Fuller Road site remains the best spot for a new Ann Arbor transit center
Depending on who you listened to, the new transit center that the city of Ann Arbor wants to build on Fuller Road was either a visionary concept that would propel our city in the the 21st century of transportation, or a glorified parking structure that would primarily benefit the University of Michigan.
That debate is now over. The city and the university have mutually agreed that they can no longer proceed jointly with a parking structure that was to constitute phase 1 of the ambitious plans for the Fuller Road transit station.
The decision makes sense for both parties. Yes, it sets the project back, but it also simplifies the discussion. Going forward, the concept of a new transit center will now have to stand on its own merits -- which it is capable of doing. We believe the case still exists to pursue this concept, and to locate it on Fuller Road even if it is not attached to a five-story parking ramp that’s no longer part of the picture.
Melanie Maxwell I AnnArbor.com
Last weekend, we offered a guest column from Vivienne Armentrout calling for the city to keep the train station where it is, and City Council Member Mike Anglin, D-5th Ward, also has said he favors the current Depot Street site. In a poll on AnnArbor.com, more than 900 readers voted, and 52 percent said the city should upgrade the current station, while 34 percent favored the Fuller Road site.
But rehashing a decision that’s already been made would not be productive at this point. According to Amtrak, the current site is no longer even adequate for existing service, let alone the plans for commuter rail and high-speed rail that the new transit center is being designed to accommodate.
For that level of service, the proposed location on Fuller Road, next to the University of Michigan medical complex, makes more sense. It’s a highly visited location and the largest employment center in Ann Arbor. It has proximity to the main campus, North Campus and downtown, and is better located to accommodate bus service to those destinations than the current station. While there are traffic issues that would have to be addressed, they are less of a concern that the potential traffic snarls and shortage of adequate parking that could result on Depot Street.
Beyond that, the city already has invested in planning and infrastructure for the Fuller Road site, including $1.3 million to relocate utility lines. And it now is being offered a $2.8 million federal grant for preliminary work on the project. From both a financial and a logistical standpoint, the city has staked out Fuller Road as the future location of the new transit center and that’s how it should continue to proceed.
That will require a new plan, which the city is working on now. The previous plan, calling for the first phase of the project to include a 977-space parking structure at a cost of $40 million, was recently scrapped after the federal government informed the city that money spent on the structure would not count toward the local funding match that will be needed for the transit center. As a result, U-M will build the parking ramp elsewhere and the city will proceed with long-term planning of the transit center separate from that.
There were many details regarding phase 1 that hadn’t been worked out yet, and in a past editorial, we had reserved final judgment on the project until those plans were laid out. In the same way, we now reserve judgment until a new plan has been developed, but we continue to be open to the concept, which is being supported by the U-M, Amtrak, the state Department of Transportation and the Federal Rail Administration.
One of the biggest questions now is how the city would fund its share of the costs, now that a university-financed parking structure will not be the source of matching funds. The early planning for the transit center dates back to an era that also brought us the new Justice Center and the underground parking garage on Fifth Avenue - a pair of undertakings that cost nearly $100 million between them.
In the current economy, there is no public appetite for massive local spending on building projects and City Council seems to understand that, as evidenced by its refusal last year to proceed with a proposed hotel/conference center because of financial risks it posed for the city. Many citizens view the transit center concept with equal, if not greater, skepticism.
We look forward to seeing a new plan that lays out how the city can realize this project within its current financial means, and its ability to show that will be every bit as important as demonstrating the viability of the commuter and high-speed rail service that the new transit center is intended to allow.
Editor’s note: This editorial was published in today's newspaper and reflects the opinion of the Editorial Board at AnnArbor.com. Marsha Chamberlin and David R. Lampe, who serve as community members on our board, did not participate in our deliberations on this editorial.
Tue, Mar 6, 2012 : 3:51 a.m.
