University of Michigan plans forum to discuss 'future transportation' options for Ann Arbor
The University of Michigan is about to take another step toward its transportation future.
U-M announced this morning that it plans to host a panel of "future transportation" experts to discuss ideas for how to better connect the university's central, north and medical campuses.
The March 10 event comes after U-M President Mary Sue Coleman announced last fall that the university would start the process of considering alternative transit options by hosting a high-profile forum in early 2010.
U-M executives have said they're willing to consider a variety of options, including perhaps light-rail, an aerial tram, trolleys or other options.
Community members are invited to share suggestions during the forum, which takes place from 7-9:30 p.m. March 10 at Stamps Auditorium on U-M's North Campus.
Coleman said last fall that the university's $108 million acquisition of the 174-acre ex-Pfizer campus adjacent to North Campus accelerated the university's transportation planning process.
The forum comes after Google co-founder and U-M grad Larry Page pitched his vision for a "personal rapid transit system" on Ann Arbor's campus in a discussion with Coleman in spring 2009.
The forum includes experts on a variety of technologies, including: Mark Fuhrmann of Minneapolis Light Rail; Hugh Kierig of the West Virginia University's personal rapid transit system; Chris Perkins of Unimodal Personal Rapid Transit; Jim Spakauskas of Bombardier; Michael York of Cleveland Euclid Corridor; Randy Woolwine of Doppelmayr.
It's unclear whether the university is willing to dip into its vast financial resources to fund a major transportation infrastructure project.
But U-M is actively coordinating a separate initiative with the city of Ann Arbor in which officials hope to construct a transit station on Fuller Road.
That station could ultimately connect rail commuters, the bus system, drivers and bikers. U-M has agreed to pay 78 percent of the costs of constructing the station, which could cost between $40 million and $45 million.
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