Stories indexed with the term ‘MDOT’

Grant Request in Works for Gallup Pathway

The Ann Arbor park advisory commission has recommended that the city apply for a grant to help renovate the Gallup Park pathway, which is part of the countywide Border-to-Border trail. The grant application is to the federal transportation alternatives program (TAP), which is administered in this region by the Southeast Michigan Council of Governments (SEMCOG) and statewide by the Michigan Dept. of Transportation (MDOT).

Gallup Park, Border to Border trail, Ann Arbor park advisory commission, The Ann Arbor Chronicle

Aerial view showing location of trail improvements at Gallup Park. (Links to larger image.)

Funds would be used to renovate the path from the Geddes Dam at the east end of … [Full Story]

AAATA Secures BTC, Applauds City Council

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.

AAATA board chair Charles Griffith was interviewed after the meeting by Andrew Cluley of WEMU radio

AAATA board chair Charles Griffith was interviewed after the meeting by Andrew Cluley of WEMU radio. (Photos by the writer.)

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. [Full Story]

Annual MDOT Authorization OK’d by AAATA

Ann Arbor Area Transportation Authority CEO Michael Ford was authorized by the board at its Oct. 17, 2013 meeting to execute all contracts with the Michigan Dept. of Transportation that are less than $1 million for the next fiscal year, through Sept. 30, 2014.

It’s a routine annual authorization.

This brief was filed from the downtown location of the Ann Arbor District Library, where the AAATA board holds its meetings. A more detailed report will follow: [link]

Bandemer Park near Lakeshore Drive

Orange track equipment setting ties and grading ballast. White vehicles still have “Norfolk Southern” included a passenger bus. I think we’re getting our high-speed rail. [photo]

AATA Approves Routine MDOT Processes

As it typically does each year, the board of the Ann Arbor Transportation Authority has authorized its chief executive officer to sign and execute contracts with the Michigan Dept. of Transportation (MDOT) without seeking a separate board resolution – as long as the contracts are less than $1 million. The board gave the blanket authorization at its Sept. 27, 2012 meeting.

According to the staff memo accompanying the resolution, there are 10-15 separate agreements between MDOT and AATA. A staff analysis of the resolution allows that there’s a risk to the practice – that the board might not be aware of the contracts that the CEO is executing. That risk is meant to be mitigated by a new practice of reporting all … [Full Story]

AATA OKs FY 2013 Budget with Deficit

The budget for the upcoming Ann Arbor Transportation Authority fiscal year – which starts Oct. 1, 2012 – will show a roughly $300,000 deficit. The vote by the AATA board adopting the $32,700,181 budget, as well as an annual work plan, was taken at its Sept. 27, 2012 meeting.

The draft AATA budget provided on Sept. 12 to the city council as a communication item for the council’s Sept. 17 meeting showed a surplus of $22,692 over the budgeted expenses of $33,344,048. The need for the AATA to use $300,000 of unrestricted net assets – to cover the difference between expenditures and revenues –  was prompted by notification on Sept. 14 by the Michigan Dept. of Transportation (MDOT) that a new interpretation of the state’s operating assistance … [Full Story]

County Land Sale to MDOT Gets Initial OK

Washtenaw County plans to sell a small strip of land along Washtenaw Avenue to the Michigan Dept. of Transportation, in a deal that was given initial approval by the county board of commissioners at their Sept. 19, 2012 meeting. MDOT has offered $16,500 for the land, plus an additional $2,500 for a sidewalk easement. A final board vote is expected on Oct. 3.

The land, near the county’s service center, is located at the intersection of Washtenaw and Hogback. MDOT plans to make improvements to the intersection, including the addition of right-turn lanes. The parcel contains 10,586 square feet, but 8,407 square feet of that is in the Washtenaw Avenue right of way and can’t be developed. A staff memo states that conversations … [Full Story]

AATA OKs MDOT Master Agreement

At its Aug. 24, 2011 meeting, the Ann Arbor Transportation Authority board authorized standard terms and conditions for a five-year master agreement with the Michigan Dept. of Transportation. The master agreement will facilitate future contracts with MDOT for state funding, as well as to pass through federal funding to the AATA. The standard terms and conditions are established as part of a master agreement so that they don’t have to be spelled out in every future contract individually.

The current five-year master agreement expires on Sept. 30, 2011 and the board’s action authorized a new agreement that reflected only minor changes from the current one: third-party contracting procedures are updated, and reference to a regional program was eliminated because it no longer exists.

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

Stadium Bridges Get Second Special Meeting

Ann Arbor City Council special meeting (April 11, 2011): This week the Ann Arbor city council held its second special meeting in the last two months, both in connection with the city’s planned East Stadium bridges replacement project. At the April 11 meeting, a provision common to three separate easements granted by the University of Michigan, and previously approved by the city council at its April 4 meeting, was deleted from those easement grants by request of the Federal Highway Administration and the Michigan Dept. of Transportation.

The easements are necessary for the city to proceed with its plan to replace the East Stadium bridges over State Street and the Ann Arbor Railroad tracks. The city has been awarded a total of $13.9 million in TIGER II federal grant funding to pay for the project, which has an estimated total cost of $23 million. Factoring in $2.87 million in state funds, that leaves the city of Ann Arbor’s share for the bridge replacement at $6.2 million. The federal funds require that at least 20% of the funding for the project come from non-federal sources.

Easements approved by the council include: a road right-of-way easement from the University of Michigan for $563,400; two utilities easements from UM totaling $426,650; and an unrecorded water utilities easement.

The deleted provision in the easements had provided for a relocation of facilities, but only if it were allowed by law and specifically approved by the Michigan Dept. of Transportation – otherwise, relocation was prohibited. Because relocation is prohibited by law in any case, MDOT took the view that the provision should not appear in the contract; hence, the change to the wording was requested. It is an administrative change, not a substantive one.

By holding a previous special meeting on March 16, 2011 to sign necessary documents, the council was able to get $800,000 of TIGER II federal funds formally “obligated” for the first right-of-way phase of the project. The remaining $13.1 million in TIGER II funds is expected to be obligated sometime in May. [Full Story]