Arbor Update

Ann Arbor Area Community News

Protests in Lansing this week

Posted by Josh Steichmann on 15 March 2011

Hey folks,

Don’t interpret this as a return for ArborUpdate (the once and future king of Ann Arbor), but I saw this press release sent to the group email, and wanted to post it up here:

Tuesday, March 15, protesters will begin to gather at Michigan’s Capitol in protest of Governor Rick Snyder’s Emergency Financial Manager Bill. This protest is to include a camp-in and is scheduled to run well into Wednesday. Those present are both native and non-native Michiganders who have come together through numerous Facebook groups. While spurred originally by the events in Wisconsin, it is our state’s own legislation that has resulted in this mass protest. It is the desire, the goal of many of these protesters to bring the fight in Wisconsin to our Capitol with similar numbers and just as much notice taken at local, state, and national levels. This is in response to the aforementioned bill stripping citizens of their rights, dissolving elected official, and eliminating union bargaining rights. This protest has nothing to do with political affiliation and all are welcome to join the protest.

Comment [8]

This site to be demolished, replaced with student housing

Posted by Arbor Update Team on 2 February 2010

After years of updating, the ArborUpdate crew is taking a break. It may be temporary, it may be permanent, but for now the ArborUpdate sign is flipped to “closed.”

There’s a few reasons for this:

  • What had set ArborUpdate apart was intelligent discussion of local issues. You can now find intelligent reporting and discussion on Ann Arbor Chronicle, the Michigan Daily has been improving lately, and while the discussion on AnnArbor.com isn’t always refined, it’s better than what the Ann Arbor News had with Mlive.
  • There has been a growth of local blogs lately. Some of them supply the thoughtful commentary that ArborUpdate had at its best, others offer the inane ranting that ArborUpdate has had at its worst.
  • We’ve let our focus get very narrow. Most of our active discussions lately have been about land use and density debates. Yes, they come up a lot, but it’s not a broad base for a community discussion site.
  • Most of our commentators have been respectful, but we do get tired of being the playground teacher because some people don’t know how to behave.

As we head out, we’ll keep this thread open for a brief while for goodbyes. Then, the current plan is to put the site in hibernate mode, turn off comments, keep ArborUpdate as an archive, and see where things go from there.

Comment [64]

City Council: Bicycles, Parking, and CIP

Posted by Juliew on 19 January 2010

City Council: Tuesday, January 19, 2010 at 7:00 pm.
Ann Arbor City HallAgenda

Highlights:

  • Amendments and ordinances regarding bicycle transportation
  • Parking fine amendment and resolution to restructure and adjust parking fine schedule
  • Resolution to Approve Fiscal Year 2011-2016 Capital Improvements Plan
  • Resolution to Approve U of M Soccer Complex Annexation, 12.5 Acres, 2323 South Main

Comment [52]

Parks vs. Transit: The Sierra Club and the Fuller Transit Center

Posted by Chuck Warpehoski on 19 January 2010

The Huron Valley Chapter of the Sierra Club has taken a position opposing a proposed new transit station.

Why is the Sierra Club arguing against a transit station? The oppose the decision to build the station on top of what is technically parkland (it currently serves as a parking lot).

There are a lot of questions here (e.g. Is this a good investment for the city? Will it reduce congestion from the east? Will use this center to come farther into Ann Arbor?). What most strikes me is, “In this case, which is more environmental, transit or parks”?

Comment [13]

Ann Arbor and Ypsi Chambers merge--New regionalism or a sign of trouble

Posted by Chuck Warpehoski on 13 January 2010

As reported by AnnArbor.com, Yesterday the Ann Arbor and Ypsilanti Chambers of Commerce had a breakfast to discuss their merger.

What does the merger mean? Is it:

  1. A sign of growing regionalism in the county?
  2. A sign that the economy is hurting even Chambers and they have to band together to stay alive?
  3. An indication that the whole Chamber of Commerce idea is getting less meaningful in today’s world, so Chambers have to band together to stay alive?

What will the merger help? What will be the challenges in it?

(These are all real questions I have, but now I sound like I’m writing high school essay test questions.)

