Arbor Update

Ann Arbor Area Community News

City Council: Transportation Edition

3. October 2006 • Juliew
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Ann Arbor City Hall
Tuesday, October 3 at 7:00 pm.
(Moved to Tuesday due to Yom Kippur holiday)

City Council Agenda


  • Resolution to install bike lanes on Pontiac Street, from Barton Drive to Ann Arbor Railroad
  • Removal of the minimum setback requirement for C2A and C2A/R Zoning Districts
  • Resolution to re-appropriate funding for the development of a Citywide Transportation Plan Update (it was approved for but did not get used in the last fiscal year).

Planning Commission
Thursday, October 5 at 7:00 pm.
(Moved to Thursday due to Council meeting being moved to Tuesday)

Planning Commission Agenda


  • Public hearing and action on City of Ann Arbor Non-Motorized Transportation Plan. This citywide, comprehensive plan identifies ways to improve non-motorized access throughout Ann Arbor and to points outside the city. The plan includes design guidelines, existing conditions, proposed facilities and a description of how to implement the improvements. This plan will replace the 1992 Bicycle Master Plan.
  • Commission will welcome Kirk Westphal, the new Planning Commissioner.

  1. More information on the Non-motorized Transportation Plan, including the full text of the draft plan is here. The public is encouraged to attend this meeting.

       —Juliew    Oct. 3 '06 - 01:19AM    #
  2. I am shocked to see Kirk being appointed to CPC! Awesome!

    Ann Arbor’s lucky to have Kirk around for the next three years, let alone serving on Planning Commission. Same great urbanist flavor often found around here, but with half the excitability.

    (Kirk, I don’t suppose your movie is up on YouTube yet? I still haven’t seen it…)

       —Murph.    Oct. 3 '06 - 05:29AM    #
  3. I just saw it tonight and there were some very good insights that I was pleased to see addressed (and indeed, drawn from interviews with the public).

       —Dale    Oct. 3 '06 - 05:40AM    #
  4. You can find it on Mlive at Scroll down and it is on the right side under the “Ann Arbor News Extra” heading.

       —Juliew    Oct. 3 '06 - 06:10AM    #
  5. The best part of that film was seeing a lot of old fliers in front of the Fleetwood.

       —Brandon    Oct. 3 '06 - 08:38PM    #
  6. The best part was the shout out to Walker Evans.

    Farm Security Administration , what!

       —Dale    Oct. 3 '06 - 08:50PM    #
  7. Dang, they have added all sorts of items to the agenda without notice! Council went to D-11 and the agenda only went to D-5. Added items included approval of a study group to look into the Broadway Street Historic District (a subset of the now-defunct Lowertown Historic District) and approval of something called “A2D2” (which everyone but Greden approved and the Mayor gave him quite a look).

       —Juliew    Oct. 4 '06 - 04:54AM    #
  8. Juliew – looks like A2D2 is “Ann Arbor Discovering Downtown”. (Maybe Greden’s trying to get on David Cahill’s good side by buying into the “Nobody else – I like it like it is!” viewpoint?)

    Council resolution D-12 on September 5 renamed “The Downtown Implementation Strategies Committee” to “A2D2 Ann Arbor Discovering Downtown”; this is apparently the task force assigned to moving along the Calthorpe report’s recommendations.

    From the draft minutes of that meeting, under “committee reports”,

    A2D2 COMMITTEE Councilmember Higgins informed Council that the A2D2 Committee is moving forward, and that a series of Urban Design Guidelines public lectures are being scheduled for October 19, November 2, 16 and 30, 2006. The AIA of Huron Valley is putting the lectures together. Additional information will be available on the City’s web site.

    But I don’t know what they were “approving” or not yesterday.

       —Murph.    Oct. 4 '06 - 08:01PM    #
  9. MLive is reporting that Council passed a resolution meant to allay concerns that if the parks millage passes, that Council might reduce parks allocations (relative to other budget areas) from the general fund:

    “Tuesday’s resolution, which is non-binding, states that whatever percentage increase or decrease there is in the general fund budget, there will be the same allocation of money to the parks and recreation system. So if the general fund budget drops three percent, the amount of money the city allocates to the parks can’t go down by more than three percent. If the general fund goes up three percent, the funding to parks would be increased at the same rate.”

