AATA OKs Bus Stop Deal with Ann Arbor

Washtenaw/Pittsfield transfer to replace Arborland stop

Ann Arbor Transportation Authority special board meeting (April 1, 2011): At a special meeting, announced in advance on March 28, the AATA board voted unanimously to authorize its CEO to sign a memorandum of understanding (MOU) with the city of Ann Arbor to construct a bus pullout as part of a bus transfer center on eastbound Washtenaw Avenue, east of Pittsfield Boulevard.

bus pullout Ann Arbor Saline Road

This is a bus pullout area constructed on northeastbound Ann Arbor-Saline Road next to the Woodland Plaza where, among other retail stores, Busch's Fresh Food Market is located. The bus pullout to be constructed on Washtenaw Avenue will be similar in concept. (Photo by the writer.)

The bus pullout is part of a larger project – a transfer center on the south side of Washtenaw Avenue at Pittsfield Boulevard, opposite Arborland mall – which will include a “super shelter.” The project is being paid for with federal stimulus money granted to the AATA. For now, only a center on the south side is being contemplated, because topographical and right-of-way issues pose challenges on the north side.

The city of Ann Arbor has already conducted the bid, and is preparing to award the construction contract. The city will oversee construction activities on the AATA’s behalf, using funds provided through the AATA. The rationale for the city’s oversight of the project is that the city regularly carries out similar projects, and it’s expected there will be fewer problems and a better final product. At its April 4 meeting, the Ann Arbor city council will vote on awarding a construction contract to Fonson Inc.

The MOU had been discussed at the AATA board’s regular monthly meeting on March 17, but board members were reluctant to vote on it without a final draft of the MOU itself in front of them. That led to the need for a special meeting on April 1.

Construction on the bus pullout is to begin in April and be complete by June of this year.

The need for a transfer center at that Washtenaw Avenue location, of which the bus pullout is a part, stems from the termination in July 2009 of a previous arrangement with Arborland shopping center, which provided for a bus stop and transfer center in the Arborland parking lot.

Bus Pullout: Board Deliberations

Board chair Jesse Bernstein and Anya Dale were the first to arrive at the 9 a.m. meeting, and had to wait a few minutes until other board members appeared. By 9:06 a.m. they’d a achieved a quorum and two minutes later the board had all members present.

David Nacht stressed that the arrangement with the city of Ann Arbor follows in a long line of collaboration with the city. In the past, much of that collaboration had focused on planning, but this particular project, he said, showed collaboration on the actual construction. He concluded by saying it was a “perfect use of community resources – exactly what taxpayers expect.”

By way of background, estimated costs of the construction include:

Construction Contract                   $159,107
Street Light Relocations                 $15,000
Construction Engineering and Inspection  $26,500
Construction Materials Testing            $5,500
Contingencies                            $17,500
Miscellaneous Expenses                   $13,500
TOTAL                                   $237,107

Anya Dale wanted to know if there were plans for other pullouts. Chris White, manager of service development for the AATA, explained that the AATA is pursuing opportunities as they come up, as opposed to tackling Washtenaw Avenue systematically.

Bernstein stressed that while right now it might just be a matter of taking advantage of opportunities, down the road at some point, the AATA is interested in a more systematic approach. [Transit infrastructure like shelters with more amenities and pedestrian improvements are part of the improvements associated with a corridor improvement authority that's currently under discussion. Chronicle coverage: "What Does Washtenaw Corridor Need"]

Nacht asked Sue McCormick – who in addition to serving on the AATA board also serves as the city of Ann Arbor’s public services area administrator – if she needed to abstain. She didn’t think so.

Outcome: The board voted unanimously to authorize CEO Michael Ford to sign the memorandum of understanding with the city of Ann Arbor to construct a bus pullout.

Present: Charles Griffith, David Nacht, Jesse Bernstein, Sue McCormick, Rich Robben, Roger Kerson, Anya Dale

Next regular meeting: Thursday, April 21, 2011 at 6:30 p.m. at the Ann Arbor District Library, 343 S. Fifth Ave., Ann Arbor [confirm date]


  1. By A2Eastsider
    April 1, 2011 at 4:26 pm | permalink

    This is great news. That area has been a real bottle neck since Arborland kicked the busses out of there. It will be interesting to see if this restructuring of the road there causes the turn out of the mall on the south side of the road to change. Many, many drivers exiting Arborland leave via the front drive way, head west on Washtenaw, turn onto Pittsfield then use Pittsfield, through the mall parking lot, along the service drive, out onto Washtenaw as an unofficial Blvd turn for heading east on Washtenaw. That gets pretty wild too sometimes.

  2. April 4, 2011 at 10:38 pm | permalink

    Great! Now all we need is a bus that goes to Ypsi without wandering all over the hospital and taking 45 minutes to make a 20 minute trip. And runs outside of commuting hours. And runs frequently. And is on time.

  3. By Zanzerbar
    April 5, 2011 at 9:01 am | permalink

    @Jim You can bicycle from Ann Arbor to Ypsi in 30 minutes using the Border to Border trail along the river. If it takes you longer than that, keep at it.You’ll eventually get up to speed.If it starts raining,hop on the bus.