Ann Arbor Area Transportation Authority board meeting (Nov. 21, 2013): The board’s meeting was highlighted by applause for an action taken by the Ann Arbor city council three days earlier – to give its approval to the addition of Ypsilanti Township as a member of the AAATA.
The AAATA board had already given approval to say yes to the township’s request to be added as a member – on Sept. 26, 2013. And Ypsilanti’s city council – the other recently-added jurisdiction – had given approval of the move at its Oct. 15, 2013 meeting. The Ann Arbor city council had considered the question at its Oct. 21, 2013 meeting, but had postponed action until Nov. 18, 2013.
The addition of Ypsilanti Township as an AAATA member will increase the number of positions on the AAATA board from nine to 10, with the additional member appointed by the township. Board chair Charles Griffith indicated at the Nov. 21 meeting that the name of Larry Krieg would be put forward by township supervisor Brenda Stumbo for confirmation by the township board of trustees. It’s hoped, Griffith said, that Krieg would be able to attend the next meeting of the board, on Dec. 19, as a member. Krieg attended the Nov. 21 meeting as an audience member. During public commentary at the meeting, Krieg called Ypsilanti Township’s admission into the authority a “victory for regionalism and common sense.”
In its one piece of new business on Nov. 21, the board approved an increase to the AAATA’s contract with Advance Security, to allow for around-the-clock security service coverage at the Blake Transit Center construction site. According to the staff memo accompanying the board resolution, the additional security is required until the new building can be outfitted with doors, windows and locks. The last time the board approved the annual contract it was for $205,000. The increase brought the annual value of the contract to $242,000. The BTC is now expected to be completed by the end of January 2014.
Another highlight of the meeting was a presentation on a comparative analysis the AAATA is conducting of its performance, using statistics from the National Transit Database, and a set of 20 peer transit authorities. The peer set was determined by a tool that is available through the Florida Transit Information System (FTIS). Three key metrics were presented at the Nov. 21 meeting: operating cost per service hour, rider trips per service hour, and operating cost per rider trip. While the AAATA’s operating cost per service hour is greater than its peer group average, according to the AAATA that’s counterbalanced by the number of rider trips per service hour – which leads to a lower cost per rider trip than its peer group average. In this report, The Chronicle presents that data as well as examples of other kinds of data that can be compared across the peer group.
The AAATA board also gave some discussion to a recent presentation given to its planning and development committee from Michigan Dept. of Transportation (MDOT) staff on plans for US-23. MDOT intends to use an Active Traffic Management (ATM) system to direct traffic and decrease congestion in the US-23 corridor – because there’s no funding to add an additional lane. That’s hoped to be implemented by 2016. The ATM system would involve upgrading the median shoulder, installing intelligent transportation system (ITS) equipment, constructing crash investigation sites and periodically using shoulders as travel lanes. The plan will also include widening three bridges from North Territorial Road to Eight Mile Road. The AAATA has been asked by MDOT to consider providing park-and-ride service from those bridges.
During the meeting, the board also watched a video that has been produced to explain the connector study – an alternatives analysis for the corridor running from US-23 and Plymouth southward along Plymouth to State Street, then further south to I-94. The alternatives analysis phase will result in a preferred choice of transit mode (e.g., bus rapid transit, light rail, etc.) and identification of stations and stops. The study has winnowed down options to six different route alignments.
At its Nov. 21 meeting, the board also heard its usual range of reports and communications.