By M.J. GALBRAITH
DEARBORN — Wider sidewalks mid-block crossings. Bike lanes and on-street bike hoops. New and improved landscaping.
The installation and construction of these improvements and more are under way in downtown west Dearborn, each of which with the intent to both improve pedestrian and bicyclist safety, increase mobility options, and add to beautification efforts in the district.
Projected to be completed by the fall of 2020, the streetscape project should serve to enhance the safety and vibrancy of the city’s streets. The project focuses on Howard, Mason and Monroe streets.
Often, the improvements serve multiple purposes. While widening sidewalks will make for easier walking downtown, and landscaping will make it more enjoyable, each also serve to further separate pedestrians from on-street automobile traffic, increasing safety.
Cristina Sheppard-Decius, director of both the East and West Dearborn downtown development authorities, hopes that the improved walkability of the downtown west end will lead to increased foot traffic, which will then lead to more customers visiting downtown shops and restaurants.
Landscaping improvements along the sidewalks will include plant beds and trees, hanging flower baskets, and more seating areas.
There also is an attempt to better connect Ford Field Park to downtown. The park, with sporting fields and views of the Rouge River, is located just blocks north of downtown. Monroe Street, which connects the two, will receive on-street bike hoops and bike lanes. Natural landscaping barriers will be installed along the Ford Field parking lot.
This is the second phase of the downtown west Dearborn redevelopment efforts. A third phase will renovate a stretch of Michigan Avenue from Elm Street to Outer Drive, the date of which has yet to be announced.
The first phase of redevelopment efforts finished with the opening of Wagner Place, Ford Land’s multi-block mixed-use development along Michigan Avenue.
(This story was reprinted from Metromode Media. It also is available here)