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Posted on Mon, Jun 6, 2011 : 5:55 a.m.

Rain delay: Completion of Washtenaw Avenue path in Ann Arbor pushed back a month

By Juliana Keeping

Soggy weather has delayed by one month the completion of a 1-mile non-motorized pathway on Washtenaw Avenue that will connect the University of Michigan campus to the Arborland shopping center.

Anne Warrow, a project manager for the City of Ann Arbor, said she hopes the path will be complete by the July 20 start date of the Ann Arbor Art Fairs.

The work schedule will depend in large part on the weather, Warrow said Thursday.


Workers clear out trees and brush for the non-motorized path on Washtenaw in Ann Arbor in April.

Angela J. Cesere |

This week, crews are pouring the foundations for retaining walls; the project will require about seven of them, Warrow said. The initial goal for a finished path was the end of June.

The path is being constructed on Washtenaw Avenue between Glenwood and Tuomy roads. It’s part of the city's long-term plan that will eventually result in over 50 miles of bike paths throughout Ann Arbor. When the Washtenaw Avenue project is done, the city will be 37 miles toward that goal.

The $1.58 million project is being paid for with a combination of $748,675 in federal funds, $772,091 from the city's alternative transportation fund, and a special assessment from property owners along Washtenaw Avenue, Warrow said.

Juliana Keeping covers general assignment and health and the environment for Reach her at or 734-623-2528. Follow Juliana Keeping on Twitter.



Tue, Jun 7, 2011 : 2:47 p.m.

The "very nice bike path for most of the route" on the south side of Washtenaw is just that--a nice bike path part of the way. It is not present all the way to Huron Parkway, and it disappears entirely in front of the businesses and vacant lots across from Whole Foods. Trying to cross 5 lanes of traffic at the lights at Huron Parkway and at Sheridan is extremely challenging, especially with children in tow either on foot or on bikes, and for many of us, using the south path means two crossings to go to Panera, B&N, haircuts, etc. I assure you this path has been eagerly awaited by many in Ann Arbor Hills and Burns Park neighborhoods since it was announced years ago and will be used much more than the path on the south side.

Dog Guy

Mon, Jun 6, 2011 : 10:13 p.m.

Mud from the hillside which is being sliced will flow onto the path and remove this ugly boondoggle from sight.

Charlie Brown's Ghost

Mon, Jun 6, 2011 : 7:03 p.m.

When did we stop calling them "sidewalks" and start calling them "non-motorized pathways?" Good Night and Good Grief


Mon, Jun 6, 2011 : 7:33 p.m.

Sidewalks are for pedestrians (and kids on bikes), not adults on bikes. Non-motorized pathways are for pedestrians and bikes. They are significantly wider and usually constructed of asphalt making for a smoother ride. It's actually helpful to have different terms for different things.


Mon, Jun 6, 2011 : 5:24 p.m.

I think this path is much-needed. I can't wait to use it. Maybe next Ypsi-AA will figure out how pedestrians and cyclists can safely walk/ride from Arborland to Ypsilanti along Washtenaw Ave (under US 23)?


Mon, Jun 6, 2011 : 6:42 p.m.

You know there is a bike path from Ypsi to AA on Packard.But there has never been a lick of maintenance done to it.I've tried to use it but I can see why people use the road


Mon, Jun 6, 2011 : 3:37 p.m.

It's about time! We needed some way to navigate Washtenaw. That street is a gauntlet for pedestrians and cyclists. True, there is a path for a portion of the way, but it simply dead-ends. After that, you're on your own.


Mon, Jun 6, 2011 : 2:33 p.m.

There should be a sidewalk on both sides of all streets. Crossing Washtenaw twice to walk from Tuomy to Whole Foods is ridiculous and the south side of the Stadium Washtenaw intersection is dangerous to boot. Then a pedestrian who wants to go to Whole Foods has to cross Washtenaw where there is no light or walk all the way down to Huron Parkway to cross with a light.Everything is built for cars and good luck to the bikers and pedestrians. This is money well spent.

