Comments on: WBWC Urges Work on Border-To-Border Trail it's like being there Tue, 16 Sep 2014 04:56:38 +0000 hourly 1 By: Steve Bean Steve Bean Mon, 23 Sep 2013 00:39:07 +0000 @6: Ditto. The use of the word “survey” doesn’t help either, especially with the word “public”.

By: Vivienne Armentrout Vivienne Armentrout Sun, 22 Sep 2013 18:23:10 +0000 I heartily agree with (5). The problem is magnified by certain reporters (none with this publication) who then write headlines saying, “Ann Arbor residents want…” thus validating the survey and its conclusions.

By: Margaret Leary Margaret Leary Sun, 22 Sep 2013 17:55:35 +0000 I would like to comment on the city’s practice of relying on on-line-only surveys to which respondents are limited and to a large extent self-selected.

Surveys like these are a dis-service, if not an insult, to the thousands of citizens who don’t know about them, don’t have internet access, or don’t have time to respond.

These surveys are not valid measures of city-wide opinion. They are measures of what those most interested in the topic think; that “interest” is usually a strong bias in favor of, or against, what the survey covers. Those who take the survey are those who have been informed of the survey by interest groups. While this may be useful information, it should not be treated–as it often seems to be–as “what the people want.” This applies to topics such as downtown parks and greenspace, dog parks, the greenway along North Main, and downtown zoning.

A valid survey of public opinion takes time, skill, effort, and money; is done by phone or mail; includes a representative sample of the population; has followup; and asks carefully crafted questions to determine opinion on specific topics.

I ask decision-makers not to take such surveys for anything more than what they are: a quick measure of what those most interested in a topic think. They are not a way to decide what is best for everyone.

By: Eric Boyd Eric Boyd Tue, 27 Aug 2013 17:33:21 +0000 Basically, any of the proposed B2B enhancements would be very nice. I hope there’s progress on one or more of them soon.

By: Will Hathaway Will Hathaway Fri, 23 Aug 2013 18:30:43 +0000 Thanks to the Chronicle for its excellent coverage of local government. Thanks also to the Park Advisory Commission (PAC) for sharing the data it gathered through its Downtown Park and Open Space Survey. While commission chair Julie Grand is correct that this wasn’t a vote, it is the clearest measure we have of how the community feels about downtown parks. I hope that people will use the link provided above to look at the survey responses.

I would like to correct one item in the Chronicle coverage. I was able to attend part of the August 20 PAC meeting. The discussion of the dog park and downtown park surveys was a little confusing and commissioner Ingrid Ault served on both of the subcommittees so she spoke knowledgeably about both surveys.

However, when commissioner Ault said that the questionnaire had “lots of open questions because we didn’t want to drive the conversation,” she was referring to the dog park survey. The downtown park and open space survey had only one wide open question, “Please provide additional ideas or comments.” Of the 1,600 respondents, 618 people wrote an answer to this question.

I’m a member of the Library Green Conservancy, a group of Ann Arborites who would like to see a park or public open space of some kind on a portion of the publicly owned Library Lot (on top of the new underground parking structure). We were encouraged to see that so many of the survey respondents shared the opinion that this would be an ideal space for a town square. We look forward to continuing the community conversation about downtown open space during the PAC’s public meetings on September 9 and 18.

By: Eric Boyd Eric Boyd Fri, 23 Aug 2013 17:32:59 +0000 As someone who first read the city’s CIP and got excited about “all the improvements that were coming in a few years,” I have to concur that there seems to be no actual urgency to fix this. Every year they get pushed farther out with no funding identified.

I very much appreciate WBWC’s efforts to push this issue and the reporting on this issue, whether the priority order is right or not.

Without commenting on relative priority, I do actually think making it possible to bypass the Fuller Road / Maiden Lane intersection would be a huge win. For parents with small kids, a key feature of the B2B trail is the ability to go on a long ride without stressing about roads.

Obviously, figuring out how to get from downtown/westside to B2B is critical. Likewise figuring out how to get from Bandemeer to Barton would be a huge win.

By: Larry Baird Larry Baird Fri, 23 Aug 2013 17:07:57 +0000 As a frequent B2B user, I appreciate Mr. Deck’s efforts to draw attention back to these long term PROS plan projects that continually get bumped down the priority list.

Citizen survey’s show B2B trail improvements as one of the top citizen priorities, yet newer parks projects, bike lanes, etc. seem to continually crowd out the funding and resolve for these older much needed B2B projects.

Perhaps Ms. Grand and the North Main Task force can clarify why a pedestrian tunnel right next to the existing Broadway Bridge (at Fourth and Depot) should have priority over the proposed tunnel at Bandemer & Barton where no safe alternative railroad crossing exists?

Why spend millions of greenbelt funds on acquiring Camp Hilltop and Bluffs Park but fail to provide safe pedestrian access to these newer parks? Why not focus on improving access to parks we already own versus hypothetical parks like DTE?