Birmingham-Troy transit center prepares 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