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Posted on Fri, Jan 6, 2012 : 4:19 p.m.

AATA wants your feedback about the new Blake Transit Center next week

By Danny Shaw

Area residents itching to have a say about Ann Arbor Transportation Authority’s new Blake Transit Center project will get two chances next week.


Passengers come and go at the Blake Transit Center in Ann Arbor. The Ann Arbor Transportation plans a new, larger center.

Ryan J. Stanton |

Plans for the new transit center will be unveiled for public comment at two feedback sessions scheduled at the current Blake Transit Center building.

According to a press release from AATA, three displays showing the floor plan, signs and Internet technology plan and other ideas will be set up inside on Wednesday from 3 p.m. to 6 p.m., and Thursday from 7 a.m. to 10 a.m. Visitors will be able to fill out surveys at each display to provide feedback about the project.

“We’re looking for input from the community to make the new transit center a dynamic transportation hub and a welcoming destination in the downtown area,” Terry Black, manager of maintenance and BTC project manager, said in the release.

“We’ll use the survey results to help us finalize the plan so that we can move on to construction of the center this year.”

The current center waiting area and office will remain open as long as possible during the construction. Once construction begins, buses will pick up and drop off passengers along the adjacent streets.

The project, approved in 2009, will triple the center’s size, from 2,000 to 6,000 square feet, and add 10 additional hybrid buses to AATA’s lineup. In September, AATA officials said the project would cost $5.5 million, $4.2 million of which will be paid by federal grants. Construction is currently set for this spring.

"This funding will play a critical role in expanding and enhancing transportation options for Ann Arbor to help us retain, create and attract jobs to Washtenaw County," U.S. Rep. John Dingell, D-Dearborn, said in a statement in September. "I am very happy to help Mayor John Hieftje and AATA’s CEO Michael Ford continue their outstanding work."


Christin cave

Sat, Jan 7, 2012 : 8:51 p.m.

As a frequent bus rider (lines 1, 7, 8, 36), what the AATA really needs to improve is available information on buses. The mobile app that tracks lives buses is confusing to use and it would be awesome to have timers at stops that say when the next bus is coming. The current setup does have a lot of congestion on 4th, especially around 5pm, so much so that a police officer is needed to direct traffic. But I agree with other commenters that the "hub" itself does need expansion or revitalize. Better technology, definitely!

UM Rocks

Sun, Jan 8, 2012 : 9:03 p.m.

I work downtown and park at 4th and William. Never seen a cop directing traffic, although it would be helpful. There is a cop car that sits in front of the club everyday. Although I don't know why.

Steve Pierce

Sat, Jan 7, 2012 : 8:07 p.m.

Wireless Ypsi and AATA have had a long partnership. There has been free WiFi in Ann Arbor for three years at Blake and nearly 4 years in Ypsi. AATA was one of the first transit centers in the state to offer free WiFi and we are very proud to have made that possible. We consistently have over 200 daily users and some days it climbs to nearly 400. We look forward to working with AATA on their new project. Steve Pierce Ypsi


Sat, Jan 7, 2012 : 11:22 a.m.

AATA needs to improve there pull in spots. Get off bus # 7 way up by Fifth Av. and need to get to bus # 3 and you can not run the bus pulls away and there you stand. Not a very good system for the handicap and the older ones. Blake needs to have the buses pull in nose to nose and blake in the middle. Get the jaywalkers off the street in a rush for the next bus.

Les Gov

Sat, Jan 7, 2012 : 7:39 a.m.

Interesting that this article didn't report that when first proposed, the cost for the Blake Transit Center project was estimated at between $2.7 million and $3.7 million. That went up to $4 million in 2010, and now to $5.5 million." The current transit center is only 25 years old. Why is it that government buildings have to be replaced every 25 years? (AA claims it wants to be "green" but replaces buildings after only 25 years. How green is that?) Either the City failed when it built the current Blake Center or it is failing now, which is it? This whole Blake Transit Center expansion thing is only about one thing....somebody is trying to build an empire for themselves.


Sat, Jan 7, 2012 : 3:13 a.m.

