Project news archive

Corridor improvement study released
April 28, 2014
The ReImagine Washtenaw Corridor Improvement Study (formerly known as the "Right-of-Way" study) is now available. (View the press release.) The HUD-funded study, led by Ann Arbor-based consultant SmithGroupJJR, provides for a future vision for the cross-section of the 5-mile stretch of Washtenaw Avenue, including sidewalks, bike lanes, vehicular lanes, and detailed future right-of-way needs. In addition, specific recommendations and designs for "Super Transit Stops," which are bus stops with better design and more amenities, are included in the study. TheRide plans to begin planning for construction of these enhanced stops in the near future.

Public arts planning project begins
February 3, 2014
The Arts Alliance has been retained to develop a public-arts plan for the Washtenaw Corridor. This HUD-funded project includes an initial community survey, community focus groups, and an arts plan for future implementation of public arts, possibly within future "Super Transit Stops" for TheRide's #4 bus route along the corridor. Please follow the survey link to participate!

Final ROW study meeting held
December 11, 2013: The final public meeting on the corridor right-of-way study was held on December 11th, at the County Service Center, LRC Meeting Room A, 4135 Washtenaw Ave. The meeting provided an opportunity to see the final recommendations of the corridor right-of-way, transit design study. The meeting will include a 20-minute presentation, then an hour of public open house format to review the detailed cross-sections, transit stop designs, and other pedestrian facility designs.

Public meeting scheduled for December 11
November 22, 2013
A public meeting has been scheduled for Wed. December 11th, at the County Service Center, LRC Meeting Room A, 4135 Washtenaw Ave. from 6:30 to 8:00 p.m., to see the final recommendations of the corridor right-of-way, transit design study.  The meeting will include a 20-minute presentation, then an hour of public open house format to review the detailed cross-sections, transit stop designs, and other pedestrian facility designs. View the final draft recommendation of the future corridor cross-section, showing travel lanes, bike lanes, and transit.

Summary of public feedback available
August 6, 2013
View the full report and summary of all the public feedback received from the four public workshops and online public feedback forum. Thank you to all who participated and took the time to participate!

Online feedback collected
July 10, 2013
The online public feedback forum is now closed. The survey was available until July 1st for public input. The feedback from both the public workshops and online input will be compiled and presented in about a month, so check back for further information!

MDOT non-motorized path ribbon cutting
June 7, 2013
Elected officials, MDOT representatives, planners, and business owners gathered Friday, June 7th at 10:00 a.m. for a ribbon cutting ceremony to celebrate the completion of the non-motorized path on both sides of Washtenaw Avenue under the US-23 interchange.  This major improvement will provide much safer accommodation for walkers and bikers to access the corridor and travel east/west. 

Public workshops completed
June 3, 2013
ReImagine Washtenaw completed four identical public workshops in late May. More than 120 citizens attended, and numerous elected officials and staff from all four jurisdictions were involved.  Thanks to everyone that participated! View the presentation given at the workshops.

Nathan Voght presents ReImagine Washtenaw at Sustainable Ann Arbor Transportation Forum
April 18th, 2013

ReImagine Washtenaw project manager reaches out to communities
March 2013
Nathan Voght, with the Washtenaw County Office of Community and Economic Development, and Project Manager for ReImagine Washtenaw, has been conducting a series of outreach presentations to governmental and partner organizations. The purpose is to provide an update on all the on-going projects related to ReImagine Washtenaw. Download the presentation given to the Pittsfield Charter Township Board of Trustees on March 13th. Voght presented to the City of Ann Arbor Planning Commission on Tuesday, April 2nd at 7:00 p.m. in City Hall at 301 E. Huron, and is scheduled for Tuesday, May 7th, for the City of Ypsilanti City Council, a 1 S. Huron, Downtown Ypsilanti, and the Washtenaw County Board of Trustees on Thursday, June 6th at 6:00 p.m. in the County Admin building at 220 N. Main in downtown Ann Arbor. 

City of Ypsilanti seeks public input on master plan 
March 2013
Ypsilanti has scheduled a serious of workshops, charrettes and public meetings the week of March 11th for the public to provide input and feedback in the future direction of the City, including the Washtenaw Ave. corridor.

Washtenaw Area Transportation Study seeking public input on 2040 Long Range Plan
March 2013
Preliminary corridor cross-section alternatives, derived from the ongoing right-of-way, transit station and multi-modal facility design study, will be incorporated in the WATS 2040 model. The resulting transportation model information will be used by ReImagine Washtenaw to further refine corridor cross-section alternatives. Please join WATS in the public participation process by clicking on the logo below and providing your input!

