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Posted on Thu, Sep 1, 2011 : 2:48 p.m.

Ann Arbor warns University of Michigan football fans to expect 'excessive traffic delays' on Saturday

By Ryan J. Stanton

Ann Arbor officials said today those attending University of Michigan football games this season at the Big House should expect "excessive traffic delays."

They're blaming it on U-M's decision not to cover the full cost of traffic control services — specifically manual management of signs and signals — provided by the city in years past.

But the university is firing back and complaining it's actually the excessive compensation the city is asking U-M to pay for the city's signs and signals technicians that's the problem.

"We've simply been unable to reach agreement regarding the rate of compensation and so therefore we've been a little bit more selective in terms of the services we're willing to reimburse the city for," said Jim Kosteva, a university spokesman.


The University of Michigan and the city of Ann Arbor couldn't come to terms on the amount U-M should pay for signs and signals workers, and now traffic control will be reduced starting with Saturday's home football game against Western Michigan University.

Melanie Maxwell |

Saturday's 3:30 p.m. game against Western will be the first university event to operate under a reduced traffic control plan outlined in a new agreement reached last week.

City officials have complained it was costing the city about $100,000 a year to provide signs and signals services on game days and those costs were not being reimbursed by U-M.

The Ann Arbor City Council unanimously passed a resolution last month requiring U-M to reimburse the city or accept the fact that signs and signals services wouldn't be provided this season. But the deal reached last week covers only a limited range of services.

Tom Crawford, the city's chief financial officer and interim city administrator, estimates the city will collect about $22,000 from U-M for the reduced signs and signals services this season — less than a quarter of what the city estimates it's spent in previous years.

"We're providing what they're asking for and what they're asking for is less than what we've done," Crawford said. "It's their choice."

Kosteva argues nothing in the new agreement precludes the city from providing the level of services it thinks is necessary to ensure public safety and welfare. That said, he argues the city is choosing the level of services to be provided, not U-M.

"The agreement outlined what the university was willing to pay based upon our evaluation of the primary needs of our patrons and considering the excessive rate of compensation the city has been seeking," Kosteva said, agreeing there will be traffic delays.

"I think it's prudent for people to follow some of the advice offered by the city and to expect for it to take some time," he said.

The new traffic control plan will have the city's police officers manually managing — without signals in operation — the Stadium Boulevard and Main Street intersection starting two hours before game time. All other intersections along Ann Arbor-Saline Road will operate by signals — not manually — and will operate based on the normal weekend schedule.

After the game, Ann Arbor-Saline Road will be one way, heading south to I-94, as has historically been the case. But the State Street corridor will operate by signals — not manually — and will operate based on the normal weekend schedule both before and after the game.

Compared to what residents and visitors have previously experienced, the new traffic control plan is expected to create additional traffic congestion at major arteries and the freeway ramps, city officials said. Residents and visitors are advised to find alternative routes on game days, and those attending the game are advised to plan for extra travel time.

Kosteva said the university has been concerned that the city's straight-time payment schedule for signs and signals technicians is about equal to the overtime rate of the police officers who are in the streets working the game-day traffic detail. The city and U-M have had an agreement in place for several years to cover public safety costs on game days.

On top of the cost of salaries and benefits for signs and signals technicians, Kosteva said the city is asking U-M to pay administrative overhead rates that, by comparison to overhead rates for police traffic control services, seem unusually high.

Documents provided by the city show the per-hour cost U-M is being charged for each signs and signals technician works out to $87.30, including $27.48 for salary, $15.35 for benefits and $44.48 for support costs. That means the support costs — which include administrative overhead, equipment and other items — equal 104 percent of salary and benefits.

Meanwhile, the per-hour cost U-M is being charged for each city police officer doing traffic control works out to $88.73, including $53.59 for salary at the overtime rate, $9.89 for benefits and $25.25 for support costs. Support costs equal 40 percent of salary and benefits.

If the signs and signals technicians were being paid at an overtime rate — which they're not — support costs would be equal to 92 percent of salary and benefits.

Due to expensive equipment and a fewer number of employees, Crawford said it just works out that support costs naturally are a higher percentage for signs and signals.

Crawford said eight signs and signals technicians will be out doing traffic control on game days this year, but they'll be doing less work. In the past, the city had all 12 of its technicians out.

City officials said the night game against Notre Dame on Sept. 10 is the only exception to the traffic plan. For that game, the full range of services historically provided both before and after the game will be in effect along Ann Arbor-Saline Road and State Street.

Kosteva doesn't think the situation will be too bad this season.

"We expect that our patrons will both continue to have a very first-class, satisfactory game day experience while this provides flexibility for the university to reimburse the city for what we consider to be the primary needs of those patrons," he said.

Ryan J. Stanton covers government and politics for Reach him at or 734-623-2529. You also can follow him on Twitter or subscribe to's e-mail newsletters.



Fri, Sep 16, 2011 : 2:59 p.m.

Just pay up U! It's not like you haven't got $$ (do you know what season tickets cost?! ?)... They should put this on the next ballot and let the residents who have to deal with the seasonal inconvenience make the decision.

Kai Petainen

Sat, Sep 3, 2011 : 1:38 a.m.

just an observation.... this has become a pretty good debate between the commentators. it'll be interesting to see how this plays out. good points have been made on both sides of the debate.


Fri, Sep 2, 2011 : 9:21 p.m.

So, City of Ann Arbor, why isn't this an issue when the Art Fair begins? Who would you attempt to extort, I mean, charge for this event? Or, is the situation different because there are no actual signs & signals staff at intersection and the traffic just gets around as they can? If past estimates are correct, 500K people attends the Art Fair during those four days in July. Maybe not on the same day, but, why isn't this a concern? What's going to happen if, a big if, the Library Lot conference hall is built and a major organization wants to hold an event. Will you bring out a $100K bill for them? Or, is this just another attempt to extort money from the UM? Shame. Good thing the "Leaders and the Best" only applies to the UM and not the city.


Fri, Sep 2, 2011 : 5:37 p.m.

The athletic director make a million bucks a year+ but UM can't cough up 50-100K and expects the residents to absorb the costs REGARDLESS of if they like the dog-and-pony show that is football? *typical*


Fri, Sep 2, 2011 : 5:25 p.m.

Everybody simmer down. As long as Michigan's football program continues their course, this will not be a problem in a few years. I drive right by EMU's stadium- no problem! LOL!

