The nonprofit organization that manages Detroit’s Eastern Market will work to draw in more retail to the area, improve parking, and add programming throughout the week, which was detailed in a new 10-year economic framework.
“Detroit has changed significantly since the Great Recession and the food industry is rapidly reinventing itself, so we decided to update our 2008 strategic plan with energy, resources, and input like never before,” says Dan Carmody, president of the Eastern Market Corp. “More than 600 Detroiters participated in this process, under the coordination of the Detroit Collaborative Design Center, along with outside advice provided by two firms that helped markets in London and New York mesh better with their adjacent neighborhoods.”
Broadly, the framework sets the goals of strengthening Eastern Market as the most inclusive and robust regional food hub in the U.S., fortifying the food sector as a means for regional economic growth, and improving access to healthy and affordable food choices.
To improve the Eastern Market district’s experience for pedestrians, the framework recommends developing a parking circulation system offering efficient routes for traffic for daily business, delivery vehicles, and public market traffic. It also says Eastern Market Corp. should encourage growth of storefront retail along Russell, Riopelle, Wilkins, and Adelaide Streets.
Other recommendations include reducing the congested market campus by transferring wholesale market operations to a dedicated produce terminal away from the current campus; improving pedestrian paths throughout the market by extending the main pathway through the development of new sheds and adding paths off of the main line that connect pedestrians to Russell Street; and opening Russell Street at both ends.
The framework suggests that to improve the market’s accessibility, the Detroit Department of Transportation should add a weekend bus service to Eastern Market and the district should be connected to surrounding neighborhoods through bike and pedestrian pathways.
“The major barriers and opportunities that lie ahead made it imperative to more thoroughly assess global trends and clearly weigh stakeholder needs to correctly calibrate the interventions needed to help strengthen the market for the next 10 years and beyond,” Carmody says.
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