City of Dearborn Seeks Final Input on Train Station District Design

A final plan for the area is expected to be presented this spring.

The City of Dearborn is inviting residents to give their final input on ideas for the district surrounding the new Intermodal Passenger Rail Station.

Public sessions were held in January to allow stakeholders to review different concepts for Transit-Oriented Development, which seeks to capitalize on the new train station’s ability to draw more visitors, businesses and residents to Dearborn’s west downtown. 

Through a grant awarded the city from MIPlace Partnership, planners from Michigan State University and experts from the Michigan Municipal League and the Michigan State Housing Development Authority are assisting city staff and stakeholders with creating a vision for the neighborhoods, parkland and business area near the train station.

The train station is scheduled to open by early 2014. Through this visioning process, steps can be taken over the next year to set in place future development to accommodate elements determined important by Dearborn stakeholders, such as bike paths and fresh housing opportunities.

Residents, business owners and other Dearborn stakeholders are encouraged to continue to review the concepts presented and send their thoughts to City Planner Liz Hendley at ehendley@ci.dearborn.mi.us by Feb. 15.

“Your ideas can help the city plan for future development that will create a unique sense of place in the residential neighborhoods, business district and parkland near the train station,” the city announced in a statement encouraging participation.

An overview of the plan

The entire TOD Neighborhood Visioning Plan can be viewed and downloaded from this page on Dearborn Patch, or from the City of Dearborn website.

Here’s a look at some of the ideas presented:

Key design elements emerging from the study found that the TOD neighborhood should include:

  • Green space, including increased use for bicycling and walking, as well as visual greening
  • Respect for history and heritage, but also innovation
  • Art and beautification
  • Year-round use of space

Participants in the January forums were asked to choose between two varying concepts, as well as evaluate different images for what the west Dearborn district might include.

Concept A

  • Move car dealerships on Michigan Avenue
  • Incorporate “complete streets” on Michigan Avenue
  • Revitalize West Village/Newman Street
  • Create “interpretive nature path” around pond just south of train tracks

Concept B

  • Landscaping on Michigan Avenue
  • High-density development near the train station
  • Modification of car dealerships
  • Full pedestrian access on Newman Street
  • Create “entertainment district” near pond

