For the third time in four years, TheRide is changing its bus stop at Arborland. For many years, both Ann Arbor- and Ypsi-bound buses stopped in the shopping center’s parking lot–until they were evicted by the its owners in 2008. The inbound stop moved out onto the north side of Washtenaw, where it remains. The outbound stop moved to a temporary location on Pittsfield Boulevard. When that proved a headache for the neighbors, it too moved onto Washtenaw, on the south side–but that created problems, as in- and outbound riders crossed mid-block to make transfers.
Construction starts this month on Plan C: a “Super Shelter” to be built on a strip of city-owned land directly in front of the Dollar Tree parking lot. Though only about 100 feet from the current stop on Washtenaw, it will allow easier connections and transfers, while also alleviating congestion at the Pittsfield stoplight.
Super Shelter is “a term we have been playing with,” says TheRide’s CEO, Michael Ford. But riders shouldn’t get their hopes up too high: it will basically be a bench inside a dark-tinted Plexiglas enclosure with a barrel roof–longer but otherwise very similar to other bus shelters throughout the city. Still, the off-street location will be safer and more convenient, and riders can cross Washtenaw at the less-used crosswalk at Yost. The Washtenaw route is among TheRide’s more popular; Route 4 buses are often overcrowded, carrying more than 2,300 passengers daily.