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Posted on Mon, Nov 7, 2011 : 5:56 a.m.

Ypsilanti City Council chooses West Cross Street repaving project over South Grove Road

By Tom Perkins


West Cross Street will be rebuilt in 2012 instead of South Grove Road.

Tom Perkins | For

The City of Ypsilanti will receive new federal money for road repairs, but it’s not going to replace a controversial section of South Grove Road that is deteriorating.

Instead, the city is using the funds for a complete rebuild of several blocks along West Cross Street between Wallace Boulevard and Washtenaw Avenue, where there also is significant deterioration.

At a special Tuesday night meeting, City Council voted 4-3 to approve the curb-to-curb reconstruction of the stretch of road. Council Member Dan Vogt wanted council to opt for a cheaper and temporary fix, while council members Ricky Jefferson and Lois Richardson were in favor of reconstructing Grove.

Including the replacement of old water mains below the road, the project will cost more than $1 million total. But the Ypsilanti Community Utility Authority is paying for the water main replacement and providing the city with about $90,000 for the project. The city also is receiving $225,000 in federal money through the Federal Surface Transportation Program and had already budgeted another $60,000 in engineering costs. The total bill to the city will be about $400,000.

The rebuild will be done next spring with a hot asphalt mix and is expected to last 15 to 20 years. A complete rebuild using concrete would have cost an additional $200,000. An amendment to fund the strongest rebuild failed, 4-3, with Council Members Brian Robb and Pete Murdock supporting it, along with Mayor Paul Schreiber.

Vogt said he favored the original resolution, which called for repair of about 10 percent of the parking lanes and 60 percent of the travel lanes on West Cross at a total cost to the city of $135,000. He said the city needs to “hold the line” on spending as it prepares to ask voters to support tax increases.

“I think that is, unfortunately, the fiscally responsible choice to make,” he said.

But Robb, Schreiber and Murdock contended that the road needed a full rebuild so it wouldn’t have to be addressed again in several years.

“This is similar to the discussion on (Grove Road),” Murdock said. “If we have to do it, we should do it right.”

Council member Mike Bodary, who originally leaned toward the option Vogt supported, said an option between the cheapest and most expensive would be the best idea. He subsequently gave the extra vote needed to pass the option that will cost the city $424,000 and provide a curb-to-curb rebuild and replace the water lines.

Prior to the vote on West Cross, council members discussed the pricing options and logistics on the Grove Road rebuild. At an Oct. 18 council meeting, officials from Ypsilanti Township offered to loan Ypsilanti the money to overlay several inches of asphalt as a temporary solution.

Council voted against taking any kind of loan and decided to hold off on repairing the road until it could afford the estimated $500,000 to $600,000 rebuild.

Residents who live in the neighborhood near the stretch have grown increasingly upset with the road’s condition in recent years and have said it has caused damage to their cars.

But council members reiterated their position that a complete rebuild was needed and said it would be the next project after West Cross Street. OHM Engineer Ken Early said he spoke with road commission officials who said the Grove project couldn't be completed until spring because it’s so late in the season.

Richardson asked Early whether Grove Road or West Cross Street was in worse condition, and Early said measurements taken at West Cross indicated it was slightly worse.

Richardson said she had a suggestion she knew would be unpopular.

“I suggest we give that 500 to 600 feet of Grove Road to the township,” she said. “That’s the entrance into their area, we don’t have that much that people use around it. Let’s give it to them.”

The suggestion was met with silence.

Township officials have expressed frustration with the city for turning down the loan it previously offered and refusing to address the road for so many years. They say it affects township residents but also hurts Ypsilanti because township residents won't travel into the city because of the road's condition.

"For a city that’s got one foot in the grave and one on a banana peel, it doesn’t makes much sense not take some assistance when it's offered and try to reconstruct a road that is a gateway into their city, into Depot Town and into downtown," Township Attorney Doug Winters said.

Robb said the engineers' analysis of the roads showed West Cross was in worse condition, and he pointed out that West Cross and South Grove both lead into the township, so the city is actually taking care of the worst street leading into the township.


Zachary Jones

Tue, Nov 8, 2011 : 7:26 p.m.

The truth of the matter is this: West Cross is a predominately white middle class neighborhood; Grove Street is a predominately black working class neighborhood. The city council's actions are complete based on socio-economic decisions and not fiscal responsibility. Shame on the council for allowing their racist notions supersede their responsibility.

