The Brighton City Council voted Thursday night to approve a contract with Rich & Associates Parking Consultants of Southfield in the amount of $20,500 to conduct a traffic study in downtown Brighton.

The study will take from 4-6 months to complete, according to City Manager Nate Geinzer. He says the city needs the parking study in order to develop a long-range plan to deal with the downtown’s parking needs and to determine what he calls “the right mix” of public and private parking.

The study will determine parking usage counts at various downtown lots, as well as on-street parking, to determine occupancy levels and peak parking times. The study will also look at possibly consolidating parking in specific locations. Since the study is likely to start around Dec. 1st, it will also look at holiday parking levels and concentrations, and in about four months take a look at next spring’s parking since the study will take up to a half-year to complete.

To handle the pressure on the inadequate number of parking spaces, the city is also considered metered parking and the possibility of a parking structure, although estimates put the latter’s cost at as much as $9 million or even more. Downtown merchants will be given a chance to offer their own input on parking needs and solutions during the study period. Two council members – Jim Bohn and Renee Pettengill – questioned whether the study will simply repeat what a 2015 parking study determined, but Geinzer said it will be much more comprehensive than the 2015 study, which was more to determine usage and peak times.

Also, Geinzer says the current ordinance, which absolves a business owner from the responsibility of providing parking for customers if the need is less than 65 spaces, is out of date and needs to be revisited. (TT)