Michigan Avenue Streetscape Project

Michigan Avenue Streetscape Improvements

Project Planning Summary

Updated 11/21/19

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The Village is planning a streetscaping/pavement improvement project through Downtown Paw Paw which will include the portion of the street between Gremps and N. La Grave. Information about the project’s development can be found below. Planning for this project is ongoing and we welcome feedback and comments.

This is a working document. This page will be updated as the plans are modified.

Project Purpose:

Create a sense of place in the core downtown district of Paw Paw by redeveloping the streetscape through reconstructing the pavement, improving pedestrian safety, improving lighting, installing landscaping and green infrastructure tools.

Project Background:

The downtown streetscape in the Village of Paw Paw is hampered by ineffective features that deter pedestrians from the area and do not support the goals of the downtown. Current challenges and deficiencies include:

  • Tiered walkways that severely impact use of sidewalk space
  • Minimal Seating/Gathering Areas
  • Too much hardscape, very limited landscaping
  • Lack of identity and character
  • Accessibility challenges due to the sidewalk tiers
  • Poor pedestrian connectivity/walkability
  • Inappropriate lighting

The need to reconstruct the pavement as well as to make water system improvements in the area makes this an ideal time to upgrade the entire streetscape. This will solve the design challenges in our downtown and enhance the unique sense of place that is desirable for the downtown. We expect this project to not only improve the physical design deficiencies, but to also to facilitate economic development activity in the area.

Project Scope:

The project will cover three-blocks of Michigan Avenue between Gremps Street and LaGrave Street. The project will include the following scope items –

  • Removal of existing pavement, curb, sidewalk, and light poles
  • Water service connections to new main
  • Storm Sewer
  • Grading and Paving
  • Curb & Gutter
  • Sidewalk and pavers
  • Upgraded lighting
  • Street furniture and amenities
  • Trees, landscaping, irrigation, and restoration

Community Impact:

This project will provide a significant improvement to one of our most important commercial and public gathering spaces in the community. The lack of accessibility caused by the sidewalk tiering limits the ability of those with disabilities to enter our local businesses. Further, efforts at sidewalks sales, outdoor seating, and events are made more challenging by the steps in the middle of the sidewalk.

The safety of pedestrians crossing Michigan Avenue will also be improved. We have received numerous concerns from residents in the area who try to cross Michigan Avenue, especially from the recently constructed senior living apartments at the corner of Michigan and Niles Streets. When the senior living center was developed, the Village passed a Resolution of Support for the project. That resolution included financial commitments to the project which included “Significant streetscape improvements estimated to be approximately $50,000 – $250,000 within the next three years along Michigan Avenue to improve the pedestrian and shopping environment along the street in front of the project.”

Local Community Plans:

This project is consistent with the goals of the Master Plan, Walkability Initiative, the district’s stated purpose as defined in the Zoning Ordinance, and DDA development plan.

  1. Master Plan

The Master Plan was adopted in September 2017 through a public process that included surveys, focus groups, and public hearings. Relevant portions of the “Future Transportation Plan” section of the Master Plan have been enclosed included for your review. In general, the plan supports the street having a better balance of service for cars, pedestrians, and bicycles rather than being imbalanced in substantial favor of automobiles. Suggestions for improvement include adding midblock crossings, medians, landscaping, streetscape reconstruction or retrofitting, furnishings, wayfinding signs, parking, and identity.

  1. Walkability Initiative

The Council adopted a walkability initiative in December 2012 which was followed up by a sidewalk ordinance adopted in September 2013. The walkability resolution is included for your reference. The general goal of the walkability initiative is to create safe and convenient streets for all users regardless of mode of travel or physical ability.

  1. Zoning Ordinance

The portion of Michigan Ave being discussed in within the Downtown Overlay District. The purpose of this district is stated in the zoning ordinance as follows:

(1) Develop a fully integrated, mixed-use, pedestrian-oriented environment with buildings containing commercial, residential and office uses, similar to the downtown character at the intersection of Michigan and Kalamazoo Avenues.

(2) Create a synergy of uses within the downtown overlay district to support economic development and redevelopment consistent with the recommendations of the Master Plan for the Village of Paw Paw.

(3) Minimize traffic congestion, inefficient surface parking lots, infrastructure costs and environmental impacts by promoting a compact, mixed-use, pedestrian-friendly district.

(4)  Regulate building height and form to achieve appropriate scale along streetscapes and ensure proper transition to nearby residential neighborhoods.

(5)  Create a definable sense of place within the downtown overlay district with a pedestrian-oriented, traditional urban form that emphasizes historic building design common to the downtown area.

  1. DDA Development Plan

The Downtown Development Authority Development Plan calls for streetscaping and improvements to crossings and the right of way that is consistent with the objectives of the streetscape proposal.

Alternative Projects Considered:

Creating a project that reflects the needs and desires of residents and businesses is important to the Village of Paw Paw. As such, two concept plans were developed and discussed by the council and at public meetings and open houses with public participation. An alternative plan which reduced the street to three lanes was also developed but it had significantly less public support than the five-lane plan included in this proposal. This was largely due to traffic flow concerns, especially due to Michigan Avenue being an emergency route for I-94. It was determined that modifications should be made to a concept plan that continued the five-lane model.

Cost Breakdown:

We have secured and are actively working with various organizations to receive grant funding for this project. The current estimated cost of the project is $3.3 – $3.5 million. A listing of source funding for this project is as follows:

 

Michigan Economic Development Corporation       In Application Process        $2,000,000

MDOT/Small Urban                                                       Funding Secured                      $375,000

MDOT/TAP                                                                      In Application Process            $500,000

USDA/RDBG                                                                    In Application Process            $100,000

Village of Paw Paw/DDA                                                Funds Available                        $525,000

 

Project Schedule:

Letter of Interest from MEDC                                        November 2019

Boundary/Topographic Survey                                      November 2019

Preliminary Design & Investigation                              January 2020

Infrastructure Evaluation                                               February 2020

50% Plan Review Permit Applications                         April 2020

90% Plan Review/Environmental Reviews                 August 2020

Final Plan Completion                                                     Sept/Oct 2020

Bids Due                                                                              Dec/Jan 2020-2021

Construction                                                                       TBD 2021