Opinion: Fuller Road transit station should be new welcome gateway to Ann Arbor and the University of Michigan
I went to the Fuller Intermodal Transit Station (FITS) meeting last week and was really disappointed. More than gave me fits! As the name might suggest, this is a plan that is so far done by traffic and parking engineers trying to fit a narrow scope and short-term deadline.
This site is as significant as the Gandy Dancer, a.k.a. Michigan Central Railroad Station, was to Ann Arbor in 1877 or so. That station welcomed visitors, students and residents to Ann Arbor for 100 years.
This new Fuller Road development should become the new welcoming gateway to Ann Arbor for the next 100 years.
For many reasons, it needs to be world-class design. I think this site deserves one percent of the capital cost--this could be a $60 million development-- for public art, such as subsidizing a world-class architect. Santiago Calatrava is to buildings like Dreiseitl is to waterscape design. Calatrava did the Milwaukee Art Museum and is doing the Ground Zero subway station in Manhattan. He would be my first choice. Let’s talk to him as I think he would find the site well suited for his genius.
Santiago Calatrava’s buildings ooze a sense of arrival, sense of place, such as the new train station in Belgium.
Let’s agree: The city and the university need parking for the opening of Motts Women and Children Hospital in two years. No problem. But let’s add remarkable connectivity to the region, world-class architecture and services to make this site perfectly balanced and economically feasible.
This site must take the following factors into account:
1. The new commuter from Ann Arbor to Detroit will start late next year.
2. The Hospitals have about 1.9 million patient visitors per hear, nearly all by auto.
3. The hospitals have 17,000 workers and the adjacent North Campus has another 10,000 workers, students and staff needs services, housing, Ann Arbor quality of life amenities.
4. The current Amshack station is bulldozer bait. Their current parking could help open up the riverfront at MichCon.
5. The Fuller Pools, soccer fields, park, arboretum and riverfront surround this site and need to part of the design, “Welcome to Ann Arbor” and sense of arrival. Click here to see what options my students came up with.
6. The North South rail stop at Plymouth Road and Barton provide the easiest connection to bring north south people to this transit hub.
7. The new trolley being researched will tie this site to all the campuses and downtown.
8. The city’s own design guidelines, while technically for downtown, need to be applied here.
9. The city’s one percent for art needs to be applied to get a world-class architect.
10. We have the potential to put Ann Arbor on the international map for connectivity to the world. Walking from downtown to a trolley to Metro to Barcelona and Beijing is possible.
How can I help marshal support?