So some number crunching... To use the current Depot St location: -The city would have buy the MichCon site from DTE & perform the environmental fixes. Let's say it'll cost $4mil (3 for cleanup & another for purchase) -The other facilities would have to be upgraded. Ideally a new station building should be built on the MichCon side of the tracks & another track added for MiTrain service. This cost would probably come out to be similar for either location. My number assumes the city builds a new station & removes the old, which is what they'd probably decided to do. $30mil -Various Studies that would be need to be done. Again this would be the similar for either site. $1mil (on the low side probably, I'm taking a guess here someone have actual numbers for the Fuller Rd Site?) -Let's skip upgrading the intersection at Depot & Main for now (but it would need to be done) Depot St. Totals: 4+30+1= $35mil+/- Now for the Fuller Rd Site: -The current amount for "Phase 2" (which is the station, not the parking structure) is $24mil. -There is already the $1.35mil utilities move. -There is a $2.8mil grant available for this site. -It's on "park land" (in reality it's a parking lot for the UofM, not what I'd call a Park) $ a vote. Fuller Totals: 24+1.35-2.8= $22.55mil+/- Number sources come from various articles here on annarbor.com & arborweb.com or projected off from numbers to do other projects Now about the Wally. Currently the Wally line cannot cross the Huron River on the AARR so having a station on the south side makes no sense. Also the best spot for a station would be where the New Center is (where the Artrain used to sit). However doing so would require rebuilding the connection between the two rail lines, of which it isn't a good place for a connector, especially for passenger trains to traverse. It is very steep and sharp cornered, due to which the FRA would probably require a new one built.
Mon, Mar 5, 2012 : 2:02 p.m.
"Fuller Road site remains the best spot for a new Ann Arbor transit center" Wrong! The best place is on the back burner until... More roads are fixed More police and firemen are employe More snow is removed from the crumbling roads (should read some snow removed) The list goes on and on including.. Donate those funds for a REAL NEWSPAPER!
Sun, Mar 4, 2012 : 11:01 p.m.
"Depending on who you listened to, the new transit center that the city of Ann Arbor wants to build on Fuller Road was either a visionary concept that would propel our city in the the 21st century of transportation, or a glorified parking structure that would primarily benefit the University of Michigan." "In the the"? Should be "into the". Every time Tony Dearing writes an op-ed piece, it's a grammatical nightmare! Maybe he should spend less time moderating outside comments, and more time proofreading his articles....
Sun, Mar 4, 2012 : 10:52 p.m.
It seems stranger and stranger to read this discussion about a new train station. Why are we even thinking about a new station when there are no trains to use it (except Amtrak)? It's revealing that the AA News editorial does not say we need a station now for commuter lines - by now everyone must realize that commuter train service is not going to happen in SE Michigan for many years, if ever. The editorial supports the station for Amtrak's use. But Amtrak has no plan to expand its service beyond the current three roundtrip trains a day. Can anyone actually believe that we need to build a new station for that? Of course Amtrak supports a new train station, as long as it's paid for by someone else. But I see no reason why Ann Arbor residents and taxpayers should pay for a new train station for Amtrak's six stops a day.
Mon, Mar 5, 2012 : 1:51 a.m.
Strange is right, it's like Invasion of the Body Snatchers. They just got Tony and pretty soon we will all come around to embracing their vision of our future.
Sun, Mar 4, 2012 : 10:26 p.m.
Jim Osborn has it right -- the best location for a new station is where the main line and Ann Arbor RR cross assuming that a) commuter rail is really going to be built and b) that the WALLY project will be built. This will put the station and parking on North Main St, an area desperate for development. We could re-repurpose the train station on Main that has been some sort of incubator/Art Train parking location. We don't even need to build a new building. Locating on Main St will improve access to freeways, improve access to downtown via buses, and provide quick access to the Medical Center via bus (either AATA or UM). This location doesn't interfere with park land and would be a nucleus for development of the North Main area.
Old time A2
Sun, Mar 4, 2012 : 10:03 p.m.
Stadium Bridges, Library underground parking, now Fuller Rd ... oh where, oh where is the money coming from? The well will go dry when Obama is out of office!!! I agree the transit plaza needs a place so it can have some space ... not downtown ... not on Depot street ...