Has anyone talked to the Wireless Ypsi guys? They seem to have WiFi working both at Blake and in Ypsi and it works great.


Sat, Jan 7, 2012 : 12:10 a.m.

"add 10 additional hybrid buses to AATA's lineup." Does this save money? provide more comfort for riders? or does it just make everyone FEEL GOOD? Hybrid buses are more expensive to operate, cost more than regular buses and give you warm fuzzies but they don't save the planet or my tax dollars!


Fri, Jan 6, 2012 : 11:42 p.m.

AATA management cares as much about its stakeholders, either bus riders or bus drivers, as a spider cares about the fly.

Vivienne Armentrout

Fri, Jan 6, 2012 : 10:48 p.m.

aataxpayer, I've written a couple of blog posts in which I predict that there will not be a millage vote, with notes. <a href="" rel='nofollow'></a> The City Council now has an item on the agenda for Monday, January 9, to approve the 4-party agreement that will make the county plan happen. If you are interested in this, this is the time to contact your council representatives.


Fri, Jan 6, 2012 : 10:32 p.m.

The expansion seems related to making is a larger hub to serve a county wide system. Ann Arbor residents should not be asked to pay for this and should also not be asked to pay an extra 1 mill to get county service when they already pay 2 mills. Tax fairness please!

Stephen Landes

Fri, Jan 6, 2012 : 10:13 p.m.

Building a new Blake Transit Center is fine, but the current plan builds this facility in the wrong place. The current plan puts the center in the lot across from the library. If we want a real transit hub the proper location is on top of the new library lot parking garage. The garage location would bring together auto, bus, bicycle, and shuttle transportation in one location. If we decide to build a convention center on this property it should be built above this transit hub, so we have a way to bring people to the center from all over the region -- airport shuttles, hotel shuttles, taxi's, buses, etc. Even a rental car operation could be housed in this hub facility. In addition to being a more complete transit hub opportunity the library lot would put buses on two wider, one way streets instead of narrow streets like Fourth and having to make tight turns onto Washington, etc. This should be better flow into and out of the bus facility. Relocating the transit facility to the garage also has the benefit of leaving a large clean site for development -- easier to market for the DDA without any bus facility on the site. I have been informed by AATA that this is not possible given that we already have plans to build the center across the street -- plans, but no real action, no shovel in the ground, nothing &quot;hard&quot; yet underway. I believe we are going to build a less than optimal facility simply because we aren't flexible enough to change course and do the right thing. Such is government - local inflexibility and remote strings on funding.


Sat, Jan 7, 2012 : 2:15 p.m.

You cannot be seriously suggesting that Conventioneers share the same space with the great unwashed users of public transit?


Sat, Jan 7, 2012 : 11:56 a.m.

WAY WAY too much urban planning logic in this idea, Stephan. Clearly that is not acceptable here. Please take your crazy ideas to the most perfect city in the world, Boulder, where they EVEN have mountains!!!

Alan Goldsmith

Fri, Jan 6, 2012 : 10:11 p.m.

&quot;This funding will play a critical role in expanding and enhancing transportation options for Ann Arbor to help us retain, create and attract jobs to Washtenaw County,&quot; U.S. Rep. John Dingell, D-Dearborn, said in a statement in September. &quot;I am very happy to help Mayor John Hieftje and AATA's CEO Michael Ford continue their outstanding work.&quot; I have a lot of respect for Mr Dingell but someone needs to pull him aside and have a chat with him about John Hieftje, the guy who has about as many core values of the Democratic Party as a lump of coal. &quot;Outstanding work&quot; my foot.

Stephen Landes

Fri, Jan 6, 2012 : 10:15 p.m.

Dingell is just being what he is -- a politician. He would say something nice about anyone who might be able to push a few votes his way.


Fri, Jan 6, 2012 : 9:57 p.m.

Whats wrong with the not so older one we have? We want to save by terrorizing the poor and now we get a new transportation center? What gives? It is a complete waist of tax dollars.

Atticus F.

Fri, Jan 6, 2012 : 9:42 p.m.

I've got some input... It's a complete waste of Federal tax dollars.