Stories indexed with the term ‘The Link’

DDA Buys Shelter Beds; New Life for LINK?

two men standing facing each other

DDA board chair John Splitt (left) and Michael Ortlieb (right) of Carl Walker – the design firm that's handling the new Fifth Avenue underground parking structure. (Photo by the writer.)

Downtown Development Authority board meeting (Nov. 4, 2009): Measured in raw dollars, the major news coming out of the DDA‘s regular Wednesday meeting was the selection of The Christman Company as the construction manager for the Fifth Avenue underground parking garage.

Because the firm had already been awarded the pre-construction services contract, with the construction management contract to be contingent on performance during pre-construction, Christman’s probable selection was well known. The  dollar amount of Christman’s guaranteed maximum price is now also known to an exact figure: $44,381,573.

In other significant business, the board passed a resolution authorizing support of an initiative to increase the number of shelter spots for the homeless in the face of the coming winter – $20,000 for additional beds, to be paid for out of the DDA’s housing fund.

The board also passed a resolution that might resuscitate the LINK – the downtown circulator bus that did not resume service this fall after its usual summer hiatus. The resolution calls for a partnership with the Ann Arbor Transportation Authority to sort out what that service should look like. Michael Ford, AATA’s CEO, had alluded to these efforts in a side-remark during his presentation to the AATA board last week.  This resolution reflected those efforts. [Full Story]

DDA: No Funding for LINK Bus…for Now

Map of the LINK connector service in downtown Ann Arbor

Map of the previous LINK connector service in downtown Ann Arbor

Downtown Development Authority board meeting (June 3, 2009): The start to Wednesday’s DDA board meeting paralleled the beginning of its recent retreat two weeks ago – the board met in closed session with their legal counsel to discuss pending litigation over the Fifth Avenue underground parking garage. Board chair Jennifer Hall recused herself from the session, as she had at the retreat’s closed session.

Later in the meeting, she removed herself from the DDA’s “mutually beneficial” committee, appointing board member Russ Collins to take her place. More on that after the jump.

In other board business, the theme of the balance between university and city funding responsibilities was reflected in board consideration of two transportation-related issues: (i) a feasibility study for a north-south connector service along the Plymouth-State Street corridor, and (ii) the LINK circulator buses – familiar to some downtown visitors as simply “the purple buses.”  The board approved an $80,000 contribution for the north-south connector, but did not renew the grant – last year around $70,000 – that funds the LINK. The LINK is ordinarily suspended during summer months, but the lack of DDA grant renewal likely means that in the fall the purple buses will re-appear only on their eastern UM loop.

Further, a $12,000 evaluation of the getDowntown program was approved, budget amendments were made to reflect allocations already approved, and a resolution was passed approving final recommendations to city council for the A2D2 rezoning package. The board also heard updates on the DDA’s website and data policy, the Fifth & Division streetscape improvements project, the underground parking garage, and the valet parking service. The valet service has been suspended for the summer after the pilot showed less-than-successful results through the first five months of the year. [Full Story]

DDA Tackles Transportation

At its annual retreat held at the end of October, the DDA board agreed on a work plan for the coming year that included a new committee focused on transportation. That subset of the board met for the first time on Wednesday, Nov. 26 – the day before Thanksgiving.

The chair of the committee, John Mouat, had hoped to focus on sketching out a general strategy for how the committee would approach its work on this fairly broad topic – one that ranges from the ways that various transportation systems in southeast Michigan interconnect to the clearing of snow from a particular stretch of sidewalk. But that plan had to be balanced with the need to discuss two specific resolutions coming before the whole board at its next meeting on Dec. 3. [Full Story]

MM Does The Link

Farewell, 408 -- The Link diesels on down Church Street.

Farewell, 408 – The Link diesels on down Church Street.

I’ll admit – I’m not a regular rider of those purple buses that circle downtown Ann Arbor. In fact, this summer when I thought, “Hey – I’ll ride The Link!” I was revealed to be an idiot, unaware that the fleet went on haitus as soon as UM students dispersed. (Even though AATA posted signs to that effect at each stop. When you aren’t looking, you don’t see.)

Now, like the students, The Link is back. So when I set off for a chat with Ken Nisbet of UM’s Office of Technology Transfer, which sits above the Starbucks on South University, I decided to grab a free ride. [Full Story]