Sun, Mar 4, 2012 : 7:54 p.m.
Hmm ... according to the Ann Arbor Observer, DTE is budgeting $2-3 million to remediate the old MichCon site ... maybe not so perfect for parking this year. The Big Clean-up <a href="http://arborweb.com/articles/the_big_clean-up_full_article.html" rel='nofollow'>http://arborweb.com/articles/the_big_clean-up_full_article.html</a>
Old time A2
Sun, Mar 4, 2012 : 10:10 p.m.
Great idea ... what about a shuttle to the train station.
Sun, Mar 4, 2012 : 7:03 p.m.
Dave the Plumber doesn't understand - His solution does not cost money, A lot of taxpayer money, so the mayor is not interested. His solution makes too much sense. I mean, the paved lot, that is unused, and is protecting the river from the DTE pollution is already in place. Use it. R U joking? Tear up tyhat lot, allow the pollution to run into the river, build a new lot on virgin parkland, make weekend travelers pay a fortune to park. But they will come... Yes they will. I have a dream.
Sun, Mar 4, 2012 : 7 p.m.
Give it up already. Ann Arbor needs a new transit system just as much as Detroit needs to keep the status quo. What a waste of time and money.
Sun, Mar 4, 2012 : 6:28 p.m.
As a periodic Amtrak rider to Chicago, I can say that the biggest challenge at the current location is parking. Every time I've taken the train for a weekend trip, the Amtrak parking lot has been 90-100% full. If Amtrak wants to be a viable alternative to driving or flying, they need to fix this problem. Imagine driving to Detroit Metro Airport and having to park on the grass on Middlebelt and walking to the terminal. That's basically the state of the situation at the current Amtrak location. There's a simple solution: lease the empty lot from DTE and charge an entry fee on Fridays (the day of peak ridership). Most Amtrak riders only park for 48 hours on the weekend (Friday to Sunday). The Fuller site does not address this problem. Most of the parking (under the old plan) was reserved for hospital employees. And now UM has abandoned this location for their future parking solution. Building a multi-million dollar parking structure for Amtrak cannot be economically feasible to support 2 days of parking. And there's not enough real estate at Fuller for a surface lot. Commuter rail is still a pipe dream. Let's address the immediate needs of Amtrak and expand their current parking lot. The DTE site is the perfect solution.
Sun, Mar 4, 2012 : 5:17 p.m.
from my understanding of the environmental assessment -- i believe it should address any spills that have occurred nearby. if it does not address the unsolved spill that happened in the nearby area -- then i'm not in favor of the station.
Sun, Mar 4, 2012 : 5:09 p.m.
The Fuller Road site is parkland (the current surface lot provides free parking to park users on evenings and weekends and is leased for University use on week days). The fact that it is parkland introduces a couple of points: 1) Does the city have the authority to convert parkland to some non-park public use without consent of the citizens? Does this authority apply to any parkland? 2) The recent grant from the Federal Railway Administration includes money for an Environmental Assessment, which has specific requirements when parkland is involved. Among these is the requirement for a detailed analysis of alternative locations, with an explanation of the criteria used to select the preferred site. Before the site decision can be finalized, this Environmental Assessment must be completed, with an opportunity for public commentary.
Sun, Mar 4, 2012 : 3:52 p.m.
At this point the only logical explanation is that the mayor heard a voice tell him "build it and they will come" . So now a question I'll toss out....who should play the mayor in the movie "Station of dreams"?
Sun, Mar 4, 2012 : 3:50 p.m.
actually, i spoke with amtrak a while back... this is what they had to say: "First, the location of stations starts as a local decision. In this case, we have outgrown the current building and the amount of parking is insufficient on our side of the tracks, inconvenient on the other side. We are supportive of the city's efforts to improve our facilities, especially as an intermodal station where passengers can be exchanged among modes." Marc Magliari Media Relations Manager Amtrak Government Affairs & Corporate Communications 525 West Van Buren Street, Suite 222 Chicago, IL 60607-3859 tel: 312 880.5390 or ATS 823.5390 fax: 202 799.NEWS or ATS 777.NEWS
Sun, Mar 4, 2012 : 11:04 p.m.
