Birmingham/Troy transit center moves forward

--This article originally appeared on April 23, 2009

The plans for the Birmingham/Troy transit center are taking shape while the funding sources are being targeted.

The planning commissions for the two cities recently met to review architectural renderings of the proposed center. They plan to hold a community design charrette on June 15-16 after the architects come back with more detailed plans.

"We're waiting on them to make some changes and tweaks," says Jana Ecker, planning director for the city of Birmingham.

The two cities plan to create a $6 million transit center on the Birmingham side of the border between the cities. About $4 million would be set aside for the center while another $2 million would be used to build a pedestrian tunnel underneath the tracks.

The center would facilitate traffic from pedestrians, bicyclists, automobiles, buses and the planned northern extension of the Detroit-Ann Arbor commuter rail line. There has also been talk of creating an east-west streetcar line to connect the station to Birmingham's downtown and Troy's Somerset Collection mall.

The proposed site is in Birmingham's emerging Rail District. The cities plan to create a transit-oriented-development district around the station that would roughly be bordered by Crooks, Adams, Maple and Lincoln streets. A Southeast Michigan Council of Governments official will conduct a walkability tour of the neighborhood on April 29 to gauge how best to take advantage of the expected transit oriented development.

Officials from both cities are also meeting with the staffs of Michigan's congressional and senate office holders to help arrange funding. Congressman Gary Peters has already put in for a $2 million federal earmark to help bring the project to fruition.

Jana Ecker, planning director for the city of Birmingham
Writer: Jon Zemke
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