Craig Lounsbury

Mon, Jun 6, 2011 : 3:29 p.m.

"This is money well spent." I would contend it is only well spent to the extent it gets used. I don't pretend to have a threshold in mind but if 1000 bikes and peds a day use it that's a good thing. If 3 bikes and peds a month use it its not.( I made those numbers up to make my point. )


Mon, Jun 6, 2011 : 1:43 p.m.

The non-motorized transportation plan was passed under the radar several years ago. The local bike lobby of a handful of people pushed it through. Please look at it. It is absolutely ridiculous. The bike path along Washtenaw is another clear example of the wasted money. Someone mentioned there is a perfectly good path along the south side. Do a ridership count and justify another path. The cost of gas may increase the number of bike riders but certainly does not justify another path. The thought of "build it and they will come" does not work. Look where thousands has been spent over the past several years on bike paths and also the remarking traffic lanes. Again, do a usage count. We surely have spent a lot of money to pacify a few. It would also be interesting to know if residents or non-residents were the big push behind this. Someone needs to come to there senses and stop this.


Mon, Jun 6, 2011 : 10:43 p.m.

@foobar...more...It was a well orchestrated attack. Who comprised the project team? Who was on the advisory committee? This plan passed under the radar and now is a tremendous burden and waste of money. Count the riders out there. Impossible to justify the cost.


Mon, Jun 6, 2011 : 10:39 p.m. I said if the snews did it's job of reporting this would not have passed. Unfortunately in Ann Arbor most pay little attention until the impact. Sure would like to know how many non bike people were involved. I doubt there was a representative sample of Ann Arbor constituents. Again because the message was said to be put out the impact and consequences were not adequately relayed to the public.


Mon, Jun 6, 2011 : 8:53 p.m.

From the plan itself: "The following Vision, Goals and Objectives were developed to guide the development of the master plan. They evolved through an extensive public involvement process that began with a visioning process. Members of the Project Advisory Committee and the participants of two public workshops were asked to individually and collectively prioritize their desired outcomes for the project as well as their places of concern that they felt the plan should address. From this visioning process the project team found that desired "outcomes" of the plan fell into three general categories: • Planning and policy • Network components • Education Using these categories as a guide, the project team developed goals and objectives for the plan that would deliver these outcomes. The project advisory committee reviewed the draft goals and objectives first, offered suggestions, and developed an overall vision for the master plan. This vision and the revised goals and objectives were then presented at each of the four area public workshops that were held throughout the City, and the public was asked to indicate their agreement or disagreement, and offer modifications to improve them. Public input was incorporated as appropriate, and the following final vision, goals and objectives resulted." I count 6 public meetings alone in that paragraph, plus in order to pass the city council that would have taken 2 meetings as well. It's a representative democracy. You (presumably) are a citizen. It is your responsibility to be engaged. Making unfounded accusations about the public transparency because you didn't like the outcome is corrosive to democracy.


Mon, Jun 6, 2011 : 8:26 p.m.

@foobar...check back and see how well the plan was publicized. Whatever was minimally required and well hidden. Had the annarbor snews done its job of reporting there is no way this would have passed.


Mon, Jun 6, 2011 : 3:30 p.m.

@a2roots-Well said!


Mon, Jun 6, 2011 : 2:46 p.m.

Translation: I don't like it, so I'll assume it was "sneaked through". I don't like it, so I'll assume "no one will use it." I don't like it, so I'll assume there's an obvious alternative that no one considered. I don't like it, so I'll assume it must be a waste of money.


Mon, Jun 6, 2011 : 1:23 p.m.

Gee, precisely the same set of comments after the last article. The same article in which 50% of the 1000+ respondents said they would use the bike path.


Mon, Jun 6, 2011 : 1:17 p.m.

I wonder what the maintenance will look like once this is open. Will they at least have enough money for signs stating that it will not be maintained in winter?


