ypsilanti eyed as potential amtrak stop

There’s not really anything new to report, but I thought that you might be interested to know that we’re apparently still in the running for an Amtrak stop in Depot Town. Here’s a clip from the “Ann Arbor Business Review”:

Amtrak might make a stop in Ypsilanti’s Depot Town if local officials promoting a regional rail initiative can secure funding and support for the project.

Gerald Rowe, manager of transportation programs for the Southeast Michigan Council of Governments, confirmed Ypsilanti as a possible stop for a commuter rail system in southeast Michigan.

The project – which has been in discussion for years – is seeking additional funding from Congress and the Michigan Department of Transportation, among other sources…

Marc Magliari, an Amtrak spokesman based in Chicago, acknowledged discussions about a potential stop in Ypsilanti. But he didn’t comment on whether Amtrak would invest in the project.

“There have been some suggestions by some that the trains should stop at more locations than it does now,” he said.

Magliari said that new stops could require ticket vending machines, heated shelters and handicap-accessible lifts…

update: The following comment was just left by Ol E’ Cross. As there wasn’t much content behind my original post, I thought that I’d move it up here to the front page. I think he makes a good point.

I hesitate to post this because I don’t want to give the impression I’m more informed than I am. What follows is highly speculative, but…

SEMCOG, God bless ’em, have been trying for years to bring transit to SE Mich. What makes the most sense is a line from Oakland County to Detroit, but Oakland, I’m convinced (with a few Ferndalian exceptions) is the most evil county in the state. (As one Oaklander candidly told me, “Adding transit from Detroit to Oakland is like hooking your sewer up to your sink and flushing.”)

So SEMCOG’s now looking to connect the only two places in the region willing to be transitized, Detroit and Ann Arbor, hoping the ridership data can convince others it’s a decent idea.

I adore the idea of a Depot Town stop. But, does our commuting population really warrant it? If not, we’ve got to be willing to back off for a few years in the hope that this thing works and we’re added as a stop once the ball’s rolling.

If it turns out the route works for the long haul, we’ll get our stop. In the meantime, let’s not be another speed bump…

So, what do you think? Would there be enough regular, consistent demand to warrant an Ypsi stop? As much as I love the idea, I can’t help but think that most of the users, like me, at least right now, would be occasional riders at best. Of course, maybe we don’t need to have a huge commuting population for it to make economic sense. Maybe the numbers work if only a dozen people go to and from Ann Arbor, Detroit, and the airport a day. Amtrak should be able to tell us exactly what they’d need in terms of traffic for it to work.

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8 Comments

  1. ol' e cross
    Posted March 28, 2007 at 11:37 pm | Permalink

    I hesitate to post this because I don’t want to give the impression I’m more informed than I am. What follows is highly speculative, but…

    SEMCOG, God bless ’em, have been trying for years to bring transit to SE Mich. What makes the most sense is a line from Oakland County to Detroit, but Oakland, I’m convinced (with a few Ferndalian exceptions) is the most evil county in the state. (As one Oaklander candidly told me, “Adding transit from Detroit to Oakland is like hooking your sewer up to your sink and flushing.”)

    So SEMCOG’s now looking to connect the only two places in the region willing to be transitized, Detroit and Ann Arbor, hoping the ridership data can convince others it’s a decent idea.

    I adore the idea of a Depot Town stop. But, does our commuting population really warrant it? If not, we’ve got to be willing to back off for a few years in the hope that this thing works and we’re added as a stop once the ball’s rolling.

    If it turns out the route works for the long haul, we’ll get our stop. In the meantime, let’s not be another speed bump.

    If nothing else, the added train traffic will get us more free shots at Aubrees.

  2. dr. teddy glass
    Posted March 29, 2007 at 8:39 am | Permalink

    Is Dahlmann done with the depot restoration yet? (he asks sarcasticly)

    http://www.ypsilantidepot.com/

  3. brian r
    Posted March 29, 2007 at 10:09 am | Permalink

    Where would commuters park?

  4. muppster
    Posted March 29, 2007 at 4:04 pm | Permalink

    so i’m a huge proponent of this. my personal testimonial– i myself drive to a2 at various hours of the day and evening several times a week– for work and social things– and would love to take a train instead. as i consider the bus (which i took regularly when i was commuting to grad school there) for these daytime meetings, etc, i just can’t afford the time 45 minutes start to finish, plus walking to wherever else. if the train did it in 20, it would be totally worth it– and about the same as it takes to try to park in a2, and i’d guess it would cost not so much more (or less, even!) than i already pay in a2 parking tickets. now, i don’t do the bus for evening because it doesn’t run late enough… if i knew there was a late train (even once an hour until bar closing time) i think we’d get more people to ypsi for entertainment, and i’d be more likely to not take my car to ann arbor… as for the airport– it would be such a dream! and to detroit– i’d go much much more if there were a quick rail way to get there, for both business and recreation…

    another thing in ypsi is with limited bus service it really impacts folks without transportation who need to get to work in a2, and while i’m a big proponent of the bus, adding another option for people would be great. when they stopped one of the ypsi bus services, my friend had to cut her hours at her a2 food retail job, because she no longer had transportation to and from work during a number of shifts she’d previously worked.

    in st. louis when the light rail opened it was amazing the ridership. for baseball games it is (and has since day one, maybe 12 years ago now) packed. hockey same way, commuters use it… it’s mostly safe. now that it goes to the airport it’s even more useful (and a lot of the people going to the airport are airport employees– so it opens up more job possibilities)…

    if we need to have a petition, i’ll be the first to sign.

  5. mark
    Posted March 29, 2007 at 8:39 pm | Permalink

    There are a few different rail initiatives afoot. I don’t know that any of them, however, call for there being multiple (i.e. once an hour) runs a day between Ypsi and Ann Arbor. I could, of course, be wrong about that…. Someone really should start a local rail blog, where all of the information about the various proposals, petitions, etc, could be housed. (Could someone volunteer?)

  6. BVos
    Posted March 30, 2007 at 8:50 am | Permalink

    In addition to being able to take the commuter train from Ypsi to A2, don’t forget that folks will be able to go to Dearborn & Detroit as well. The Dearborn stop will be very close to the Ford world HQ and the Detroit stop will be in New Center.

    You’d be surprise how many people commute to Ypsi from Detroit and visa-versa. EMU students and faculty who are commuting from the Detroit area would be good candidates for regular commuter rail riders as well.

    The propopsed service would also give Ypsi/A2 folks attending sporting events and culturual events in Detroit enough time to get to the New Center train station after the game to take the last outbound train towards Ypsi/A2.

    While a website that catalogs all the info would be nice, at this point the linked article seems to summarize all the “firm” information available so far.

    P.S. The commuter rail stop in Ypsi can happen with or without Dahlman’s participation.

  7. Hillary
    Posted March 30, 2007 at 6:19 pm | Permalink

    http://www.detroittransit.org/

    There is a survey being conducted that you might want to fill out.
    http://www.dtogs.com/PublicSurvey.html

  8. egpenet
    Posted March 30, 2007 at 6:41 pm | Permalink

    Great to have the trains back, no matter how few to start. I’m sure the service will catch on with the numbers of people living here and working in either Dearborn or Detroit … then add to that the rest of us who want to hit New Center, Wayne State, festivals, the Fisher, concerts, ballgames, hockey … or just prowl.

    Depot Town will have earned back it’s slogan:
    “Depot Town Ypsilanti … where’ya go to get on or get off!”

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