What is the Ann Arbor Station Environmental Review Project?
The purpose of the Ann Arbor Station Environmental Review Project is to conduct an environmental review and produce a conceptual design for a new or enhanced railroad passenger station/intermodal facility in the City of Ann Arbor as outlined in the City's adopted 2009 Transportation Plan Update.
Why is it important to study the station now?
Amtrak's Wolverine Line runs from Pontiac through Detroit to Chicago and stops in Ann Arbor at the passenger station located at 325 Depot Street. The busiest stop for the line, and the entire state of Michigan, is Ann Arbor. Amtrak reports that from October 1, 2012-September 30, 2013, there were a total of 158,717 on/off rides. The station represents a gateway to our community, and as our local economy grows, and the number of local jobs increases we anticipate an even greater increase in ridership. Coupled with other rail projects in the region, the Ann Arbor area is poised to be a key hub for passengers. From a local perspective, the station will also be an intermodal facility, including auto access and parking, a bus terminal, bicycle parking/storage, etc.
This study will evaluate options for a new station with improved accessibility and accommodations for the anticipated increase in ridership. Options could include using the existing station site or finding a new location in the City of Ann Arbor.
Why is the City of Ann Arbor studying the station?
In addition to a projected increase in riders and use of public transit, there are many local and regional projects and studies underway (see below). Local rail station improvement projects are also underway in Battle Creek, Dearborn, Troy, East Lansing, Grand Rapids, and Jackson. While Amtrak is responsible for the rail service itself, local communities are responsible for their stations and any improvements made to them. This project represents a unique opportunity to study the station and how it might accommodate growth and become a catalyst for local economic development. The convergence of these projects will result in greater opportunities for the Ann Arbor area to enhance our transit options.
WALLY—The Washtenaw and Livingston Line (WALLY) is a proposed 27-mile long north-south commuter rail service that would connect Ann Arbor and Howell.
The Connector—The Connector is a developing plan for high-capacity transit in an arc from northeast to south Ann Arbor.
Commuter rail service between Detroit and Ann Arbor—There are 5 roundtrips planned per day between Detroit and Ann Arbor.
High speed rail between Detroit and Chicago—MDOT is leading a three state effort to improve the 300 mile corridor from Pontiac and Detroit to Chicago. The project goal is to reduce the end to end travel time by approximately two hours from the current 6 hours and 30 minutes.
Midwest Regional Rail Initiative—The Midwest is working as one region to connect its residents through improved high-speed and intercity passenger rail service.
How long will the project take?
The timeline for the Ann Arbor Station Environmental Review project will be determined by the data collection, analysis and documentation of the remaining alternatives while working with project partners the Michigan Department of Transportation and the Federal Railroad Administration. Once the Alternatives Analysis is presented, the Environmental Assessment will be prepared and released followed by a 30 day review period and a public hearing.
How is the study being funded?
80% of the projects funds are covered by a federal rail grant, while 20% are from city funds that were budgeted for the project.
What are the first steps in the project?
The project team will begin by developing a Purpose and Need document outlining the purpose of the project, background, and what needs will be addressed by the study. In addition, a Public Involvement Plan is being developed which will describe the various ways stakeholders, the general public and community leaders will have an opportunity to provide their input and opinions.
What will you be presenting to the public?
Per federal regulations, the Ann Arbor Station Environmental Review must comply with the
National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA). The purpose of a NEPA review is to incorporate environmental values into the decision making process for the project. The review will consider the potential environmental and community impacts and benefits of station improvements.
Public input regarding the alternatives will be considered as the alternatives are narrowed down to a smaller set of potential sites. Those alternatives will also be presented to the public for input during additional public meetings.
What will happen after a series of alternatives are presented?
Using public input, the alternatives will be narrowed down to a smaller set of potential sites. Those alternatives will also be presented to the public for input during additional public meetings. By the end of the project, a recommended site will be determined.
Who is involved in making decisions?
In addition to extensive planned public input, representatives from the consulting team, the City of Ann Arbor, Ann Arbor Area Transportation Authority (AAATA), Michigan Department of Transportation (MDOT), and the Federal Railroad Administration (FRA) are all assisting in the project.
A Leadership Advisory Group was created with representation from local businesses and organizations. In addition, a Citizen Working Group was formed with representation from the local community.
The project was initiated to provide the citizens of Ann Arbor with the best information to make a decision. In the end, voters or their representatives will decide whether a new train station, or improvements to the existing one, is in the best interest of Ann Arbor. On October 15, 2012, the Ann Arbor City Council resolved that proceeding with the construction of the station will be voted upon by the citizens of Ann Arbor: "RESOLVED, That at or before the completion of a final design for the Ann Arbor Station project, City Council will set a date by which the City will submit the question of moving forward with construction to a vote of the citizens of Ann Arbor."
Upcoming public meetings
Alternatives Analysis Phase I Report (3.1MB PDF) - updated Aug. 30, 2016
Alternatives Analysis Phase II Report (8.6MB PDF) - released Sept. 1, 2016
Final Purpose and Need document (2.1MB PDF)
Presentations, exhibits, data and maps
Public meeting #3 notes, September 26, 2016 (PDF)
Leadership Advisory Group meeting #4 notes, Sept. 21, 2016 (PDF)
Citizens Working Group meeting #5 notes, Sept. 21, 2016 (PDF)
Citizens Working Group Meeting Notes, March 19, 2014 (PDF)
Leadership Advisory Group Meeting Notes, March 25, 2014 (PDF)
Citizens Working Group Meeting Notes, March 25, 2014 (PDF)
Public Meeting Notes, April 2, 2014 (PDF)
Park Advisory Commission Meeting Notes, May 20, 2014. (PDF)
Planning Environmental Energy Commission Meeting Notes May 13, 2014 (PDF)
Leadership Advisory Group #2 Meeting Notes, June 18, 2014 (PDF)
Citizens Working Group #3 Meeting Notes, June 18, 2014 (PDF)
Public Meeting #2 Notes, June 24, 2014 (PDF)
Ann Arbor Station Spring 2014 Newsletter (3.24MB PDF)
Leadership Advisory Group meeting presentation May 13, 2015 (PDF)
Citizens Working Group meeting presentation May 13, 2015 (PDF)
Leadership Advisory Group meeting notes May 13, 2015 (PDF)
Citizens Working Group meeting notes May 13, 2015 (PDF)