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June 30, 2010 - Image 8

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Publication:
Michigan Daily Summer Weekly, 2010-06-30

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81

Wednesday, June 30, 2010
The Michigan Daily - michigandaily.com

City parking
rights debated
A' committS~pp ..p

con

Discu
of Ann
Develop
who she
ment ar
of both
respons
TheI
parking

from meters and parking structures
trol over parking throughout the city, agreed to trans-
fer $2 million in parking revenue to
enforcement the city in May under the condition
that talks would take place to discuss
By HILLARY BOK the possibility of expanding its duties
For theDaily to include parking enforcement,
among other responsibilities.
issions between the City But now that the topic is open for
Arbor and the Downtown discussion, some City Council mem-
ment Authority concerning bers appear opposed to the possibil-
tuld control parking enforce- ity of transferring responsibility.
e at a standstill as members According to City Council Member
groups dispute where the Stephen Kunselman (D-Ward 3), the
ibility should fall. DDA "does not have a leg to stand on
DDA, which is in charge of when it comes to the parking issue."
maintenance and collection The city and the DDA each created

"mutually beneficial committees" in
2009 in order to handle the process
of negotiating the parking agree-
ment, but the negotiations have yet
to result in a decision.
Kunselman questioned whether
City Council even needed approval
for the money from the DDA given
that the group was originally created
by the city itself.
"It's not their money by law and
that's what gets missed in the trans-
lation," Kunselman said. "There's
this sense that oh, we have to work
with the DDA and we have to come to
an agreement. Well, no we don't. It's
our money."
Parking arrangements were out-
side of the purview of the DDA until
1992 when the city asked the DDA to
manage the off-street parking sys-
tem. In 2002, the committee took
over management of the on-street
parking system as well.
Executive Director of the DDA
Susan Pollay said that management
and enforcement of parking are not
necessarily the same but are best
handled collectively.
"To us, parking enforcement and
parking operations are two halves
of the same parking system," Pollay

said. "Optimally, enforcement and
operations strategies are planned
and managed together."
The DDA believes that parking
management and enforcement are
best run by the same entity. Cur-
rently, the DDA has a contract with
Republic Parking, a private com-
pany, to handle parking operations.
These operations include running
and maintaining the parking struc-
tures, selling meter cash cards, col-
lecting money from the meters and
reserving metered locations for
private occasions or construction
access.
Officers of the community stan-
dards branch of the police depart-
ment are currently in charge of
parking enforcement, handing out
tickets for parking violations. Police
officers also have the power to issue
parking tickets.
"The DDA itself as a body is not
going to directly enforce parking.
They would contract it out," Kun-
selman said. "I will not abdicate my
responsibility to the community to a
third-party vendor."
Pollay said the DDA wishes to
gain control over parking because its
mission as an agency is to promote

the growth and development of the
downtown area.
"Having an effective parking sys-
tem requires that parking rules and
regulations be established and then
enforced fairly, consistently and
with sensitivity to the fact that most
customers' first and last impression
of downtown begins and ends with
their parking experience," Pollay
said.
Since the $2 million transfer, the
discussion about the parking agree-
ment between the city and the DDA
has not seen any resolution or action.
Ann Arbor Mayor John Hieftje
that while he believes the DDA's aim
is to create a friendlier downtown
parking atmosphere, he does not
believe a transfer of responsibility
would be beneficial to the city.
"So far, it is just talk. What I think
the DDA wants is a representative
downtown to be there with a smile,
to provide a friendlier face to be
aware of things like aggressive pan-
handling," Hieftje said. "However,
I'm not in favor of the DDA taking
over parking enforcement."
The two "mutually beneficial com-
mittees" have until October to come
to an agreement on the issue.

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Inclement weather strikes

Storms, tornadoes,
and earthquake hit
Ann Arbor area
By BRIENNE PRUSAK
Daily StaffReporter
The city of Ann Arbor has recently
faced a patch of inclement weather
that has not only included several
tornado warnings but also the after-
shocks of a 5.0-magnitude earth-
quake, which struck Ottawa, Canada
on Jun. 23, according to a recent U.S.
Geological Survey.
University spokesman Rick
Fitzgerald said while there was no
damage reported on campus as a
result of the earthquake and recent
string of storms, tornado damage has
been reported in the areas surround-
ing Ann Arbor.
Tornadoes reportedly caused
extensive damage on Jun. 6 in
Dundee, Jun. 24 between Milan and
Saline and Jun. 28 in both Clyde
Township - which resulted in the
death of one man - and New Boston.
Tornadoes that touch down are
tracked on a website - tornado-
paths.org - run by the department of
Atmospheric, Oceanic and Space Sci-
ence at the University.
Dennis Kahlbaum, University

weather observer and staff meteo-
rologist, said there isn't a connection
between the storms and the earth-
quake because the two types of disas-
ters are caused by entirely different
natural processes.
Kahlbaum continued by saying
that it was a total coincidence the
thunderstorms and the earthquake
occurred within the same month.
He added that it is also a coincidence
that there have been so many torna-
does that have formed out of these
thunderstorms.
"The number of tornado warn-
ings in Ann Arbor seems higher than
normal. I don't keep records of that,
but such fluctuations are normal,"
wrote Perry Samson, a professor in
the department of Atmospheric, Oce-
anic and Space Science, in an e-mail
interview.
The peak of tornado season is in
April, but it can continue throughout
the summer, Samson wrote in the
e-mail.
Samson went on to write that he
believes the University's Department
of Public Safety is doing a good job in
alerting students of tornadoes in the
area.
These emergency alerts are sent
out to University affiliates when
they're in imminent danger. Fitzger-
ald said threat levels account for why
alerts were issued for the recent tor-

nado warnings, but not for the earth-
quake.
He added thatthere have been
no changes in the emergency alert
system in light of the recent occur-
rences.
DPS spokeswoman Diane Brown
echoed Fitzgerald's comments, say-
ing that there are no changes nec-
essary because the alerts are being
appropriately sent to students, fac-
ulty and staff.
Brown said there is no need at
the moment to revise the DPS disas-
ter response because reliable plans
are already in place for emergency
situations, and the people who are
charged with responding to emer-
gencies are prepared to handle the
issue.
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