I've been in the station...what is inadequate? The space so people can hang about waiting for delays in trains?? Most ticketed folks going West purchase ahead of time...the space would be small if the comparison is with a population center like Chicago. The gentlemen attendants have mentionned over time, the trains have been cut back... What is inadequate, in detail?.
Sun, Mar 4, 2012 : 4:20 p.m.
oh, i should mention... I got that on May 15th
Sun, Mar 4, 2012 : 4:17 p.m.
The response is interesting in two ways. 1. Emphasis on parking. Note that any new parking at the Fuller Road site would either have to use up more parkland or would necessitate building a new structure. As I indicated in my guest editorial, it is difficult to envision the city's building a new structure to provide free parking. Free parking is available currently at this station and at almost all Amtrak stations in Michigan. 2. The "intermodal" statement refers to the planned, but not scheduled, North-South connector, a high-capacity transit system that might be either a rail or bus rapid transit system. The Transit Master Plan calls for this system, though the Financial Task Force's recent report recommended that it should not be paid for with local transit money. The major use for the connector would be to transport commuters and UM personnel from the Plymouth Road area, North Campus, Central Camus, and possibly south to the UM's athletic campus. If fully implemented, it would go right down State Street. There is no current funding for this project.
Sun, Mar 4, 2012 : 3:55 p.m.
"especially as an intermodal station where passengers can be exchanged among modes." what does that mean?
Sun, Mar 4, 2012 : 3:47 p.m.
"According to Amtrak, the current site is no longer even adequate for existing service, let alone the plans for commuter rail and high-speed rail that the new transit center is being designed to accommodate. " Someone contact Amtrak and get clarification of this statement. Here's the Media Relations site <a href="http://www.amtrak.com/servlet/ContentServer?c=Page&pagename=am%2FLayout&cid=1241267278278" rel='nofollow'>http://www.amtrak.com/servlet/ContentServer?c=Page&pagename=am%2FLayout&cid=1241267278278</a> And the info on Media Relations Chicago (312) 544-5390 MediaRelationsChicago@amtrak.com
Sun, Mar 4, 2012 : 3:46 p.m.
Vote the mayor OUT, people. Plain & simple.
Old time A2
Sun, Mar 4, 2012 : 10:13 p.m.
Take Obama with him.
Sun, Mar 4, 2012 : 3:43 p.m.
1) "Beyond that, the city already has invested in planning and infrastructure for the Fuller Road site, including $1.3 million to relocate utility lines. From both a financial and a logistical standpoint, the city has staked out Fuller Road as the future location of the new transit center and that's how it should continue to proceed." And there it is; "we already spent so much money on it, it seems like we NEED to throw more at it now, otherwise it was wasted." The often-used, and VERY predictable argument for throwing good money after bad. We knew they would use this the day they voted to move the water main/sewer pipes. Hey council/mayor; it WAS a waste; you wasted that money. Don't waste more. Citizens, please don't let them continue to waste your money. Please. 2) "The early planning for the transit center dates back to an era that also brought us the new Justice Center and the underground parking garage on Fifth Avenue - a pair of undertakings that cost nearly $100 million between them." Uh, yeah. That's exactly right. That is very much exactly what this dates back to, and is directly related to in terms of freewheeling spending on nothing with our hard earned money in a tough economy. Correct. 3) "...but we continue to be open to the concept, which is being supported by the U-M, Amtrak, the state Department of Transportation and the Federal Rail Administration." UM supports it? Wow, that's a surprise. Amtrak? Weird, since they pay not a cent. And what was the body that first said federal funding would most likely not happen due to ridership not justifying this project? The study that found it not feasible, so the city decided to do it anyway as a "proof project?" Anyone still pushing for this should not be in any position dealing with other people's money. Get all these people out, NOW. Before we have to deal with our own Water Street.
Sun, Mar 4, 2012 : 6:46 p.m.
No, there's no confusion. I read that paragraph myself, following the link in the article. This still says to me that the ridership/demand was simply not there, and so City Council/mayor et al decided to spend millions and millions anyway. Is that incorrect?
