Comments on: Fuller Road Station Plan Gets Green Light it's like being there Tue, 16 Sep 2014 04:56:38 +0000 hourly 1 By: abc abc Tue, 05 Oct 2010 13:00:18 +0000 I found this to be an interesting article discussing whether there will ever be a train in the station. [link]

By: abc abc Fri, 01 Oct 2010 13:00:40 +0000 Mr. Bean said, “I don’t think this needs to be about “arguments”,” Absolutely correct. (M?) Jenkins said, “…there are still more people who visit the medical center each day than downtown Ann Arbor.” This is anecdotal at best. Show me the numbers.

This need not be an argument. I wrote in my first post, “The long and short of it is to make sure you have done your homework and know who you are building for.” So let’s see the homework. The one thing we know would be relatively easy is for the medical center to create a spreadsheet delineating employee’s and staff’s homes and commute patterns (they may have to survey to get this last piece but they also should have done that already). I guess they then have to estimate how many patients would use some form of public transportation; my guess is that this would be very low. Then comes the tougher part, estimating just how many people come downtown? That estimate must also take into account how many students on the central campus would utilize a centrally located transit center.

There has been a lot published on this building but I have not seen these numbers. I have to think they exist somewhere. If someone knows where to find them could they point that out, please?

“And what efforts with regard to incentives and alternatives did the university make over the past four years…” Yes that would be interesting to see. As with (M?) Jenkins there are many reasons to NOT choose public transportation including time, flexibility, availability, work hours, etc. Just because you live in Howell and a train goes there does not mean you will get on. As I said before it is the case in areas where you have wide usage of public transportation you also have limited parking, particularly in the city center. You can get to the outskirts of the city by car and then you park and ride. Providing 1,000 new parking spaces will only encourage driving. Unless of course they are only limited to 2 hours but I doubt that that is in the cards.

By: Steve Bean Steve Bean Fri, 01 Oct 2010 02:17:07 +0000 ABC, I’ve been wondering about the benefit to the community as a whole as well. (I left that thought out of my comment somehow.) I’m used to thinking about transportation relative to downtown and AA-Ypsi connections, primarily. However, Jenkins highlights the potential value of this site based on potential number of users (one of the better statements I’ve seen on it, actually.) When there are fewer cars on our roads, we all benefit, whether we drive or not.

I don’t think this needs to be about “arguments”, though. A willingness to explore alternatives might not jeopardize either the university’s involvement (they’ll definitely benefit, after all) or the federal funding.

What’s not clear is what efforts city government has made to encourage the university to invest in alternatives to the parking structure component. Jenkins’ suggestion for express bus service is one option. How many people might that serve? And what efforts with regard to incentives and alternatives did the university make over the past four years per the regents’ statement that Tom cited? (Do you know, Tom?) Is the desire for federal funding leading the city’s representatives to not ask such questions?

The particular alternative that I wonder about is a transit station without the parking structure component (or at least a much smaller one.) The benefit to the community in that scenario might be more clear — less traffic and air pollution, for starters; a commitment to reducing greenhouse gases, in the near term; and a sense that the medical center cares about public health and social equity, to top it off. Would Ann Arbor residents get behind that? If it were put to a vote (on the basis of the parkland status), would that have a better chance of approval than the current plan? It’s unclear (there’s that word again) if voters would deny any and all uses of this parkland, or whether it’s something specific to this proposal or just the fact that they’re not being asked that has them expressing opposition.

By: Kai Petainen Kai Petainen Thu, 30 Sep 2010 21:25:04 +0000 Anyone know the answer to this question?

“For those who aren’t aware, the Kresge Medical Research Buildings, I, II, and II (corner of Zina Pitcher and Ann Street) have just been demolished”

When those were demolished, were there any diesel/fuel tanks removed? In the environmental report for the transit center, I noticed there was some mention of tanks in the area. Were they removed in this demolition?

By: abc abc Thu, 30 Sep 2010 20:53:09 +0000 @ Jenkins

“As a UofM worker I currently do not take the bus because of the need to make a transfer downtown.”

This says it all. I guess those 1,021 parking spaces right next to where YOU need them to be will make things just a bit more convenient for YOU.

