Dearborn residents will get the chance this month to have their say in plans for development near Dearborn’s Intermodal Passenger Rail Station.
A Dec. 12 forum on Transit Oriented Development and ask for resident input on planning for future economic, housing and environmental developments surrounding the train station.
Global Green Report: More Pedestrians, Housing Needed
As construction began last summer on the federally funded train station, Dearborn was also .
TOD is a process by which municipalities build their community around a transportation hub—in this case, the train station. The project is centered on creating a vibrant district for living and working, as well as ensuring that the space is sustainable, pedestrian-friendly, and welcoming to a diverse range of residents and visitors.
Dearborn’s TOD district extends a quarter-mile radius from the train station.
Global Green’s recently released study—which extends further into west downtown but encompasses the TOD district—examines ways in which the city can improve the area’s appeal and use in sustainable ways.
Among their observations, explained Jessica Turner of the city’s Planning Department, Global Green felt that the district needs to be more pedestrian friendly, have more downtown housing, as well as encourage higher environmental standards for new and existing developments.
“This is ultimately building a future that’s … more environmentally responsible,” Turner explained, adding that the city “should promote housing developments … particularly student housing.”
Ideas for the district included both specific and general recommendations:
- West downtown, as a district, should extend to the train station
- Eliminating the right-hand turn lane at Michigan Avenue onto Brady Street to make the crossing safer for pedestrians and bicyclists
- Planting more trees
- Developing a defined bicycle plan for the district
- Long term, creating on-street parking on Michigan Avenue in west downtown, as well as a “bike share” program with drop off/pick up stations near downtown
- Filling in “empty” space—such as at Michigan and Brady, or near the parking decks on West Village Drive—with student housing
“There’s no need for any further non-residential development,” Turner said, “yet the area could benefit from a larger residential population.”
Residents: What Do You Think?
The next step in the process is gauging residents’ feelings on the proposals, which will be done at the Dec. 12 TOD forum.
The forum will be in Studio A at the Ford Community and Performing Arts Center from 5:30-7:30 p.m., and will include food and the possibility of prizes.
Though TOD is not a familiar concept to most, Dearborn Economic and Community Development Department Barry Murray said he hopes the concept won’t deter residents from joining in the conversation.
“Please come and share your ideas about how the west Dearborn area can capitalize on the benefits of having a major train station in one of our downtowns, and how we can build on our community’s traditions to generate a unique sense of place,” Murray urged. “It’s meant to be fun, while at the same time giving people a chance to speak up about what they think should be included in the future development of west Dearborn neighborhoods and business areas.”
The forum is open to all, including residents throughout Dearborn, business owners, and those who work and go to school in Dearborn.
A three-day forum on TOD will take place in January.
Supporting the event through door prizes, food and beverages are: Joe Vicari’s Andiamo Italian Steakhouse, Bailey’s Pub & Grille, BD's Mongolian Grill, L.A. Bistro, Merle Norman, Sophia’s Giftique, Starbucks, The Post Bar, Westborn Market and PizzaPapalis.
Correction: This article originally stated that the TOD district extends to Military Street. This is incorrect.