Stories indexed with the term ‘Chevrolet’

Column: Chevy Volt – Private Transit Choices

Last week The Chronicle received a cold-call from Suburban Chevrolet out at Wagner and Jackson roads with an offer to test-drive a Chevy Volt.

Chevy Volt

Even if you don't know me, this photo is a dead give-away that I am not a car guy. I deliberately shot that photo from an angle that would include Suburban Chevrolet's sign in the background, And I thought I'd nailed it – because the sign said "Suburban." (Photos by the writer.)

The sales consultant was keen to point out that Suburban Chevrolet was the first area dealership to have a vehicle available for test drives. But test-driving a car is pretty remote from The Chronicle’s mission, and even more remote from my personal transportation choice.

I share a membership in Zipcar with my wife, but don’t even remember the last time I’ve sat behind the wheel of a car myself. Zipcar, a car-sharing service, is like an insurance policy – a backup plan I never use. I get around by bicycle.

Still, in the Chevy Volt, I spotted a chance to write about a major public works construction project in downtown Ann Arbor – the Fifth Avenue underground parking structure, which will feature around 640 parking spaces on a lot that previously offered 192 spots.

Twenty-two of those new spots will be equipped with electric car charging stations. Dave Konkle, former energy coordinator for the city of Ann Arbor who now consults for the Ann Arbor Downtown Development Authority on its energy projects, identified the federal grant that’s helping to pay for the stations. The grant is worth $264,100 and will also pay for photovoltaic panels that will provide the energy for two of the spots – it was obtained through the Clean Energy Coalition’s Clean Cities Program.

That public project is closely tied to the assumption that visitors to downtown Ann Arbor will continue to make a personal choice for private transportation in the form of an automobile, and that some of those people will choose electric cars like the Volt.

The idea I want to think about in this column is that public choices depend on the sum of many private, independent choices made by actual people. It’s an idea that was driven home to me at a public transportation forum hosted earlier this week by the Ann Arbor Transportation Authority at SPARK East in Ypsilanti.

At that forum, Bob Van Bemmelen – recent Republican candidate for the Washtenaw County board of commissioners – had this advice for the AATA as it pitches to the public the idea of countywide public transit: You have to make it personal, he said.

So I’ll begin by telling you a little bit more about the Suburban Chevrolet sales guy who gave me a ride in the Chevy Volt – who is as much a car guy as I am a bicycle guy: Nic Allebrodt. [Full Story]

Ann Arbor OKs Purchase of Chevy Police Cars

At its April 19, 2011 meeting, the Ann Arbor city council approved the purchase two police cars totaling $54,625 – a Chevy Caprice for $25,604 and a Chevy Tahoe for $29,021 from Shaheen Chevrolet. At the council’s Feb. 22, 2011 meeting, it had authorized the purchase of five police cars – Crown Victoria Police Interceptors – for $20,730 each, a total of $103,650.

But at that meeting, city administrator Roger Fraser had indicated that the city might opt not to purchase all five. From The Chronicle’s report of that meeting: “The city might decide not to buy all five Crown Victorias, and instead purchase a new model that Chevrolet is making available in late summer or early fall, Fraser said.”

The two purchases authorized on April 19 will replace cars under the police union’s contract that stipulates cars cannot exceed 80,000 miles or a six-year life. Adding the Caprice to the Dodge Charger that the department purchased previously will allow the Ann Arbor Police Department to assess how it wants to stock its fleet in the future, given that the Crown Victoria is going out of production. A third option besides the Caprice and the Charger would be whatever model Ford uses to replace the Crown Victoria.

The Chevys that were authorized by the Ann Arbor city council would be purchased under the cooperative bidding programs of the State of Michigan, Oakland County, and Macomb County. Shaheen Chevrolet in Lansing was the lowest bidder under the State of Michigan’s program.

This brief was filed from the city council’s chambers on the second floor of city hall, located at 301 E. Huron. A more detailed report will follow: [link] [Full Story]