Thursday, March 11, 2021

Second downtown survey of residents is completed

A second survey conducted by members of the Northville Planning Commission received 515 responses regarding three areas in the downtown area of the community.

The second survey sought public opinion and insight into the look and feel of new development, green space and physical attributes in the community. City Planner Sally Elmiger presented the survey report to members of the planning commission during their March 2 meeting. Elmiger described overall findings, areas of consensus and data on priorities for new development, traffic, walkability, parking, along with other factors. She said she had discussed the survey results with City Manager Pat Sullivan and members of the Master Plan Public Input Process Subcommittee, and their analysis was the basis of the report.

Of the survey participants, 61 percent were city residents, 98 percent of whom own their homes, and 34 percent were township residents, business owners or individuals who work in the township. City business owners comprised 6 percent and 7 percent of respondents  work in the city. Elmiger explained that respondents could belong to more than one category, making the sum more than 100 percent. 

Key findings include the desire to create connections from new development to the downtown/historic district and to Seven Mile/Hines Park. Most of those responding said they want to see mixed use in the Cady Street subarea, Elmiger reported.  Respondents want traffic to move efficiently by using traffic-calming devices to allow pedestrians and bicyclists to cross streets safely. Daylighting the river was favored, with people envisioning a park that incorporates both the river and Johnson Creek, and features paved paths, bridges, and other elements that bring people together and add points of interest. Retaining the Farmer's Market was a high priority with many favoring an indoor/outdoor, multi-use facility to house the market. Many respondents said they wanted an iconic landmark to mark the southern entrance into Northville at Seven Mile and South Center, she said.

The majority of respondents preferred single-family residential in the racetrack subarea, with some townhomes and senior independent living options - all appealing to a diversity of residents. Many agreed that corner stores, small shops, and/or neighborhood cafes should be part of the residential setting, according to the results Elmiger presented. The preference is for traditional/historic architectural design, even if modern materials/methods are used, she said.

At the planning commission meeting Feb. 16, Chair Donna Tinberg, also a member of the subcommittee that oversaw the survey, also presented preliminary survey results. At that time, Commissioner Steve Kirk expressed appreciation for all survey participants and said he was pleased to see so many detailed and thoughtful comments.

The results of both the first and second survey appear on the city website.