Predictions 2024 (So Far)

Over on the ancient forum site there is πŸ‘‰a thread where regular participants make predictionsπŸ‘ˆ at the new year for the upcoming year, and review their predictions from the previous year. Each year proves that predictions are a perilous business. It is all for fun. I thought, given that we are now half way through 2024, that I would tally my current score; see if it improves or gets worse by year end.

I'm tallying using the following rankings: Nailed it βš’οΈ (3 points) - Win πŸ‘ (2 points) - Looking GoodπŸ–• (1 points) - Too Soon πŸ€” (0 points) - Wash 🀷 (0 points) - Looking Bad πŸ‘‡ (-1 points) - Fail πŸ‘Ž (-2 points) - Epic Fail ⚠️ (-3 points). With just being correct the the ideal score is 28; with "nailed it" allowing for a little recovery from error.

Prediction:The city will continue to see a frustrating lack of high-density development. No project over 10 stories will break ground.

We are half-way through the year, and nothing.

πŸ–• looking good (+1)

Prediction:The Sligh redevelopment project is dead, no construction or demolition will occur.

Feeling confident. I am hoping I will not be making this prediction again for 2025; with the amphitheater wrapping up, the soccer stadium underway, and finally having almost complete north-south pedestrian infrastructure, this site has to look juicy to developers, right? At least if the nation isn't on fire. 🀞

πŸ–• looking good (+1)

Prediction:Nothing will continue to happen with the Keeler building (56 Division)

Feeling confident.

πŸ–• looking good (+1)

Prediction:There will be an eerie silence regarding the Whitewater project; it's dead Jim, but nobody will admit it.

Well, it is not dead. And it is no longer a "whitewater" project. Also the time-line just keeps getting longer. This new plan is far less exciting, but this prediction was clearly wrong.

πŸ‘Ž fail (-2)

Prediction:The stealth [relative to the level of drama whipped up for "Housing Now", circa 2018] Zoning reforms will pass in the first quarter. They will largely, but not completely, eliminate residential parking requirements. ADUs will be by-right in at least TN zones. Unrelated household members will be increased from six to eight. Substantial reform for Infill Development (2-12 units) will be sacrificed on the alter of "Unintended Consequences" and parking fear, something will still be passed but it will be so limited as to be meaningless.

The final proposals were passed in their entirety without amendment. OTOH, parking reform was very limited with only elimination for up to six-unit developments on two street classifications (Link & Network Residential). Effectively zero lots on those street classifications allow for more than four units as the lot size requirement of 2,000sq/ft unit is still in effect; so you need an 8,000sq/ft lot for a quadplex and a 12,000sq/ft lot for a sixplex. Yeah.

I have to call this prediction too optimistic, but is it a fail? That the reforms will be largely meaningless is accurate; however, an Accessory Dwelling Unit (ADU) company has entered the Grand Rapids' market. My prediction was both incorrect and corrects, so I'm calling it a wash.

🀷 wash (0)

There are changes were good, and necessary. They also do not do much, especially in the current financial environment. If the city had made these changes in 2016, or even 2018, . . .

Prediction:The Rapid, after cutting service as of January 1st 2024, will have a second round of service cuts mid-year. Relative to revenue hours ridership will continue to recover, as it has been.

Shortly after this prediction (February) some service was restored, although not all. All day frequent service largely vanished from the network. Yet, still no additional service cuts. So, may be a fail.

πŸ‘‡ looking bad (-1)

We will see what happens in the next fiscal year as Michigan's much heralded Democratic Trifecta has cut transit funding, by effectively $32,000,000/yr. Eventually there will be service cuts without a sea change in Lansing.

Prediction:The DASH will not achieve seven day a week service.

A prediction which went down in only 29 days! The DASH resumed seven (7) day a week service on January 29th, 2024. With new - relatively unknown - City Commissioners, change in leadership at MobileGR, and city staff's dauntless commitment to an austerity / constant-fiscal-crisis mentality I did not expect as much commitment to the DASH service as appeared. There was also the question of if the Rapid, even with diligent effort, could resolve their staffing crisis.

Kudos all around, happy to be very wrong.

⚠️ epic fail (-3)

Prediction:The amphitheater will break ground and development will rapidly proceed. A private parking developer will announce a nearby ramp. Rumors about adjacent development will be intense and constant, but nothing substantive will emerge until the last quarter.

So far so good! The construction fences went up the first week of May. No sign of a private developer yet, but there is time.

πŸ–• looking good (+1)

Prediction:Corewell will drag their feet in Monroe North, insisting on surface parking lots, the city will - to everyone's surprise - stand their ground for once, and Corewell will finally a produce a not-complete-trash development plan by the end of 2024. But they will not have broken ground on any additional development.

Hmmm, things are not looking good. I do expect the city to hold its ground against Corewell's desire to pave a neighborhood. However, the whispers in the wind are that Corewell has largely abandoned plans for the CTI campus. We'll see.

πŸ‘‡ looking bad (-1)

Prediction:The city will forge ahead with additional parking capacity, mostly likely the Fulton/Ottawa or Library lot. There will not be a 3rd party development agreement for Fulton/Ottawa.

Yet-more-parking has been mentioned frequently at COW and City Commission meetings, the mayor seems pretty keen on a west-side ramp. Although this is bad, at least I can be right about something. Maintaining abundant parking is going to be Mayor Bliss' chief legacy; Corewell has been her greatest ally in that quest..

πŸ–• looking good (+1)

Prediction:By the end of the year Kent County will announce that they are paving most of John Ball Park for parking.

A quick win! Betting against the county almost feels cheap. Listening to the Kent County Commission talk about transportation makes one want to crawl under the desk and cry; every suburban-brain trope about transportation is announced as if being read from a divinely inscribed tablet. One of the county commissioners once, while driving, saw a bus he thought was empty! 😲

βš’οΈ Win! (+2)

On 2024-02-08 a presentation was made πŸ‘‰by the Rapid about their transit master plan to the Kent County CommissionπŸ‘ˆ. It is a tough watch; anyone who has notions about county wide or regional transit being on the table . . . nope. If someone created a Suburban Trope Bingo Card it would make watching this easier, it is certainly not safe as a drinking game, don't do that to yourself.

Prediction:Less than five miles of protected bike lanes will be constructed.

There is no way I can lose this one. Looking forward to 2025.

βš’οΈ Win! (+2)

Prediction:Employers will continue to push back against Work-From-Home, to the benefit of downtown restaurants and retailers, as well as city income tax revenue. DGRi will report at least three months of record downtown activity.

The July - September data, so the August - October reports, will be telling.

πŸ€” too soon (0)

Prediction:Urban retail will be a winner in 2024; at least twice as many retail outlets will open in downtown as will close. Harder to quantify, but the retail scene in the neighborhoods will also continue to improve. The Wealthy St Corridor will achieve zero store-front vacancy.

Three downtown storefronts opened in early 2024: Shinola Detroit, Grammotones, & GVSU Laker Store.

Downtown closed May with a 19% storefront vacancy rate or 74 storefronts, with the highest concentration in Heartside with 62% of the vacancies. Heartside also has the highest number of storefronts at 181; which is 48% of all the storefronts downtown (381 total). Eight store fronts have opened in 2024 so far, seven have closed.

Storefronts continue to open on Wealth St, including a new building, as well as Midtown and Creston.


πŸ–• looking good (+1)


And the finally tally is:

3 (10% of 28)

Yikes! We will see what the second half of the year brings.