    Non-binding though it might be, this resolution privileges parks over any other area of the general fund budget. It reflects that our number one community value is parks. I would hope that’s not in fact our number one community value. I was content to cast a Yes vote on the parks millage, until Council resolved to afford the parks special privilege within the general fund. And while this special privilege is non-binding, and would not make up for revenues lost if the millage does not pass, I’ll be voting No on the millage.

       —HD    Oct. 4 '06 - 08:39PM    #
  10. HD, I hope you change your mind.

    I understand from people who have been following this issue closely that they are worried that if the millage passes, Roger Fraser and/or the Council will take some of the new money and use it for other purposes – such as a new City Hall.

    The resolution is supposed to prevent such a thing from happening.

       —David Cahill    Oct. 4 '06 - 10:01PM    #
  11. “If the general fund goes up three percent, the funding to parks would be increased at the same rate.”

    What’s the rationale for that? ‘Balance’?

    Also, anyone know what the rationale for the increase in the millage was? Given the economy, I’d favor maintaining the past level and allowing the general fund to cover the shortfall if revenues increase.

    You have other recourse before the election, HD. Call Chris and Wendy and share your perspective.

       —Steve Bean    Oct. 4 '06 - 10:15PM    #
  12. Steve Bean wrote: “You have other recourse before the election, HD. Call Chris and Wendy and share your perspective.”

    Well, yeah, I sent them both an email sharing my perspective before posting to AU … after all, I can’t rely on Chris and Wendy being one of the 25 readers of AU, right? ;-)==

    Like I say, I had been content to vote Yes on the parks millage. (And Steve, my recollection of the Council discussion on the increase in the rate was that it represented the ‘projected rollback equivalent’ of the 1.00 mill that voters had originally approved as the sum of the two previous separate parks millages. So they said, Look, voters approved a total of 1.00 mills previously, and by the end of the life of the ‘unified’ parks millage, 1.25 mills will work out to 1.00 if there were no such thing as a rollback. So they said, It’s safer to go with 1.25 instead of the 1.5 recommended by City staff. It makes sense as a pitch to voters: it’s an increase, but really it’s the same, when you factor in rollback.)

    However, the general fund is what it is. I think voters understand that the only guaranteed parks money is money from the millage. I don’t share Bob Johnsons’ view, expressed in Council discussion, that a vote for the millage expresses the will of the voters that Council should maintain general fund allocations to parks at the same levels, and that if parks allocations from the general fund drop relative to other expenditures from the general fund, then the will of the voters will not have been honored and that some extra safeguard (like this resolution) needs to be put into place. I think if the millage passes and all the money from the millage is spent on parks, then the will of the voters will have been honored. What most of those voters think about general-fund allocations to parks is pure speculation. Speaking for myself, assuming that the parks millage passes, I expect Council to make general fund allocations based on their best judgement without any special consideration for parks that they’re not extending to any other budget area.

    So I’ll be voting No. If the millage fails, that would perhaps force discussion of funding parks (1) completely through millage … taking Council out of the equation (2) giving a broader regional funding base to parks. Both of these eventualities were mentioned at Council Meetings in conversations between Jayne Miller and CM’s as possibly happening ‘later rather than sooner’.

    Whatever the resolution is meant to achieve in terms of checking Roger Fraser’s intentions, in the end, the resolution gives privilege to parks that it does not give to any other budget area. And I don’t think parks should be our number one community priority.

    If there’s a prevailing sentiment on Council that a new City Hall or Hall of Justice or whatever, should be paid for with monies only from specified sources, then the most transparent way to express that sentiment is to pass a resolution about the funding of such a structure, not by passing a resolution singling out our parks as ranking first among our community values.

       —HD    Oct. 4 '06 - 11:21PM    #