Comment [7]

City Council: Welcome 2010

Posted by Juliew on 4 January 2010

City Council: Monday, January 4, 2010 at 7:00 pm.
Ann Arbor City HallAgenda

Highlights:

  • Resolution to approve a Business Improvement Zone (BIZ) and Zone Plan for South Main Street between Huron and William
  • Proposals Submitted in Response to the RFP Involving the Library Lot
  • Amendments regarding bicycle transportation and parking fines

Comment [2]

City Council: Art and Parking

Posted by Juliew on 21 December 2009

City Council: Thursday, December 21 at 7:00 pm.
Ann Arbor City HallAgenda

Highlights:

  • An Ordinance to Amend Section 1:833 of Chapter 24 (Public Art) to Reduce Percent for Public Art for Three Years
  • An Ordinance to Amend City Code to Implement a “Pick-Up” Provision Allowed by Internal Revenue Code 414(h) for Non -Union Employees of the City of Ann Arbor
  • Resolution Regarding New Parking Meters

Comment [9]

Downtown parking - how valuable is free?

Posted by Murph on 19 December 2009

It’s been a while since we had a good parking fight around here, so thanks to AnnArbor.com for throwing us a bone. In two pieces today, they post one downtown merchant’s op-ed for free parking during the holidays, and an article on the Ann Arbor City Council’s upcoming discussion of extending meter enforcement from 6pm to 10pm. (full resolution text.)

City Councilmember Sandi Smith cites, in her explanation of the time extension, the importance of convenient, high-turnover parking at the curb for downtown businesses and customers. For at least five years, the DDA has observed that the 6pm end time encourages all-night parking – a downtown employee or patron arriving at 4 or 5pm pays the meter through 6pm, then leaves the car there for the rest of the night, forcing later patrons to park further away even for short trips.

Commenters on AnnArbor.com, by contrast, are heavily skewed towards the attitude that parking should be free, so that downtown Ann Arbor businesses can compete effectively with WalMart.

Extending meter enforcement can, according to Don Shoup and others, help downtown businesses in this competition by providing parking convenience, often a stronger factor than price in the mall vs. downtown decision. (This, as observed, rarely factors into the visceral reaction to pricing parking.)

Notably, past discussions of downtown parking pricing and timing have typically led to the concern that lower income downtown employees priced out by such a decision be provided with an alternative – such as extending the hours of bus service. The resolution at hand does not seem to include consideration of such alternatives.

The resolution references the 2007 Nelson/Nygaard study of downtown parking, available online.

Comment [28]

City Council: Giving and Taking

Posted by Juliew on 7 December 2009

City Council: Monday, December 7 at 7:00 pm.
Ann Arbor City HallAgenda

Highlights:

  • Resolution to exempt eligible nonprofit housing providers from the collection of property taxes for up to two years
  • Ordinance to reduce percent for public art for three years
  • Resolution to accept the “Huron River and Impoundment Management Plan” from the Environmental Commission and 30 Consensus Recommendations
  • Resolution to purchase property at 219 Chapin and appropriate $269,500.00 from the Open Space and Parkland Preservation Millage Bond Proceeds
  • Resolution to approve purchase of development rights on Girbach Farm, approve participation agreements with Lodi Township and Legacy Land Conservancy and appropriate $815,767.00 from Open Space and Parkland Preservation Millage Bond proceeds
  • Resolution to allocate $200,000.00 in Neighborhood Stabilization Program Funds to Avalon Housing Inc. or an Affiliated Ownership Entity for the acquisition and rehabilitation of 701 Miller
  • Resolution to return Proposed Amendments to Chapters 55 (Zoning) and 59 (Off-Street Parking) Regarding Area, Height and Placement to the City Planning Commission

Comment [13]

The Future of Washtenaw Ave

Posted by Chuck Warpehoski on 3 December 2009

Depending on your perspective, Washtenaw Avenue is either an important connection bringing together businesses, commuters, and shoppers in Ann Arbor, Ypsilanti, Ypsi Township and Pittsfield Township or it’s a traffic nightmare, the an danger to pedestrians, and a concentration of ugliness in the county.

A group of community leaders gathered to envision what rules, plans, and incentives should be put in place now for the corridor’s development over the next 20 years and beyond. The initial report has been covered by AnnArbor.com, Mark Maynard, and Concentrate.

What do you think the future of the corridor should be?

Comment [74]

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