By SUE SUCHYTA
Sunday Times Newspapers
LINCOLN PARK – A Southfield Road corridor study, in partnership with Ecorse, and funded by the Michigan Department of Treasury, was approved Aug. 2 by the Lincoln Park City Council.
The project, a detailed study of the Southfield Road corridor from Lincoln Park’s border with Allen Park to the Detroit River in Ecorse, would examine current and future land use, its physical environment, economic opportunities and traffic conditions, and how to best utilize and redevelop the corridor.
The Michigan Department of Treasury’s Local Assistance Program, which has already helped the Ecorse develop Jefferson Avenue along the waterfront, would, upon acceptance of the proposal and project, reimburse Lincoln Park and Ecorse for the cost of the project.
Lincoln Park has chosen to take the lead in the project, and a committee has been formed, including Lincoln Park City Manager James Krizan, Ecorse City Administrator Tim Sadowski, Lincoln Park Downtown Development Authority and the Economic Development Corporation Director Carl Malysz, and two representatives from treasury.
Requests for proposals to complete the study were sought, and Krizan recommended the project be awarded to Beckett Raeder, for $107,300, the lowest acceptable bidder.
The goal of the project, as outlined by Beckett Raeder in its proposal, would be to increase the consistency of the built environment along the corridor, improve the area’s economic return, and improve non-motorized access for pedestrians and bicyclists to Southfield Road’s business and recreational assets.
A traffic study for the 2.85-mile length was also recommended by Beckett Raeder, plus an evaluation of the proposed Lincoln Park Farmers Market relocation to the Southfield right-of-way parking lot near its city hall.
The Southfield Road corridor forms five distinct areas: The Lincoln Park gateway, the Lincoln Park core, the Lincoln Park general corridor, the Ecorse general corridor and the Ecorse waterfront.
The Beckett Raeder proposal notes that a successful corridor will provide both visibility and linkage, which may, in the future, include the Southeast Michigan Council of Governments planned bikeway and pedestrian network.
The gateway section of Lincoln Park offers significant redevelopment opportunities at the Southfield Road intersection with Dix Road, but the section of Southfield Road also poses a challenge to pedestrians and bicyclists.
The core area of Lincoln Park, which includes city hall, police department, district court, library and historical museum is recognized as the city’s downtown. It experiences heavy traffic, especially during rush hour, and a traffic study would drive any redevelopment in the area to avoid causing any increase in congestion.
The general corridor of Lincoln Park was originally created to support automotive industrial suppliers, but currently supports more commercial use, and has faced developmental challenges, including disinvestment.
Beckett Raeder’s proposal contends that the Ecorse general corridor needs “commercial enhancement” and a “shared use path” on Southfield Road, which will also be studied, along with a possible multi-use trail along the Ecorse Creek, which could become a recreational component of the area, as well.
The Ecorse waterfront portion of Southfield Road begins at the rail viaduct, from which it ties into West Jefferson at the waterfront, and will seek to tie into and build upon the 2018 West Jefferson corridor plan.
The study would utilize community input and interviews, and would assess the physical conditions of businesses, public infrastructure and vacant buildings along Southfield Road.
The zoning along the route would also be reviewed, with recommended changes channeled back to city officials.
Beckett Raeder indicated it would also study land use, the types of businesses along the corridor, and the vacancies, to highlight current constraints and future possibilities.
Traffic study would look at accident hot spots, analyze traffic slow points and predict where traffic volume might increase in the future, and in what way, if any, bike lanes could be accommodated.
Greenspaces and parking access would also be included in the study.
Krizan said he hopes the Beckett Raeder study could be completed by the end of the calendar year.
“The hope is that this is going to be a positive thing for our local businesses,” Krizan said.