Some area residents feel the City of Sylvania's downtown parking is unable to keep up with the number of visitors the area draws daily.
The City of Sylvania plans to talk with the owners of a privately owned lot on Summit Street about consolidating the lot for increased parking opportunities, one of several options suggested in a recent city review of ways to improve downtown parking.
After a discussion in an Economic Development Sub-committee beforehand, City Council met Tuesday night and requested the administration approach the two owners of the private lot along Summit Street about making changes to its layout to include increased parking spots downtown.
Although owned by JDRM Engineering and Chandler Cafe, the public perception is that it is a public lot, as the owners do not tow vehicles parked there for business unrelated to the two businesses, which also border the lot, officials said.
The suggestion came out of a review of downtown parking presented to the sub-committee earlier in the month by Economic Development Director Bill Sanford and Landscape Architect Cheryl Zuellig, from the Ann Arbor-based SmithGroup JJR.
The input is based on interviews with more than 30 downtown merchants and Mrs. Zuellig’s assessment of downtown parking based on a 2008 study conducted by JJR, along with current parking behaviors and trends. The input was spurred in part by a proposal to extend parking around Sylvania Municipal Court, as well as an expected increase in traffic from the planned opening of a diner, Executive on the Main.
Mrs. Zuellig said changes with the private lot could include consolidation of its five entrances, removal of curb divisions or railings, and re-striping the area for an efficient parking layout. Mr. Sanford also suggested improved signage overall, so that drivers can locate parking spots.
Council has requested tjhat Mr. Sanford approach the owners about the ideas, and report back in about 30 days. About five years ago, city officials approached the former owners about improving the lot layout and were unsuccessful.
The sub-committee also decided that constructing a parking garage could be placed “low on the priority list,” economic subcommittee chairman Mark Luetke said.
Members said they could re-evaluate the option within three to five years, with increased business growth. Or the option would be discussed if a large business of about 300 or more decided to move to the area. The input from merchants found only a handful favored a parking garage.
The sub-committee will meet again at 8 a.m. Feb. 28 to discuss other parking suggestions, including having local businesses develop a management plan for employee parking, freeing up spots closest to the downtown shops for customers.