By BROOKE STEVENSON
Sunday Times Newspapers
ALLEN PARK — The Downtown Development Authority is considering the concept of closing an intersection downtown for a parking project.
Members are researching the closing of Aster Street at south Allen Road in an effort improve traffic circulation and provide additional business parking in the area.
On Jan. 22 the authority supported the “concept of the idea” and proposed it to the City Council for approval before research begins.
“We’re only looking at a concept,” DDA Director James Sabo said. “We’re not proposing to close the street at this time.
“All we want to do is look into it and have the authority to do so before we get down the road with drawings and surveys.”
Before the DDA spends any money on the project, members wanted to make sure the council at least would be open to the idea. And while council members generally were skeptical of actually implementing the idea, they approved researching it.
“I think it is a good idea in a way, but are we going to have one intersection after another close because of this?” Councilwoman Beverly Kelley asked.
Sabo said if the idea is feasible, there aren’t many other areas in the DDA district where it could work. Officials will try to find out who is in favor and who is opposed, as well as the positives and negatives of the project before moving forward. The DDA will cover the entire cost of the research, and if the idea is approved would cover the construction costs as well.
“It’s hard for me to fathom where you would add additional parking rather than where the street would be closed,” Councilman Kevin Rourke said.
He believes Aster should be made into a one-way street if parking is going to be considered, adding, “I think you’re going to lose money closing off that street and have seven parking spots that you are adding when you already have seven on the street.”
The DDA also will consider police, fire and emergency vehicle response.
Results of the research and feasibility study on the closing will go to the Planning and Zoning Commission for approval or denial.
If the commission approves, the idea then will go before the council for a public hearing.