Sun, Mar 4, 2012 : 6:28 p.m.
I hope I didn't introduce some confusion with my comment. The body that said ridership did not justify inclusion in the New Starts program was the Federal Transit Administration. Here is a direct quote from SEMCOG: "The project began as the Ann Arbor to Detroit Rapid Transit Study Alternatives Analysis. Upon completion of the Alternatives Analysis FTA officials indicated that given the study results, the region should consider suspending the formal federal process on a preferred alternative and initiate a locally funded project to demonstrate that costs and ridership would be in a range to better qualify the project in the federal New or Small Starts program. The federal process can be continued at a later date." See more at <a href="http://www.semcog.org/AADD.aspx" rel='nofollow'>http://www.semcog.org/AADD.aspx</a>
Sun, Mar 4, 2012 : 2:57 p.m.
The big dog (U of M) is wagging it's tail (the city) again! All hail the mighty U, the center of the universe, the giver of all life in our fair city.
Sun, Mar 4, 2012 : 3:07 p.m.
ah 1 ah 2 ah 123... Hail to the Victors valiant, hail to the conquering hero's...
Sun, Mar 4, 2012 : 2:38 p.m.
Lets put the station on the front 9 of Huron Hills Golf course. Plenty of parking potential, virtually unlimited space, easier access to US 23 than Fuller Road. Buses galore could move the tens of thousands (sarcasm intended) of commuters up and down Huron Parkway to Washtenaw and Plymouth Roads, The busses can run up Fuller Road to the hospital and run up Geddes toward Washtenaw to central campus. Yes its true..... my studies have shown that the Huron Hills Golf Course is the best possible location AND Amtrak approves of my location. ...link to come later
Sun, Mar 4, 2012 : 2:22 p.m.
AA.com and city council have been too quick to dismiss the current Depot St. location. It remains open to debate which location would have the worse "traffic snarls and shortage of adequate parking". The current station offers access points from both Depot and Broadway and is closer to the freeway system and downtown. The current station also offers the existing Amtrak riders "free" parking with room for more on the Michcon site.
Sun, Mar 4, 2012 : 2:15 p.m.
"According to Amtrak, the current site is no longer even adequate for existing service, let alone the plans for commuter rail and high-speed rail that the new transit center is being designed to accommodate. " I would love a link to read that stance. I am with others that have suggested that the main use of the train right now seems to be trips to and from Chicago. I admit that is anecdotal. But if its correct its discretionary income flowing out of the region. It makes no sense to facilitate that. I don't buy the notion that there is some large untapped commuter train demand in to our City. Getting off the train at the hospital is only 1/2 the commuter equation. If your not pretty close to the train station at the home end your not going to get on a train. Show me an unbiased study (emphasis on "unbiased") that indicates demand. I would want it to include how far people are willing to drive to get to a train.
Sun, Mar 4, 2012 : 2:13 p.m.
Proponents of big money projects that require public funds always put forth such a dramatic, heartfelt plea for why the project is necessary. City officials convince others in the government, who themselves rely on such projects for their continued employment, and then work with local media to try and "educate" the citizens on the must have project. Perhaps an online survey will be referenced, one that is easily manipulated if one is so inclined. And taxpayers end up with... An $80 million dollar High School Ann Arbor does not need. A $50 million dollar parking structure Ann Arbor does not need. A $60 million dollar justice center that Ann Arbor did not need to build. A $23 million dollar Stadium Bridge that Ann Arbor did not need to build (stop lights anyone???) And, with all of the proposed millages coming, the taxepayer in Ann Arbor continues to be taken for granted. How about working within your existing budget, Ann Arbor, and focus on basic services. You have spent over $100 million in the last few years with ZERO benefit to the taxpayer (Justice Center, Parking Lot). Fuller Lot does not need to be added to the list. And last I checked, the FEDS are out of money too.
Sun, Mar 4, 2012 : 2:03 p.m.
