Old Woodward Avenue Corridor Birmingham, Michigan
Multimodal Planning and Design
Traffic and streetscape changes breathe new life into an urban neighborhood.
Old Woodward Avenue and Maple Road are the intersection of “Main and Main Streets” in this vibrant downtown, north of Detroit. Set for its first reconstruction in 30 years, MKSK worked with City of Birmingham leadership to identify a design concept that would best balance a variety of transportation and economic goals advocated by various groups and the public.
Business leaders emphasized the need to retain the amount of convenient on-street parking and a thoughtfully designed streetscape. Planners sought wider sidewalks with more frequent pedestrian crossings and additional space for outdoor cafés. Others advocated better routing for bikes and use of long lasting green infrastructure elements. City engineers stressed the need for smooth traffic operations, radii for larger commercial vehicles, and cost considerations. Some wanted to retain the traditional streetscape features while others felt it was time for a fresh design.
Through exploration of a range of alternatives, MKSK crafted a design that strikes a balance between the various goals. The final design expands the pedestrian zone by incorporating linear planting beds, seating elements, and other site amenities, increasing the walkable sidewalk width up to 25% and reducing the overall roadway paving section. The final concept also provides the flexibility to introduce bike lanes, and angled parking in the future.
The City implemented the first phase of improvements in 2018, under Nowak & Fraus, with MKSK providing advising during implementation. MKSK was also selected for separate projects to design alleyways, evaluate downtown parking, redesign intersections and update the zoning regulations.