Office of the Vice President for Global Communications

Friday, April 20, 2012

U-M plans to add 500 parking spaces for Medical Campus

The university will move ahead with plans to accommodate its employment growth and build a new parking structure on Wall Street that will provide an additional 500 permit parking spaces near the U-M Medical Campus.

The structure will be built upon an existing 200-spot surface lot, bringing the total number of permit parking spaces in the structure to 700. The $34 million project was approved Thursday by the Board of Regents. Funding will be provided from parking resources.

“With the opening of the new C.S. Mott Children’s Hospital and Von Voigtlander Women’s Hospital, approximately 500 new jobs were created, which increased demand on existing spaces. In addition, 300 employee parking spaces were reallocated for patients and visitors,” said Steve Dolen, executive director for Parking & Transportation Services. “With the loss of those employee spaces, and the anticipated continued growth of patient care, we must meet the needs of our growing community.”

The parking structure is expected to feature open space at both ends. Open space will include park-like landscaping with trees and water features for stormwater management, irrigation and reduction of storm runoff to the Huron River. Plans also are expected to include infrastructure for electric vehicle charging stations.

The parking structure planned by the university is consistent with the U-M Hospitals and Health Centers’ master plan for the Wall Street district. It also is consistent with the university’s overall strategy to incorporate both onsite and offsite transportation support services.

“The next important stage in this project is the schematic design phase, where we will provide richer detail about the facility’s façade and structure, green space and other elements,” Dolen said.

The university anticipated the transportation and parking demand that the Mott and Von Voigtlander hospitals and the new Brehm Eye Center would bring when regents initially approved a new parking structure on Wall Street in 2008.

The City of Ann Arbor asked the university to stop plans on Wall Street and instead partner on the Fuller Road Station. The project was approved by the regents in 2010, and was scheduled to be built near the corner of Fuller Road and East Medical Center Drive, adjacent to the main Medical Campus. Plans would have provided for a 1,000-space parking structure and covered bus station along with other site improvements.

In February, the city and the university decided to set aside plans for the Fuller Road Station and parking facilities as designed at that time. Both parties agreed to wait until federal funding for railroad track sidings and rail station construction was more imminent. The university and the city will continue to work collaboratively to bring high-speed and commuter rail service to Ann Arbor.

As patient parking needs and the number of Health System employees have grown, other staff commuting opportunities have been and continue to be developed. Working together, the Health System and Parking & Transportation Services have created new options for Medical Campus employees to park in surface lots around Ann Arbor and take U-M buses to work.

Approximately 2,500 employees park at remote lots, taking a bus or shuttle to the Hospitals and Health Centers. An additional 1,500 employees use alternate means of transportation including riding the bus from home, ridesharing or vanpooling.

“Even with Health System employees’ commitment to alternative transportation, additional parking space is needed on the Medical Campus to accommodate its employment growth,” Dolen said. “Our strategic approach will continue to be a blended model that includes on-site parking, off-site parking supported by reliable transportation services, and alternative transportation options. We believe this approach will help us balance our capacity with the needs of our patients, visitors, faculty and staff.”

Walker Parking Consultants and the architectural design firm Stecker Labau Arneill McManus Collaborative will design the Wall Street project. A construction schedule will be presented to regents when approval is sought for the schematic design.