Come winter, the skeleton of the long-awaited new Blake Transit Center will be erected in downtown Ann Arbor. A groundbreaking ceremony is scheduled onsite on Monday, Nov. 19 at 11 a.m.
Construction will begin within 2-3 weeks after the groundbreaking and should be completed by August or September of 2013, according to Nancy Shore, a spokesperson for the Ann Arbor Transportation Authority
The $8 million center will be built directly opposite the current center on William St., between Fourth and Fifth Avenue, which will be demolished once the new terminal is completed. It will accommodate the same number of buses as today's facility, which serves six buses in the transit mall area and nine on Fourth Avenue, including AirRide.
The 12,000-square-foot building will be LEED-Gold certified. Other enhancements over the old facility are: ADA accessibility, more bathrooms and waiting space, heated sidewalks, public art, extensive window banks, and an overarching transparent canopy penetrable by sunlight.
The center will have three levels, including a basement. "It does have the capacity to add three or four floors on top of it. This building was really designed to think about future expansion," Shore says. Since the old terminal was built in 1987, usage has increased by 60%, she adds.
"The AATA just had a record amount of transit ridership this year, reaching six million riders, so we know that the demand is going to increase. And we've got Air Ride now coming into the Blake Transit Center, so this building is really made to grow with the growing need of transit in our community."
Source: Nancy Shore, spokesperson,Ann Arbor Transportation Authority
Writer: Tanya Muzumdar