Ferndale Establishes Rideshare Zones for Lyft and Uber, Royal Oak Declines
(Crystal A. Proxmire, March 15, 2019)
Ferndale, Royal Oak, MI – Sometimes connecting with a Lyft or Uber driver can be hard, especially in busy places like Downtown Ferndale.
Addresses are close together. Stopping to pick people up can impede traffic. Finding the right person in a crowd adds an extra challenge. And often there just isn’t anywhere practical to pick up a rider.
That’s why the rideshare service providers have launched Drop Off/ Pick Up Zones. The zones guide drivers and riders to specific places where getting in and out of cars is safe, yet still close.
For example, if you’re having a bite at Howe’s and looking for a ride home, the apps will instruct you to walk just around the corner to the zone located behind Hambo Coney Island.
There are now five rideshare zones in Ferndale’s downtown servicing Woodward, Withington, W. Troy, E. Troy, W. Nine Mile, and E. Nine Mile businesses. Locations are:
~Vester St.—just east of Hambo’s Coney Island
~E. Troy St—just east of Woodward Avenue Brewers
~W. Troy St—behind Soho
~Alley between Withington Lot and W. Nine Mile Rd. businesses—behind Liberty Tax Services
~Withington St.—just north of Inyo Restaurant & Lounge
According to DDA Director Barry Hicks, Lyft worked with the city – in particular with police, fire, and community economic development departments – to find safe locations.
“They were trying to stay off Woodward & Nine Mile for safety and traffic flow purposes – that’s why the locations are near intersections a block away from Nine and just off Woodward. The zones are good for the user and the driver for safety reasons to avoid drop-offs on busy streets with higher speeds and to have a designated spot where people can wait for their ride and know that the ride will go right to that spot,” Hicks said.
The City of Ferndale worked with Lyft to determine the locations, then confirmed the locations with Uber, according to City Planner Justin Lyons. They then set about letting people know where to go.
“The launch of the zones was promoted through physical signs and notifications in Lyft and Uber applications. More promotion of the rideshare zones will be released in the coming weeks,” Lyons said.
“With an increasing number of downtown Ferndale visitors choosing rideshare services such as Lyft and Uber, the City has seen a rise in traffic-impeding issues—most notably, vehicles standing in driving lanes—which create safety hazards for pedestrians and drivers alike. Designated rideshare areas provide close-by, visible access away from the flow of traffic to make pickups and drop-offs safer for all.”
Lyft currently has Zones in Detroit and Ferndale, but the trend come to more cities if successful.
Downtown Royal Oak, for example, has promoted using Rideshare services, including discount codes for special weekends. But they haven’t decided to establish zones.
“We considered pick-up/drop-off zones in the past but we ran into some issues with establishing them, most notably that we would have to sacrifice on-street parking spaces to accommodate them, which we are not willing to do at this point in time,” said Downtown Royal Oak Director Sean Kammer. “I won’t say the issue is off the table, but we would probably like to see more demand for ridesharing before considering an expansion of supporting infrastructure.”
For St. Patrick’s Day weekend, Lyft is offering discounts. Plus in Ferndale, Oakland County Sheriff’s and Ferndale Police are giving out fare coupons. Read more about that here.
Also, to ease the crunch of reduced parking during construction of the city’s new mixed use parking structure The dot, One Eyed Betty’s is offering a rideshare reimbursement promotion for those who spend $20 or more at the restaurant. Read more about that here.