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Archive for the ‘city services’ Category

Because I had relatively strong feelings about valet parking downtown, I figured that contacting the Downtown Development Authority might be a better way of voicing my concerns than simply blogging about the matter.  I’m pleased that I got responses from the DDA, by email, within hours.

What follows is the body of the response email, which explains the whole point of valet parking in front of Compari’s and Panache, how it works, and how the city believes this may actually increase downtown parking.  Having gotten the DDA’s side of the story, if you will, I feel better about the program, which is still in trial phase.

Thank you for your comments on valet parking in downtown Plymouth.  As you indicated, the valet parking pilot programs in front of Compari’s and Panache are for a limited time and will be evaluated after 90 days.

The intention of the Downtown Development Authority Board and the City Commission when approving the valet parking experiments was to free up public parking downtown during peak periods.  The thought is valet parking would allow for many vehicles to be parked on private parking lots, thereby leaving more public parking spaces for visitors to the downtown.

The valet in front of Compari’s – which is for all visitors to downtown – parks cars in the Saxton’s parking lot, a private lot which was previously closed at night.  Some nights, nearly 40 cars are parked in the Saxton’s lot.  The valet from Panache parks its vehicles in the Westchester Square parking lot off Forest Ave., which is also a private lot.  The numbers there are generally much less.  However, in both instances those are vehicles that would normally take up public spaces.

Of course, valet parking is voluntary and those who don’t want to valet their cars can  find public parking spaces throughout downtown Plymouth at no charge.

I will forward your comments to the DDA Board and City Commission.  Also, feel free to attend a DDA Board meeting (the second Thursday of the month)  or a City Commission meeting (1st and 3rd Mondays) to further express your concerns.  Both groups meet at 7 p.m. at City Hall.

Thank you, again, for your interest in downtown Plymouth.

Decide for yourself whether this sits well with you.  I’m not certain that I think the program should remain in place, but I now have less gripes about it.

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Maybe you realize this, maybe you don’t.  Only in the last several weeks did I notice that there is valet parking downtown, right in front of Comparis and Panache.  City Council approved it for 90 days by a 5-2 vote.

http://plymouth-mi.patch.com/articles/plymouth-to-allow-businesses-to-test-drive-valet-parking

I don’t get upset about too many things, but I despise when public resources are used to benefit only a handful or less of private businesses.  Right now it’s hard enough to park downtown, and sometimes it’s just not feasible to walk.  We pay enough in taxes that all of us should have a fair shot at landing a parking spot without paying for it.  First-come-first-served is the way to go.  I don’t like that some company is gets to pocket money for publicly-owned parking spots.

That’s just me.  Maybe I’m old, cranky and short-sighted.

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I don’t want to sound complaining; I hate continuous grumbling about the weather. But we’ve had a very abbreviated traditional Spring. What we have had here in the city, and it comes every year like one of the four seasons, is a lot of road construction.

I grew up in a town that was very passive on road, street and sidewalk repair. Other than major county-run projects, I’m not sure our city fixed anything. This may seem like an odd word, but Plymouth is almost aggressive in its street and sidewalk repair initiatives. The last two years, especially, the city has had major intersections torn up for months at a time.  I’m a believer in having decent roads.  Sheldon Road in Canton is an example of what happens when there’s no initiative and/or money to keep roads in good shape.  I’m glad that Plymouth dedicates money to keeping streets, not only downtown but in the neighborhoods, in decent shape.  At least you know that our bad streets will soon be fixed.

That said, why must it take weeks or months to fix one intersection?  Why does a 300 feet stretch of road have to be torn up for so long? Perhaps there’s no money to pay overtime, but make quick repair part of the bidding process.  We’re talking about asphalt in most cases.  That’s laid down quickly.

If you’ve been downtown lately, you’ll know that it is hard to get to many of the businesses, even on a bike.  I s’pose the inconvenience will pay itself off for the longer short term (i.e. until next construction season.)

