The Washtenaw Area Transportation Study (WATS) will be hosting meetings for the public to review projects that have been submitted for consideration as part of the 2050 Long Range Plan, a long-term list of projects critical for securing federal funds for state and local projects. Located in Ann Arbor WATS is a group of governmental agencies in Washtenaw County charged with coordinating transportation planning for our area.
One of the meetings open to the public is the Technical Committee meeting which takes place on the first Monday of each month at 9:30 a.m. in the lower conference room in the WATS office at 200 N. Main, Ann Arbor. Another meeting includes the Policy Committee meetings on the third Wednesday of each month at 9:00 a.m. at 110 N 4th Ave., Ann Arbor. In addition there are periodic standing meetings based on the current planning.
The plan explores the anticipated trends in transportation technology, trip-making behavior, and policies to address priorities and ongoing needs. Ryan Buck, the director of WATS, described how this plan is used to alleviate the confusion that comes with long-term planning.
"Our goal was to take the confusing, often prescriptive federal process and requirements necessary for a Long Range Plan and create a document that presents it in an approachable manner," Buck said. "We took out as much of the 'alphabet soup' of funding and planning acronyms as we could which resulted in a plan that flows from goals to performance measures, to a funding strategy and ultimately a list of projects through 2045. We're keeping the same mindset as we develop the 2050 Long Range Transportation Plan."
The Plan has six areas of concern: pavement condition, congestion, non-motorized, safety, transit, and bridge. An area of interest for Eastern Michigan University is pavement conditions, as shown in the map below, almost all roads in and around campus require complete reconstruction.
According to WATS, additional projects of importance near EMU include concrete repairs on Carpenter Road, reconstruction on North Huron River Drive, and updating signage throughout M-17 W.
EMU is a member of the WATS Policy Committee. Committee member and chief of staff to EMU president, Leigh Greden, said, "The WATS Policy Committee is the equivalent of the board of directors for the organization. The Policy Committee sets the overall policy for WATS, approves the WATS budget, supervises the WATS Director, etc."
Buck described WATS as "a membership agency."
"Our members pay small annual dues which provide the required 20% match of federal funds allocated to our region for WATS Planning activities ... WATS facilitates an important, and federally required public involvement process to provide access to information about what is being planned and how to participate throughout a project's development," Buck said.
Community members can leave comments to WATS on their 2050 Long Range Plan here.