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Posted on Thu, Feb 18, 2010 : 6:02 p.m.

University of Michigan Central Campus transit center planned

By Juliana Keeping

Big transportation changes are on the way for the stretch of North University Avenue between Fletcher and Church streets.

The University of Michigan Board of Regents approved plans for a $4.5 million Central Campus transit center at its monthly meeting Thursday.

Plans include:

  • Resurfacing North University between Fletcher and Church streets.
  • Fixing a city water main that's undersized for the area.
  • Adding bike lanes.
  • Reducing traffic from two lanes to one in each direction.
  • Creating bus drop-off lanes on each side of North University and adding larger, covered bus shelters.
  • Improving adjoining plaza areas to improve pedestrian flow and safety.
  • Creating an accessible entrance to the Alexander G. Ruthven Museum building.


University of Michigan Regents approved plans for a Central Campus transit center Thursday.

Drawing courtesy of Hubbel, Roth & Clark, Inc.

U-M officials say the moves are necessary to improve pedestrian safety and fix North University Avenue, which is worn and in need of repair. The bus stations will be able to accommodate more buses from both the Ann Arbor Transportation Authority and U-M's busing system.

Half the funds will come from the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act and federal transportation funds, with the university providing matching funds from its resources and short-term debt.

"That part of central campus is very crowded and busy - it's a key area," said Timothy Slottow, U-M's chief financial officer. "Normally the city would pay for the surfacing and the water utility improvement, but it's not the city's highest priority - it's a high priority for us."

The city was unable to provide $450,000 in funding for its portion of the roadway due to the timing of the project, said Hank Baier, U-M's associate vice president for facilities and operations.

The U-M Department of Architecture, Engineering and Construction, along with Detroit-area consulting engineers Hubbell, Roth & Clark, Inc., is managing the design of the project.

Area parking spaces will be lost temporarily. Construction is slated to begin in May, with expected completion in the fall.

Plans for zoology collections move take another step forward

Plans to move millions of fish, reptile and amphibian specimens preserved in glass jars at the University of Michigan moved forward Thursday.

The $17.6 million plan to renovate a portion of the Alexander G. Ruthven Museums Building, box up its specimens and move them a new campus home got the initial go-ahead in 2008. Schematic designs by SmithGroup of Detroit were approved at the November 2009 Board of Regents meeting. On Thursday, the regents authorized the construciton bidding process to begin.

The project includes renovations and fire systems improvements of 6,800 square feet at Ruthven to allow a small portion of the collections to remain on-site for easy access for teaching and research. The rest will be moved to 3600 Varsity Drive, where a 40,000-square-foot space within the existing building will be constructed under the plan.

The new space will have all the proper codes, such as a certain wall thickness and fire retardant systems, as well as a small lab area for visiting professors and students.

Juliana Keeping covers higher education for Reach her at or 734-623-2528.



Fri, Feb 19, 2010 : 4:46 p.m.

Those were certainly rumors. I've followed this for a while and there has been nothing about the AATA relocating to this North University location. There isn't enough room to accomodate the traffic that it would cause. The plan is to relocate the AATA stops from other North U locations. An indoor facility was discussed, but never considered due to funding.


Fri, Feb 19, 2010 : 3:47 p.m.

I have been talking to several bus drivers and even a supervisor from U-M Transit about this project. Unless received improper information or the plans have changed this was suppose to have an inside waiting area that is heated and cooled, have some vending and rest room facilities. The big buzz earlier was a rumor that AATA was going to relocate the Downtown transfer center to North University to allow better transfer connections between U-M and AATA. Now that the Blake TC is going to be re built I guess this won't be happening. At least this will allow the buses to all fit into the transfer lanes and get off of North University.


Fri, Feb 19, 2010 : 3:03 p.m.

WEll I'm not pleased they are taking it down to 1 lane. I don't know the deminsions so I don't know if that will effect Art Fair or not.


