Birmingham-Troy transit center preps for fall groundbreaking

The combo rail, bus, car, bike, and pedestrian facility that will serve Birmingham, Troy and the entire area has secured its funding and is now working out the kinks for construction.

The transit center received $8.4 million from the Federal Railroad Administration earlier this year, bringing to the total to about $10 million, more than the $7 million planners hoped to build it with.
Other funds came from stimulus money and Michigan Department of Transportation matches. "We've got more money than we originally anticipated," says Jana Ecker, planning director for city of Birmingham.

Birmingham and Troy had also set aside money to contribute, just in case, but it's looking like that won't be needed after all. "The way things have been going with the funding, I think we're going to be OK," Ecker says.

Planners can't pinpoint a construction schedule yet because it's hard to tell when the Federal Railroad Administration is going to actually deliver the money. "We've been giving them oodles and oodles of paperwork," Ecker says. "It was great when we got all the funding in place, but we still have a lot of hurdles and hoops to jump through to get everything coordinated and wrapped up."

The next site plan review meeting is scheduled for Sept. 8, which should give them preliminary approval. Details have remained mostly unchanged, and include a pedestrian tunnel and areas for traffic from bicycles, automobiles, buses and the planned northern extension of the Detroit-Ann Arbor commuter rail line.
Optimistically, Ecker hopes to see a late fall groundbreaking.

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 Road, and Lincoln Street.

Ecker says there will likely be joint planning in the transit center area in the form of a transit center district, which could make help increase development in the surrounding area. "People are so happy to see something's actually going to be done," Ecker says.

Source: Jana Ecker, planning director for city of Birmingham
Writer: Kristin Lukowski