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If you’ve been downtown in the last few weeks, you’ve noticed that the intersection of Penniman and Main Street is under construction.  Getting around downtown is more difficult given that Main Street is closed between Ann Arbor Trail and Fralick.

The Downtown Development Authority’s official information packet indicates the expected completion date for the project is May 4, 2011.

Here are some photos from the DDA’s Facebook page.

PHOTOS COURTESY OF DOWNTOWN DEVELOPMENT AUTHORITY

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There seems to be a lot happening these days that are big local stories.   In no particular order:

  1. The Michigan film tax credits might be significantly reduced under the Governor Snyder’s first budget.  I’m not sure how to feel about the dollars-and-cents of it, but if the credit is reduced to the levels I’m hearing, there’ll be no more filming in Plymouth.  The Michigan film industry will dry up.  This is a statewide issue, but it’s also a local issue since we’ve had two films that did much of their shooting right here in the city, Trust and Scream 4.  I’ll  address this issue more in the coming days.
  2. The building occupying the space where the old Masonic Temple had been is finally starting to show signs of life.  UBS Financial Services will soon be taking residence inside the new building, which has set empty for Lord knows how many years.  Hopefully, the other office space and condo units are soon thereafter to be sold/leased.  I was never crazy about the new place; I miss the old Masonic hall, a cool building in its own right.
  3. Northville has approved a deal to provide fire services to Plymouth.  Local firefighters, who will be Northville employees paid by the City of Plymouth, will be housed in the soon-to-be renovated firehouse building adjacent to City Hall and the Library.  Of course, that’s dependent upon approval by the City Commission here in Plymouth.  It looks like our partnership with the township will come to an end.
  4. Ambulance services may be provided by contract with Huron Valley Ambulance.
  5. Tomorrow is the memorial service for Pastor Bill Moore.  This may seem like hyper-local news, but he really touched so many in the community, I can’t help but comment on it here.  Trinity Church has been a part of this community since 1979, and he was its founding pastor.  So many of us in this area have been touched by him.  He’s irreplaceable.  God speed to him, his family and the church.

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to have our streets adequately plowed/cleared.

After last night’s surprising snowfall — not that we got snow at all but that we got so much — I wondered how bad the roads and streets in town would be.  They were worse than expected.

I’m one of the lucky ones.  Plymouth city plows cleared my street before 8 a.m.  Of course, they re-buried the mouth of my driveway, but that’s how it goes.

Tonight, 13 hours after my street was cleared, there are streets in the city still unplowed.  They’re a mess.  If you get unlucky and have to stop at a stop sign or light, you’re likely to get stuck at some of the intersections.  I didn’t get stuck completely, but I had a few intersections that I was nearly unable to cross because I couldn’t get traction in a foot of snow.

Along Ann Arbor Road, I saw a van and a car stuck in huge snow piles in the driveways of Arby’s and the Mobil at Sheldon Road.  These piles were in the road, not fully in the parking lot of these businesses.

I know there’s a budget crunch right now.  No one likes paying taxes.  I certainly don’t feel it’s my right to spend other people’s money or raise their taxes.  But can we get a voluntary pool in which whoever wants to contribute can throw in a few bucks to help pay for more plowing?  I’ll chip in some money.  The city can just add it to the water bill.

 

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The most devastating storm of our lifetimes — if you believed all the pre-storm hype — came and went Tuesday night/Wednesday morning.  Roads were deserted but passable.  The City of Plymouth plows were out on residential streets early Wednesday morning and made them clear enough to drive.  The amount of snow, except where drifts were created, was quite manageable.

I, at the editor’s request, contributed some photos from around town while enjoying my half day off yesterday.  You can see them at Plymouth Patch.

http://plymouth-mi.patch.com/articles/winter-storm-drops-6-inches-in-southeast-michigan-5#photo-4722612

 

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