Stories indexed with the term ‘TMP’

AATA Taps Berriz, Guenzel to Review Plan

Ann Arbor Transportation Authority board meeting (Aug. 24, 2011): At a meeting held at a revised time and day to accomodate board members’ summer schedules, the AATA board approved a series of resolutions, two of which related in some direct way to the possible future of transit in the Ann Arbor area.

Roger Kerson

AATA board member Roger Kerson at the board's Aug. 24, 2011 meeting. (Photos by the writer.)

At the board meeting, CEO Michael Ford announced that McKinley Inc. CEO Albert Berriz and Bob Guenzel, retired Washtenaw County administrator, will be co-chairing a panel of financial and funding experts who will review various funding options for a possible expanded, countywide transportation system.

The board voted to release a funding report to the panel – the third volume of its transit master plan (TMP). [.pdf of Part 1 of Vol. 3 Transit Master Plan Funding Options] [.pdf of Part 2 of Vol. 3 Transit Master Plan Funding Options]. The first two volumes were released previously.

The report describes a range of funding options, which would likely be used in some combination of strategies: fare revenues, advertising, property taxes, sales taxes, payroll taxes, parking taxes, stakeholder contributions, fuel taxes and vehicle license fees.

In anticipation that the panel could recommend funding options that would require voter approval, the board also approved the selection of CJI Research Corp. as the vendor for survey work over the next three years. That survey work can include on-board surveys of bus riders as well as telephone surveys of Washtenaw County voters.

At the Aug. 24 meeting, the board also approved implementation of a new website, which will provide greater flexibility for AATA staff who aren’t computer programmers to push information to the public. The new site is also intended to make it easier for the public to track the real-time locations of their bus.

The board also changed its pricing policy for the go!pass, a bus pass offered to downtown Ann Arbor employees that allows them to board AATA buses on an unlimited basis without paying a fare. The cost of the fares has historically been paid by the Ann Arbor Downtown Development Authority using public parking system revenues, plus a nominal fee per card paid by downtown employers. The revised policy breaks with AATA’s past practice of charging costs for go!pass rides based on its cheapest full-fare alternative. Those costs per ride will now be lower, based on the DDA’s ability to pay and the AATA’s estimate of what employers would be willing to pay.

In other business, the board approved a revision to its contract with the Select Ride company, which provides AATA’s on-demand paratransit service (A-Ride) for those who are not able to ride the fixed-route regularly-scheduled bus system. The upward adjustment was driven by a recent increase in maximum taxicab fares implemented by the city of Ann Arbor.

The board also approved a master agreement that will apply to all of its contracts with the Michigan Dept. of Transportation, and adjusted its capital plan to accommodate changes in three projects: the Blake Transit Center, the bus storage facility, and the bus maintenance facility. [Full Story]

AATA Disseminates Draft Transit Plan

At its April 21, 2011 meeting, the board of the Ann Arbor Transportation Authority approved a resolution to disseminate the draft of a countywide transportation master plan, which it has been developing over the last year. [Previous Chronicle coverage: "'Smart Growth' to Fuel Countywide Transit"]

At least five public meetings will be held in May to introduce the plan to the community. From the resolution, the AATA staff are directed “to schedule and publicize at least five public meetings during the review period at locations throughout the County, and to undertake additional discussions with citizens, officials and organizations as those opportunities arise and to take comments on the draft Plan documents.”

All  meetings are scheduled for 6-8 p.m: May 9 at the Chelsea Library, 221 S. Main St., Chelsea; May 10 at SPARK East, 215 W. Michigan Ave., Ypsilanti; May 11 at the Ann Arbor District Library, 343 S. Fifth Ave., Ann Arbor; May 16 at the Dexter Library, 3255 Alpine, Dexter; May 27 17 at Saline City Hall, 100 N. Harris St, Saline.

After a 60-day review period, the document will come back before the AATA board, at its June meeting, for final approval.

The draft plan is split into two parts – one outlining a vision and the other outlining how that vision is to be implemented.

[.pdf of draft "Volume 1: A Transit Vision for Washtenaw County"] [.pdf of draft "Volume 2: Transit Master Plan Implementation Strategy"]

This brief was filed from the boardroom at the downtown Ann Arbor District Library location on Fifth Avenue, where the AATA board holds its meetings. A more detailed report will follow: [link] [Full Story]

AATA Adopts “Smart Growth” as Plan Basis

At its March 17, 2011 meeting, the Ann Arbor Transportation Authority board voted unanimously to adopt a “Smart Growth” scenario as the basis of continued development of its transportation master plan (TMP). The Smart Growth scenario is the most ambitious of three scenarios the AATA has developed, which unfolded over the course of a planning and public engagement process that began in the summer of 2010.

Transit options in the three scenarios – which the AATA has labeled Lifeline Plus, Accessible County, and Smart Growth – are nested subsets, starting with Lifeline Plus as a base, which expands on existing services and focuses on services for seniors and disabled people. Accessible County extends services by adding fixed-route bus service to connect all the county’s urban centers. The Smart Growth scenario includes north-south and east-west commuter rail regional components, as well as high-capacity local transit options for corridors like Washtenaw Avenue and State-Plymouth.

Development of the TMP for countywide service has been identified by the AATA board as a necessary step to take before reorganizing the AATA as a transit authority for the entire county. In December 2009, the board held a special meeting to seek advice on various options for reorganization under Act 196 or Act 55. [Chronicle coverage "AATA Gets Advice on Countywide Transit"]

This brief was filed from the Ann Arbor District Library boardroom, where the AATA board holds its regular monthly meetings. A more detailed report will follow: [link] [Full Story]

AATA Extends Countywide Planning Time

Ann Arbor Transportation Authority board meeting (Nov. 18, 2010): Starting things off on Thursday – an hour earlier than the board’s usual 6:30 p.m. start time – was an update from the consultant and AATA staff who are leading the community in developing a countywide transportation master plan (TMP).


Board members Jesse Bernstein and Sue McCormick confer before the start of the Nov. 18 meeting. (Photos by the writer.)

The steps outlined for developing the TMP include a chronology for identifying the following: a shared community vision; a transit needs assessment; transit options; a set of scenarios. The consulting team is in the midst of a phase that identifies a range of various options. The creation of various scenarios – combinations of different transit options – will constitute the final phase of work before production of the TMP in mid-April 2011.

That projected completion date reflects an extension of the original timeframe, which was originally set to conclude in late February. The extra time will allow for an additional step in the process – a step that will allow the consultant to present a set of scenarios without specifying any one of them as the recommended scenario.

To allow for the extra time, later in the evening the board approved a resolution increasing the $399,805 contract with Steer Davies Gleeve – the consultant AATA hired to help with the work – by an amount not to exceed $32,500.

In other business, the board discussed, but did not approve, a new janitorial contract for Blake Transit Center, which specified a different vendor from the current one. The new vendor’s bid came in at a cost a bit more than half of what had been budgeted for the year: $72,000 compared to the budgeted $126,069. Concerns by board members about how the cost savings were being achieved were serious enough that they chose, on a split vote, to table the issue.

In a move that did not authorize any current expenditure, the board adopted a compensation philosophy over which there was some brief but firm debate. Board member David Nacht weighed in against the idea of a public entity creating such a document – they’re only used to justify increases in payment but never decreases, he said. Expressing the view of the majority, however, was board member Sue McCormick, who stressed the importance of a public entity making a clear and transparent statement of how salaries are set.

The board entertained its usual range of committee reports and remarks from the public. [Full Story]