I dp not understand the concern with costs. It would be great to have a depot on Fuller so that patients could get to the U of M and VA hospitals and so that those who work there could travel at reasonable cost. Twenty two Michigan cities tax income. The Census Bureau's 2010 American Community Survey reported that 67,000 people worked in Ann Arbor but lived outside the city. Their average earnings were $49,509. Levying an income tax of one-half of one percent on those workers would provide the funds for many new parks and a beautiful depot.
Sun, Mar 4, 2012 : 5:50 p.m.
@Ren doesn't "understand the concern with costs" in a city that is reeling under the economic pressures of being close to broke, laying off police ad firefighters, leaving potholes unfilled, and worse. He (or she) now proposes a new city-wide income tax on commuters, neglecting to mention that the city would also have to tax its residents as well. A NEW CITY INCOME TAX!! How wonderful. All this without answering the most basic question: Is this new station needed? Will people actually commute to Ann Arbor? Last weeks article said 6 people got off . Six, Sechs, Seis. Now matter what language one uses, its still a half dozen. Its not enough to justify this project.
Sun, Mar 4, 2012 : 2:27 p.m.
I have a hard time believing that very many patients will take the train to the hospital. Its my opinion and I am willing to be proven wrong.
Sun, Mar 4, 2012 : 2:17 p.m.
"I dp (sic) don't understand the concern with costs..." I don't understand the tax-and spend liberal mentality. If it is such a good idea, why won't these same commuters willingly pay for it by riding a train to work? Why the forced income tax? Why do you feel the compulsion to spend THEIR money for them? TO control their spending? To control them? I don't understand you.
Sun, Mar 4, 2012 : 1:55 p.m.
I am not aware that Amtrak has said that the site is inadequate. I know that they have written letters saying that a new station would be fine. Is there a document in AnnArbor.com's archive that supports that statement? Also, I question that it is "supported by the Federal Railroad Administration", in the sense that the FRA prefers that site over the current site. While a small grant for an environmental assessment and station design was awarded from the now-defunct HSIPR program, earlier assessments of a commuter rail system by the FRA indicated that a Detroit-Ann Arbor commuter rail was not viable for a "New Starts" program under the FRA until a locally-funded launch of the program proved that ridership would be adequate to support Federal rail funding. Statements that imply endorsement by exterior agencies should be made judiciously. "Supported by" and "Not opposed by" are two different things.
Sun, Mar 4, 2012 : 2:38 p.m.
Vivienne - trying to get AnnArbor.com to document, support with facts, fact check (or even spell check) articles is like trying to train a pig to fly. These 'editorials' start from an ideological position and then try to fit stuff around that position and ignoring anything that doesn't fit the original position.
Sun, Mar 4, 2012 : 1:47 p.m.
Just to be clear, our contention isn't that the city should continue with the Fuller Road station because it's already sunk money into the site. That's not our position. Our position is that because Fuller Road is the better site, the city has already spent money developing it and the current train station site can't accommodate the project, there's not a compelling case for reversing the decision and using the current location instead.
Joseph Welch's Ghost
Sun, Mar 4, 2012 : 2:57 p.m.
This editorial makes the case well. It is important to note, however, that the infrastructure dollars spent in the area were not Fuller-specific. They will improve service to Fuller Park and the 30K+ residents on the north side with better water and sanitary service. The build was a pre-condition to Fuller and so was linked by its opponents, but it had been planned for years as a necessary and ordinary infrastructure improvement.
Sun, Mar 4, 2012 : 2:33 p.m.
Tony - you might want to consider not offering up any more reworked contentions; your position was clear and trying to modify doesn't make your argument work any better.
Sun, Mar 4, 2012 : 2:26 p.m.
So instead of "already sunk money into the site" you're changing to "has already spent money developing it [the site]'". That sure clears things up for me.
Sun, Mar 4, 2012 : 1:21 p.m.
What a poor argument. Businesses don't make decisions on sunk costs, and neither should cities. You say Amtrak says the site is not acceptable. That's nice, because they are so well run and are contributing so much money....
Sun, Mar 4, 2012 : 1:50 p.m.