Bertha Venation

Fri, Sep 2, 2011 : 4:42 p.m.

After reading the comments, it seems like (SIGH), nothing is for free. Sure, the U doesn't pay taxes, and we citizens have higher propertax as a result, but I must admit, they do have a major part in the better economy of A2. So, I guess I have to grin and bare it.


Fri, Sep 2, 2011 : 4:21 p.m.

Hooray for the UM! As I've previous said, those cost seem rather high, and it appears that the city is attempting to mask the true cost for signs and signal services to gain additional revenue from the city. Even the city has said that it's been estimated that these costs are $100K or more. Sadly, the experience that fans will remember will be reflected on the city, not the UM! Being a fan and ticket holder, I've been doing this for decades, so I know my way around the city. However, those coming in will remember the game day experience that the UM does very well, and only remember the bad experience getting around the city. I pity those downtown business that collect a significant portion of their yearly revenue during football season. It'll be a shame if these fans just pack it up to get out of dodge since it'll be more of a hassle to get around. Hey, maybe the art fund can contribute to those signs and signal workers!


Fri, Sep 2, 2011 : 4:21 p.m.

Th rich athletic department should simply hire its own traffic management force for game days if it doesn't want to pay the city for these services. It can well afford it. Any college athletic department that pays its football coach a multi-million dollar contract can afford to pay for police services on game days. And any university with a billion dollar budget (and a billion dollar endowment) can afford to pay for the game day police services.


Fri, Sep 2, 2011 : 10:48 p.m.

The U does pay for police services. You see all those dozens of officers from every department in the area working the games? Who do you think is paying them? Not only are they getting paid, but often they're on OT to boot! The AD pays a pretty penny for all of those officers. However, why should they have to pay for the entire rest of the city too?!? Heck, all those people heading east on Washtenaw are going to go through towns like Ypsilanti or Pittsfield Township or up 23 through Brighton or down 23 through Milan or west on 94 through Jackson or east on 94 through Belleville... should the AD pay all of the costs for increased traffic through all those towns too? Where would you draw the line on fleecing the AD for costs outside of their jurisdiction?!?


Fri, Sep 2, 2011 : 3:10 p.m.

Did it ever occur to anyone that the reason the University has so much money is because they don't spend it like water? Many of you are saying, "Oh, it's less than a quarter million dollars." Do that a number of times a year for many years, and they'll end up in the same situation as many American households -- with nothing but debt. Do they spend money? Yes. Do they spend money on things that we don't necessarily prioritize? Yes. But that's their right as an autonomous institution. They do a pretty good job of it, too, considering the accolades the University receives over and over again for being a wonderful institution. For everyone that complains about the lack of property tax revenue, think of everything the University does give to the city. We weathered the recession better than many other cities in the state, partly because of the University. Every employee, student, visitor and fan of the University that comes to town adds revenue to the city. All of the "Best City for ...." awards are always supported with the various things that the University adds to the city. The University has been here far longer than any of you, and thanks to their careful planning and spending, it will be here far longer. If you can't accept that, perhaps you could try another town that doesn't have a university as one of its major employers.

Patrick Caveney

Fri, Sep 2, 2011 : 2:47 p.m.

and if it wasnt for the university, AA would receive nearly NO revenue. suck it up, AA.. jesus....


Fri, Sep 2, 2011 : 7:06 p.m.

Oh yes they would..they now have Bongs and Thongs!


Fri, Sep 2, 2011 : 2:45 p.m.

"the city will collect about $22,000 from U-M for the reduced signs and signals services this season — less than a quarter of what the city estimates it's spent in previous years." Estimates? Why don't they know what they have spent in previous years on this? Every cent billed should be accounted for in great detail. And to wait until the last minute to put in this demand is suspicious. The UM is not arguing about paying a fair share, they are just looking at the figures and trying to be sure they are valid. What a stretch eh, when A2 has to estimate costs? And rolling benefits and "support costs" into the fees is just pure theft. Especially when the support costs exceed what the employee is being paid. Administrative costs. What a joke. That means the U will be paying for two supervisors who stand and watch the employee put the signs up. It will be interesting to see if the city orders the traffic control officers to intentionally delay traffic. The city still has done nothing to repair the stadium bridge, that alone is going to cause huge delays.


Fri, Sep 2, 2011 : 2:38 p.m.

This is all a scare tactic and nothing more. This isn't the first time the gridlock word has been used in Ann Arbor on football Saturday's, and I'm sure it won't be the last. The simple fact is the City of Ann Arbor is attampting to gouge the sole reason for it's existance to death over this and the University of Michigan isn't going to play ball with the corrupt leadership of the city. The amount demenaded by the University is excess compared to what needs to be in place. It does not cost $100,000 to do what they are doing for 8 Saturday's per season. The city is trying to cover thier inability to control their budget by charging the University more than they need to pay. Yes there might be increased traffic because of this but people will adjust.

Stephen Landes

Fri, Sep 2, 2011 : 2:31 p.m.

Two thoughts about this: It seems to me that Ann Arbor waited until the last minute to REQUIRE that U of M pay this additional amount of money -- or else. If there has been long standing negotiation in process I haven't heard about it. The first mention seems to have been the City Council resolution. So the City has taken a coercive approach. If U of M accepts the higher cost structure in this case then they are actually accepting this for the future in all cases. Sure, they can sign off on $100k for football, but where will this show up again? Once the door is open to the City's cost sheet there will be no going back. Considering both of the above thoughts it is no wonder to me that U of M is taking a firm stance. I don't always agree with the way the U does things in this town, but in this case I can certainly understand their position.


Fri, Sep 2, 2011 : 2:28 p.m.

Less we forget, might consider writing an article exploring the reason why most colleges and universities in the United States are tax-exempt. Long ago our federal government recognized the importance of education, but times have changed and many college towns are financially struggling. Is there a middle ground that can be reached? I personally think it's crazy for the City of Ann Arbor to over-charge the UM when they are cooperating and willing to foot a reasonable amount of money for traffic control. I pay high taxes to live in this city and I expect safety to be a top priority (and that includes traffic control for any event that is held in our town!).


Fri, Sep 2, 2011 : 10:43 p.m.

