Community members at a meeting on proposed sites for a downtown Ann Arbor WALLY commuter rail station supported the service coming to downtown Ann Arbor, the use of a minimal station, and for it to be located at 415 West Washington. Many of the people at last night's meeting however continue to have questions about the overall funding and operations of the proposed commuter rail between Howell and Ann Arbor.
Neal Billetdeaux is a landscape architect with Smith Group JJR. He says the 415 West Washington scored highest of six possible locations because of several factors. This includes the fact the property is owned by the city, was closest to the core of downtown, and has track at grade level on a portion of the site.
Challenges with the curvature of the track and other issues where the proposed WALLY and East-West Commuter rail lines cross make it unlikely that site could serve as a single station serving both lines and Amtrak.
The Ann Arbor Area Transportation Authority expects to complete work on the new Blake Transit Center in late January.
CEO Michael Ford says they will talk with Dennis Dahlmann who is buying the former YMCA site next to the transit center. Ford says hopefully the development and the Transit Center can be mutually beneficial. Ford says they will also have discussions about portable trailers that are on the Y-Lot as a temporary operations hub for the transit center during construction.
Ford says only about 30,000 dollars remain in the contingency fund but hopefully the project will come in on budget.
A comparison to peer public transit organizations finds the Ann Arbor Area Transportation Authority's cost per passenger trip is about 17 percent below the median cost of similar organizations. The lower cost is thanks to The Ride having about 50% more passenger trips per service hour, and despite a higher cost per service hour than the median of their peers.
The study looked at 20 transit authorities selected through a methodology developed for the National Transit Cooperative Research Program. It included Lansing and Kalamazoo.
Chair of the AAATA board Charles Griffith says the study is done every few years and the information will be useful as service expansion is contemplated. Griffith says the board is now asking staff to dig deeper into the report and find areas The Ride can do better.
If you want to have your opinion heard on the Ann Arbor Area Transportation Authority's five-year transit improvement plan, you're running out of time.
Spokesperson Don Kline says a series of public meetings on the subject hosted by The Ride is drawing to a close.
The next meeting is scheduled for Wednesday from 11:30am to 1pm at the University of Michigan's Towsley Center Sheldon Auditorium. There's also a meeting Thursday from 10am to noon at the Ypsilanti Senior Center.
Comments gathered during the process will be summarized for a report to the AAATA board.
The Ann Arbor Area Transportation Authority wants your opinion on its overall performance in a series of public meetings.
Marketing Coordinator Don Kline says The Ride is seeking public feedback for it's five-year transit improvement program. The program aims to increase transit access in under-served areas with more destinations, and more frequent and direct service.