Ann Arbor launches pilot program to allow businesses to convert parking spots into patio space


  • Paul Brady Photography /

Ann Arbor City Council approved a pilot initiative proposed by the Downtown Development Authority which would allow downtown businesses to utilize curbside parking spots for outdoor dining, retail sales, or overflow customer space.

The program, which could run through October, is adjacent to a program launched earlier this month, in which Ann Arbor began closing off select streets from vehicle traffic to encourage outdoor shopping and dining. The closures begin at 2 p.m. Friday through 8 p.m. Sunday and will remain in effect until Aug. 23.

However, the pilot program would make it so businesses could utilize the extended space all week long, so long as they request a meter bag and submit it to the DDA, along with the proper permits, insurance, and cost — which, at an early estimate, could be $50 per parking spot. The city administrator has been approved to oversee the creation of the program's permit process.

According to MLive, the DDA suggested of revisiting the possibility of maintaining the repurposed parking areas without closing streets to traffic once the pilot program has ended.

City Council is expected to meet on July 6 to discuss the piloting of additional “healthy streets” throughout the downtown area to improve social distancing amongst cyclists and pedestrians.

So many restaurants, so little time. Sign up for our weekly food newsletter delivered every Friday morning for the latest Detroit dining news.

We welcome readers to submit letters regarding articles and content in Detroit Metro Times. Letters should be a minimum of 150 words, refer to content that has appeared on Detroit Metro Times, and must include the writer's full name, address, and phone number for verification purposes. No attachments will be considered. Writers of letters selected for publication will be notified via email. Letters may be edited and shortened for space.

Email us at

Support Local Journalism.
Join the Detroit Metro Times Press Club

Local journalism is information. Information is power. And we believe everyone deserves access to accurate independent coverage of their community and state. Our readers helped us continue this coverage in 2020, and we are so grateful for the support.

Help us keep this coverage going in 2021. Whether it's a one-time acknowledgement of this article or an ongoing membership pledge, your support goes to local-based reporting from our small but mighty team.

Join the Metro Times Press Club for as little as $5 a month.