Sally, you act as if UofM doesn't take care of their own infrastructure. They have their own police force (thus why should they also pay for AAPD?), they have their own utility system (so they're paying for all those lights on UofM property that illuminate city streets), they plow their own sidewalks, mow their own grass, etc. They even have one of the fire stations on UofM property (so who pays the freight there? Yup, UofM!) Meanwhile the city can rake in millions from higher taxes on a captive population (students), charge a fortune in parking fees, tax the bejesus out of restaurants (frequented by the 80,000 University staff/faculty/students), etc. It appears you're under some delusion that the U costs the city far more than it actually does while providing the city with far less than it actually does. Every other city in this state would KILL to have UofM bringing in the kind of money it does! Just goes to show you can never make an Ann Arborite happy.


Fri, Sep 2, 2011 : 4:24 p.m.

Mick52: if the UM paid their fair share of taxes, it would lower the tax burden on the rest of the property owners in A2. If 60% of the land isn't taxed, then everyone else pays a lot more to make up for it. The property owners in A2 are underwriting the UM's unpaid taxes.


Fri, Sep 2, 2011 : 2:52 p.m.

If you are proposing a tax on universities, that will make it more expensive to attend and harder for those in fiscal stress to survive. Most colleges take care of themselves financially, are a benefit rather than a burden to the host city, as they bring in people who spend money and create a need for jobs. I do not see how taxing a college will result in an overall benefit.

Blu n Tpa

Fri, Sep 2, 2011 : 1:28 p.m.

My son and I fly in to watch one game a year. We rent a car, stay in AA and drive early to downtown parking garage to shop for more Michigan stuff we don't need. We eat pre- and post-game downtown. Now if the powers-that-be can't work together to make the trip safe and less stressful then we wont make the trip next year. If the City can't/wont rearrange the work schedules of those technicians needed to run the lights at a cost effective rate, to help make the day as safe as possible, then take the City out of the loop. The University should hire the off duty officers as 1099 workers. split the difference cost wise, and there's not admin fee. (Nobody seems to want to explain EXACTLY what that is but by having them work for the AD UM absorbs that cost.) What's the overhead for a AA police officer with a whistle? To those who don't want all those fans in town anyway, be careful what you wish for. One more year of the WCiMFH and the numbers would have been way down and I don't think the downtown businesses wanted that. Room rates are up and so are resale ticket prices which mean demand is up. It's a credit to the AD and the University that hiring Coach Hoke that even in this economy more people want to come to AA. So unless the City is helping pay the coaching costs and facilities' upkeep, put the damn officers on the streets at cost. Have a nice day. TiM Go Blue!

Blu n Tpa

Sat, Sep 3, 2011 : 2:18 p.m.

Goober, tell me where to meet you and I'll give you the $1.53 you have contributed to my "football experience" over the last 20 years. If you think, and I use the word in it's broadest context, that having 110,000 fans milling about your hometown 8 times a year doesn't equate a job or two you probably work for the Department of Bad Ideas. Maybe you need to be concerned that your city government has decide to put you and your family's safety at risk so they can "double" bill the University of Michigan. Heaven help if you need EMS or the fire department and because of shortsightedness they can't get to you. By the way, my guess is directly or indirectly, your 20 year stay in AA is related to the UofM. And if you lose me "next year" I won't be the only one. Good luck with that.


Fri, Sep 2, 2011 : 9:37 p.m.

Were going to miss you next year. I am an Ann Arbor tax payer for more than 20 years now and I have no intent of continuing to fund your football experience.


Fri, Sep 2, 2011 : 1:18 p.m.

Pass the cost onto the price of each ticket. Everyone will complain, but no one will give up their tickets for the game. It is a captive audience. We all know the financial situation of the world today. Cities and counties are going bankrupt. This is not a joke. Rock bottom property assessments have drained the city of needed tax flow. A power play by both university and the city? Absolutely. If you think the city is over reacting wait until snow falls and you see a lot less snow removal equipment to help you drive the roads of Ann Arbor this winter.


Fri, Sep 2, 2011 : 7:42 p.m.

Remember that global warming is happening and it will probably not snow anymore. Just ask Al Gore.


Fri, Sep 2, 2011 : 2:55 p.m.

One dollar a ticket would just about cover it. Still it makes no sense to give it to the city when they act like this. Over billing and estimates. The stadium bridge about to fall down. I would support it if the UM gets the extra money, not directly to the city so they can make sure it is spent properly.


Fri, Sep 2, 2011 : 12:57 p.m.

I think it's downright ridiculous that a public university that gets SOOOOO many perks from the city it's located in is griping about less than a quarter million dollars. "Normal weekday" traffic flow? State and Main Streets are a mess on a "normal" Friday afternoon.


Fri, Sep 2, 2011 : 2:58 p.m.

Heck I did over 30 years at U of M as an employee. Not one perk from the city. Actually I would say being in Ann Arbor was a major pain. It's the other way around. The UM is keeping the city alive. The city wastes money on frivolous spending. Perk. Yeah, right.


Fri, Sep 2, 2011 : 12:41 p.m.

Shut up fans.If you can't deal with it don't go. As for the politicians behind this situation well they are politicians aren't they.And they certainly are despicable.

Blu n Tpa

Fri, Sep 2, 2011 : 1:30 p.m.

Do you have anyone working in the service industry on football weekends in AA? I didn't think so and you didn't think at all.


Fri, Sep 2, 2011 : 12:25 p.m.

@Macabre Sunset. Are you very weathly or just like to misdirect anger? Why attack low and middle class people that are trying to survive? If you want to be angry at someone why not focus on Wall Street/Banking/Investment/Insurance/Ratings people that got rich on fictitious money, stole much of our money, and got to keep it all.


Fri, Sep 2, 2011 : 11:35 a.m.

I can see Sunday's headline now: "Gridiron Gridlock"


Fri, Sep 2, 2011 : 11:29 a.m.

The University is willing to pay for ACTUAL COSTS per their statement. The city says it spends $100,000 a year providing these services. Why does the City want $200,000?? I was not aware that the "Kilpatrick Model" of city administration had come to Ann Arbor. Well, an election year is coming and politicians will need money for themselves.........Ahhhhhhhhh Democracy in action. God forbid if someone gets injured and it will be blamed on this issue and at the end of the lawsuits, the services will come back. Neither side is using their common sense. U of M and the City need to suck it up and be leaders, not whiners. If you both are going to whine, bring cheese and crackers......


Fri, Sep 2, 2011 : 11:29 a.m.

