Placemaking Details Dot Oak Park’s New Nine Mile Redesign

Placemaking Details Dot Oak Park’s New Nine Mile Redesign

(Crystal A. Proxmire, Nov. 4, 2019)

Oak Park, MI- “Form and function are one in the same,” said Oak Park City Manager Erik Tungate as he and dignitaries from Oak Park and Ferndale gathered at the Seneca Pocket-park for the ribbon cutting of the Nine Mile Redesign project.  “If we invest in an environment people want to live, jobs and investment will come with that.”

That $2 million investment includes a “road diet” reducing traffic to one lane in each direction, with a turn lane in the middle and bike lanes along the side.  This connects with the bike lanes and other West Nine Mile Road projects undertaken by neighboring Ferndale in recent years.

There are also features along Nine Mile, including reverse-angled parking for the businesses and two streets that were turned into dead ends to create pocket parks as community gathering spaces.

Funding for the project came from MDOT, SEMCOG, Oakland County, the Ralph C. Wilson Foundation, and the Community Foundation for SE Michigan.

During the ribbon cutting Tuesday evening, kids leaped happily across bales of straw while a band played under a pop up tent. Adults were more excited to gather behind the red ribbon, cut by Oak Park Mayor Marian McClellan’s grandson who donned Spider Man face paint for the occasion.  Kids and adults alike were excited for the cake, which celebrated the City’s 74th birthday.

The park is lined with benches, and an area of flowers circles the 9OP sign in the middle.  A few blocks east is Sherman Park, where a giant chess game and stone cornhole stations invite people of all ages to play.

MoGo representatives were also part of the celebration.  In spring of 202 MoGo will launch 31 locations for their bicycle rental program. Locations will be in Detroit, Ferndale, Royal Oak, Huntington Woods, Berkley, and Oak Park. That expansion is made possible by a  SEMCOG grant.

Oak Park Communications Director Colton Dale is already hard at work making sure residents understand the bike lanes and the back-in angled parking with brochures for residents that are available at City Hall, the library, and local businesses.

In the works are short videos that will be released in the spring when the bike lanes will begin their peak of usage.  There will be community bike rides in the spring as well.

“Oak Park places a premium on public investment,” Tungate said.  “to provide the best public amenities we can.”

Learn more about the Nine Mile Redesign Project at the City of Oak Park website.

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