Fri, Feb 19, 2010 : 2:49 p.m.

And I love how everyone is calling this a "transit center." Um. No. This is a bus stop. It's a nice bus stop. But it's a bus stop. Only in Ann Arbor and at the U of M.


Fri, Feb 19, 2010 : 2:13 p.m.

I believe that this transit hub is needed, well designed, fits its purpose and will encourage safer traffic patterns. I think that adding the short fences between tree planters will encourage pedestrians to use the crosswalks instead of darting across the street wherever they desire. The single lane traffic pattern will be more in keeping with the high density pedestrian traffic, too. Well done!


Fri, Feb 19, 2010 : 1:51 p.m.

Hi, David: The portion of Stadium Boulevard, west of the bridge, east of Main Street, is a high-traffic way that now separates U of M golf course and the stadium. It will be much friendlier to thousands of pedestrian users, once the road is closed due to bridge collapse and removal. Out-of-town feeder traffic on all other roads will be exactly the same. Traffic entering the City from State Street, A2-Saline Road, Maple Road, and Main Street are unaltered. The local traffic displaced from closure of Stadium Bridge will find ample other routes. Local traffic is not the concern for U of M. U of M related traffic is the concern for U of M. U of M thus has no need for Stadium Bridge. In this scenario, life goes on... just not with Stadium Bridge.


Fri, Feb 19, 2010 : 1:23 p.m.

It'll calm one road and increase traffic on the others. UofM doesn't need to do anythihg that costs them money...what do they care if peopole half to drive another direction?


Fri, Feb 19, 2010 : 1:12 p.m.

"traffic calming for U of M events." @ a2grateful, how do you figure?


Fri, Feb 19, 2010 : 12:49 p.m.

As long as A2 Saline is open for the majority of football traffic, who needs Stadium Bridge? It's a throwaway. Don't believe it? U of M activity and venues don't depend on Stadium Bridge. One might even argue that the demise of Stadium Bridge will offer needed traffic calming for U of M events.


Fri, Feb 19, 2010 : 12:48 p.m.

Some classic posts in here. People hooraying UofM for spending money on needs and then bashing the City for building a new Courts & Police building it needed, brilliant.


Fri, Feb 19, 2010 : 12:37 p.m.

@ E, I drive under what remains of the State street bridge everyday and wonder exactly the same thing: Why couldn't University of Michigan foot the bill (and architects) to rebuild that ruin of a bridge?


Fri, Feb 19, 2010 : 12:31 p.m.

I love University of Michigan, they hire the best architects, have the best plans, and spend a lot of money on building beautiful and functional developments. I hope area Developers are taking notes!


Fri, Feb 19, 2010 : 12:25 p.m.

E: "Can we just turn the entire city over to the U?" Nice idea... However, it is sort of that way now... U of M makes improvements related to true to their core mission, resulting in benefit and economic productivity for many. As U of M grows, so does the city. This has been the case since the late 1800s. U of M is transitioning to take over poorly provided City functions. They have their own police department. Now the U is upgrading City water utility and road infrastructure. Meanwhile, H. folly-ites explore plastic-bag bans and user taxes, pick out artwork, furniture and floor cover for new City Hall, hire consultants to evaluate viability of projects that have already been started,...... hire consultants to evaluate public perception of expanded taxation, and study how to spend greenbelt money to stop development, even after the development market has crashed. Folly fountains, unneeded underground parking, unneeded hotels and conference centers, "untouchable" silo slush funds for pet projects, wealthy artist funds, and wealthy artist communes... Such is the concern of a2 City government. What? The U found a way to receive benefit from the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act? Could the City use this as a template for Stadium Bridge reconstruction? The City could possibly receive 50% funding? Why did the City pursue Tiger Funds for Stadium Bridge? How much brainpower does it take to realize that there is little chance to receive Tiger Funds, with $56.5 billion in requests competing for $1.5 billion in funding? a2 City government doesn't need or want U of M to take it over. They are very content to go about their folly ways, with captive, silent taxpayers funding the nonsense. The City does not want federal project dollars for one reason: They want reason for Headlee rollback tax increases, and institution of income tax. The City of Ann Arbor is great solely because of U of M. It has absolutely zero to do with City government. Thank goodness for U of M. It is the true Ann Arbor.

