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Dharma's Council Newsletter, October 15th, 2023

Neighbors, City Council meets on Monday, October 16th. Before I get to a preview of our agenda, here are some updates about things going on around Ann Arbor.


New Pilot Bike Parking Program The City of Ann Arbor and the Ann Arbor Downtown Development Authority (DDA) are collaborating on a pilot program aligned with the city's Transportation Plan. This initiative aims to increase bicycle parking facilities in Ann Arbor. Leveraging the DDA's existing seasonal on-street bike rack program, the pilot will introduce maintenance strategies to facilitate year-round use. The program invites businesses and organizations to express their interest in having bike parking facilities near their locations through an online application on the city's Stream platform. Interested parties can apply for the "Business Bike Parking Pilot Permit Program" by visiting https://stream.a2gov.org/EnerGov_Prod/selfservice/AnnArborMIProd#/home, selecting "apply," and searching for the program. Council Work Session on Housing and Homelessness City Council will have a work session on Oct. 23rd at 7pm on Housing and Homelessness. Materials and an agenda are posted to Legistar. The meeting will be in Council chambers and broadcast on CTN.


City Council Meeting, Monday, October 16th at 7pm

Agenda Highlights

  • Resolution to Accept District Geothermal Grant Funds from the US Department of Energy to Support a District Geothermal Design and Deployment to Equitably Decarbonize a Low-Income Neighborhood in Ann Arbor Project (DC-10). This resolution would authorize acceptance and administration of grant funding from the US Department Energy and approve a Cooperative Agreement with the US Department of Energy to work with residents in the Bryant neighborhood, Ann Arbor Public Schools, Washtenaw County, IMEG, Community Action Network, Midwest Geothermal Energy Association, International Ground Source Heat Pump Association, International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers Local 252, U.A. Local 190, Michigan Energy Services, Arbor Consultants, D4 Consultants, Midwest Geothermal, DTE Gas, and the University of Michigan to design a district geothermal system capable of reducing thermal heating and cooling load by 75%. Total cost of this project is $642,286, of which $563,250 is being provided through this U.S. Department of Energy grant. The remainder is cost share from DTE and the City of Ann Arbor for in-kind staff time to support the project.

  • Resolution to Approve the Locations for Early Voting Centers for the 2024 Election Cycle (DB-2). This resolution would approve early voting center locations for the 2024 election cycle. Following the passage of Proposition 2022-2 by Michigan voters, granting new voting rights including early voting for a minimum of nine days before Election Day, the City Clerk's Office plans to continue existing satellite voting offices on the University of Michigan campus. Additionally, three regional locations will be established based on geography and voting wards in partnership with the Ann Arbor District Library.

  • Resolution to Restore Community Connections with Continuous, Comfortable Walking and Biking Facilities Across US-23 (DC-4). The Michigan Department of Transportation (MDOT) is undertaking an Environmental Assessment study to develop and evaluate alternatives to improve operations and safety for a section of US-23 running through Ann Arbor. The walking and cycling environments across US-23 are, in general, incomplete and unsafe for people traveling outside of a motor vehicle. However, even with a $250 million investment, MDOT is not currently planning to address the eight crossing opportunities along the east side of Ann Arbor (a map of locations is at the bottom of the agenda response memo). This resolution calls on MDOT to avoid actions that would increase private vehicle traffic volume and to prioritize safe and comfortable walking and biking facilities at all eight US-23 crossings, ensure the project scope and budget adequately address various mobility needs including walking, biking, and transit connections, and directs the City Administrator to collaborate with relevant stakeholders to create continuous, safe, and comfortable walking and biking spaces across the US-23 Environmental Assessment study area. A version of this resolution was passed by the Transportation Commission in September. (Sponsors: Akmon, Briggs, Watson)

  • Resolution Against MDOT's Proposal to Build a Wall through Ann Arbor (DC-7). The resolution opposes the Michigan Department of Transportation's (MDOT) plan to construct high-security fencing along the Michigan Rail Line. We've heard from many residents in the community who are opposed to MDOT's plans (over 4,500 individuals have expressed their disagreement with the fence plan through a community-led petition). Fencing and barricades have proved ineffective due to the high demand for accessing the Huron River, park land, and other attractions, and the limited availability of legal pedestrian crossings. Additionally, the proposed fencing alignment obstructs the development of a key portion of the Border-to-Border Trail (B2B), hindering legal and safe travel options for pedestrians and cyclists. The estimated cost of the proposed fencing is substantial (exceeding $6.3 million); these funds could be better utilized to enhance pedestrian safety and expedite the construction of safe and legal pedestrian and non-motorized railroad crossings. (Sponsors: Briggs, Akmon, Disch, Mayor Taylor, Watson)

Please reach out if you have questions, concerns, or thoughts on any of the agenda items. Email: DAkmon@A2gov.org | Phone/text: 734-492-5866 You can also communicate your thoughts via:

  • eComment

  • Email City Council: CityCouncil@a2gov.org

  • Comment at the meeting (remote or in person): Call the City Clerk's office at 734-794-6140 beginning at 8 a.m. on the day of the meeting to reserve a public speaking time. NOTE: you do not need to reserve time to speak during a "public hearing (PH)" item.

How Council Voted The Ann Arbor Voting Charts Project is a community-maintained record of voting history for City Council. Check out the October 2nd, 2023 Voting Chart.

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