Redevelopment includes improved pedestrian accessibility, bike lanes and landscaping

 Another phase of west downtown Dearborn’s streetscape improvement project will begin shortly.

On July 24, the West Downtown Dearborn Development Authority (WDDDA), which is spearheading the project, provided a progress update at an open house meeting at the John D. Dingell Transit Center. The meeting detailed plans to redevelop the west downtown area, focusing on Howard, Mason, and Monroe Streets, north of Michigan Avenue.

Construction began on Howard and Mason Streets the week of Aug. 19, and is projected to be completed by fall 2020. Construction on Monroe Street is expected to begin in the spring of 2020.

streetscapewdearbornThe streetscape project aims to improve both vehicular and pedestrian experience throughout Dearborn, as well as to enhance overall neighborhood character. The plan includes supporting a walkable downtown, promoting alternate transportation choices and making the west downtown area safer for pedestrians and bicyclists.

“It really defines the space for multiple users—on foot, bike or in a car,” said Cristina Sheppard-Decius, who heads the WDDDA, along with the East Dearborn Downtown Development Authority.

To create more accessibility for pedestrians, there are plans to add sidewalk width to allow for more spacious walking areas, as well as to increase separation between vehicles and pedestrians as a way to improve safety.

On-street bike hoops in colorful styles and bike lanes on Monroe Street connecting to nearby Ford Field Park are in the works as an effort to provide better bicycle accessibility.

Additionally, the project includes enhancing the west downtown’s appearance by adding plant beds with trees, which will also serve to provide shade and comfort in the summer. Hanging flower baskets in seasonal colors and flower pots along the sidewalk are also planned. Natural landscape barriers will be implemented on Monroe Street along the Ford Field Park parking lot.

There are also plans to install more respite areas for visitors by establishing seating areas along the sidewalks and at bump-outs, in a mixture of styles.

“It will improve the pedestrian accessibility and commerciality,” Sheppard-Decius said, explaining their hope is that enhancing the overall walkability of the neighborhood will also bring residents to nearby businesses." 

The first phase of the west downtown redevelopment finished late last year with the opening of Ford Motor Company’s Wagner Place. The 60,000 square foot mixed-used building hosts first floor retail and restaurant space, as well as second and third floor office space. The west downtown redevelopment project also includes plans to renovate the length of Michigan Avenue from Elm Street to Outer Drive at a later date.

Those interested in receiving regular updates regarding the project can join the “Downtown Dearborn Connector Streetscape Updates” Facebook group, located at https://www.facebook.com/groups/connectorstreetscape/