Good Government

Ward 2 covers a large area of the city, with north-of-the-river and south-of-the-river sectors, bounded roughly by M-14, US-23, Washtenaw, and Nixon. Traffic is a big issue in the ward, but you would never know that from the general disdain given mass transit issues by Ward 2 Councilmember Jane Lumm. Lumm has voted to turn down federal money to study how to reduce traffic along what is called the “Connector,” that is, from US-23 along Plymouth Road, down Huron Parkway and eventually to State Street. Despite the fact that the city, the AATA, and the University of Michigan had already contributed to more than $600,000 spent on the first phase of the study, Lumm was the sole dissenting vote for a $30,000 expenditure to go to the next phase and look at what kind of transit makes sense for the Connector.

The need for transit is especially urgent because of the University of Michigan’s expansion into the former Pfizer property. More and more of its research faculty are moving out to the North Campus Research Complex (NCRC) and retail development along Plymouth Rd. is following. As is usual for federal grants, a local funding match is required and the University is paying the lion’s share of this.

Lumm has also voted to turn down federal money to study an improved Amtrak station, although she joined the rest of the council recently in finally voting for money to complete the study. The existing station is completely inadequate and the federally-funded study is determining the best place for a new one. There is little question that the best location would be on city-owned land in front of the University hospital, land that is leased to the University for surface parking. Lumm has joined with anti-growth advocates who claim that land is a “park” and requires a referendum vote to change its use. Of course, there was no referendum vote for the long-term lease for its use as surface parking, and the huge Fuller Park lies just across the street.

Traffic is not only an issue for Plymouth Road and Huron Parkway but also along Geddes and Fuller Roads. Second Ward residents who are tired of seeing long lines of vehicles, with one person per car, would be better served by a representative who understands transit. Planning Commission chair Kirk Westphal is running against Lumm in November and his understanding of and support for transit is one factor that distinguishes him from the ineffective incumbent.


Recent Posts

If you’re older and white, congratulations!  Chances are you’ve already got Tuesday, August 8th’s “secret election” in your calendar.  The problem is the rest of you don’t, and we’re here [...]

I have often lamented the fact that so much in Ann Arbor politics is decided in low-turnout, August primary elections. What that means is that very small but loud interest [...]

Elections are, by their very nature, contentious and this summer’s primary election in the 3rd Ward has become contentious before it even gets off the ground. That is because the [...]

When my doctor husband first mentioned the trendy phrase “evidence-based medicine,” I asked, “What was it before – guess-based medicine?” It’s popular in this age of Big Data (information from [...]

Pete Seeger died last week. Today the Toledo Public Television station was kind enough to air an American Masters program about Seeger from a few years ago. There was an [...]

I’m sure you have already acted on your New Year’s resolutions such as drinking more juice, trying not to say “like,” and eating more kale. Here’s one I urge everyone [...]

Ann Arbor’s City Council is about to have its annual “retreat” where the councilmembers work with a facilitator and determine their priorities for the coming year. This year’s retreat is [...]

This has turned out to be a week of trains and transit, so here is a guest column from David R. Busse,  a TV journalist, railroad fan, avid user of public [...]

American cities like Ann Arbor share similar 20th Century stories:  People came to downtown stores to do their shopping and, in the first half of the century, downtowns were the [...]

The pumpkins are just about to get smashed and dumped into the recycling bins with the leaves, so we can now all start thinking about Thanksgiving and those Puritans. They [...]

Ward 2 covers a large area of the city, with north-of-the-river and south-of-the-river sectors, bounded roughly by M-14, US-23, Washtenaw, and Nixon. Traffic is a big issue in the ward, [...]

You may wonder why I illustrate this post with a scene from Act III of “La Boheme,” showing the starving Bohemians at the gates of Paris. In the 19th century, [...]