By: Tom Whitaker Tom Whitaker Thu, 30 Sep 2010 16:09:29 +0000 Quoting from the Regents action item from February 2006 that authorized staff to proceed with the schematic design of the new Mott Hospital. (Note the “site location” referred to in the first sentence is the hospital construction site.):

“The site location is currently a surface parking lot and 313 spaces will be lost to the project. The opening of the Ann Street parking structure in the summer of 2006 will add 535 faculty and staff parking spaces. The opening of the Cardiovascular Center (CVC) parking structure in early 2007 will add an additional 465 parking spaces with approximately one half of those spaces allocated to patient parking associated with growth due to the CVC. Before the replacement C.S. Mott Children’s and Women’s Hospitals are open, we will advance alternative transportation options and incentives to reduce the demand for faculty and staff parking at the Medical Center. The measured success of this program will be presented annually to the Regents in the University’s parking and transportation strategic plan. Included in the current parking and transportation strategic plan is the construction of one additional parking structure on Wall Street and the potential to add one more.”

For those who aren’t aware, the Kresge Medical Research Buildings, I, II, and II (corner of Zina Pitcher and Ann Street) have just been demolished leaving a very large vacant lot in the heart of the medical campus that could be used for a parking structure, underground or otherwise, or even just a surface lot. Point being, the UM has the opportunity here to increase parking capacity at the medical center without enlarging the campus footprint into Fuller Park or the Wall Street area.

By: jenkins jenkins Thu, 30 Sep 2010 16:07:27 +0000 @ABC I think you miss the main point of the purpose of a transportation center; it is to service commuters. The University is the largest employer in the city, more people commute there than to downtown Ann Arbor. The residents of the city benefit by having less cars travel through their town if more people take the buses or train. If you think that the purpose of the transportation center is for visitors, there are still more people who visit the medical center each day than downtown Ann Arbor. It makes the most sense to locate it at the medical center

As a UofM worker I currently do not take the bus because of the need to make a transfer downtown. Two buses and at least a double commute time does not make me leave my car at home. If environmentalists truly want to get people to leave their cars at home they would push for a bus hub near the medical campus with express routes.

But no, instead they waste their time arguing against a parking structure that is added on to the transportation center project that will be built on a paved surface in a small strip of a park. A parking structure that is really not additional parking added to the environment because the university already had plans to build it one block north on Wall street. It is just a relocation of parking with the city benefiting because now the University will cover much of the costs of the entire transportation center. I see it as a win-win.

Arguments against this does not decrease the number of parking spaces or help the environment but will cost the city a lot of money because they will lose the university financing.

Strip of grass/paved lot in a park or cleaner air due to many cars off the road and left at home…hhmmm…no brainer to me.

By: abc abc Thu, 30 Sep 2010 15:44:35 +0000 “There’s a distinction that we don’t make often enough in these discussions, I think, between personal interest and community interest.”

Mr. Bean, while I did reference the way I might use such a structure ‘personally’ and I did temper my comments by beginning with the term ‘personally’, I meant my assessment to mean that I do not think this location best serves the community at large. The hospital workers aside, I do not think an intermodal facility in this location is in the best interest of the whole Ann Arbor community.

With respect to doctors, nurses, administrators and patients of the hospital, I suspect that their need is parking. I suspect that they would under use the buses, trains and / or bicycle parking.

By: M. Hunt M. Hunt Thu, 30 Sep 2010 05:17:32 +0000 While the FITS certainly has its merits, its siting on park land certainly seems to present conflicts with section 4(f) of the DOT act?

Has anyone looked into whether Fuller Road Station might be categorically ineligible under section 4(f) of the DOT act? [link]

“The Section 4(f) process as described in 49 U.S.C 303 states that a special effort must be made to preserve the natural beauty of the countryside and public park and recreation lands, wildlife and waterfowl refuges, and historic sites. . . A transportation program or project requiring the use of such land will be approved only if there is no prudent and feasible alternative to using that land and if the program or project includes all possible planning to minimize harm to the land or resources.”

How much more will be spent on consultant hours and city staff time before this is resolved?

By: Steve Bean Steve Bean Thu, 30 Sep 2010 03:34:09 +0000 Rod, I think the key word in that paragraph of ABC’s comment is “personally”. There’s a distinction that we don’t make often enough in these discussions, I think, between personal interest and community interest. This is one of those cases where it’s relevant. For many hospital employees, the story would be quite different.

At the same time, that doesn’t mean that you’re off base in questioning the justification for the parking structure. Questions come quickly. For example, would it be possible to move forward without the parking structure? Could the structure be added later if still deemed necessary after the train station is in place? What would be the implications of those options?

Also, this issue, like all others in our city, can be viewed in the context of what is shaping up as an imminent currency/credit crisis in combination with an ultimate decline in worldwide oil production sometime this decade (which may already have begun) — a depression with a twist.

In light of that, not to mention climate change, creating more places to store cars is getting an inordinate amount of our resources. What does the (public) university have to say in that regard?