The leadership of both the City of Ann Arbor and U of M should be condemned. The City supports the idea of Public Safety, only if it doesn't cost any money. They still do not support the people that provide public safety (police and fire). U of M has shown how little they are concerned for their alumni and guests after they leave their property. It will be a long and frustrating day for those traveling State St this saturday after the game.


Fri, Sep 2, 2011 : 5:15 a.m.

This is typical arrogance being displayed by the U of M and the City. While they bicker - the public - is at risk. As gridlock takes place on Saturday - someone having a medical emergency in Chelsea, Northfield Twp., Ypsi, or Dundee will have a delayed response by emergency responders - because the help can't get to them from the backed up highways. The same applies for Ann Arbor residents - they will have to wait for emergency services too - they have just paid their taxes but are getting stuck right square in the middle of these egotistical fools. And just when Ann Arbor was named the second highest educated City......good job U of M and A2. Keep up the good work......


Fri, Sep 2, 2011 : 5:05 a.m.

Ah, when money takes precedent over safety. It never ends. Disgusting.

Not a valid excuse for a newspaper

Fri, Sep 2, 2011 : 4:39 a.m.

So, the University pays $0.00 in taxes, is trying to back out of an $80,000 price tag to minimize traffic disruptions for athletic games, and yet it can afford $20,000,000 to install huge flat-screen displays in its major sports venues? Sad. BTW, the anticipated price tag for the those big-screens, including the 85-foot-wide Big House ones, can be found here <a href="" rel='nofollow'></a>


Fri, Sep 2, 2011 : 11:07 a.m.

Maybe they could have got a better deal at Paul's TV at Art Van....

Cendra Lynn

Fri, Sep 2, 2011 : 4:38 a.m.

The U of M rips off everyone. The City rips off its taxpayers. The citizens bear the burden, one way or the other. Until the citizens remember that we are the basis of power and we rise up and take control, this is the way it will be. What? It would take so much work to rise up against the City and so much more against U of M???? Duh!

Kai Petainen

Fri, Sep 2, 2011 : 3:38 a.m.

Why don't we wait and see what happens on game day and see how public reacts? then make changes if necessary?

Kai Petainen

Fri, Sep 2, 2011 : 4 a.m.

thinking about this a bit more.... if a high paying suite owner gets stuck in traffic and upset...who do they get mad at? u can't forget your customer experience.


Fri, Sep 2, 2011 : 3:33 a.m.

Good its about time the U of M should pay the city of AnnArbor personally I stay away from that part of town on saturday and I dont watch the wolverines either only game i watch is when the greatest team the OHIO STATE plays the wolverines I like to see the score when t<a href=""></a> loose cause they are losers and dont look to them to win this yr either.


Fri, Sep 2, 2011 : 3:03 p.m.

Thank you, thank you for being a Buckeye fan. You apparently went to OSU where three words are lacking: Sentences, grammar, and punctuation.


Fri, Sep 2, 2011 : 2:29 a.m.

Didn't the school budget this into their operating costs ahead of time? Isn't this one of the 'reasons' they give for raising the prices on game tickets/ packages? Also, would the city be able to ticket all the cars stuck in gridlock for excessive idling of their engines if that crazy law were to pass?


Fri, Sep 2, 2011 : 1:55 a.m.

Here's an easy solution. Avoid Ann Arbor on game days! Before you know it, the game is over and then you drive back into town and it's as if it never happened.


Fri, Sep 2, 2011 : 1:19 a.m.

Hey wait and see what happens this could be like the over hyping of Hurricane Irene. All that happened so far is one side said something bad might happen and that it is the other side's fault. Wouldn't it be funny if things went better without all the extra help


Fri, Sep 2, 2011 : 12:15 a.m.

The City seems to go out of its way to interfere with the smooth flow of traffic. There are many no turns on red (e.g. - Pontiac Trail/Broadway, and South University/Washtenaw) which are absolutely not needed but which the City keeps because they are a fertile source of ticket revenue for our over-staffed Police Department, and there are too many construction zones that are either unnecessary or improperly signed. Then there is the issue of traffic light timing, which is almost always wrong.


Thu, Sep 1, 2011 : 10:59 p.m.

The University Sports empire is the one who makes all the money on this...if they want people to come and sit in the stadium, and want to make it easier for cars to get in and out...well, they can pick up the costs. I think the University should be picking up the entire a little bit extra just for making life miserable for the residents who are trapped in their houses on Saturdays because of the crowds.


Fri, Sep 2, 2011 : 9:12 p.m.

Mmmm....lets see, the next time you fall ill and need to be transported to the UM Hospital, call the UM and have them pick you up. It's their facility. Same logic eh? Oh, and have the university charge you for not only picking you up, plus a administrative fee for overhead.


Thu, Sep 1, 2011 : 10:56 p.m.

So Pleeeze do not take it out on the local law enforcement while you are stuck in traffic and it is not flowing's not their fault!!!


Thu, Sep 1, 2011 : 10:42 p.m.

If the University doesn't want to pay the freight for city cops, they can probably pick up several dozen homeless guys to direct traffic. They'll bring plenty of dirty rags so they can clean windshields, too.


Fri, Sep 2, 2011 : 3:05 p.m.

Or Troopers or Deputies. Maybe they should bid it out. They might also get some officers from area departments to come in for a few bucks less than the city is asking.


Thu, Sep 1, 2011 : 10:39 p.m.

As far as I am concerned, this is all about money. My money. The University owns or controls at least 20 percent of Ann Arbor, and I'm sick and tired of paying UM's share of running the city. There's a lot of hysteria on this page about the influence of out-of-towners. Let's not forget about those 39,000 undergraduates.


Fri, Sep 2, 2011 : 3:09 p.m.

UM share of running the city? There is none. The U has been very generous to the city already. If you are sick and tired of paying the UM's share I will give you your money back. I have a quarter here somewhere. If any of your payments went to support the UM in A2, that will cover it. The rest of your taxes goes to pay for what the city is up to.

Macabre Sunset

Thu, Sep 1, 2011 : 10:45 p.m.

This is a university town. If you don't like the University and the thousands of households it employs, why do you live here? The University sustains what it uses and has a symbiotic relationship with the city. It seems lately that Council has forgotten this in a parataxic (pun intended) fit of power and greed. Ann Arbor is a city that grew around a major university. Not vice versa. If you want Ann Arbor without Michigan, you probably want to live in Battle Creek or Jackson.

