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Posted on Thu, Nov 5, 2009 : 9:11 p.m.

University of Michigan agrees to pay 78% of cost of Fuller Road transit station

By Ryan J. Stanton

The University of Michigan will pay 78 percent of the costs of a new transit station on Fuller Road under an agreement approved by the Ann Arbor City Council Thursday.

The first phase of the project is estimated to cost between $40 million and $45 million, which includes construction of a 1,020-space parking deck across from the U-M Hospital. The city has agreed to assume responsibility for 22 percent of that cost.

Council Member Stephen Rapundalo, D-2nd Ward, called it a "progressive" move forward with the potential for various types of transportation - automobiles, buses, trains and bicycles - meeting in one location, potentially the future "gateway to Ann Arbor."


The Fuller Road transit center is planned for this area.

Fuller Road transit center

The transit station will address transportation issues in the long run, but also will help mitigate the need for having one or more parking decks in the Wall Street area, Rapundalo noted.

Council Member Sabra Briere, D-1st Ward, said the transit station will be a 21st century solution to traffic and congestion. She called the conceptual plans both innovative and exciting.

The council voted 11-0 on the agreement with the university and also unanimously approved a master concept plan. It amended an agreement with JJR LLC and amended the existing project budget.

With about 2 million visitors a year to the U-M Hospital, the site proposed for the transit station already is the most heavily trafficked area of Ann Arbor, city officials said. Nearly 20,000 people each day work within walking distance of the Fuller Road site.

"We are presenting Ann Arbor to many people through this," said Council Member Sandi Smith, D-1st Ward. "This needs to have a significant presence. It needs to present itself as the gateway to Ann Arbor."

Eli Cooper, the city's transportation program manager, said the Phase I concept will include a bus transfer area with an indoor waiting area for bus patrons and an area that, in the short-term, will be used for bicycle storage with lockers and bike hoops. In addition to the parking deck, there will be a 50-space surface parking lot, he said.

Cooper said the long-term goal is to expand the transit station in a future phase to accommodate commuter rail service.

Cooper said utilities also will be installed for the future addition of a full-service bicycle station with indoor storage spaces and ready access to lockers and showers. He said that would make it possible for "eco-tourism," in which people could take a train into Ann Arbor, rent a bicycle, and hop on the nearby trails to cycle around town.

Council Member Leigh Greden, D-3rd Ward, said government is notorious for moving slowly, but not in this case.

"This is great work and very exciting, and I'm amazed at how quickly it's moving forward," he said of the project.

Cooper said he'll be appearing before the council several more times to ask for approval as the project progresses. He said the contract will be overseen by U-M and managed by both the university and city.

Ryan J. Stanton covers government for Reach him at or 734-623-2529.


Stephen Lange Ranzini

Fri, Nov 6, 2009 : 7:41 p.m.

I think it's a great project. It would be a better project if the project leaders conceptualize a way to add a major amount of office space (and possibly condo space) to the structure and an enclosed skyway with moving sidewalks directly to University Hospital. If the office space could be a high rise built on top of the parking structure (and/or on the adjacent soccer field), even better. Adding condos could increase options for employees at the hospital to live within walking distance of work and keep this complex vibrant with activity 24/7. The value of land around a major transit center is huge. To use it just for parking would not maximize the value of the project and intensifying the project by adding office space and condo space could actually pay for the entire cost of the project over time. I'd bet with the proximity to the hospital it could fill up with medical offices very quickly. Adding these elements to the project would also make it more convenient for those seeking medical assistance from the city and region to take mass transit to get to it. Tax free bonds could be sold to lower the overall cost of financing the larger project using some or all of the $50mm allocation the city and county EDC received under the ARRA Act. Where is the ambitious developer that wants to do it?

Matt A

Fri, Nov 6, 2009 : 4 p.m.

Here here, Resident! Complain, complain, complain is all folks seem to do in Ann Arbor. "Oh no... the University is doing this. Waaa, waaa... the University is doing that." My 8-month-old whines less than the readers of

Haran Rashes

Fri, Nov 6, 2009 : 10:52 a.m.

If this accomplishes nothing more than moving the Amtrak station somewhere with adequate and safe parking, it will be worth it.

Marvin Face

Fri, Nov 6, 2009 : 10:37 a.m.

Mjc, I like this plan overall but what is proposed here is just a parking deck. If this ever turns into something more than a parking deck, (and only time will tell) this will be great!. Let's not let them stop at the parking deck. We need to keep the pressure on to do the whole thing!


Fri, Nov 6, 2009 : 8:18 a.m.

