with gallery: AATA's new transit center plans ready for Ann Arbor design review
The meeting begins at 3 p.m. in the sixth-floor conference room of city hall, 301 E. Huron St., according to a notice mailed out to nearby residents.
The Ann Arbor Transportation Authority is proposing a new two-story transit center to replace the 1987-era building that stands today. AATA officials say the agency has outgrown the facility and the long-term prediction is bus use will continue to increase.
Renderings courtesy of DLZ Michigan
The drawings have changed from a conceptual image released at a meeting in January. The drawings then included a large canopy over the bus lane and a slightly different look to the building.
AATA officials said the drawings still are being refined and probably will change by the meeting on April 18 and will include the canopy again.
At the upcoming meeting, the Design Review Board will discuss with the project design team how the new transit center responds to the city's Downtown Design Guidelines. No recommendation or approval will be made regarding the project at the meeting.
Under the city's new design review process, developers are required to submit preliminary plans to the Design Review Board prior to applying for site plan approval. City ordinance requires a meeting with the board, but implementation of its suggestions is voluntary.
City officials say members of the public are welcome to observe the Design Review Board's discussion but there will be no public hearing at that meeting.
The project will require approval from the Ann Arbor Planning Commission and Ann Arbor City Council and public hearings will be held before both bodies.
Once the AATA decides to move forward with the project, it will mail invitations to a citizen participation meeting where public comments will be sought.
The new Blake Transit Center is proposed to be built in the southeastern corner of the current site with frontages on Fourth and Fifth avenues.
According to the Design Review Board application submitted by Terry Black, the AATA's maintenance manager, the new building will measure 17,471 square feet and cover a floor area of 10,783 square feet. It will rise nearly 38 feet from the ground.
The ground floor includes a lobby, restroom and ticket booth for patrons, while the upper floor includes offices, driver break areas, dispatch center and a conference room.
A total of 5,000 square feet of open space is included in the proposal with no off-street parking spaces. AATA officials said the design promotes sustainable practices and achieves Gold certification from the United States Green Building Council.
The site of the Blake Transit Center is in a D1 district, which is the core downtown zoning designation. It also is in the Midtown overlay zoning district.
The design team for the project includes representatives from DLZ Michigan Inc., Robert Darvas Associates P.C., and DiClemente Siegel Design Inc.
AATA officials say ridership has almost doubled since the Blake Transit Center was constructed in 1987, so more demand has been placed on the facility.
According to the AATA website, more than 5,000 passengers use the transit center to get to their downtown destinations or to transfer to other bus routes every day.
That's more than 1.5 million people each year. The number of buses serving the Blake Transit Center also has increased to 36 buses every hour, according to the AATA website.
The AATA also recently launched a new AirRide shuttle service that transports passengers to and from the Detroit Metro Airport starting at the Blake Transit Center.