Kathleen Kosobud

Thu, Sep 1, 2011 : 10:39 p.m.

If you want to download a calendar so you know when traffic is going to be &quot;iffy&quot;, you can get one at , the MGOBLUE website.


Thu, Sep 1, 2011 : 10:18 p.m.

What concerns me most about traffic to the big house, is the increased traffic across Stadium Bridge.


Fri, Sep 2, 2011 : 3:11 p.m.

Me too Carole. I wonder how many fans know about that. I hope they stuffed the envelops when they mailed the tickets with the info on that bridge, which has been sitting unattended for some time. Seems there has been plenty of time to repair it since they closed one half of it.


Thu, Sep 1, 2011 : 10:04 p.m.

the city should just put police officers at the intersections and ticket all those who move into the intersection without clearing it for creating gridlock they will get beaucoup dollars from that


Thu, Sep 1, 2011 : 10:14 p.m.

Good point. That is illegal. Frankly, I wish they could skip the cost and just make them go to the back of the line - like back to North Territorial or Belleville or something.


Thu, Sep 1, 2011 : 10:01 p.m.

Stick to it, city council. It is ridiculous that U of M would not automatically pay this. A QUARTER billion dollars of unnecessary stadium renovations, and they hesitate to pay for traffic safety? Will it take a handful of pedestrian deaths, or multi-hour traffic jams to get them to re-think their position here? Crazy. $70 tickets, $4 water, the best acreage in town - TAX FREE, and they whine about a measly traffic control fee. I am a proud alumni but am really growing to despise the way this University is run. Pathetic.


Thu, Sep 1, 2011 : 9:39 p.m.

This will really help out the Downtown Ann Arbor businesses. Treat your customers bad and they will come back, right?


Thu, Sep 1, 2011 : 9:31 p.m.

The UM is not paying ANY taxes for all the city services it receives on an ongoing basis, not just game-day traffic management. Who responds when a UM building is on fire, for example. Who plows the streets in winter where university buildings are located. It's about time the big, fat, rich university paid their fair share for city services instead of continuing their free ride at taxpayer's expense. Game-day traffic management is just one of many services it needs to start paying full.


Fri, Sep 2, 2011 : 9:10 p.m.

Sally, what part of the state law that you don't understand why the university doesn't pay property taxes? If this is such a beef with you, and it is, then take it up with the state, not the university. The city benefits from the university being here in more ways than if the university were removed from the city. Imagine, where would A2 be if the city was here? Oh, a big green pasture with a bike trail around it without any cars allowed in the city with a big picture of art!


Fri, Sep 2, 2011 : 4:17 p.m.

MjC: I'd prefer to have a university that paid its fair share of taxes in a town where it occupies over 60% of the land and currently doesn't pay any taxes on it. Property owners on the remaining 40% of the land are paying excessively high taxes because the UM doesn't pay any. Alan: why would I think they don't? I'll tell you why. Because UM doesn't pay any taxes. And fire and police services are paid out of tax dollars.


Fri, Sep 2, 2011 : 3:16 p.m.

Same old argument. The city gets reimbursed from the state for the FD. Also, how many FD runs are there to campus? Any idea? I don't know, but I know it has been cut way back when the UM decided the FD was making too many unnecessary runs. The U plows the streets and sidewalks around campus. You have any more of those ongoing services? The U takes care of itself and actually helps the city because they do plow and salt city streets around central campus. It is just not true that the U consumes city services as compared with property off campus.


Fri, Sep 2, 2011 : 2:07 p.m.

The vast majority of public universities and colleges are tax-exempt because long ago the federal government wisely recognized that these institutions benefited the overall public. I suppose you would you prefer to have a &quot;tiny, little, poor university&quot; struggling to make ends meet and boost enrollment as opposed to the one we have that has prospered, thrived, and continues to educate thousands and thousands of citizens?


Fri, Sep 2, 2011 : 11:02 a.m.

You are incorrect. The university does and always has reimbursed the city for both police and fire services. Why would you think that they don't?


Fri, Sep 2, 2011 : 12:13 a.m.

They might not pay the city directly, but why are property values so high around the campus area? Why are they building high rise apartments downtown, when the housing market has crashed? Why are there so many tech startups in our city? Why is Ann Arbor ranked as one of the most educated cities in the country? Why can the city charge $1.80 an hour for parking? Oh, that's right, because UM is here.


Thu, Sep 1, 2011 : 9:23 p.m.

Good to see that the City has finally become frugal. Too bad they became frugal over an issue that is actually helpful to many Ann Arborites (helping traffic flow after football games) instead of becoming frugal over things like millions of dollars on green parking meters, public art, etc, etc, etc, etc.


Thu, Sep 1, 2011 : 9:11 p.m.

As one who has for many years worked as a Contractor on UM Construction Projects, I can tell you the UM NEVER wants to pay for overhead or Administration costs when dealing with extras or change orders. The UM is viewing this as an "extra" and they think they should get it for "cost". Seldom am I on the side of the City Fathers, however this time I am. If the City wants $100,000 for traffic control, hold your ground. If the UM does not want traffic control let them deal with the back lash of THEIR Fans. Try getting the UM to break down the cost of a credit hour of tuition. Not going to happen. So you have to pay it or go elsewhere. Let the UM go elsewhere for traffic control.


Thu, Sep 1, 2011 : 9:05 p.m.

The city is wrong. These are city streets that surround the U of M stadium not university property. As long as I can remember AAPD has been responsible to assure that people coming to Ann Arbor to attend these games got into and out of the area safe and efficiently. They do a great job. In the 70 &amp; 80's representitives from other major Universities around the nation came to Ann Arbor to observe and learn how we did it. Capt. Ken Klinge headed this mission for many years. Over the years AAPD has gradually reduced its involvement in the games and now limit its activities to outside the stadium. It is a shame that this seems like a last minute ultimatum by City officials to force the U of M to pony up the cash or the police don't show. This is not the first time this has happened. It is a poor tactic if we are looking for cooperation between the city and university. AAPD should do its job this year, and officials should work with the Uof M over the next year to work out a mutual aid package.


Thu, Sep 1, 2011 : 9:03 p.m.

The UofM athletic department has deep pockets. They should gladly pay the bill as calculated and presented. Maybe a discount for paying in advance.


Fri, Sep 2, 2011 : 1:50 p.m.