Lucky you A2comments, you have exposure to some very good companies. I've seen many companies sink into lost causes as the decision makers are afraid to admit or tell their bosses that they made a mistake and can't go back and say that money I asked for was a mistake, but instead try to make it work.
Sun, Mar 4, 2012 : 1:40 p.m.
Leave it to AA.com to use sunk costs as a justification for going forward. Of course a real journalist might instead question why that money was spent on "speculation" in advance of an unapproved project.
Sun, Mar 4, 2012 : 12:59 p.m.
Ryan Stanton had an interesting article last weekend talking to people who are using the existing Amtrak service to commute to work in Ann Arbor. Most work at the university. Here's the link: <a href="http://www.annarbor.com/news/making-commuter-rail-from-ann-arbor-to-detroit-possible/">http://www.annarbor.com/news/making-commuter-rail-from-ann-arbor-to-detroit-possible/</a>
Sun, Mar 4, 2012 : 1:40 p.m.
I just tested the link and it appears to be working now.
Sun, Mar 4, 2012 : 1:31 p.m.
the story starts with "....a handful of people already are making it work....several... get on in Royal Oak, Detroit and Dearborn to work in Ann Arbor and the university," The key words being "handful" and "several". I want to see an unbiased study to indicate need. sadly "unbiased" and "study" are becoming more and more mutually exclusive
Sun, Mar 4, 2012 : 1:25 p.m.
The link does not appear to work, nor the cashed version from March 1. Strange. I seem to remember that only 6 people got off at Ann Arbor from Detroit. Most got on at Ann Arbor to go westward to Chicago. Not to commute.
Sun, Mar 4, 2012 : 12:57 p.m.
"..the city already has invested in planning and infrastructure for the Fuller Road site, including $1.3 million to relocate…" Perhaps the mayor should be tarred and feathered and run out of town on a rail. Our forefathers used to do this for lesser crimes. This is just awful. It is our money he has wasted. We could have fixed some of the many potholes, opened up a warming shelter instead of sending people from the Delonis Center to Camp Take Notice. He wasted $1.3 million. He could give each citizen $10, babies and students included. It was wasted!!!
Mon, Mar 5, 2012 : 5:59 a.m.
@Stephen Landes I apoligize for my snide remarks at 12:30 AM, I just found it so funny since this mayor will go to almost any length to sell us a bridge to nowhere. He did sell a an expensive bridge to the big house... You are correct about pointing out and rminding us about how they earlier tried to pass off this utility work as some ruitine maintenance when it was for the proposed station. So, thanks for pointing this out, and reminding us all about Mayor Heijfte's waste.
Mon, Mar 5, 2012 : 5:34 a.m.
What! Oh, so silly! You believed that? Why would one need to straighten out a sewer line that has been functioning for decades? So a sewer rat has a shorter commute as well? Have you ever, ever looked at a water line in your house? They can make all sorts of turns and bends. You were sold a bill of goods or worse. Oh, so silly. YOu believed the mayor? Bill Clinton? Tricky Dick Nixon? Of course it was to facilate the parking lot for the station in the virgin parkland so they could move the station... So so silly.
Sun, Mar 4, 2012 : 10:14 p.m.
It seems to me that when the utility work was about to commence we were told that it was independent of the Fuller Rd garage/station; that the work was necessary to straighten out existing water and sewer lines. So now A2.com tells us it was really required for the big station project on land that is not available for that use.
Sun, Mar 4, 2012 : 12:42 p.m.
This editorial is flawed for many reasons: 1) There is actually much more parking, the DTE lot, at the current location than the virgin parkland location. What is needed is leadership from the mayor to obtain it. 2) Presently, almost all riders use Amtrak to go westward to Chicago, few commute. Until AND IF, this changes, it is folly to relocate the station. Start the commuter service and see if it works and if it does, then we can talk about a new station, both the size and location. What happened to Wally? Perhaps a new station should be located at the junction of these two lines, if possible. It is premature presently. What happened to Wally? Perhaps a new station should be located at the junction of these two lines, if possible. 3) Justifying the Fuller Park location because the mayor already wasted $1.3 million to relocate utilities is not a good reason. My 5th grade teacher taught that "two wrongs do not make a right." 4) Fuller Park is not any closer to downtown that Depot Town and about the same to North Campus – Bus 5) Amtrak, dependent upon massive federal subsidies, is not a good indicator of what is needed. The existing station is barely used. Most of the time it sits idle, the ticket window has no line.
