A N N   A R B O R   I S   O V E R R A T E D . (a blog.)

Comments:

Frank () - 2003-11-10 13:42:59
Parking seems to be a privledge on just about any college campus. That having been said, putting Meijer closer to campus would be helpful.


ann arbor is overrated () - 2003-11-10 13:50:25
I don't think anyone should expect to park on Central Campus, but they don't really need to - the university's bus system is adequate. The same can't be said for other things you might need to get to. Telling students not to have a car at all, as opposed to telling them not to try parking on Central Campus, displays a remarkable lack of understanding about how this town is laid out. And I remember something about Herrell having a vacation home that she'd go to on weekends, so I suspect she has a car herself.

Boris (boris@sovokoftheweek.com) - 2003-11-10 16:24:02
No parking and rampant daylight crime. Annarbour is sure trying its best to break into the ranks of the "cool cities." All the disadvantages of urban living and NONE of the benefits! Gotta go catch a bus to go grocery shopping. Hope I make it back before 9.00 !

anna () - 2003-11-10 18:03:59
It's totally ridiculous to single out any group to say they shouldn't have cars. What if they'd suggested that people who work in coffee shops shouldn't have cars? What about waiters and waitresses in restaurants? Maybe high school students shouldn't have cars, or what about people with incomes over $100K? Students who live in Ann Arbor have the same rights as anyone else who lives in Ann Arbor. I am with AAIO -- it's fine to say, "don't expect to park on campus if you're a student, and by the way, if you live in one of the dorms, please don't bring a car," a totally different thing to say "you shouldn't have a car" to adults who live in apartments and who also happen to list their occupation as "student".

Jon (michad328@yahoo.com) - 2003-11-10 21:58:57
I find it ridiculous that the City budgets for revenues from parking tickets, etc. Banking on the lawlessness of its citizenry (and visitors) is a sad commentary. Any bets on the date of the first snow emergency of '03?? On a side note, it feels good to be a part of the referenced Pontiac Trail coterie! :) A big shout out to Platt Road for also making the list! woo hoo

brewer@leopoldbors.com () - 2003-11-11 00:33:14
Hey Ann Arbor Sux, Are you in the U. Planning PhD program? thanks in advance.

ann arbor is overrated () - 2003-11-11 01:39:53
Nope.

__earth () - 2003-11-11 06:36:52
I think there is no way Annarbour could meet up with ppl demand for parking space. Ann Arbor is simply too small to accommodate thousands of moving metals.

Toniasue (toniasue@umich.edu) - 2003-11-11 08:26:16
In 1989, when I was a Freshman, the talk was that the flat lot on the corner of Packard and Madison, by South Quad, was planned to be a parking structure. (For students) It's never happened. I got excited about three months ago when contruction crews ripped out the cement in the lot recently. They merely put gravel in it's place. No structure, 14 years after the original plans. I'm guessing that there might be some sort of pressure not to build NEW parking structures until the ones that exist are re-done and made safe again. (2 down, 1 to go) Could that be the hold? Along with the major reconstruction of the Division bridge?

js (rock@sgipub.com) - 2003-11-11 09:00:41
Woo-hoo! Pontiac Tr. represent! I would like to note that far too many students do bring their cars to Ann Arbor. Having both grown up here, and lived in the student ghetto areas without a car, I can say that almost all transportation can be handled with just a bike. If your landlord doesn't provide parking, maybe that should be a sign that the old velocopede is the best choice for getting around town.

Steven B. Cherry (scherry@defcode.com) - 2003-11-11 09:23:21
I heard that Bagel Store robbery on the scanner, the police sounded a bit surprised. That was the same day as the 2 women got hit in front of the Muslim Center. Tough day.

Doug (santosdo@msu.edu) - 2003-11-11 09:52:24
Hmmm, how to solve a limited parking problem? That's not so difficult - ever heard of a multilevel parking structure? MSU has finally started putting some in on campus here, much to students and faculty relief. And the problem here isn't nearly as bad as AA. I'm sure the local zoning nazis are largely to blame.

