Support the Ann Arbor Trail Plan
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As reported June 13, the University of Michigan administration has suddenly decided to oppose the plan for a pedestrian and bicycle trail along the Allen Creek corridor in, connecting downtown Ann Arbor and the UM campus to communities to the south. This effectively makes construction of a greenway impossible.
This decision by UM should be met with outrage by UM students, faculty and staff and Ann Arbor community members alike. Ann Arbor and the UM campus have long been in need of safer, more convenient bicycle and pedestrian connections. In fact, nearly a decade ago, in 2009, UM's Department of Parking and Transportation Services commissioned a study of the problem, which recommended a new "Intercampus Bikeway" connecting UM's South, Central and North Campuses, including a along the proposed Allen Creek trail corridor.
UM has offered no good reason why it's opposed to the trail, other than that active UM facilities exist nearby. In fact, that's a great reason why UM should be supporting the trail.
UM spends millions of dollars every year to build and maintain parking garages on its campus. If biking and walking were safer, more viable options, more people would choose to make use of them, and there would be less of a need for UM's parking-garage binge. Safer biking and walking options are also important to UM's mission of becoming a more environmentally sustainable campus via its "PlanetBlue" program, as well as improving opportunities for UM community members to exercise through its "MHealthy" initiative.
UM recently partnered with the broader community to allow construction of a walking and biking trail connecting its Matthei Botanical Gardens east of Ann Arbor to the Huron River Greenway to the south. UM needs to do the same in this case. It's the right thing to do for the greater Ann Arbor community, and the right thing to do for UM.
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