Sun, Mar 4, 2012 : 12:38 p.m.
The city was never planning to use federal funds for phase 1. Read #9 in the agreement between the university and the city. <a href="http://www.annarbor.com/Fuller_Road_MOU.PDF">http://www.annarbor.com/Fuller_Road_MOU.PDF</a> (Thank-you Ann Arbor.com for a nice, searchable web site.) This agreement was approved by city council. So where were the funds? What did Roger and Sue and have in mind? We now learn over $1 million was spent to relocate utilities. Maybe it was more? Does anyone know? Is that what they meant when they talked about separate pots of money? Were they planning to use lots of separate pots of our money to pay for this? I would like to know what council was thinking at the time since many of them are still here. Where did they think the city was getting the phase 1 money if not from federal funds? Why were utility funds authorized for the Transit Center to no where?
Sun, Mar 4, 2012 : 1:23 p.m.
its buckets of money not pots. They put our money in buckets ....;)
Sun, Mar 4, 2012 : 12:37 p.m.
Presently, almost all riders use Amtrak to go westward to Chicago, few commute. Until AND IF, this changes, it is folly to relocate the station. Start the commuter service and see if it works and if it does, then we can talk about a new station. It is premature presently to spend a lot of taxpayer money on something that may not be used.
Sun, Mar 4, 2012 : 2:03 p.m.
The proposed Wally railroad track lines do not go past the hospital! (You do need them for a train, you know) It is a different set of tracks. Oh, so silly!! Wally is to run from Brighton to Whitmore Lake and along Plymouth Road into Downtown Ann Arbor on the Ann Arbor RR tracks, the Amtrak RR tracks are different, following the Huron River.
Sun, Mar 4, 2012 : 1:47 p.m.
WALLY is still in progress. It was to use the Fuller station.
Sun, Mar 4, 2012 : 12:44 p.m.
What happened to Wally, the mayor's idea? has he abandoned it? Perhaps a new station should be located at the junction of these two lines, if possible.
Sun, Mar 4, 2012 : 12:23 p.m.
My position remains the same as with last week's article advocating no relocation for the new station. I do not want to be displaced for the University of Michigan discount parking lot where I currently park. Any Fuller Road project, whether it be the station, parking structure or combination of the two, will do just that.
Sun, Mar 4, 2012 : 11:56 a.m.
This is a very basic, but good, summary of the issue. Thanks Tony. I'm still for an expanded Depot St. location in a project that enhances and opens up the waterfront area and gives commuters a beautiful gateway into Ann Arbor (not just the UofM Med Center).
Sun, Mar 4, 2012 : 1:46 p.m.
I agree it could help improve the waterfront area.
Sun, Mar 4, 2012 : 12:55 p.m.
Well there is nothing I'd like to spend my money on less than a "beautiful gateway" for commuters. You want the taxpayers to pay for a nice view for those who don't live or pay significant taxes here. Swell.
Sun, Mar 4, 2012 : 11:41 a.m.
Okay so the arguments for spending money on Fuller are ... 1) It's next to the hospital where people work. Which would be good IF commuter rail ever happens. But wait wasn't commuter rail supposed to come down Plymouth which doesn't connect to the track by Fuller? 2) We already spent money and so we shouldn't stop now. 3) ...?
Sun, Mar 4, 2012 : 11:40 a.m.
If Amtrak wants a new station let them build it.
Sun, Mar 4, 2012 : 2:13 p.m.
But it would not be coming from local taxes. We are badly in need of street repairs.
Sun, Mar 4, 2012 : 1:45 p.m.
Amtrak is a federally run program anyway, so the majority of it's funding would come from you anyway :)