Makes sense as long as the city pays for all the incoming revenue the fans bring to their town, right?


Thu, Sep 1, 2011 : 9 p.m.

Yet another reason why the noon time to open the parking lots is a mistake. We need to spread out the arrival of the fans for the Notre Dame game.


Thu, Sep 1, 2011 : 9:57 p.m.

The level of inebriation will be ridiculous either way. But the opening time for the golf courses is kind of irrelevant, that amounts to a minor 30 minute traffic jam at most. Its AFTER the game that we need cops at every location possible to direct traffic and keep pedestrians safe.


Thu, Sep 1, 2011 : 9:16 p.m.

Do you really want a 12 hour tail gate session? The level of inebriation will be beyond control.


Thu, Sep 1, 2011 : 8:55 p.m.

I guess I was naive. I was shocked to read that UM had not been paying the cost of football madness in this city all along! I am totally unconflicted in saying I am not a football fan. I think it's assinine in many ways. Game days in Ann Arbor are nothing but a huge headache and imposition on this A2 taxpayer. Stick to it, City Council! You're years tardy in making UM pay for the entire cost!!! I resent knowing I've been &quot;contributing&quot; to this behemoth, non-taxpaying institution for so long.


Fri, Sep 2, 2011 : 3:21 a.m.

Then move mhirzel. UM football was here before you and it will be so long after you are gone.


Thu, Sep 1, 2011 : 9:09 p.m.

so are all the ann arbor businesses who profit from these terrible games. Hotels full, resturants full, gas stations selling gas, parking dollars for neighbors, food, drink, businesses enjoying the big influx of customers...terrible....oh yeah they all pay taxes as well.

Julie Seagraves

Thu, Sep 1, 2011 : 8:41 p.m.

On Ann Arbor Saline Rd, the State St corridor, etc? That's not their jurisdiction, is it?

Kai Petainen

Fri, Sep 2, 2011 : 3:35 a.m.

I found out that jurisdiction varies. Example... depending on the situation its not the city police nor the dnr nor the epa that investigate events on the Huron river. Since it is next to um then um investigates. Jurisdiction varies. So you'd have to know how much they cooperate with city and where the jurisdiction is.

Julie Seagraves

Thu, Sep 1, 2011 : 8:43 p.m.

The UM cops, I mean.

Tim Pott

Thu, Sep 1, 2011 : 8:41 p.m.

Ha, Ha, Ha bunch of fools.... jeez. It doesn't matter the cost, in business it's &quot;I'll charge you this for that&quot; if you don't like it then get it someplace else. The city should build profit into everything. The UofM pays their top cop more than the city is asking for these services. Come on U cough it up.


Thu, Sep 1, 2011 : 8:39 p.m.

Hey the city needs all of the money they can get to plant all of those trees, bail out Recycle Ann Arbor, and buy art for the new city hall.


Thu, Sep 1, 2011 : 8:31 p.m.

Frankly, they can all rot on the expressway ramps. Those of us who don't go to the games have had to put up the lights changed for their benefit for years. Let them get backed up. It will be nice to be able to cross Main Street for a change.


Thu, Sep 1, 2011 : 10:45 p.m.

Yeah your all right let's just kick the U out. Who needs the business they bring to town. All these students and stuff a partying causing trouble. Stupid college town! Why do I live here?


Thu, Sep 1, 2011 : 9:38 p.m.

If UM wants special treatment on game days, let them pay for it.


Thu, Sep 1, 2011 : 9:37 p.m.

Double ahem!


Thu, Sep 1, 2011 : 9:24 p.m.

amen !

John Spelling

Thu, Sep 1, 2011 : 8:30 p.m.

The city appears to be passing on to UM the 9-5 overhead costs for these personnel when they should only be passing on the costs associated with game-day. If the services were used every saturday of the year, that would then be one full day of an employee's work week and it would be appropriate to pass on a portion of their overhead cost. It's just 8 days a year so the city should be passing on no more than the actual cost to manage this overtime. Depreciation of game-day equipment would be an appropriate charge.

no flamers!

Fri, Sep 2, 2011 : 1:01 p.m.

I would have agreed with you, but UM charges &quot;fully accounted&quot; costs when working on grants. So UM can't really argue against paying &quot;fully accounted&quot; costs, but I suppose can quarrel a little about what &quot;fully accounted&quot; really means. Regardless, like many others have said, this failure to negotiate results in a cost to the game-day travelers and that is unfair. The UM and city should have a 3-hour binding arbitration this afternoon to settle this.


Thu, Sep 1, 2011 : 8:30 p.m.

I think the University should pay and not whine about it. If another organization needs to have meters bagged or a street closed for an event, they need to pay the city to make it happen. Signs and signals shouldn't be any different.


Thu, Sep 1, 2011 : 8:28 p.m.

&quot;Kosteva said the city is asking U-M to pay administrative overhead rates that, by comparison to overhead rates for police traffic control services, seem unusually high.&quot; That's ironic. How much of a percentage of UM tuition and tax dollars is to cover administrative overhead. Methinks UM needs to take a look in the mirror.


Thu, Sep 1, 2011 : 8:23 p.m.

I am sorry, but I can't help but get a big laugh out of this. I wonder which skunk will win. Let's put on a good show for out of town guests. Glad I will be at home watching. Good luck team. Go Blue!


Thu, Sep 1, 2011 : 8:23 p.m.

You don't suppose the unwanted parking structure's construction on both Fifth and Division would also contribute to the delay? Or perhaps its the construction on Broadway, or the mis-timed lights on Main street? Good job Ann Arbor on preparing the City streets in time for the incoming students and football traffic.


Fri, Sep 2, 2011 : 4:31 p.m.

Or Division street taken down to two lanes from four. Yup, just to create more parking spaces and install bike lanes! What a frackin joke!


Thu, Sep 1, 2011 : 9:40 p.m.

Bravo. The construction site on 5th is a debacle. I'd like to hear a good explanation of what has caused all the delays.


Thu, Sep 1, 2011 : 8:20 p.m.

For comparison, Ryan should look at what UM charges student organizations for UM police services (that are not even requested). When Martin Luther Kings daughter came to give a pro-life speech at UM, the University required the student organization to hire a UM police officer in case there were any protesters. UM police also prevented her from remaining after hear speech to talk with people who attended. I believe they got a bill in excess of $800 for a single police officer. How does that compare to what the city wants to charge for football games?