Mon, Jun 6, 2011 : 1:14 p.m.

Gee, no contributions from the University or Arborland? Seems like they're the ones that will be the primary beneficiaries. Of course that assumes that the lack of a path is currently preventing them from the multi-mile trip from campus to Arborland. As far as I can tell there is a pretty nice path on the south side of Washtenaw for a good portion of the way.

Are you serious?

Mon, Jun 6, 2011 : 12:14 p.m.

I wonder if anyone noticed that there is a very nice bike path on the south side of Washtenaw for much of that route? Maybe the bicyclists don't know how to cross Washtenaw at the various lights. Oh, I forgot - most bicyclists cannot see lights - they just blast through them. (Recently saw one run through the red light at Plymouth and Traver. He was probably going about 35 mph down the hill west bound. Luckily for him there was no traffic coming off Traver.) BTW how much was the "special assessment" the property owners along Washtenaw had to pay? Did they have a chance to vote on that? I know a mere $772K is pocket change, but maybe can put up a poll for the stupidest waste of money in Ann Arbor. Of course we need not include the "water sculpture", "the welcome to AA signs", or the "big dig."


Mon, Jun 6, 2011 : 2:16 p.m.

And who suffers the most when a bicyclist does something stupid? Not the driver of the car. How hard is it to slow down a few seconds to deal with a bicycle or pedestrian? I saw an older woman in the traffic island on W. Stadium waiting to cross just half the street. I was at the light at Maple and saw her, by the time the light had changed for me, she was still there. When I got to the island I stopped, got honked at by three cars and no one in the other lane would stop. Sorry, there are way more bad automobile drivers than bike riders and as I said before the bike rider always suffers even if they are not a fault for an accident.


Mon, Jun 6, 2011 : 11:47 a.m.

Want to bet that even after this "Bike Path" is completed there will be cyclists who will insist on riding on Washtenaw Ave so that cars will still have to swerve to avoid them?

Peter Baker

Mon, Jun 6, 2011 : 9:15 p.m.

Well that makes one of you.


Mon, Jun 6, 2011 : 3:28 p.m.

@a2cents, I don't text or use my cell while driving and there is nothing on the radio anymore but junk so I don't even turn it on and I don't have a gps. I do pay attention while driving.


Mon, Jun 6, 2011 : 2:02 p.m.

Nope not me.I don't take sucker bets


Mon, Jun 6, 2011 : 12:46 p.m.

No swerving is required. Just put down your cell phone, quit texting, and stop playing with your radio or gps. Pay attention and drive.

Craig Lounsbury

Mon, Jun 6, 2011 : 11:32 a.m.

"... non-motorized pathway....that will connect the University of Michigan campus...." "The $1.58 million project is being paid for with a combination of $748,675 in federal funds, $772,091 from the city's alternative transportation fund, and a special assessment from property owners along Washtenaw Avenue, Warrow said." Its interesting to see the University mentioned in the project description but not the funding.

Craig Lounsbury

Tue, Jun 7, 2011 : 2:03 a.m.

I was more thinking the University should chip in.


Mon, Jun 6, 2011 : 7:47 p.m.

This doesn't make any sense. So the city is building/extending bike paths to connect parts of the city, including campus ("The University"). Would you rather the city not install bike paths and keep all those riders on the street?


Mon, Jun 6, 2011 : 10:52 a.m.

Nice to see the city of Ann Arbor has their priorities. Just last week there were stories about cutting A2 high school bus routes and 20 positions from the A2 police and fire departments. However we have the $$ to build 50 miles of paved bike path throughout the city. How outrageous is that?

Steve Hendel

Mon, Jun 6, 2011 : 10:19 a.m.

What is the "alternative transportation fund"? Wherefrom comes the $$$?

Haggis Chihuahua

Mon, Jun 6, 2011 : 10:56 a.m.

Alternative Transportation Fund = the money you save after you lay off a few cops, lay off a few firemen, and avoid paving roads that so desperately need it.