Many already consider Ann Arbor to be a healthy town, but a new project may make it even healthier.
Fuller Intermodal Transportation Station (FITS) is the City of Ann Arbor’s transportation vision that expands upon the existing bus, rail and train systems and emphasizes alternative forms of transportation, like walking and biking.
Phase 1 of the project will be a facility located on Fuller Road next to East Medical Drive. It will feature a bike station with storage, lockers, showers and rental services, a transit center with bus loading platforms, a taxi stand and patron waiting area, and short-term and long-term parking.
City officials also plan to make improvements on Fuller Road, adding intersections, turn lanes, traffic signal coordination, pedestrian non-motorized pathways and crosswalks.
FITS is partnering with the University planners and staff from the Parking and Transportation Services as well as medical staff to develop the transportation station.
Right now, FITS is still in its conceptual stage and City officials are looking for community feedback and input. Officials ultimately hope to integrate transit center, bicycle center, train station and parking into one place.
Future plans may include a light rail and high-speed commuter train from Ann Arbor to Detroit and also from Ann Arbor to Howell.
At an open house held at City Hall yesterday, Jeffrey Kahan, the project manager of the City Planning and Public Services Departments, said when the project is completed it will make it easier for residents to bike and walk around Ann Arbor.
“This concept is one in which multiple public agencies are looking at opportunities to encourage alternative modes of transportation, including rail and non-motorized modes like walking,” he said.
FITS’s intent is to create a convenient area where people can easily switch modes of transportation and gain access to all areas of Ann Arbor.
City Transportation Manager Eli Cooper said he is hopeful that Phase 1 of the project will be complete and will accept travelers by mid-2012.
“In a broad sense, the goal is to help lead this community as it moves forward in the 21st century,” he said. “To attract people here or go from here without using a private automobile.”
Ann Arbor resident, Ethel Potts, who was at the open house last night to learn more about FITS, expressed some doubt about the project, especially the new facility’s potential location.
“I’ve had concerns all along because it’s down in the valley — we value the valley,” said Potts, who says he has been living in Ann Arbor “forever.”
Steve Bean, who has lived in Ann Arbor for 27 years, said he was worried about future funding for the project.
“We might just have a Phase 1 that is a parking structure and that’s it — we won’t have money to do the rest,” he said.