People who responded to a recent survey on the possibility of having paid parking in downtown Brighton have said overwhelmingly that they didn’t want to have to pay for parking. The survey was performed on Thursday, December 13th, during the holiday shopping season. Out of the 521 responses, 28% indicated they were in favor of paid parking, but the vast majority, 72 per cent, said they were opposed to paid parking spaces and would look for a parking space farther away where the parking was free. Of the 43 downtown employees who were surveyed, 44% said they would expect their employer to pay at least a portion of their parking costs, while 30% indicated their employer should pay all of their costs associated with downtown parking.

The majority of business owners also said they were opposed to paid downtown parking. Of the 32 responses received from merchants and other downtown business owners, only 31% — or less than a third — indicated they would support paid parking. David Burr of Rich & Associates of Southfield, which is doing the marketing study for the city, tells WHMI that downtown parking is at a premium during certain times of the day and evening, but the great majority of people who use it don’t want to have to pay for it.

Paying the up-front, and ongoing, costs of operating a paid parking system does not come cheaply for the city, either. Rich & Associates estimates it would cost the city nearly $150,000 to install equipment and other aspects of paid parking for on-street parking and public parking lots. The up-front cost of installing pay stations alone is estimated at $108,750. That would include 15 pay stations at a cost of $7,250 per station installed along Grand River, Main St., North St., West St., Hyne, First St. and St. Paul, as well as in public parking lots on North, Main, Hyne and city hall.

In addition to the pay stations, the city would have to invest $10,000 in software and pay an annual warranty fee of $4,500. And those figures don’t include the costs of enforcement, the necessary paperwork and staff time. City Council, which heard the presentation at a study session preceding its regular meeting Thursday night, did not take any action. City Manager Nate Geinzer says council needs time to digest the survey and other data from phase 1 of the study, as well as other possible strategies, before giving the green light to proceed with phase 2. Burr says the second phase of the parking study will involve looking into present downtown parking needs as well as projected future parking needs. (TT)