Macomb's downtown square will soon have a new parking layout that isn't all that new. Nearly two years ago, the city took out an interior row of parking spaces after removing a parking median that divided the inner and outer lanes on the Macomb courthouse square.
Mayor Mike Inman said the city has since heard complaints that there are not enough places to park downtown. Inman told the crowd at his State of the City address hosted by the Macomb Area Chamber of Commerce that the row of parking will be brought back, creating "...40-50 additional parking space with this design than we did with the design that’s currently in place."
The city had reduced the rows of parking downtown from four to three in an effort to improve safety. At the time, Inman said rear-end collisions were a concern and it was difficult for emergency vehicles to squeeze through.
This time around, Inman said those safety concerns will be eased as the roads will be wider. He says they gained a few feet by removing the parking median and the city has also backed off plans to expand and widen the sidewalks downtown. Additionally, the city plans to remove the parallel parking spots currently available on the interior corners of the square.
The Macomb City Council agreed to spend $136,762 for construction engineering fees to Hutchinson Engineering, the construction firm that has been working on the downtown revitalization project.
The city plans to spend up to $1.1 million to resurface the downtown square, fix the drainage system, add in the row of parking, and also put in stop bars for drivers entering the downtown off of Jackson, Randolph and Lafayette Streets.
Mayor Inman said that addition should make it clearer that the drivers already on the square have the right of way over those cars wanting to enter the square. “So, there shouldn’t be so much confusion about who has the right away and drivers wondering should I go or should I stay,” Inman said.
The road work is part of the city’s larger plan to revitalize the downtown. The city is moving forward with the construction after failing to secure grant money to pay for the work. City leaders plan to apply again for state or federal funding to help pay for street scaping portions of the project.