I agree with you "Resident" - The UM is making a major contribution to an exciting new transit plan that will benefit thousands and people still find a way to complain. Genericreg - do you realize that those football games bring millions of dollars into this city? The Stadium bridge is the City's and State's responsibility and should have been fixed years ago. And MarvinFace, remember the neighborhood opposed that parking deck being built on Wall Street. This new transit plan is a great plan for the City and the UM. Admit it! :-)


Fri, Nov 6, 2009 : 6:59 a.m.

I think the the entire concept is fabulous and forward thinking and great for the city of Ann Arbor and UM. Energizing and reenergizing cities take time, money, and committed communities and Ann Arbor fits that description. Now if we can only figure out a way to get people directly to and from Detroit Metro Airport via rail we'd be the ideal "small town" university, convention, and retirement town!


Fri, Nov 6, 2009 : 5:35 a.m.

So let me get this straight. The University has agreed to pay for just over three quarters of a project to build the first phase of a transit facility that will benefit the entire community and all anyone can do is complain? They would have paid for 100% of the previously considered parking deck because that would have been a Univeristy parking deck. They are paying for three quarters of the first phase a transit facility that will no doubt be used by employees of the University, but will also be used by the entire community (residents and visitors alike). Apparently those sorts of distinctions don't occur to you. As for those 100's of thousands of fans using that bridge every weekend, it's not every weekend, it's six to eight weekends out of the year, that leaves 44 to 46 weekends (and weeks) for the residents of Ann Arbor and it's visitors to use said bridges, maybe we should just tear the things down, that would certainly get rid of the problem. I'm sure the businesses in town would also love to see the money those 100's of thousands of fans spend in town each weekend when they are here. I have never seen a city where so many people seem to have, as their sole purpose in life, the need to complain about something, anything, so long as they can complain. Oh it's cloudy, why can't the sun be out. Oh look it's sunny, it's to bright why can't it be a bit cloudy. Oh look, that darn University is going to spend a bunch of money that benefits the city, what are they thinking? How could this be allowed to happen?

Ryan J. Stanton

Fri, Nov 6, 2009 : 4:24 a.m.

Here's the text of the resolution: Whereas, The City and University of Michigan (UM) have collaborated on development of transportation plans including the City's 2009 Transportation Plan update and find continuing to implement planning recommendations as necessary and desirable; Whereas, The study of the relocation of the Amtrak Station from Depot Street to Fuller Road is identified as a short-term recommendation in the City's 2009 Transportation Plan; Whereas, The UM desires to co-locate university related parking and transportation services as part of an intermodal facility being considered with the rail station relocation; Whereas, The City owns the land along Fuller Road and has determined the area is suitable for consideration of an Intermodal Transportation Station, hereinafter referred to by the working title Fuller Road Station; Whereas, The City has determined that this area is uniquely suited to accommodate commuter rail service linking Ann Arbor to Metro airport and Detroit and has been designated as a national high-speed corridor between Detroit and Chicago; Whereas, The City and University desire to jointly develop an intermodal facility which shall include in its first phase of development a bus stop with passenger waiting area, bike parking and lockers, and a parking structure with approximately 900 parking spaces; Whereas, Additional phases of the Fuller Road Station may include elements including additional parking, connections to rail platforms, a rail waiting/ticketing area, an Ann Arbor Transportation Authority and University bus terminal, skywalk connections to the University of Michigan Hospital, linkage with the proposed signature transit corridor identified in the City's Transportation Plan update, as well as other elements; Whereas, The City and UM have previously partnered in Site Investigation, Project Definition and development of Conceptual Plans for the Fuller Road Station; Whereas, The project can be phased such that the immediate needs can be accommodated while future phases evolve on their respective timelines; Whereas, The Council has reviewed the Conceptual Plan for Phase I of the Fuller Road Station; and Whereas, The City and the UM have developed and agree on respective roles and responsibilities of the parties, including financial participation for Phase I of the Fuller Road Station, RESOLVED, That Council approve the attached Fuller Road Station Phase I Memorandum of Understanding between the City of Ann Arbor and the University of Michigan; RESOLVED, That the Mayor and City Clerk be authorized and directed to execute said MOU after approval as to from by the City Attorney, and approval as to substance by the City Administrator; and RESOLVED, That the City Administrator be authorized to take necessary administrative actions to implement this resolution. Sponsored by: Councilmembers Rapundalo, Greden and Mayor Hieftje


Thu, Nov 5, 2009 : 11:50 p.m.

One question; Who will own the building and who will own the land? One comment; The University of Parking Structures rolls on!

Marvin Face

Thu, Nov 5, 2009 : 10:28 p.m.

So...the UM was going to build a parking deck with a transit station on Wall Street. With it's own money. They were going to pay for the whole thing. 100%.. Now the deck and transit station moves a couple hundred yards to the east and UM is paying 78% of the cost?. Is there something I'm missing?. I like the project (if the train station is ever built) but I don't understand how the UM talked the city into this.