Thu, Sep 1, 2011 : 9:04 p.m.

trespass = the voice of reason.

Bertha Venation

Thu, Sep 1, 2011 : 8:06 p.m.

Hey! Park at my place &amp; I'll have Jethro shuttle you back and forth in the truck. Only $500 R/T. Such a deal!


Fri, Sep 2, 2011 : 5:22 p.m.

Do you still got that ceeement pond? Can I sit next to Ms Hathaway? Now, that girl is perty.


Thu, Sep 1, 2011 : 9:03 p.m.

EEEEEE-Doggie! UM would shut you down in a unfair competition, or fair competition for that matter.


Thu, Sep 1, 2011 : 8:03 p.m.

Ann Arbor did this just so they can ticket the 25,000 idling cars on State Street on football Saturdays. Funny how the City of Ann Arbor Environmental Commission doesn't get to weigh in on this issue.


Fri, Sep 2, 2011 : 4:29 p.m.

This only proves the stupidity of that proposal from the environmental commission then to have this occur; more idling cars. A2 is becoming such a joke, and I'm a democrat! Time to change party affilliation!


Thu, Sep 1, 2011 : 10 p.m.

hahaha, I just replied with the exact same thought a few comments up. :)

Richard Dawn

Thu, Sep 1, 2011 : 8 p.m.

The games and the fans bring in $10 million to businesses and employees in the community according to the convention bureau. You'd think the city would be interested in contributing toward a safe and pleasant experience and not trying to squeeze every last egg out of their golden goose.


Fri, Sep 2, 2011 : 4:03 p.m.

Good point Richard. And the city needs to hope that stadium remains full. I always wondered why the UM didn't build huge parking structures on the lots outside the stadium just adjacent to the stadium, Crisler Arena and the lot to the south of the police dept building. If they did that, they could draw in thousands of cars for game day parking along with the fees. Sure a lot of locals would lose that money, but if the city keeps demanding more, it starts to make sense to do what is most profitable. And it is a benefit for fans who won't have to walk far and have covered parking. During the week, with an enhanced bus system they could get more staff parking there at reduced rates and redevelop land currently holding parking facilities.


Thu, Sep 1, 2011 : 10:43 p.m.

No, I wouldn't think that.


Thu, Sep 1, 2011 : 7:56 p.m.

I actually applaud this move. It is kind of like a use tax, U of M is using city arteries to get people to a U of M destination. they can facilitate that process, or throw a wrench in it. looks like they chose the later.


Thu, Sep 1, 2011 : 7:56 p.m.

I'd love to see what UM charges for services provided to other entities.....I'd bet their bills are much higher than the city's bill. UM is the biggest price gouger in Michigan....and the wealthiest public entity.


Fri, Sep 2, 2011 : 4:27 p.m.

Oh please! Biggest price gouger in Michigan? Based on what? Wealthiest public entity? Well, from the education one receives from Michigan you can parlay that in obtaining a very high salary for yourself. And, quite a few of these alums give back to the UM. Oh, I guess that makes it the wealthiest public entity. Have you seen how the state of michigan has lower their aid to the U?


Thu, Sep 1, 2011 : 9:41 p.m.

Bravo, Bertha and Cash.

Bertha Venation

Thu, Sep 1, 2011 : 8:19 p.m.

You sure got THAT right, Cash!

Seasoned Cit

Thu, Sep 1, 2011 : 7:54 p.m.

Slowing things up will help make the impact a bit less when the Stadium Bridges finally are closed. Restaurants will be happy as more folks will stay in town to avoid the mess ! ( I remember when restaurants complained when they started making Main Street one way after the game, cause it made it too easy for folks to get out of town. Plus.. the longer it takes to move around town the longer folks will have to enjoy our expensive public art.


Thu, Sep 1, 2011 : 7:52 p.m.

IF you actually go to the games and are stuck in one of those gigantic backups-----you'll say what i say------pay the city! pioneer gets $40 per car a game----the athletic dept charges seat licenses and at least $480 a season. everyone is getting rich----give the city its due.


Thu, Sep 1, 2011 : 7:51 p.m.

I like how they have to ding the UM for fixed &quot;support costs&quot; like IT &amp; Data processing, Seminars &amp; Travel, and Debt Service among others. As if the extra hours worked by these police / technicians will incur extra expense in these areas to the city. What a cluster-foxtrot, no wonder the UofM balked. Now we all have to deal with the traffic consequences. Hey city council, how about reaching a reasonable deal here, and working for out best interest for a change???!!!


Thu, Sep 1, 2011 : 9:59 p.m.

I hope they don't issue any tickets while we're all idling at those green lights while the stadium &quot;traffic&quot; is crossing the street.


Thu, Sep 1, 2011 : 7:50 p.m.

This will produce so much exhaust pollution that I am sick just thinking about it. All these non-local folks in their honking SUVS idling at the lights. For hours. This is unacceptable and I plan to complain at both the city and university level. What small-fry bartering. Pay the money, Michigan. Since moving back to Ann Arbor after nearly five years in NYC, I am shocked and dismayed at the choices city infrasturcture has made in regards to the downtown area as well the lack of cooperation from the university. We moved back to Ann Arbor for the independent nature of the town, the enviromnetally-conscious ideals it embodies and to support both our alma mater and the state of michigan. I have been sorely disappointed in the last year in all these aspects. If they put a dollar store on liberty street, I might just die.


Fri, Sep 2, 2011 : 10:40 p.m.

Flying from San Francisco, CA for every game this season and renting a luxury SUV at DTW Airport each game. How's that for exhaust?


Fri, Sep 2, 2011 : 7:15 p.m.

so sorry to hear your possible demise...that being said, if the do put a dollar store there..woo hoo! cheap doggie poop bags!


Thu, Sep 1, 2011 : 8:11 p.m.

@treetowncartel--nope--just have lived in many other places that do not place nearly the emphasis on public services and quality of life issues. Including, as I said, New York City.


Thu, Sep 1, 2011 : 7:59 p.m.

Wow, you must have had blinders on when you were here before, and you definitely got hoodwinked upon your return. You would have been better off relocating to Ypsi on your return.

Bob W

Thu, Sep 1, 2011 : 7:50 p.m.

While the squabble continues, what would we all prefer, more &quot;art&quot; or traffic control and safety?


Fri, Sep 2, 2011 : 7:14 p.m.

