Several new developments are coming to Lower Town: Morningside Development is planning to redevelop the Kroger site (see comments on this proposal below), DTE is planning to build on the former MichCon site, and the University of Michigan owns considerable land in Lower Town it plans to develop someday. When these developments happen, we hope they include:
- Businesses and residences close to the street. These are more inviting to pedestrians than strip-mall style development with wide setbacks.
- Lively streetscapes. Instead of walking by “dead zones” of walls or offices, retail windows on the first floor create an environment that is interesting for both drivers and pedestrians.
- Sidewalk seating at restaurants/cafes. By “exciting the sidewalk,” we can “calm the street”—drivers naturally slow down when there is more activity to look at.
- “Entryways” to Lower Town. By utilizing streetlight banners, planters/landscaping, etc. on Plymouth and on Division, drivers can be alerted that they are entering a pedestrian area.
- More housing. This will help attract and keep businesses the neighborhood needs.
- Safe routes. Walkers and bicyclists of all ages and abilities should be able to get to Lower Town’s amenities, including the various access points of the Huron River.
We believe development that pursues these goals will make Lower Town one of the best places to live and visit in our area. Do you have other suggestions? Let us know at email@example.com.
The Morningside Proposal
This neighborhood group supports development of underutilized space in Lower Town. We have looked at the Morningside proposal and it has many positives that could help spur a pedestrian-centric revitalization of the area, such as:
- A la carte rental prices that allow a renter not to lease a parking spot
- Indoor, secure dedicated bicycle storage (one space per unit)
- Parking garage not visible from the street
We would like to see:
- More retail, especially a grocery story
- Fewer parking spaces
- More bicycle and pedestrian infrastructure
We believe the location has the potential to attract residents who previously commuted by car into the area, but now will walk, bicycle, or take transit to work.