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Posted on Thu, Sep 17, 2009 : 5:13 p.m.

Public gets peek at proposed Fuller Road transit center, parking structure

By Dan Meisler

The public got its first look at a proposed new parking structure and transit station on Fuller Road in Ann Arbor this afternoon during a workshop at city hall.

A few dozen residents attended the first informal session at 3 p.m., perusing posters and computer animation of the project. A second session was scheduled for 6-8 p.m.

The Fuller Intermodal Transportation Station would include a parking structure with 900 spaces; a bicycle station with room for storage, servicing and a shower and changing facility; a transit center for buses; and a train platform that could serve Amtrak, a new commuter rail service, or a so-called “signature service” transit line. It would be located on city-owned land on the current site of a parking lot in the shadow of the University of Michigan Hospital.

Plans also call for improvements to Fuller Road, including a possible roundabout at Island Drive, and pedestrian improvements. The parking structure would be five stories tall.


Eli Cooper, transportation program manager for the city of Ann Arbor, said federal stimulus money is being pursued for the project to the tune of $8 million to $10 million for design and $42 million for construction. That would leave about $20 million to be split in some way between the city and U-M, which would control 75 percent of the parking spaces, city officials said.

“The city and university are in deliberations about how we might share in the Phase I investment,” Cooper said.

City planner Wendy Rampson said the cost of the parking structure may be split in proportion to the share of the parking spots allocated to the city and university.

The plans, which could be presented to the Ann Arbor City Council as soon as its Oct. 16 meeting, received positive reviews from many who attended the workshop.

“I’m pretty excited about it,” said Frank Schwende, an Ann Arbor resident and chemist with the Environmental Protection Agency who attended the event in a biking jersey and carried a bike helmet.

“It’s an opportunity for the city of Ann Arbor to put out a visible sign that it embraces the bicycle as a serious mode of transportation,” he said.

Schwende said the large parking structure gave him pause, but his experience getting to and from the hospital to care for a sick loved one convinced him more parking is needed. As for spending city money on such a project in a recession, he said it could be a wise long-term move.

“You have to build for the future,” he said. “This may be the best time to do it.”

Jesse Bernstein, former head of the Ann Arbor Chamber of Commerce, said he was most excited about the cooperation between the city and university.

“They’re collaborating in a way that’s absolutely brilliant,” he said.

City Councilwoman Sandi Smith also gave the project a good review.

“I think this is incredibly exciting,” she said.

The time frame put out by the city calls for public review and input on the preliminary design in spring 2010; public review of an environmental assessment that has already started in summer 2010; design planning for the intermodal transit center to be completed in spring 2010; and design on utilities and roads to run through winter 2010. Bidding for construction would be in fall 2010, and construction would be completed in summer 2012.

The structure would essentially replace a university-planned parking facility slated for Wall Street that was recently scrapped. University officials were not present at the City Hall event.

Freelance reporter Dan Meisler can be reached at



Sat, Sep 19, 2009 : 2:45 p.m.

More parking for patients is needed - but I'd like to see more encouragement (both carrot and stick) for employees to use alternate modes of transportation to get to work at the med center. As far a biking year round - we can do that now! Seriously! Advances in all weather gear over the last decade provide solutions to staying warm and dry under anything Mother Nature can through at you in Michigan. Studded bicycle tires provide secure traction on ice and most snow conditions.

David Paris

Fri, Sep 18, 2009 : 11:09 a.m.

It's a beautiful concept, I hope that it is followed up with Beautiful Execution! This structure will be a gateway to our fine cite, with the help of stimulus funds there really is no need to build it to the lowest bidder(meaning cheaply). Let's make this complex shine! It's time for beautiful architecture again. Run With It!


Fri, Sep 18, 2009 : 8:13 a.m.

I like the idea of riding bicycles to and from the station. Now we have to tackle climate change so we can ride them all year! Where is George Bush and those global warming people when we need them.

Basic Bob

Fri, Sep 18, 2009 : 7:33 a.m.

Public transit is a way to keep our cities alive, instead of just sprawling out across the state. Ann Arbor, Ypsi, and Detroit would be helped by concentrating development in the high speed rail corridor. And federal stimulus money pays for it. Seems like a good deal to me.


Fri, Sep 18, 2009 : 6:46 a.m.

Whoa is me, Whoa is me.....WE the leaders of the City of Ann Arbor have NO money at all to continue the basic services that the tax payers are paying for, we must reduce our Police Force, force the Fire Chief to retire, and layoff 14 firefighters. BUT WAIT......WE have found 54 million for a next Roger Fraser municipal building next to City Hall, WE have found 40+ million for a new underground parking structure and NOW we have found the money 20+ million for a new transit/parking terminal!!! There is a GOD watching over Ann Arbor. I for one will be voting down any and ALL tax increases and fee increases until City council / Mayor / and Administrator Fraser learn to run a city the way it should be done!


Fri, Sep 18, 2009 : 6:27 a.m.

It would be really great if this project included significant commercial space as well. If you look in other countries that use public transit as a major mode, they almost all have lots of shops and eating places (magazines, sandwich shops, coffee/pastry, etc.). I heard one suggestion for a pub. This could really become a key gathering destination!


Fri, Sep 18, 2009 : 3:33 a.m.

My God! What's wrong with this city and it's obsession with parking structures! Our bridges and streets are crumbling and all they can think about is MORE parking!