Questions to consider

  1. What are your thoughts about each of the concepts?
  2. Do you have a preferred concept?
  3. What elements do you like?
  4. What elements are missing?
edward binkley February 07, 2013 at 09:38 PM
shes talking about the cold stone that was on michigan ave. Look lets get down to the bottom of this after all, I have done alot of traveling in the past several years and the first thing i want when i stop whether it is a layover or my destination is a good meal even at 11:00 pm. And If I were voted in as mayor I would get rid of these parking meters in which if 1 part of the city got them then both should of had them! so to be fair neither gets them.. I would make sure that there was equal recreational facilities on both sides of the city east and west pools parks, and libraries a place where kids can have fun.Because they will remember what the city did for them when they were young and raise there children hereYou have the National Arabic museum in the east end and the The dearborn and the henry ford on the west. Now wouldn't it be nice if we could get both ends to agree on ways to support and take care of our great city and help each other instead of fight over who has what I will make sure we all have same it will be equal no rich versus poor areas everyone will be treated equal!! Now laplateau what kind of negative feedback do you have for me today and lee also My family has been here for over 100 years my ggrandmother had to clean rooms at the old wagner hoteI have been called frugal and you all think I have rocks in my head. But what really has this mayor Orielly or this council done for the city but waste money.
Lee Jacobsen February 07, 2013 at 11:49 PM
lap, I agree with you that "would be nice to have all those quaint little shops you refer to, but that is something the private sector determines and those entrepreneurs that operate within it." rings true, but look at what you said. The private sector has the risk & say-so, and they say nix to quaint little shops as it is too hard to access them. What do the communities that have these quaint little shops have that is different than Dbn? One obvious difference is parallel parking in all cases on the main road.. Dearborn has none, or at the most, limited parallel parking . The other communities have much lower speed limits. Ours is 35mph. Perhaps we can't make all the changes, but if we make no changes to attract quaint little shops, they will simply go elsewhere. Many have done just that. Do you like what we have now? The quaint little shops voted with their feet. Parking in front or back makes all the difference in the world to a shop owner. Think about it. It's customer convenience. Want a Bigby coffee? It is easier to park in front, dash in, dash out, and be on your way. Why do fast food places have drive thru windows? Convenience. The Dunkin' Donuts would still be around if there was parallel parking. Parking in back, in a parking lot, for a minor item is a waste of time for most folks when they can have the option to park in front. Otherwise, why do the other towns have quaint shops, we don't, and the difference is parallel parking in front?
laplateau February 08, 2013 at 12:15 AM
Lee, there is NO way anyone is going to convince me that a 25 MPH speed limit and parallel parking is going to do anything but make any passage though west Dearborn intolerable. It is a state road...it is there to use as a state road. It is not ours to make into a bottle neck for our own perceived benefit. I go back to what I said to another writer….we have a complimentary period to park behind the building to “dash in, dash out, and be on your way.” I do that now all the time when I go to the Wine Merchant. And, if I am there a bit longer, they validate my ticket. I have no idea what makes you people think that the quaint little shops will pour in if we only choke Michigan Ave and provide some parallel parking. Where do you get that analogy? If anything, I bet those communities you refer to had the quaint shops come first, then made other changes afterward…not the other way around. I bet the chicken came before the egg. Also, it seems to me that all the money and resources that went into the transformation of the west end was done with the thought in mind those efforts would do what you say you want there now. It just didn’t materialize. You are grasping at straws,…if only we lower the speed limit, if only we take out the left turn lane, if only do this or if only we do that, the magic wand will appear and, POOF. Nope, I don’t buy it…we need that chicken first.
Lee Jacobsen February 14, 2013 at 10:12 PM
Lap, do you like what we have now with respect to the business shop mix in Dearborn? Most folk do not. What is the reason those quaint shops don't want to locate on Michigan Ave? Lack of customer access and convenience. Michigan Ave is a state road, and the speed limit can be changed, and the lanes modified to provide better customer access to shops . Traveling slower through Dearborn will save lives, save businesses, and will be a change for the better. Right now, we have vacant store fronts, and are doing nothing to change the scenario. Quaint shops just don't POOF into existence unless there is a reason to be optimistic that business will be good. Quaint shops are not found on fast roads like Michigan ave unless impulse parking is available. Who ever transformed the West end must have been asleep at the switch, as businesses that tried to open found no customers. So, do you just 'give up' or try another approach.? Lap, you can call it grasping at straws, but until we find your chicken, it is better to do something, than complain about the current business climate and do nothing.
laplateau February 15, 2013 at 12:32 PM
Lee...You have been watching Field of Dreams WAY to often and that little catchy part of the script writers dialog that is spoken from an echoing mystical voice in the clouds saying, "Build it and they will come” seems to be also echoing in your head to the point you really believe it. News flash, Lee...that was fantasy, not reality. Maybe you can convince Kevin Costner to come to town and see if he can work his movie fantasy magic on Michigan Ave. and we can see the quaint shops appearing out of the corn fields. Oh, wait, we don't have any corn fields here do we? Well, let's not allow that deter us from any realism. Let's just roll the dice here and hope if we spend millions of dollars (we don't have, by the way) narrow down Michigan Ave to just two lanes, no left turn lane, use that space to widen the sidewalks 3X , remove meters so now either the merchants or the city (you and I and anyone else living in Dearborn) have to pay for all that parking lot maintenance, and let your gambling addiction mindset to rule out logic, hoping those dice don’t roll out to be snake eyes. Gee, do we have to wake up now? Your Yaya land is soooooo, ah, what’s the word here…unrealistic/ Pollyannaish? Starry-eyes hopeful?


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