Thursday, November 24, 2022

Redesign of downtown city streets will be meeting topic

The Northville Downtown Development Authority (DDA) and representatives from design firm Grissim, Metz and Andriese (GMA) will host a meeting regarding design plans for the downtown street closures at 8 a.m. Nov. 29 at Northville City Hall. The design consultant and traffic consultant teams (GMA and Fleis & Vandenbrink) will host a joint workshop on Dec. 7 to make presentations, gather public comment and take a walking tour of the downtown street closures. 

“We're inviting anyone who is interested to attend the meetings and share your thoughts and ideas,” said DDA Director Lori Ward.

The downtown street closures on Main and Center are in the spotlight as representatives from (GMA) examine the current assets and conditions and consider 'what could be' in terms of an iconic social district entrance; a rejuvenated public space; and new activities and amenities, according to a recent online account posted in the City News.

“The Downtown Development Authority (DDA) goal is to create an environment that is active and interesting with a sense of community, and is beautiful and compatible with historic downtown. It will become a so-called “third place” where friends, families and guests can gather, in addition to home and work or school. Restaurants and retailers will be able to optimize their business offerings through unique outdoor settings on an expanded footprint. The plan will minimize the impact of weather on the outdoor experience and provide a safe, clean place to gather. The structures and fixtures will be able to be moved or removed if placemaking plans change,” the account continued.

Key to the transition are details such as lighting, activating the pavement to make it more like a promenade, removing traffic signage, and making the area more accessible to people with disabilities. GMA will share information with traffic engineering consultant, Fleis & Vandenbrink, which is addressing the impact of rerouted traffic on residential areas and non-arterial roads, which provide local access but aren't neighborhood streets, according to officials.

The main entrance to the social district, at Main and Center, will reflect the “timeless with a twist” theme for Downtown Northville by establishing a sense of place that is “magical yet authentic.” It could also provide branding opportunities for the city and businesses.

GMA is working with the DDA Economic Development Committee, also known as the advisory committee, to address the design, management and operational issues associated with the creation of the permanent pedestrian area. When the project is complete, GMA will provide a conceptual plan with phasing and cost estimates. This initial project cost was shared by the DDA and city of Northville, city personnel noted.

The Historic District Commission (HDC) is involved in the project since the street structures could become semi-permanent fixtures. Those include the DDA-owned booths for visitors and vendors, and restaurant-owned sidewalls and arched plexiglass roofs.