Saturday, February 8, 2014

The Great Bursley-Baits Bungle

This is a photograph from my latest excursion on the Bursley-Baits bus. I'm not sure it captures the gross discomfort of the situation. I stood with my spine squished against a rail and griped to myself about how I'm too old for this kind of thing. Around me, people sweated and yawned and complained about their chemistry tests.

We had a particularly bad time of it, since Fuller and surrounding roads had turned into a rush hour nightmare. I'm going to assume that level of traffic was unusual, even for Thursday at 5pm. Still, it convinced me further that this corridor needs light rail or BRT, sorely. Something that runs in its own lane or guideway and can smoothly deliver these boatloads of engineers and actors to Central Campus - and downtown - even when a squirrel runs into the road, or whatever it was, and brings the city's automobiles to a smoggy halt.

The Ann Arbor Connector (no relation to my baby, the Detroit Center Connector), has been in the works for a while, yet with all transit projects, the red tape and process is seemingly neverending. They're still in the midst of the Alternatives Analysis phase right now, which means that such major steps as Environmental Impact assessment and, you know, actually getting funding, remain in the distant future.

Ann Arbor is very good at sabotaging public transit improvements, and the naysayers' momentum has only been growing. Although the A2 Connector plans to take on a swath of the city, from Briarwood Mall up to Plymouth beyond US23, grumpy Ann Arborites think that the University wants to steal their money just to better transport its irresponsible, smelly undergrads.

My message to Ann Arbor: get over the fact that you contain a university. Acknowledge that you contain one of the busiest transit corridor in the state, and work with U-M to build a transportation infrastructure that doesn't put the city and its institutions to shame.

(I also think that North Campus itself is fundamentally flawed - despite living on it currently - but I'll get into that later).

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