Arbor Update

Ann Arbor Area Community News

Easthope's Greenway Resolution

16. March 2005

The text of a resolution brought to the Ann Arbor City Council’s Regular Meeting, 21 March 2005, by Councilmembers Easthope and Johnson. Taken from the Council Packet, online at http://www.ci.ann-arbor.mi.us/CommunityServices/Clerks/Packet.pdf, accessed 16 March, 2005.

RESOLUTION IN SUPPORT OF THE DEVELOPMENT OF
A GREENWAY THROUGH DOWNTOWN ANN ARBOR

Whereas Ann Arbor’s 1988 Downtown Plan (p.27) states the following objective regarding “Land Form” in relation to “development character”: “Encourage new development to respond to downtown’s land form by reinforcing the visibility of the Allen Creek valley, and

Whereas The Allen Creek valley on the western edge of downtown is a special topographic feature which can be used to advantage in:

  • Developing an improved transition between the Core and the neighborhoods to the west;
  • Establishing a visual and recreational amenity which enhances the potential for downtown residential development;
  • Creating improved entries to downtown; and,
  • Enhancing downtown’s unique identity as a place,” and

Whereas the Allen Creek floodplain corridor naturally connects southern and western neighborhoods with downtown and the Huron River and is centrally located in Ann Arbor, its transformation through the creation of a continuous greenway system of substantial destination parks and pathways within its boundaries will result in a beautiful and distinctive public amenity that will strengthen Ann Arbor’s quality of place and unique character, and create public open space that will act as a friendly buffer between high density central Ann Arbor and established, close-in residential neighborhoods, allowing these contrasting parts of town to be better neighbors, and

Whereas a substantial park and pathway greenway system located in the Allen Creek corridor will possess the scale to enrich everyday travel patterns within town, enliven residents’ daily routines, incorporate generous public gathering spaces, allow for a broad spectrum of recreational activities, provide a home for public art, greatly increase natural beauty in central Ann Arbor and embody civic pride, it will enhance the bond residents have with their home city, and

Whereas Ann Arbor residents recognize that safe, pleasant pedestrian and bicycling options are essential to making a city friendly and livable, and enthusiastically endorse increasing enjoyable walking and biking opportunities, and support the recommendations in both the City’s Non-Motorized Transportation Plan and the Parks and Recreation Open Space Plan to do so by establishing a major car-free walking and bicycling pathway that follows the alignment of the Allen Creek and Ann Arbor Railroad and runs though central Ann Arbor, a path that possesses the added safety benefit of being located off of existing city streets and sidewalks and will be designed to serve residents of all ages and abilities safely and comfortably, and

Whereas residents support tangible efforts to reduce car traffic congestion in downtown Ann Arbor, and

Whereas downtown Ann Arbor currently lacks any green, “soft-scape” public parks, and does not possess a publicly recognized civic gathering space, and

Whereas a substantial greenway system located in central Ann Arbor’s Allen Creek corridor will connect to a network of existing and planned pathways extending east to Ypsilanti and west to Dexter, and

Whereas the Allen Creek valley is a unique topographic feature in Ann Arbor and the Allen Creek 100-year floodplain is designated a protected natural feature under City ordinance, and floodplain/floodway conditions restrict intense economic development but are ideally suited for park and open space uses, and

Whereas the creation of substantial green parks at 3 Allen Creek floodplain/floodway sites will result in the elimination of significant amounts of impervious surface, the planting of park gardens, trees and grassy areas and the opportunity to incorporate attractive and ecologically sustainable methods of storm water run-off flood and water quality mitigation, such as native plant rain gardens and bioswales, providing environmental benefits for the Allen Creek 100-year floodplain, central Ann Arbor, and the Huron River, and

Whereas urban parks are a necessary complement to high density downtown residential development and an essential ingredient for creating lively and livable cities in that they offer recreational facilities for all ages and activity levels, opportunities for spontaneous social interaction and organized social activities, beneficial green open space, natural beauty, and are a fundamental expression of civic generosity, and

Whereas a continuous greenway system of attractive, well-programmed and popular parks and pathways will appeal to all Ann Arbor residents and visitors alike, and so contribute to a dynamic downtown by creating a beautiful public amenity and destination that will stimulate and support higher residential density, thus increasing tax base, and promote economic development close by Greenway parks and paths, and

Whereas residents support increasing opportunities and venues for cultivating Ann Arbor’s unique creative, community-oriented culture, and endorse the efforts of local artists, the arts community, community service non-profit organizations and volunteer-based civic groups to keep life in Ann Arbor rich, diverse, imaginative and lively, and

Whereas it is a fundamental community goal to enable people of various income levels to live downtown and also significantly increase the amount of affordable “work force” housing in and near downtown, occupants of less expensive, higher density, smaller sized residential units will especially benefit from Greenway park open space and recreational features conveniently located in the nearby Allen Creek corridor and may view such a public amenity as a compelling incentive to live downtown, and

Therefore, it is RESOLVED that for the purpose of achieving the aforementioned, the City shall take the first concrete step to create a full-scale “Ann Arbor Greenway” in the Allen Creek corridor, consisting of substantial destination parks adjacent to a walking and bicycling pathway that will run along the railroad corridor, within the railroad right-of-way, from the U-M athletic complex, along the west side of downtown, and then north to the Argo Dam, by taking the visionary action of designating the following three existing City-owned floodplain properties in their entirety as Greenway parks:

  • First & William City surface parking lot
  • 415 W. Washington St. City yard
  • 721 N. Main St. City fleet services yard

Submitted by: Council Members Easthope and Johnson