Murph (murph@commonmonkeyflower.net) - 2003-11-11 10:43:59
Doug, structures are expensive. Probably prohibitively expensive for use as student parking, in fact. Neither the university nor the city is going to want to subsidize student parking (both of them want *less* student cars, not *more*), and very few students are going to want to pay $1000/year for an unsubsidized parking space in a structure. Much more useful, I think, would be Rob's continued refrain, "double the housing and half the parking downtown." This would both provide the density necessary to support better transit service and cut down on the ability of students to pretend they're too good to ride the bus, which would cause demand for transit, which would help make transit better.

Delilah () - 2003-11-11 11:29:52
Parking will always be a problem in Ann Arbor, obviously. However, I think the main point is that there are few options for things such as grocery shopping, drug stores, etc in student/ grad student areas. And while a bike is a good option (God knows I do my fair share of biking, bussing and walking), it's not the safest thing in the world late at night, and not feasable for a week's worth of grocery shopping. Add on to that the high proportion of graduate students with children (which I am not one of) and it does seem like something could be done to encourage businesses in student areas and increase bus schedules and availability - I stand outside for a ten minute late bus at 10 pm way way too often. And maybe a subsidized student bus pass? Washington does that.

js (rock@sgipub.com) - 2003-11-11 15:14:02
A bike isn't feasible for a week's worth of groceries, that's right. But if you buy three days worth of groceries every three days or so, it works just fine. js

anna () - 2003-11-11 15:30:21
Bikes still aren't safe for women late at night. Maybe marginally more-so than walking, but just marginally.

Delilah () - 2003-11-11 16:02:48
Please let me know what graduate student has the time to ride a bike every three days to grocery shop. Please. Especially considering that buying things in bulk is considerably less expensive. And considering the winters here, where for at least three months bike riding is just plain too cold. I'm not arguing for cars, just for options.

js (rock@sgipub.com) - 2003-11-11 17:09:33
Good call, Delilah. When the bike isn't an option, there should be some form of public transit that has regular routes and allows for multiple passengers. Almost like those big yellow things we rode to school, only maybe we could pay to get on them... Ah yes, the AATA bus system! I knew someone else had the same idea! And if you don't have a car, you'll find that riding a bike during the winter is not only possible, it's actually not all that bad! Bundle up! (As for the idea that there should be a subsidized student rate, all the bus rates are subsidized greatly already. While other metropolises may indeed subsidize their students, Ann Arbor doesn't have enough people to pull that off). While I recognize that there is a problem, and that things could be better, I've also lived downtown without a car while working third-shift and going to school full time. What are you doing to make things better?

Delilah () - 2003-11-11 17:27:39
What do I do to make things better? I fail to see how you are making things better. I don't have a car, I vote, I ride the bus to get my groceries, I bike - I'm not sitting here whining because I can't park next to my lab. I'm a little taken aback by your defensive post, and must thank you for reminding me why I don't read or participate in these things generally. I'll go back to hoping for two route four busses per hour past six and writing letters to AATA to that effect.

js (rock@sgipub.com) - 2003-11-11 18:08:19
And how, exactly, will the AATA pay for those extra buses? Don't get me wrong, I'd love to see 'em, but I'm a little taken aback by your lack of comprehension regarding the basic substance of my comments- that in general, almost all transportation can be handled without a car, and that most students have no need of one. I'm sorry if I've come across as surly, or wilted the delicate petunia of your sensibilities, but the tone of "I'm a graduate student, so I deserve these things" is pretty off-putting, especially when I've lived in a similar situation and made do just fine. Again, I would support measures that would increase the density of downtown Ann Arbor, and would make public transit more feasible, but without concrete steps in these areas all of the letters that you write to the AATA go in their circular file.

anna () - 2003-11-11 18:27:08
JS: Just curious, do you currently have a car?

