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Study Predicts Relatively Little Downtown Growth

Study Predicts Relatively Little Downtown Growth image Study Predicts Relatively Little Downtown Growth image
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(LAST OF TWO ARTICLES) Downtown is not rated as an importai.t center of action in the 89-page "Ann Arbor-Ypsilanti Urban Área Transportation Study" just published by Michigan's Highway Department. Almost everything else in the area is. The study predicts that Ann Arbor's Central Business District, 129 acres in 1960, will cover 131 acres in 1990. Equivalent figures for Ypsilanti's General Business District are 60 and 68 acres. Saline's business district, by contrast, is expected to grow from its present area of about 30 acres to 53 acres in 1990. Industrialization near Saline's boundaries, which has already altered the city's recently rural character, is the main ation. Apartment developments are expected to continue changing central Ann Arbor in a difieren way. The population density of 43 persons per square mile in 1960 is foreseen as at least o 66 in 1990. Meanwhile, the geographic center of Washtenaw County's population is expected to continue moving southeastward. Since 1940, that point has moved from the area of Hill and Forest avenues to a location slightly southwest of the Washtenaw Ave.-E. Stadium Blvd. intersection. Commercial developments will continue joining the custoners in their move toward and beyond the city iimits. Most new commercial growth foreeen by the Bighway Departnent wil! hp along maior streets already carrying heavy traffic loads. As one indication of how heavy traffic loads will get, the Highway Department reports that motor vehicle registrations (private autos) in Washtenaw County rose from 2,044 in 1940, to 4,213 in 1950, tö 7,518 in 1960, to 8,946 in 1965. The 1990 total is foreseen as 168,000, or 460 cars per 1,000 county residents. These totals are slightly below statewide increases. They do not include university students who do much of their driving in the Ann Arbor-Ypsiianti area but buy license plates outside Washtenaw County. Although the Highway Department does not attempt to ount students precisely, it oes estímate, on the basis of U. S. Census Bureau figures, that 14,000 non-students drive into this county to work daily. About 8,000 drive into Ann Arbor to work daily from elsewhere within the county. Major magnets and generators of heavy traffic loads are predicted by the Highway Department, to 1990, in terms of new commercial zoning, new áreas for industrial research and new state recreation areas. The largest new retail commercial area portrayed on the report's "preliminary land use" map for 1990 lies southeast of Ann Arbor's present limits. Commercial developments covering 465 acres are shown along arpenter Rd. between Packard Rd. and Michigan Ave. Although the department's map portrays that development as part of Ann Arbor, the area holds the unusual status of be-j ing served by city utilities with-! out having been annexed. This is a result of an agreement between the city and Pittsfield! rownship involving annexations; ïlsewhere and use of a sanitary and fill in the township. Among other new commercial levelopments foreseen by the üghway Department, the larg- :st are these: -140 acres at the intersecion of Ann Arbor-Saline Rd. ind the 1-94 freeway; -175 acres on Jackson Rd.
mmediately west of Wagner i M.; i - Another 170 acres on ! on Rd. near Baker Rd., south )f Dexter. - Growth of the commercial ] irea along W. Stadium-Jackson . Rd.- Maple Rd. to 249 acres j Dy 1990, as compared to 83 icres in 1960; -Similar growth along ' ;enaw Rd., to 160 acres between ( Platt and the U.S.-23 freeway intersection, as compared to 73 j acres in 1960, plus another 61 acres along Washtenaw between the freeway intersection and Mansfield on Ypsilanti's west side. The Highway Department comments: "For the most part, strip development is being effectively controlled within the jurisdiction of Ann Arbor and Ypsilanti, but additional coordination is needed with respect to this matter among all the governmental units within the study area. Failure to institute appropriate controls will result in the diminished capacity of streets, of which Washtenaw and Jackson avenues are good examples." In addition, the department expects Ann Arbor-Ypsilanti area land set aside for industrial research to climb from its 1960 total of 1,628 acres to 5,226 acres in 1990. Ann Arbor's Industrial Research Park and nearby locations along State, Ellsworth and Bemis roads are expected to account for 2,214 of those acres. However, the department recognizes a need for "possible upgrading" of the 1-94 nterchanges with State and nn Arbor-Saline roads, if this irediction is to become reality. Solid but less dramatic growth s foreseen for the Plymouth Rd. ndustrial research area. It gets 'adequate service" from existing state and county roads, says ;he Highway Department. But tuture growth of industrial research zones ought to be en;ouraged mainly to the east of those already established, especially in Superior and Ypsilanti townships and along Michigan Ave. in eastern Ypsilanti, the department urges. A high level of optimism concerning growth of state recreaLion lands near Ann Arbor is expressed in the Highway Department's report. It states: "The largest acreage change that will affect all study area traffic patterns is the more ;han 4,200-acre increase predicted for recreational land use. Almost 3,000 acres of intensive recreation development is expected to be added in the area generally bounded by 1-94 on the south, Parker Rd. on the west, Wagner-Maple roads on the east and Joy Rd. on the north." That area contains two HuronClinton Metropolitan Authority parks, Delhi and Dexter-Huron. The Highway Department's 1990 land-use map shows them taking in the Huron River banks beginning a short distance west of Maple all the way to the village of Dejfter, and also the banks of Honey Creek, a tributory of the Huron, as far south as 1-94 in Scio Township. The report also assumes the State Conservation Department's 10-year plan for adding more than 2,000 acres to Pinckney Recreation Area, along Washtenaw County's northern boundary, will become reality at a cost of $3,999,600. Similar developments are also predicted in "the Ford Lake area south of Ypsilanti (this involves an assumption pollution will be controlled), along Fleming Creek northeast and northwest of Ypsilanti, and along the Huron River east of Geddes in Ann Arbor." Enlarged public recreation lands are portrayed by the Highway Department as covering 5,534 acres of Washtenaw County by 1990. All this is contingent upon availability of sufficient funds available statewide," the Highway Department observes. Specific plans for improving and relocating this area's streets and highways to serve these needs are scheduled for a second volume in the Highway Department's study, not due until next year. Volume one does include this generalized expression of planning philosophy: "The bond between man and nature is fundamental. It can be modified to a limited extent, but at no time can it be broken. Whether or not the natural systems are in balance with the man-made systems is a necessary consideration in determining the extei future metropolitan growth.