Dearborn Transit-Oriented Development

Dearborn’s Transit-Oriented Development (TOD) PlacePlan focused on the eastern edge of west downtown Dearborn along Michigan Avenue. The design concept plan for this district, developed by the Michigan State University School of Planning, Design, and Construction, would allow the area adjacent to the John D. Dingell Transit Center to serve as a focal point in the community.

Implementation Grant: West Village Drive Design

This rendering looking down West Village Drive shows the long-term potential for this "living street".

This rendering looking down West Village Drive shows the long-term potential for this “living street”.

The city was awarded a PlacePlans Implementation Grant in 2015 to create a more detailed plan for West Village Drive, the east-west street that bisects the TOD area, one block south of Michigan Avenue. The city, with the full support of Ford Land Development Corporation—a major landholder in the TOD district—retained HamiltonAnderson Associates of Detroit to develop concepts that will make West Village Drive a livable street that supports incremental, place-based development while providing a seamless connection to the Transit Center itself.

The Dearborn Living Street Plan (42mb PDF) provides both immediate, low-cost recommendations that can begin to change how the street functions as well as a long-term concept for how this area can become an extension of the downtown area, connecting the major existing destinations. The concepts provide for public spaces that improve both pedestrian and vehicle access, as well as show how the automotive heritage of the area can continue with “urban format’ dealerships and event spaces.

Transportation Hub as Vital Downtown District

As a future hub for traditional passenger rail, as well as for future commuter rail and Bus Rapid Transit (BRT) services, Dearborn realized that this area has the potential to support a pedestrian-oriented, mixed use, livable district while fulfilling a need for increased density in the West Dearborn downtown. This district was envisioned as a place that would serve the needs of passengers and commuters while providing the place-based amenities required to attract and retain the legions of talented workers employed both in Dearborn and the surrounding region.

The PlacePlan was built on the overwhelming support of local stakeholders for a redevelopment plan that ensures linkages to nearby attractions—notably the Henry Ford, a national historic landmark with over 1.6 million annual visitors, to a safe and pleasant walking environment, and to employment opportunities in the area. The proposed project would diversify Dearborn’s housing stock and more effectively use the TOD site as a connector between the existing west downtown, the Henry Ford, and the Ford Motor Company Research and Engineering Center campus. The site would also be an attraction in itself, fostering an immediate tone or character for visitors, commuters and long-haul passengers who depart and arrive at the train station. The creation of a transit-oriented development in this significantly auto-centric community is hoped to be a best-practice model for future development of livable, sustainable neighborhoods elsewhere around the state and nation.

Following the plan’s delivery in July 2013, Dearborn focused on the completion and opening of the Dingell Transit Center, which took place in December of the following year.

Furthermore, the planning process has coordinated physical design elements of the first retail development on the eastern end of the TOD site, scheduled to begin construction in 2016, with the overall vision for the area as expressed in the PlacePlan. The city is separately engaging the Michigan Department of Transportation, the Wayne County Road Commission, and the Regional Transit Authority to improve the railroad viaduct at Oakwood Boulevard, a key connection point from the TOD area to the south, as well as to ensure that future plans for transit service through west downtown Dearborn will synergize with the vision for the TOD area.

Dearborn Transit-Oriented Development Presentation

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