Multiple projects launch implementation of ReImagine Washtenaw 
September 18, 2012
Head east out of Downtown Ann Arbor along Washtenaw Avenue, and you’re sure to notice some construction activity. Across from Whole Foods Market, ground-breaking has begun on Arbor Hills Crossing, a 90,000 square feet retail and professional office development in the City of Ann Arbor. The project includes new and wider sidewalks, a traffic signal and pedestrian crossing at Platt Road, and a new AATA Transit Super Stop. Continue further east, and you’ll notice the Michigan Department ofTransportation has begun a major traffic operations and non-motorized projectat US-23. The non-motorized component of this project includes the construction of new non-motorized paths on both sides of Washtenaw Avenue, which provide a way for pedestrians and bicyclists safe travel under the highway overpass.

“After years of planning and consensus-building, we are excited to see two projects that will significantly enhance walkability and pedestrian access to businesses in this important corridor,” said Ann Arbor City council member Tony Derezinski. “Over time, you’ll see additional improvements that even further increase walkability, provide a sense of place, and also increase property values.”

“The Michigan Department of Transportation is looking forward to continuing its collaboration with the ReImagine Washtenaw initiative, to ensure future improvements address both MDOT’s needs, and also the community’s vision for the corridor,” says Kari Martin, MDOT’s University Region planner.

Multiple projects are being implemented and coordinated between Pittsfield and Ypsilanti Township, including improvement/installationof pedestrian facilities, such as ramps, sidewalks, signals, and mid-blockcrossings, at Washtenaw and Golfside, zoning changes coordinated between both communities to allow for mixed-use development nodes, and lane reduction and bike lane installation along Golfside Road.

ReImagine Washtenaw is a multi-jurisdictional land use planning and public transit initiative to transform the corridor from auto-focused, to a safe, multi-modal, public transit-enhanced corridor, with new, high-quality mixed-use development, enhanced transit service and amenities, resulting in a corridor with sense of place. Professional staff planners and elected officials from the Cities of Ann Arbor and Ypsilanti and Pittsfield and Ypsilanti Townships have been leading this effort. Additional partners, including the Ann Arbor Transportation Authority, Michigan Department of Transportation, Washtenaw County, Ann Arbor/Ypsilanti Regional Chamber of Commerce, and the Washtenaw Area Transportation Study, are also collaborating to take the county’s most congested and auto-centric road, and turn it in to a high-functioning, multi-modal corridor.

ReImagine Washtenaw Under Construction                                  Arbor Hills Crossing
MDOT sidewalk installation near Arborland (left) and Arbor Hills Crossing under construction (right) east under US-23 overpass

SmithGroupJJR and Parsons/Brinckerhoff team selected to complete right-of-way, transit design, and multi-modal improvements study
August 24, 2012
Washtenaw County has selected SmithGroupJJR and Parsons/Brinckerhoff to undertake a multi-faceted project that will further implement the vision for the ReImagine Washtenaw corridor. The study will provide planning-level mapping of the corridor, and survey-level detail for future high-density "nodes," pre-construction designs of seven AATA Super Transit Stops along the corridor, designs for pedestrian improvements such as sidewalks and mid-block crossings, and short and long-term road cross-sections for the corridor that will incorporate Super Transit Stops, bike lanes, mixed-use development, and green stormwater infrastructure, among others.

The study will begin in October, and should be completed in summer 2013. Contact Nathan Voght, in the Washtenaw County Office of Community and Economic Development, at 734-222-3860 or for more information.

Washtenaw County releases request for proposals for ReImagine Washtenaw right-of-way and transit design study
July 13, 2012
Washtenaw County and the ReImagine Washtenaw project team is in the selection process for the right-of-way, transit station, and non-motorized improvement design study. The $251,000 study is funded by the $3 million Community Challenge Grant awarded to Washtenaw County through the Federal Housing and Urban Development Department (HUD), and a grant through the Michigan State Housing Development Authority (MSHDA). The selected consultant will provide the Joint Technical Committee with corridor right-of-way boundaries, determine where additional right-of-way is needed, provide corridor Node cross-sections, locate bike lanes, sidewalks, and other multi-modal improvements. The study includes designs of eight AATA Super Stop transit locations integrated with mixed-use, transit-oriented development at corridor Nodes.

