Comments on: Fleshing Out Fuller Road Station it's like being there Tue, 16 Sep 2014 04:56:38 +0000 hourly 1 By: John Floyd John Floyd Fri, 19 Feb 2010 04:03:31 +0000 For public transit to be effective as a full-service transit option (errands, visits to homes, entertainment districts, as well as commuting), you have to commit to living in a rabbit warren with little or no green around your dwelling.

Car = freedom to come and go as you please, not as the schedule dictates. Also, freedom to go where you please, not where the route dictates.

I lived in Chicago for 9 years. it was fun for a while, but when I became ready to be serious about life, the mechanics of life in a dense environment were nightmarish – even with two full-service grocery supermarkets within a block of my apartment. It was a relief to come home & live on the Old West Side, in a neighborhood of small homes on small lots, with kids, parks and a public school, an 8 minute walk from Main & Huron. This is the kind of density Ann Arbor needs, not blocks and blocks of faceless apartments. People who want the Chicago-style density and scale of population needed to make rail transit even thinkable, let alone do-able, are not likely to be happy here.

Building a parking lot for incoming traffic as the prelude to a train station for incoming traffic makes little sense, in any case. Sounds more like bait-and-switch publicity for shifting the Wall Street lot to a city park. Again, the deep cynicism of this government, to turn parkland over to the University under the guise of a long-term lease instead an out right sale, cannot be overestimated. The form of this transaction is a lease; the substance of it is a sale.

By: FRIDGEMAN FRIDGEMAN Thu, 18 Feb 2010 20:43:16 +0000 Steve, I fully agree with your comments (#15). I applaud your choice. I submit, however that it is the right choice for only a very small percentage of the local populace. We need to move the needle on this, and I believe that spectacular project failures — like this transit center — will do more harm than good (slow but steady progress is needed).

It is interesting to me that every Midwesterner I’ve ever talked to who has spent time in NYC or in Europe will willingly use (and rave about) transit in those places. But they won’t touch it with a 10 foot pole here.

By: Chuck Warpehoski Chuck Warpehoski Thu, 18 Feb 2010 01:35:01 +0000 Regarding comments like Steve Bean’s, “public input process seems to be considerably less so and lagging,” a couple of months ago I heard Eli Cooper express surprise and disappointment that this project wasn’t getting more attention and input. Well, I guess now it is….

By: Steve Bean Steve Bean Wed, 17 Feb 2010 19:34:39 +0000 Fridgeman, as you may be aware, now that ZipCar is well established in Ann Arbor we have another component in the mix that might shift the decision point about car ownership. When I made the decision to sell my car I did a comparison between all the costs (maintenance, repairs, insurance, time, etc.) and benefits of having the car versus the costs (minimal and no longer marginal, in the sense you describe) and benefits of walking, biking, riding the bus, and potentially using ZipCar. The latter set of options is both cheaper and healthier overall, enough so that selling the car was an easy decision.

In the bigger picture, we could do several things in Michigan to tip the scales in favor of transit. First, tying car insurance more directly to car use (to eliminate the marginal cost effect) through a pay-at-the-pump system would make the economic comparison cleaner. Likewise, eliminating subsidies for road construction, parking, and gas/diesel, and then increasing the taxes on those polluting fuels would get us much closer to a point where decisions about transportation will be more in line with the realities we face, much to our benefit.

I encourage you and others who are concerned that this effort might be putting the cart before the horse to communicate with your state reps about what they and the governor could do to help cities like ours to move toward sustainable transportation systems.

By: Eric Boyd Eric Boyd Wed, 17 Feb 2010 17:40:15 +0000 While moving the rail station sounds like a great idea to me, for now its just a parking garage. It would be nice to have some sort of guarantee the rail station move will also happen linked to approval of the parking structure, but I don’t know how that could be structured.

One other aspect that’s been suggested in news reports [link] is that in some respects this parking structure is in lieu of a University of Michigan built parking structure on Wall Street.

Even if this is on parkland, it’s already a parking lot. And this may reduce the number of parking structures in the Wall Street neighborhood. Is that better for the neighborhood? Is it better for the city?

By: FRIDGEMAN FRIDGEMAN Wed, 17 Feb 2010 17:19:29 +0000 Chad’s comments (#7) are a much better way of articulating my initial comment asking “will people really ride this?”

I would suggest that a factor that I mention that Chad did not directly address is that the incremental cost of SOV commuting is often not that high.

My sister lives in a large East Coast urban center, where she truly does not need a car. Everything she does is within reach of public transit (if not walking/biking distance). That is simply not the case anywhere in SE Michigan, even Ann Arbor. So, I have concluded that I have no practical choice but to own a car. Since I own a car, the incremental cost of driving it to work is not a substantial penalty. From a convenience/cost ratio, it pretty significantly outweighs public transit, even at $5/gallon gas (which of course would drive up the costs of public ridership as well).

By: Bob Johnson Bob Johnson Wed, 17 Feb 2010 16:29:33 +0000 A question for David Lewis@10: If the transit component needs only 200 spaces for east-bound travelers, why are the City and the UM building a 1000 space garage? There are 200 spaces there now, in a City-owned lot.

But it has to be emphasized that any rail transit component is purely speculative at this point. There are no plans, no projected start date, and no financing lined up for the rail station. The question actually before us is whether our City government should spend $14 million toward the construction of a 1000-place parking garage sitting on a corner of Fuller Park.

After all, SEMCOG [link] is funding a three year trial run (beginning October 2010) of Detroit-Ann Arbor commuter service, using the existing Amtrak station. The City could wisely wait to see how that works, before committing funds for a new rail station at Fuller Psrk. In any case, there is absolutely no reason why the City should now spend millions of dollars toward the construction of a parking garage that the City does not need.

By: David Lewis David Lewis Wed, 17 Feb 2010 07:05:40 +0000 As to Zollar’s point. The rail money for Det. A2 has already been allocated, not to say they wouldn’t like more. But, even as a bus transit station this will work for now.

By: David Lewis David Lewis Wed, 17 Feb 2010 06:58:17 +0000 I think you miss the point. They only expect a few hundred people to take the train to the east. 200 plus parking spaces and 200 taking the bus to the station and a few walking. The bonus for A2 is the 2,000 plus who will take the train to work in A2.

18,000 employees at the midical complex alone, two million visitors per year. The train will be used. Especially when gas hits $5 per gallon in two years.

But in the short term you get the whole bus transit station and bike center and a base to build on for the rail. Federal money is flowing and anything is possible. Time to think large. This is a good thing.

By: zollar zollar Wed, 17 Feb 2010 03:17:11 +0000 Todays Detroit news.No rail funding for Detroit to Ann Arbor. [Link]