As the M-1 Rail has made significant progress towards full realization, there has been much dialogue among the businesses and communities along the Woodward corridor regarding transit development. In 2010, conversations among members of the Woodward Avenue Action Association (WA3), born out of discussions about light rail, led to the establishment of the Transit-Oriented Development (TOD) task force to look at zoning and ordinances all along the corridor and how to best impact economic development. From there, additional initiatives were launched – all symbiotically related to transit development planning but all separate in their focuses – that are now collectively being referred to as Transform Woodward.
Transform Woodward is the umbrella concept for TOD in tandem with the Alternatives Analysis and Complete Streets planning. The completed Alternatives Analysis (AA), in partnership with the Southeast Michigan Council of Governments (SEMCOG), identified bus rapid transit (BRT) as the preferred rapid transit model for the corridor. In addition to AA, WA3 has received a Federal Highway Administration grant of $752,000 to create a Complete Streets masterplan which considers items like interpretive crosswalks, cycling infrastructure, and wayfinding options in accordance with rapid transit design, as well as integrating the general public’s needs and concerns.
The Complete Streets study is currently underway, and starting this week WA3 will hold a series of five community events April 17-19 at the St. James Catholic Church at 241 Pearson Street in Ferndale. This event series, collectively known as a “charette,” is an interactive community event led by Dan Burden, founder and Executive Director of Walkable and Livable Communities Institute.
The Complete Streets study has split the 27-mile Woodward corridor into five zones, with northern Detroit and Ferndale combined as one zone (downtown Detroit, which has received private funding for the M-1 Rail up to Grand Boulevard in New Center, is not included in the study). Four additional charettes, held in each of the remaining “zones,” will be held throughout the year.
The Woodward Complete Streets masterplan, potentially the largest Complete Streets program in the country, will include both immediate and long-terms recommendations with all-encompassing small-, mid- and long-range capital projects. WA3 hopes to roll out this plan by the beginning of 2014.
The newly-launched Transform Woodward website has full details on each initiative, and a soon-to-launch mobile app will feature an intricately detailed interactive map with the ability to comment and participate in a public survey.
Nicole Rupersburg, modeldmedia.com.