If we have to have surface lots, why not use solar panels to benefit both the people using the lot and the city? Last year, MSU along with Inovateus Solar, LLC, a solar-energy supplier in Indiana, and Alterra Power Corp., an independent power producer and renewable-energy developer in British Columbia, Canada, embarked on a partnership to transform five of their largest commuter lots into solar carports. The partnership allows MSU to purchase electricity produced from the solar arrays from Inovateus and Alterra at a fixed price for 25 years, and it's estimated that about 5% of the electricity used on campus annually will be produced through this project. Bonus - cars will be shielded from direct sunlight in the summer and from snow in the winter.
I think Grand Rapids could benefit from the same approach - area lots (see attached map) could add these solar carports and the city could offset its electricity costs while investing in renewable energy. Our mayor is invested in fighting climate change, so there could be support among city leadership.