Adam Jaskiewicz

Fri, Feb 19, 2010 : 11:19 a.m.

I like it. Attractive, simple, elegant; no huge futuristic glass structures. The suspended roof structure is a nice idea---it keeps pillars out of the way of buses and pedestrians.


Fri, Feb 19, 2010 : 11:15 a.m.

Excellent concept! Can we just turn the entire city over to the U? I bet they could find a way to accomplish such projects as the State St. bridge.

Marvin Face

Fri, Feb 19, 2010 : 9:24 a.m.

Excellent news, and thank you, Ben.


Fri, Feb 19, 2010 : 9:07 a.m.

Marvin: The University Record says... Adding bicycle lanes and bicycle racks to meet demand. Not sure why "bicycle racks" did not make it into's post.


Fri, Feb 19, 2010 : 8:51 a.m.

I'm definitely glad Obama is funding this one. Allowing the terrorists to build more bus stops than us would be letting them win. We can't let that happen!

Jim Osborn

Fri, Feb 19, 2010 : 8:27 a.m.

What is wrong with the federal gov via the Obama Admin giving money for specific projects is that local people know best what is needed. An improved bus stop or a new bridge to replace one that is dangerous and partially closed. Obama picks...the bus stop! Then again, the mayor of Ann Arbor spends transportation money on roundabouts and bike lanes instead of bridges and potholes. Millions of dollars for an open air bus stop.

The Picker

Fri, Feb 19, 2010 : 8:23 a.m.

Roo, No bashing, Just stating the facts. Am I wrong? I certainly could find fault with our president, he's carrying on where Bush left off!

Some Guy in 734

Fri, Feb 19, 2010 : 7:12 a.m.

Note that a drawing!= a "photo". Surely Hubbel, Roth & Clark couldn't have pointed a camera at it if it doesn't exist yet.

Chris Blackstone

Fri, Feb 19, 2010 : 6:13 a.m.

It would really be nice for every story on that referenced a physical location for there to be a map embedded in the article so we can see exactly the area being referred to. Kind of like this, except staff would actually be able to embed the Google Map View Larger Map


Fri, Feb 19, 2010 : 12:50 a.m.

Good for the U of M stepping up to the plate and recognizing that the city needs help supporting the taxed infrastructure of Ann Arbor. Now can you help out with the Stadium Bridges?


Fri, Feb 19, 2010 : 12:50 a.m.

Gotta love the U'. They see a problem, commit to fixing it based on a broader need for their community, even if this means allocating their dollars for portions of the project that the city should fund. In the end, they took action on improving an area based upon the greater needs of their community and the safety of their patrons. Meanwhile, the city's roads are crumbling, bridges are falling, infrastrutures need repairs. But, we'll have German Art, a new City Hall, consultant's to give advice on art, oh, and new revenue generators in the disguise of safety by ticketing people or talk on their cells while driving or riding their bikes!


Thu, Feb 18, 2010 : 10:45 p.m.

@Picker, Oh how I remember those days when we blamed Bush for everything. The funny thing was that it usually involved starting wars and the likes. It's rather hilarious that this is the best Obama bashing you could come up with. I'm fairly liberal and I could think of plenty more things to bark at him about than this.

The Picker

Thu, Feb 18, 2010 : 10:19 p.m.

Obama Bucks? Thank you China for the loan for this doubious project. I hope our children can pay you back

Marvin Face

Thu, Feb 18, 2010 : 8:43 p.m.

I hope they have planned for bike parking to make this a multi-modal transit center.