Construction on a commercial corridor along Livernois that includes Detroit’s Avenue of Fashion is set to begin this month. The median from Margareta (two blocks south of Seven Mile Road) to Eight Mile Road will be removed, making way for a left-turn lane.
This is the first commercial corridor revitalization project funded through a $125-million bond program announced by Detroit Mayor Mike Duggan in 2017, which will revitalize 23 commercial corridors in the city to make them more attractive to visitors and businesses and more pedestrian-friendly.
The plan is part of the city’s effort to recapture some of the estimated $2.6 billion that Detroit residents spend outside of the city due to a lack of shopping and dining options in neighborhoods.
“As we continue to reinvest in our neighborhoods, a big part of that is going to be creating attractive, walkable commercial corridors where residents will be able to enjoy a range of dining and shopping options,” says Duggan. “Most important is that final design was selected by neighbors in the area who took part in an extensive community engagement process.”
Livernois is the first and most extensive of seven corridor projects scheduled for this year. It will include one lane for traffic in each direction to reduce speeds in addition to the new left-turn lane, 24-foot sidewalks to allow for café seating, new lighting and landscaping, dedicated bike lanes at sidewalk level, and on-street parking. Residents voted on this final design.
The work will take place in three phases. From May-June, workers will remove the median and install the left-turn lane. During this time, traffic will be limited to one travel lane in each direction. On-street parking will remain available.
From July-August, work on the northbound side of Livernois will replace the sidewalks and install bike lanes, lighting, and landscaping.
From September until the completion of the project, similar work will take place on the southbound side of Livernois.
“The Livernois Streetscape project represents a significant opportunity to create a more pedestrian-friendly retail destination in one of the city’s most historic and important commercial corridors,” says Roy McCalister, council member. “I applaud the efforts of the city’s planning department and especially the participation of the many residents and business people whose input was referenced as part of this new vision for Livernois.”
Livernois will remain open to traffic in both directions for the duration of the project, but there will be lane closures and the temporary removal of on-street parking. Accessing businesses will be more difficult. The city’s business district liaisons, Department of Neighborhoods district managers, and city council staff have worked with business owners to help them plan activities to continue to draw customers.
The business liaisons will make sure contractors coordinate construction taking place in front of individual businesses to minimize the impact. Business owners will also have contact information for the project engineer and business liaisons who can help address issues that arise.
“Executing this streetscape will create a sense of place for locals and tourists alike,” says Rufus Bartell, member of the Business Association and owner of Simply Casual.
The six other commercial corridor projects scheduled for 2019 include McNichols from Livernois to Greenlawn, Kercheval from Parker to E. Grand Boulevard, Joseph Campau from E. Jefferson to the Riverfront, Bagley from I-96 Service Drive to 24th, Riopelle from I-75 Service Drive to Division, and Grand River from Evergreen to Glastonbury.