Comments on: City Council Passes FY 2015 Budget it's like being there Tue, 16 Sep 2014 04:56:38 +0000 hourly 1 By: Eric Boyd Eric Boyd Mon, 26 May 2014 12:22:20 +0000 Rod,

The easiest way to understand it is to ride it or walk it. There’s a very challenging (at least for me) mountain bike trail through the area that passes through the tunnel under M14. To get to it, exit north out of Bandemeer Park onto Whitmore Lake Road. Head north on the right side of Whitmore Lake Road past the freeway exit. After a little while, you’ll see a foot trail heading northeast. Follow that narrow trail until you reach the tunnel. If you keep going, it will eventually exit onto Pontiac Trail.

This is part of what mountain bikers call the “Local Loop”, mapped here: [link]

If you zoom in, you can see the route.

This website seems to have a lot of historical detail about the Huron Parkway in the western part of town, but not really cover the proposed northwest extension bending over to M14. [link]

According to this earlier version of the NE Area Plan: [link]

“Huron Parkway/Inner Belt System During the 1950′s, state and
federal agencies developed the concept of a circumferential highway
skirting the east side of Ann Arbor and proceeded to acquire right-of-way
for its construction. City officials subsequently convinced these
agencies to relocate the highway path further east and north in the
present US-23/M-14 configuration. The concept of Huron Parkway was
originally proposed in the 1959 Thoroughfare Plan as an “inner belt” for
the northeast area, utilizing the right-of-way acquired for the original
US-23 route. This parkway was to act as an intermediate route, providing
access to major routes in the area.”

That suggests to me that it would be useful to look at the 1959 Thoroughfare Plan, but I can’t find it online.

Hope that helps.


By: Rod Johnson Rod Johnson Thu, 22 May 2014 15:30:32 +0000 Eric #7: Can you point me to any documentation about the unused Huron Parkway right-of-way extension? I’ve been trying to find out more about this for a while now.

By: Vivienne Armentrout Vivienne Armentrout Wed, 21 May 2014 19:41:08 +0000 Regarding the Pedestrian Safety and Access Task Force, please note that there is now a page on the city website for it.


The page links to a Google group that volunteers from the Task Force have set up. It is accessible to the public.

By: Jack Eaton Jack Eaton Wed, 21 May 2014 19:14:21 +0000 Re (6) Regarding the pedestrian safety task force, you said: “At this point in time, there is no money designated to support the task force, suggesting it is unlikely to be effective.”

Staff has identified $75,000 in the Fiscal Year 2014 (current year) budget that is available for the consultant who will facilitate the task force. Staff has repeatedly sought additional funding to support activities that arguably are not within the task force’s scope of work.

It is my understanding that the task force will soon meet to discuss their own view of the proper scope of their duties. I would like to hear from them before allocating funds.

By: Eric Boyd Eric Boyd Wed, 21 May 2014 06:49:05 +0000 I would also make the general comment that it has been many years since the city of Ann Arbor built a new non-motorized path that didn’t run along a road. Compared to Dexter / Scio Township, Ypsilanti, Ypsilanti Township, and Pittlsfield Township, if feels like the city is really, really lagging behind.

There are some very obvious candidates in the PROS plan or from looking at a map (in no particular order):
1) Allen Creek Greenway from B2B trail, under tracks, to State Street (and beyond to Ellsworth).
2) Fix the B2B trail “around” Maiden Lane / Fuller intersection.
3) Extend the B2B trail west from Bandemere Park through Barton Nature Area to Foster Road.
4) Connect Whitmore Lake Road to Pontiac Trail along the unused Huron Parkway right-of-way extension.
5) Connect South Maple to Eisenhower along I-94 (when the Mallets Creek Study is implemented).
6) Connect Concordia University to Gallup Park along the south side of Geddes Road (completing the Gallup Park / Park Mill loop).
7) Connect Scio Church Road to South State Street along the southern edge of the U of M golf course.
8) Connect Nichols Arboretum to the Gallup Park path.

I’m starting to despair that the city will ever find the funds or the motivation to build more trails, despite the desire for more trails consistently ranking highly in parks-related surveys.

By: Eric Boyd Eric Boyd Wed, 21 May 2014 06:48:45 +0000 The council’s actions generally supported safe streets, although the balance of the council suggests some points might be at risk if the council continues to tip in composition.

Corrections and comments welcome if I misunderstood or mischaracterized the actions of the council. Apologies in advance for any mistakes.

On the positive side (with caveats):
1) Funding for sidewalks and bike lanes on Pontiac Trail are going forward (although the sidewalks are unfortunately only on the east side).

2) Funding for sidewalks on Barton Drive and Scio Church Road are going forward (although somehow the short sidewalk gap on the north side of Scio Church seems to have been dropped inexplicably).

3) The public hearing on funding the Newport Road sidewalk (a short, but important, segment on the west side of the road north of M14) was continued and concluded.

4) The Act 51 allocation for alternative transportation is returning to prior levels, going up from 2.5% to 5% – which translates to $180,000. I don’t believe the use of this money has been determined yet, but there are clearly many needs. This is a great development.

5) The proposal to allow the piling of leaves in the street (including bike lanes) was again rejected.

On the negative side:
6) While funding for 415 W. Washington’s demolition was withdrawn, it was *not* allocated to support the pedestrian safety task force. At this point in time, there is no money designated to support the task force, suggesting it is unlikely to be effective.

7) Additional funding for traffic calming was rejected. (It would have come at the cost of reduced support for the transition of the public art program, which some would consider a poor trade-off.) There was no proposal for straight funding of additional traffic calming.

By: Dave Askins Dave Askins Tue, 20 May 2014 16:48:49 +0000 Re: [4] and the rationale for the 415 W. Washington demolition amendment.

In support of Jack’s recollection of the meeting, from the live updates coverage:

1:40 a.m. Budget amendment: 415 W. Washington demolition. This proposal would simply eliminate general fund support for demolition of the city-owned buildings at 415 W. Washington. (Kailasapathy, Lumm, Eaton, Anglin)

1:42 a.m. Kailasapathy says that she had proposed this in response to CFO Tom Crawford’s cautionary remarks from the May 12 work session about the level of the general fund reserves. She says that the money for demolition could be found in the parks maintenance and capital improvements millage, if the property is added to the PROS plan.

By: Jack Eaton Jack Eaton Tue, 20 May 2014 16:27:28 +0000 Re (1), “It’s interesting that no proposed reductions were designated for maintaining a higher level of reserve funds…”

The article reports “The $300,000 in the proposed general fund budget allocated for the demolition of the city-owned 415 W. Washington building was eliminated for that purpose, without any other purpose identified for spending the money.”

A reason some of us opposed the use of that $300,000 was the impact it would have on the reserve account. If I recall correctly, CM Kailasapathy made that point during the discussion of that budget amendment.

By: Steve Bean Steve Bean Tue, 20 May 2014 16:12:41 +0000 @2:

Safer, more energy efficient, more amenable to solar electric power, less environmental impact, and cheaper in the long run than the car/road status quo.

By: Vivienne Armentrout Vivienne Armentrout Tue, 20 May 2014 15:42:13 +0000 JPod-type system?