Murph (murph@commonmonkeyflower.net) - 2003-11-11 19:38:01
js, I think you're being kind of an ass to Delilah. As far as I can tell, she covered "the basic substance" of your comments in her very first comment, in which she mentions several non-car transportation options that she uses, and makes several suggestions for "concrete steps" that could improve student accessibility. Furthermore, the "subsidized student pass" is not farfetched at all. In fact, it was perhaps a mere 3 years ago when AATA proposed a merger of the AATA and UMich buses--anybody with an MCard would be able to ride all buses in both systems for free, and some of the overlap in routes could be eliminated. AATA wanted a flat rate $5 per student from UMich. So, not only is Delilah *not* whining ineffectually, but she is, in fact, suggesting something that is perfectly reasonable from an operational standpoint, and only failed due to political opposition within the university. There's no need to act like she's talking nonsense.

js (rock@sgipub.com) - 2003-11-11 21:20:58
First: Anna, yes I do have a car now. I also go to school in Ypsi, which from my current location is nigh impossible without a car. But did I have one when I lived downtown? Nope. Do most students live downtown? Yes. Do most students need a car? Nope. Does that mean that most students probably shouldn't have a car, especially in light of the parking situation in Ann Arbor? Well, yep. A car's not a right, and frankly, if I could live without mine I gladly would.

js (rock@sgipub.com) - 2003-11-11 21:33:04
Second- Yes Murph, and even Delilah, if you're still reading this: I was being an ass, and apologize. But as public transit here in Ann Arbor continues to lose money year after year, and since the majority of AATA funding comes from state and federal sources (both of which are currently facing deficits), and the University is facing budget cuts as well, I believe there to be many more intermediary steps necessary before the public transit in this city functions on the level that everyone would desire. This is not a major metropolis, this is a town of roughly 125,000. Take a look at comparitive areas, and you'll see that the AATA is pretty damn marvelous compared with what it could be. Hell, even a major city like Nashville has worse public transit than Ann Arbor, let alone Detroit. (And once again, my argument would still be that you can get along just fine without a car here in Ann Arbor).

elise (ematz@umich.edu) - 2003-11-11 22:31:36
i beg to differ: most detroit busses run until midnight, and SMART is about as timely as the AATA. less aesthetically pleasing, perhaps, but far more practical. limiting the number of cars on campus is a wonderful and necessary idea, but in return the powers that be must acknowledge that students need to grocery shop. whether this means more busses running later or a meijer next to gratzi (and bear in mind, the meijer cafe could be set up on the sidewalk in nice weather), i really don't care. i think if there was a bus system that was a feasible substitute for a car, more people would take the suggestion seriously. and even if they didn't, i'm sure our beloved 'U' could develop some carrots and sticks.

anna () - 2003-11-12 09:01:21
JS -- I am with you in that I think that there are many, many legit reasons why people shouldn't have cars -- global warming being highest on the list, and inconvenient parking situations being among the lowest. Thus, this emphasis on parking issues seems to me to be very strange and totally upside-down. Students at UM largely live within walking distance of campus partly because it's difficult to park (at least that was my motive and the motive of almost everyone I knew). They tend to have cars because it's difficult to shop or leave the city limits without one (yes, possible, as you point out, but difficult). But even though many students own cars -- they really don't drive them all that much. (This was true of me and everyone I knew in Ann Arbor. Many of us owned cars but left them largely parked in our paid-for parking spaces. Have you ever tried to take an 80 pound dog to the vet on the A2 bus?). As a result of the difficult parking situation, students and other downtown residents tend to walk and bike -- a lot -- whether they have cars or not . This is in stark contrast to places that are more suburban, where everyone has cars and everyone drives everywhere. In fact, in a way, the parking problems are *good* because they discourage people from hopping in their cars to go to State street for a cup of coffee. In my mind, the real problem lies with the people that live out in the 'burbs or who live too far to walk to work and commute in to Ann Arbor and complain because they can't find a convenient parking space near their office or favorite cafe. *THEY* are the ones who should be taking public transport into the downtown area. *THEY* are the ones creating the problem, not Ann Arbor's downtown residents, who use their cars for the occasional jaunt to the laundromat but who otherwise leave their cars parked and walk most places.

Murph (murph@commonmonkeyflower.net) - 2003-11-12 20:10:53
js, I do think your arguments are sound--4.5 years of undergrad and I never owned a car. Heck, I never really found a need for a bike, even. The combo of walking and bus got me everywhere, generally quickly and pleasantly. So, the question remains as to what can be done. Delilah's letters probably are being basically dismissed, but I'm betting that changing land use patterns is an even more colossal task. But neither approach is completely impossible. Between "cool cities" and the greenbelt there are opportunities to make ourselves heard. We just need to get a lot of people's voices involved, and on more sophisticated a message than, "Parking is hard! Wah!", so that people pay attention to us.

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