@halter...I can never have too much cowbell! Who cares about art or traffic safety when one can listen to the etheral sounds of a cowbell...


Fri, Sep 2, 2011 : 2:40 a.m.

More cowbell!


Thu, Sep 1, 2011 : 9:56 p.m.

Art! Art! Art!! ;)

Jeff Gaynor

Thu, Sep 1, 2011 : 8:46 p.m.

More Art; less traffic. :)

Bertha Venation

Thu, Sep 1, 2011 : 8:05 p.m.

Ya... hmmm.... gee.... that's a toughy! ;)

Go Blue

Thu, Sep 1, 2011 : 7:49 p.m.

Oh for pity's sake. This sounds like a childish he said, she said, temper tantrum. However, UM did forget or overlook one additional factor. They pay zero, zip, nada, in property taxes. So, when you factor that in, one would think they would just quiet down and pay up. Let's face it, the UM events do benefit everyone involved from the U to the city. However, that doesn't mean one (the city) should take it in the ear. If the city wants to act under the premise of fair is fair, then give up that tax exemption and cough of your fair share of property taxes. Just sayin.


Fri, Sep 2, 2011 : 2:42 p.m.

Sure the U pays not taxes, but the city pulls in billions of dollars in revenue because the U is here. There mismanagement of it is not a reason to demand more. Just pay more huh? Like funding the bad habits of a spoiled child.


Fri, Sep 2, 2011 : 2:36 a.m.

It's not really an exemption--the university is a state institution that's constitutionally separate from the city of Ann Arbor. There are very good reasons for that, and I think it's reasonable that it not pay property taxes to the city. The university has even been respectful about its impact on the city property taxes--it waited a long time to buy up the old Pfizer space for that very reason. If anyone else had been willing to buy the space, Michigan wouldn't have gotten it, despite really wanting the extra space, precisely because Ann Arbor could have used the extra income. The university's not really taking advantage of the city--the city wouldn't be what it is without the university, either.

Bertha Venation

Thu, Sep 1, 2011 : 8:04 p.m.

U/M's got more money than you can shake a stick at (a lot from us tax payers!)

Buster W.

Thu, Sep 1, 2011 : 7:46 p.m.

Can you say, G-R-I-D-L-O-C-K?!


Thu, Sep 1, 2011 : 7:45 p.m.

I take back what I said, forget them paying, have all the lights be four way stops until 11pm on game days, maybe then all those people that come to town just for the game will walk downtown, hang around, eat and shop (I have a store downtown), :) trapped customers :)


Fri, Sep 2, 2011 : 6:10 a.m.

@jrigglem, that's why I said walk downtown from the game ;)


Thu, Sep 1, 2011 : 9:56 p.m.

Only if the meters don't cost 1.80, they're already paying 20 bucks to park on someones lawn ;)


Thu, Sep 1, 2011 : 7:40 p.m.

A2 at its best - What a cluster. Only proves get more &quot;brains&quot; in a room - no answers come out. Maybe the traffic will clear up by Labor Day. The merchants should be incessed as they will suffer. Just wait until the Notre Dame Game.

Ryan J. Stanton

Thu, Sep 1, 2011 : 7:38 p.m.

Here are a couple links to PDFs of the per-hour cost sheets for police and signs/signals technicians if anyone wants a more detailed dissection of the support costs: <a href=""></a> <a href=""></a>


Thu, Sep 1, 2011 : 9:07 p.m.


Macabre Sunset

Thu, Sep 1, 2011 : 7:36 p.m.

Maybe the city should stop looking at ways to fleece its residents and businesses and start looking at the money it raises as belonging to the taxpayers. The back-room, last-minute deal to fleece the taxpayers over benefits to city employees is a prime example. And now, we see the City Administrator essentially throwing a childish tantrum because he couldn't extract as much money as he wanted.


Thu, Sep 1, 2011 : 7:36 p.m.

The city is actually reaping money for employee benefits. So does the city then minus the money made for benefits that it's city employee's earn from the total cost for employee?


Thu, Sep 1, 2011 : 7:34 p.m.

Are the UM police officers not trained to direct traffic?


Fri, Sep 2, 2011 : 1:08 p.m.

first of all very rarely do regular cops direct traffic either.u don't have to have a Phd in logistics to do's a lot about common sense.look at some of these people who &quot;direct&quot; ' traffic at road construction sites.trained/i doubt it they can be sweeping one minute then shoveling,then passing out water,then directing,then driving a pickup etc. etc..trained i doubt it?i'm sure the M cops could figure it out.


Fri, Sep 2, 2011 : 1:29 a.m.

mikeyp, actually, the U is about to find out it is their problem.


Thu, Sep 1, 2011 : 10:53 p.m.

Ditto jrigglem, not to mention the traffic issues we're talking about fall well outside of UofM's jurisdiction. It's rather silly really... all of the traffic problems are in the city, why should the U be concerned with AA's traffic problems? I'm sure Saline and Ypsi and Pittsfield and all sorts of other jurisdictions have higher traffic on game days too, should the U have to pay them to compensate for that higher traffic? It's AA's problem, not the U's.


Thu, Sep 1, 2011 : 9:54 p.m.

They can probably direct traffic but they can't change the city traffic lights so they stay red longer to allow for more pedestrian traffic.


Thu, Sep 1, 2011 : 7:27 p.m.

isn't $100,000 a drop in the bucket for the entire football season? 8 home games equals an additional $12,500 per game/100,000 people equals 12.5 cents extra per person (or 50cents per vehicle if four people are in it). Unless the U offers more options for shuttle services (fewer cars driving to the stadium) they should pay up. Offer more shuttles from the A2 fair grounds, Pfizer, U of M parking structures and other pockets around town. Not having manual control of the signals for huge events doesn't make sense. When they had the air show at A2 airport years ago cars parked on the lawn, see about having shuttles from there? Heck, what about shuttles from the Willow Run plant, that's just sitting there, all those empty parking spots. Not cost effective? well is it less than shelling out an extra 100 grand to move traffic?


Thu, Sep 1, 2011 : 7:26 p.m.

The $44.48 per hour in support costs seems excessive. I think Ann Arbor should do better to explain that.


Fri, Sep 2, 2011 : 12:59 p.m.

I'd rather the University explain why they are being so contentious about $100K when they rake in MILLIONS on any football Saturday, pay NO property taxes and get FREE fire service!