with video: Portions of Blake Transit Center come down as AATA moves ahead with new transit center project
A portion of the Blake Transit Center in downtown Ann Arbor met the wrecking ball on Monday afternoon during a partial demolition of the canopy over the passenger pickup area.
In preparation for construction of a new transit center, crews knocked down the portion of the blue canopy extending east from the building, including its heavy steel and concrete support beams.
Ann Arbor Transportation Authority officials say the actual transit center building, which is oriented toward Fourth Avenue, won't be demolish until after a new transit center — one oriented toward Fifth Avenue — is finished being built by later this fall on another part of the site.
The AATA ceremonially broke ground on the $8.1 million transit center project back in November, but Monday's partial demolition marked the first sign of major construction work.
Ryan J. Stanton | AnnArbor.com
AATA officials argue a new Blake Transit Center is necessary to meet growing passenger demands based on data that show ridership has increased more than 60 percent since 1987, with more than 5,000 riders daily and 1.5 million riders annually arriving and departing through the center. Bus traffic also has increased with an hourly average of about 40 buses accessing the facility.