Meeting Watch: Preview – UM Board of Regents (18 Sept 2008)

Initial approval of major Wall Street parking project on the agenda

The University of Michigan Board of Regents will meet this Thursday, Sept. 18, at 3 p.m. in the Fleming Administration Building, 503 Thompson St. A limited number of public comment slots are available. You get 5 minutes, but you need to sign up by 9 a.m. the day before the meeting. The sign-up form is here.

Here are some items on their agenda:

  • A $48.6 million project to 1) build a parking structure on Wall Street to provide 550 new spaces and a small transit center “to encourage the use of buses and shuttles”; and 2) build a 40,000-square-foot office building to house the Michigan Business Engagement Center. The center “is to function as the gateway to the university for business and industry.”
  • A $5.9 million project to create a new outpatient observation care unit in the Taubman Health Center adjacent to the University Hospital ER.
  • A $4.5 million renovation project to establish a clinic at Domino’s Farms for the Department of Internal Medicine’s Division of Metabolism, Endocrinology and Diabetes.
  • A $3.15 million project to renovate an inpatient psychiatry unit at University Hospital.

Addendum: Based a note from Matt late last night (see Comment 1 below) The Chronicle went out and photographed the poster early this morning:

Poster opposing construction of Wall Street parking structure by University of Michigan.

Poster opposing construction of Wall Street parking structure by University of Michigan.

From the text of the poster:

  • The UM will present a plan to the Board of Regents for approval to provide 1200 parking spaces in two parking structures with no logistical consideration for the already approved Lower Town development which includes 740 parking spaces, and intentions that conflict with the city of Ann Arbor’s Northeast Area Plan.
  • 2000 cars will traverse Maiden Lane and Wall Street daily during morning and evening commutes, with vacant structures at night and on weekends that attract crime and deadened the community.
  • Consider what the construction of more than 1 million additional square feet of high-rise space these parking structures, and a transit center, will do for your commute, not to mention the permanent damage to the historical character and function of the Lower Town Area.
  • The concentration of over 2000 parked cars on Maiden Lane and Wall Street does not make sense.
  • The area is unable to accommodate these types of additions, and unreasonable changes can be expected.
  • This contradicts the founding principles of the UMHS to provide health and well-being to patients and Ann Arbor residents.
  • Air quality concerns for exhaust emissions of 2000 cars twice daily.
  • Water quality concerns from oil and chemical runoff flowing directly into storm sewers and onto Traver Creek and the Huron River.
  • Irreparable damage to the ecosystem and biodiversity of the adjacent 100-year floodplain.


  1. By Matt
    September 16, 2008 at 10:40 am | permalink

    There’s a full-color poster in the PFC window full of bullet points arguing against the Wall St. development. It doesn’t mention who’s behind the campaign, though. I haven’t seen the posters elsewhere, but I don’t get to that side of town as much anymore.

  2. By Dave Askins
    September 16, 2008 at 11:11 am | permalink

    Councilmember Briere (Ward 1) brought a resolution at either the last city council meeting or the one before that, which council passed, calling for cooperation from the UM on the Wall Street parking structure project.

    I recall vaguely seeing a Michigan Daily article on the neighborhood opposition as well. If we didn’t log that in Old Media Watch, we probably should have.

    I’d invite Chronicle readers to track down the text of the resolution and link to it or else past the text into a comment, and to find the MD article and link to it.

  3. By Ltconcerns
    September 16, 2008 at 9:23 pm | permalink

    Here is the City Council Resolution points, unanimously approved in July 2008:

    Resolution calling for increased cooperation between the City and the University of Michigan in planning for redevelopment of the Wall Street Area

    Whereas, the City of Ann Arbor established goals for the Wall Street area in the Northeast Area Plan, emphasizing that University facilities would be developed in a manner that encourages pedestrian activity, complements the historic character of the area, provides access to the Huron River, offers attractive public open spaces, is well integrated with surrounding uses and contributes to the vitality of Lower Town, and

    Whereas, a primary approach to implementing many of the Northeast Area Plan’s recommendations is for the University of Michigan and City of Ann Arbor to establish a better working relationship on development, transportation, access and utility issues facing the Lower Town area, and

    Whereas, the University of Michigan’s plans to build two parking structures on their Wall Street property, each housing about 600 cars to provide parking for commuters as well as staff and patients of the clinics in addition to at least three other large buildings, forever changing the use and streetscape of the area while adding thousands of automobiles to the traffic mix, and

    Whereas, the University of Michigan has already invested in commuter lots and busses that could be expanded to serve the needs of commuter parking for the clinics to be built on Wall Street, and

    Whereas, the City and the University of Michigan have a common goal of reducing automobile trips into the core of the city to reduce congestion, air pollution and green house gas production, and

    Whereas, about 2000 Ann Arbor residents live adjacent to the property owned by the University of Michigan on Wall Street and they will be impacted by years of heavy construction and a significantly changed living environment, and

    Whereas, the University of Michigan’s plan for the Wall Street area is based on an older concept that could not have anticipated evolving regional transportation strategies, and

    Whereas, the sharp increase in fuel prices has led many drivers to seek alternatives to the automobile with record numbers of commuters making use of AATA bus service and there is building momentum for a new commuter rail line from the east that would deliver staff members, patients and visitors right to the UM Medical Center site, and

    Whereas, momentum is also building for a north/south commuter rail line that would stop within a mile of the UM Medical Center, and

    Whereas, at this time an opportunity exists for the University of Michigan and the City of Ann Arbor to engage in meaningful conversation about the future of this vital part of the city.

    Resolved: That the Mayor and City Council request the President and Regents of the University of Michigan pause in moving forward with plans for the Wall Street area and engage in a planning process with the City at the highest level. The objective of this process will be to merge the goals of the University with those of the City while at the same time addressing the needs of the residents who live in the Wall Street area.

    Submitted by Mayor Hieftje and Council Member Briere

  4. By Ltconcerns
    September 16, 2008 at 9:32 pm | permalink