Washtenaw County awarded $3 million HUD Community Challenge grant
November 2011
Recipient: Washtenaw County 
Project: ReImagine Washtenaw - Right-of-Way Study, AATA Transit Station Design, Multi-Modal and Pedestrian Enhancement Designs, Master Plan and Zoning Implementation of the 2010 ReImagine Washtenaw Avenue Corridor Redevelopment Strategy. 
Communities: City of Ann Arbor, Pittsfield Charter Township, Ypsilanti Charter Township, and the City of Ypsilanti 
Project Description: A portion of this grant will fund various activities intended to implement the 2010 Washtenaw Avenue Corridor Redevelopment Strategy. These include a corridor right-of-way study, Master Plan/Zoning updates, and AATA Transit Station/Multi-Modal designs.

ReImagine Washtenaw awarded $2.6 million grant
October 19, 2011
Recipient: Ann Arbor Transportation Authority
Project: Re-Imagine Washtenaw - Increased Transit Service Frequency on Washtenaw Avenue
City: Ann Arbor
Grant Amount: $2,625,000
Project Description: This project was selected on a competitive basis through the FY 2011 Bus Livability Program. Re-Imagine Washtenaw is a program jointly developed by the four jurisdictions in the corridor (the City of Ann Arbor, the City of Ypsilanti, Pittsfield Township, and Ypsilanti Township), the transit operator, the Michigan Department of Transportation, and Washtenaw County. The Washtenaw Area Transportation Study that implements a number of strategies for transportation and development improvements in the Washtenaw Avenue Corridor. As part of this larger effort, this project will purchase clean diesel buses with hybrid-electric components to increase bus service in this corridor.

In 2009, the City of Ann Arbor, Pittsfield Township, Ypsilanti Township and the City of Ypsilanti worked with residents, business owners and community leaders to complete a report laying out their vision for Washtenaw Avenue. In 2010, these communities in partnership with local and regional transportation agencies drafted an Implementation Strategy to achieve this vision.

This process included a number of public meetings, a survey and tools on this website to solicit feedback from the community.

March update
March 22, 2011
February and March have been busy for the Washtenaw Avenue communities.  Following the completion of the Corridor Redevelopment Strategy in 2010 which included recommendations on master plan and zoning amendments to affect future land use development, motorized and non-motorized improvements and guidance on future cooperation, the communities have held a number of public informational meetings and public hearings.
Through these meetings the communities have sought input on the potential to create a Corridor Improvement Authority (CIA) for Washtenaw Avenue, enabled by PA 208 of 2005.  While only one of the recommendations in the Strategy, this more formal cooperation structure would increase the group's competitiveness for obtaining State and Federal funding for planning efforts and for bricks-and-mortar improvement projects to the corridor.  A CIA is also the only option that has the ability to raise local funds through tax increment financing.  The participating communities are interested in this TIF primarily to be used as match funds to receive federal funds for transportation improvement projects.  In a time when communities are facing difficult economic challenges, much of the transportation dollars allocated to our communities are forfeited due to an inability to come up with local matching funds.  Identifying methods of attracting and securing outside funds is one of the primary goals of the ReImagine Washtenaw Avenue project.
As we seek community input, other work to implement changes continues.  Communities are amending Master Plans and zoning ordinances to encourage mixed use, accessible development.  MDOT and the WCRC have plans in the hopper to make segments of Washtenaw Avenue and connecting roads more multimodal.  AATA is planning for significantly increase service on Route 4, developing a Park-and-Ride, and improving transit shelters. A draft development area boundary has been created and communities are putting cost estimates with a number of pedestrian and transit improvement projects.
As we continue working toward improving this significant corridor, check back frequently for updates and more opportunities for input.

Preparing for public engagement events
May 20, 2010
With the grand overview vision for the Washtenaw Avenue corridor complete, the communities are expanding their efforts to engage residents and business owners to better understand the shared community vision. 
In addition to an interactive website coming online allowing people to indicate on a map specific areas they can describe their vision for, there will be two public engagement events mid-summer.  The dates are yet to be determined, however both will be held at a location on Washtenaw Avenue, with one meeting early morning and one early evening to make them more accessible to both the business and residential crowd.
Now I ask of you...
  • What information would you like to see presented and/or available at these events?
  • What would best help you to understand the potential project scope, the work done, and the opportunities ahead?
  • What tools or resources do you need available to help explain or demonstrate your concerns with the corridor?
  • How would you like to share/communicate your vision with others at the event? (eg. informal group exercise, survey, visual preference mapping)