ANN ARBOR, MI — A controversial proposal to widen the principle entry bridge to Michigan Medication in Ann Arbor is constant to be debated, however metropolis officers could also be transferring nearer to a compromise with the College of Michigan.
Metropolis Council held off Monday evening, Jan. 23, on approving a virtually $10 million development contract to maneuver ahead with repairing and widening the East Medical Middle Drive bridge off Fuller Street beginning this spring.
The town might as a substitute redesign and rebid the challenge for development in 2024 with higher lodging for pedestrians and cyclists.
After voting on a collection of modifications, together with calling for wider sidewalk area and protecting obstacles between automobiles and pedestrians, council postponed the proposal till Feb. 6.
The entire challenge value as introduced Monday evening was estimated at $13.5 million, with $6 million coming from town and $7.5 million coming from the college. The modifications officers are contemplating now may value tens of millions extra and town and college have been negotiating find out how to cut up prices.
Council Member Jen Eyer, D-4th Ward, stated she appreciates the work being completed to provide you with a greater plan, however she nonetheless instructed UM must be paying extra.
“It bothers me that we’re nonetheless at this level the place town is having to soak up increasingly more prices simply to guard pedestrians in what will develop into a extra harmful setting due to the widening that the college desires — not that town desires,” Eyer stated of UM’s request for a fifth automotive lane.
The college has but to display widening the bridge for automobiles is de facto needed and it looks like town is combating more durable for pedestrians — who embody UM hospital staff — than the college is, Eyer stated.
Council Member Jenn Cornell, D-Fifth Ward, stated it’s necessary to acknowledge the worth of Michigan Medication to the native economic system by way of financial improvement and job creation. UM is establishing a brand new 12-story hospital constructing that might deliver one other 1,600 jobs.
The town and UM beforehand agreed to separate bridge restore prices, whereas UM agreed to pay for the controversial widening so as to add a fifth vehicle lane, which the college desires for improved site visitors circulate. That will add a second inbound lane for arriving automobiles and ambulances, which might be step one towards a future widening of UM’s portion of East Medical Middle Drive via the medical complicated.
“That is the unsuitable time to be committing to automotive tradition for many years to return,” stated Michelle Hughes, one of many residents who spoke out earlier than council Monday evening.
Varied residents and officers have expressed considerations the widening doesn’t align with metropolis transportation and carbon-neutrality objectives to considerably cut back automotive journey.
Council Member Dharma Akmon, D-4th Ward, stated she desires the bridge redesign to incorporate as a lot area as potential for pedestrians and cyclists.
“It does seem to be this has been a bit extra fraught and tough to get so far than it wanted to be, contemplating our said values and insurance policies,” Akmon stated. “It seems like we began with an emphasis on ample site visitors circulate and are glomming on enhancements for pedestrians and cyclists, so going ahead I really need us to begin with our dedication to Imaginative and prescient Zero.”
Because the bridge is configured now, there’s one inbound lane and three outbound lanes. The widening would change it to 3 outbound and two inbound, although metropolis workers clarified Monday the proposed design possibility would have the additional inbound lane taper off on the Fuller Street intersection, sustaining the present four-lane crossing distance for pedestrians there.
As for why preserving the bridge at its present width and reconfiguring it to 2 inbound and two outbound lanes wasn’t an possibility being proposed, metropolis public works spokesman Robert Kellar stated site visitors modeling has indicated three outbound lanes are needed to keep up ample site visitors circulate.
The town didn’t have knowledge to offer on the potential site visitors impacts of taking place to 2 outbound lanes.
Eyer requested for extra detailed site visitors knowledge to assist council resolve if widening is de facto wanted.
Metropolis Engineer Nick Hutchinson stated a report might be ready for council, together with value estimates for protecting obstacles, which workers additionally didn’t have Monday evening.
Ann Arbor’s outdated Metropolis Council voted 6-5 final February in favor of transferring ahead with designing a wider bridge with an added automotive lane. The make-up of council has since modified with half its members new because the November election.
The one three members from the outdated council who voted for the widening and are nonetheless on council are Mayor Christopher Taylor, Lisa Disch and Travis Radina. Three members of the outdated council who have been towards the widening and stay on council are Erica Briggs, Eyer and Linh Tune.
The 5 new members elected in November will now assist resolve the challenge’s final destiny.
Earlier than suspending Monday evening, council took up a substitute proposal that requires collaborating with the college to develop a brand new design to widen the bridge to higher facilitate entry to the medical middle for each motorized and nonmotorized transportation customers. Whereas it has but to obtain last approval, as initially introduced it will authorize town administrator to spend $500,000 towards a possible $2 million addition to the challenge to higher accommodate nonmotorized transportation, with the college contributing $1.5 million.
If it prices lower than $2 million, financial savings would accrue to the college and town nonetheless would pay $500,000, in accordance with the proposal, which Metropolis Administrator Milton Dohoney stated was the results of current negotiations with the college.
The additional prices embody $650,000 for redesign and $850,000 for added development prices, considering including an additional beam to the bridge so the western sidewalk may keep about as huge as it’s as we speak, plus a $505,000 contingency.
One of many factors of rivalry concerning the bridge widening proposal as initially introduced by workers has been that there was no web enhance in area for nonmotorized transportation customers and one of many sidewalks could be narrowed. The sidewalks are 10.5 toes huge on all sides proper now and workers had proposed shifting 2.5 toes from the west facet to the east facet, leading to a 13-foot-wide shared-use path on the east facet and an 8-foot-wide sidewalk on the west facet that council thinks is just too slender.
Council voted 10-1 Monday on an modification proposed by Akmon, calling for protecting obstacles and having the sidewalks be a minimum of 13 huge on the east facet and 10.5 on the west facet. Taylor forged the lone dissenting vote.
Expressing considerations about value, Taylor stated he doesn’t know if a barrier-protected sidewalk alongside the bridge — like there’s alongside the Broadways bridges — is critical or sensible. The Stadium bridges don’t have obstacles and the raised sidewalk design seems like ample safety, he stated.
Each town and college have bold climate-action plans that prioritize lowering automobile miles traveled, the substitute decision states, calling the challenge a possibility for town to deal with a group want in a way in line with town’s A2Zero carbon-neutrality objectives.
Officers have been disenchanted a proposed pedestrian pathway underneath the bridge can’t be included within the design at the moment as a result of the Michigan Division of Transportation isn’t but keen to approve it subsequent to its railroad tracks.
Larry Deck of advocacy group Stroll Bike Washtenaw stated the most recent bridge proposal is much less unhealthy, however nonetheless not good.
Radina, D-Third Ward, stated the bridge widening has been one of many harder choices throughout his time on council.
Briggs, D-Fifth Ward, stated she nonetheless wished to have a tricky dialog about it and instructed she nonetheless might be snug with not including a fifth automotive lane. She hasn’t but seen site visitors modeling to indicate two lanes in and two lanes out wouldn’t work, she stated.
Council Member Chris Watson, D-2nd Ward, requested workers about the advantages of including the fifth lane.
Hutchinson stated there wouldn’t be a whole lot of instant profit as it will simply operate as a right-turn lane onto West Medical Middle Drive initially, but it surely may develop into a via lane if UM widens East Medical Middle Drive via the complicated sooner or later, which the college has talked about doing.
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