authority (DDA) operates the parking system on behalf of the city, the DDA – not the city council – has the authority to raise rates.

(City of Ann Arbor public parking system data from the Ann Arbor Downtown Development Authority, charts by The Chronicle)

Comparing the periods October 2012 through June 2012 to October 2013 through June 2014 – when rates have been constant – revenue has increased 1.20% to $14,647,274, while the number of hourly patrons has decreased by 1.65% to 1,661,256. (City of Ann Arbor public parking system data from the Ann Arbor Downtown Development Authority, charts by The Chronicle.)

What if on-street metered rates were raised a dime, and rates across other parts of the parking system were also raised by an equivalent percentage?

Although the DDA operates the parking system, that kind of 6.7% rate increase would directly benefit the city’s general fund. By how much?

First, any increase to the city’s general fund revenue is a function of the contract with the city of Ann Arbor, under which the DDA operates the roughly 8,000-space public parking system. The contract stipulates that the city receives 17% of gross parking system revenues.

Total parking system revenues are budgeted by the DDA for the 2015 fiscal year at about $19.3 million. So in ballpark numbers, the 17% equates to a roughly $3.2 million transfer to the city. Of that $3.2 million, about $2.3 million will go to the general fund, while the remaining amount will go to the fund the city uses to maintain downtown streets. That division of the transfer payment by the city has its historical roots in an arrangement between the city and the DDA that predated the existing contract.

So a 6.7% increase in rates across the parking system – assuming no decrease in the use of the system – works out to something like $150,000 more for the city of Ann Arbor’s general fund.

The city council’s role in setting parking rates is one of oversight, not decision-making. But even that oversight role is structurally somewhat weak – because decisions made by the DDA (to raise parking rates) can make the city council’s annual budget decisions somewhat easier.

The next scheduled opportunity for the Ann Arbor city council to exercise oversight of the DDA will be during a fall joint work session – which is stipulated to occur under terms of the city-DDA parking contract. That session is currently planned for Sept. 8.

The contractually stipulated work session would be a good opportunity for councilmembers to ask for metrics on Ann Arbor’s public parking system. Requested information should include stats that indicate how well Ann Arbor’s public parking system supports three different key user groups: (1) downtown employees; (2) retail/transactional customers and visitors; and (3) downtown residents.

Some data is collected routinely by the DDA from Republic Parking – its contractor for day-to-day operations – and shared publicly. That data is limited to revenue figures and numbers of hourly patrons. The routine data does not include hours parked by different categories of users – monthly permit holders and hourly patrons – which makes it difficult to evaluate the system’s support of different user groups.

Still, it’s possible to discern some patterns and to draw some conclusions about Ann Arbor’s parking system, based on the data the DDA does provide. Charts with commentary are presented below. [Full Story]

Ann Arbor Parking Data Gets Finer-Grained

At its regular monthly meeting on July 6, 2011, the Ann Arbor Downtown Development Authority board had no resolutions on its agenda requiring votes, except for the cancellation of its August meeting. (Cancellation of that meeting is an annual ritual.)

However, the meeting did include the regular monthly parking report – a comparison of the most recent month’s available data, compared with the same month a year ago. That regular parking report may be somewhat more detailed in the future. For the July board meeting, however, the board received its standard report.

Total public parking revenues for May 2011 were $1,218,442, based on permit holder fees plus fees paid by 170,471 hourly parkers in structures. That’s an increase from May 2010, which had $1,145,740 in total revenues and 169,466 hourly parkers.

Percentage-wise that’s a 6.35% increase in revenue and a 0.59% increase in the number of hourly parkers, with a total system parking space inventory of 19 additional spaces: 7,149 in May 2011 compared with 7,130 in May 2010.

The board has recognized for some time that this kind of measure for parking demand is somewhat coarse. The number of hourly parkers gives some insight, as does the total revenue, but these data do not provide a direct measure of how much of the system’s capacity is being used.

At the DDA board’s bricks and money committee meeting on Wednesday, June 29, Joe Morehouse – deputy director of the DDA – presented committee members with data showing the percentage of total parking hours sold for parking structures, with 100% corresponding to the (practically impossible) scenario of every spot in every space filled with a car 24/6 (structures are free on Sunday) and no time lost when one car pulls out and another pulls in. Like the standard parking report, the comparison for May 2011 against May 2011 using that metric also showed an increase in demand: 33.22% in May 2010 compared to 34.94% in May 2011. [Ann Arbor public parking efficiency chart]

This brief was filed from the DDA offices at 150 S. Fifth Ave., where the DDA board meets. A more detail report of the meeting will follow: [link] [Full Story]