Turd Ferguson

Wed, Nov 9, 2011 : 9:54 p.m.

Why did you make this a racial issue? We've been trying to correct this for YEARS. Take one step forward and two steps back...

Ben Petiprin

Wed, Nov 9, 2011 : 12:09 a.m.

You'd be correct in saying that about parts of Grove Road. However, a lot of the screwed up sections of Grove is alongside Gault Village, one of the whitest and most middle class parts of Ypsilanti. I think the decision has more to do with City Coucil putting the interests of EMU above the interests of the city. In fact I'd bet most of our recent renovations, including the demolition of several trailer parks and apartment complexes, were done solely to make college students more comfortable.


Tue, Nov 8, 2011 : 12:42 a.m.

I live on West Cross close to where the picture was taken and and drive the road every day. The pot holes have gotten quite significant over the past several years to the point that most people drive in the smooth(er) parking lane (when there are no cars there) rather than drive down the bumpy lane. I am, of course, thrilled that it might be remedied, but I also feel bad that Grove can't also be repaired. I hope a creative solution can be found.

Turd Ferguson

Mon, Nov 7, 2011 : 9:17 p.m.

Why is the city paying for entire replacement of the road and watermains when only 1/2 the road is bad? The westbound is what's bad. (see picture). The eastbound side is fine. "Robb said the engineers' analysis of the roads showed West Cross was in worse condition, and he pointed out that West Cross and South Grove both lead into the township, so the city is actually taking care of the worst street leading into the township." What a play on words...."...the city is actually taking care of the worst street leading into the township..." Let's see, couldn't we say something like, "the city ISN'T taking care of the worst street leading into the city? " Recall.


Mon, Nov 7, 2011 : 7:32 p.m.

This is good news. However, I'm kind of enjoying driving in the much smoother parking lane when heading westbound on W. Cross. I feel like a rebel!

dading dont delete me bro

Mon, Nov 7, 2011 : 5:11 p.m.

dumb...dumb...dumb how about a traffic survey? put those counters out? i guess the city would rather have the welcome of a pot-holeo (grove rd) than we've already got you in our city (cross st). (sarcastic of course).


Mon, Nov 7, 2011 : 4:12 p.m.

See, that's why Richardson has a great idea. Just hand it over to the Twp so they can be in charge of its maintenance. I see nothing wrong with that idea.


Mon, Nov 7, 2011 : 3:10 p.m.

It is a serious mistake for the Township, and its attorney to try to create controversy over these decisions. The dollars aren't there to do it all, and West Cross is a main access road to EMU, Ypsi High, Estabrook, Ypsi Middle School and Shadford. There is a huge amount of traffic on that road morning, day and night. The Township cannot reasonably argue that repaving it is unprincipled or intended to do the Township harm. If this is as important to the Township as the Township claims, the Township can repave it themselves rather than offer an short-term fix that will cost more in the long run.


Tue, Nov 8, 2011 : 4:11 a.m.

I agree. I believe the township can't just say." ok.. we wanna do this even though we have no jurisdiction..


Mon, Nov 7, 2011 : 7:43 p.m.

Can one just repave a road which they do not own? I'd bet the township would do it themselves if they could legally fix said stretch.


Mon, Nov 7, 2011 : 1:52 p.m.

Is it possible to give council person Richardson to the township? She has consistently failed to represent here constituents on issues for the past twelve years. This is another example of her failed leadership.

joe golder

Mon, Nov 7, 2011 : 3:49 p.m.

I agree with council person Richardson. It won't be long before Its the townships anyway. Fixing Cross street will certainly help speed up the flow of traffic. It will be easier on shocks and tires too! Get rid of the stop signs!!

Marshall Applewhite

Mon, Nov 7, 2011 : 1:50 p.m.

I'm curious... How can a section of road be deemed "controversial"?


Mon, Nov 7, 2011 : 1:42 p.m.

The most unsettling point in the article is that they are getting federal funds. More spending that we can't afford.


Mon, Nov 7, 2011 : 12:51 p.m.

Perhaps those who live south of the Grove Road debacle should not frequent Ypsilanti anymore. It appears that the City Council does not care enough to make the trip less hazardous.


Tue, Nov 8, 2011 : 12:17 a.m.

just one of the hazards assumed when opting to avoid taxes by living in the township instead of the city


Mon, Nov 7, 2011 : 11:22 a.m.

I would guess that West Cross carries a lot more traffic than Grove Road, handling the EMU commuters daily. Was a traffic count done?