Innovate Mound Newsletter – August 2020
The Innovate Mound newsletter is designed to keep you informed about the Innovate Mound project as it moves forward. Located in the cities of Warren and Sterling Heights, Macomb County, the project will reconstruct approximately nine miles of Mound Road between 11 Mile Road and M-59. We invite you to share this information with your friends, neighbors, employees, and 08constituents. We’d also like to hear from you—please contact us with your thoughts, ideas, questions, and concerns.
Walk, Run, and Bike this Way
Improvements planned for non-motorized pathways on the Mound Road corridor
Innovate Mound is more than just a construction project on Mound Road — it’s a mission to rebuild the corridor into a roadway of the future. The project design includes innovations in technology and transportation that will address the needs of all who will travel on or along Mound Road.
“In the past 30 years, the corridor has experienced business and residential growth that has transformed the use of Mound Road,” said John Crumm, director of planning at the Macomb County Department of Roads. “We wanted to design a project that would address the needs of today, but also those 50 years from now.”
An important part of the planning process has been identifying ways to improve travel along the corridor for those using the crosswalks and pathways to walk, skate, run, bike, or use a mobility assistance device.
Left: Example of faded pedestrian crossing that is difficult to see. Right: Example of a clearly marked crosswalk.
The Innovate Mound team conducted research of the pathways, driveways, and crosswalks along the Mound Road corridor and two major challenges were revealed.
- Lack of continuous non-motorized pathways: “There are a lot of gaps or breaks where you can’t get from a residential neighborhood to a commercial neighborhood,” said Matthew Junak, senior project manager of the Intelligent Transportation Group for HNTB. When this happens, people create their own paths which can make it difficult to travel safely. It makes it especially difficult for safe travel by those who have disabilities and use scooters, walkers, and wheelchairs.
- Improvements needed at intersections to improve crossings: Crossing a very busy road on foot, on a bicycle, or in a wheelchair can be difficult at some Mound Road intersections. “Improving the safety of the crossings is the main priority for the non-motorized portion of this project,” said Junak.
An Innovative Approach
What does an enhanced pedestrian crosswalk look like? It’s more than just a line on the road. “There will be lighting, there will be a high visibility coating on the surface of the road so pedestrians and motorists will be able to see the crosswalks in both daytime and at night,” explained Junak. “As well as full Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) compliance with ramps, markings, and treatments.”
“We are looking at technology right now that is new for the crosswalks,” explained Crumm. “The buttons that you push to cross the street can communicate with the lights and eventually even the vehicles with smart technology. This is just one of the many safety features being considered for the reconstruction of the corridor.”
Left: Example of sidewalk gaps, utility pole locations conflict with potential sidewalks in some areas. Right: Example of an enhanced crossing.
A Shared Vision
The plan for safer non-motorized pathways has changed as the project has progressed. Feedback from businesses and residents that live and work along the corridor was received by the Innovate Mound team through public engagement events, meetings, and surveys. The data gathered through these outreach efforts helped the project to evolve.
“The original plan called for pedestrian bridges — full structures designed to go over the roadway. Through the engagement process, we moved from building these large structures to doing more enhanced crosswalks,” explained Junak. “For the same amount of money, we could build two bridges or enhance all of the crosswalks in the entire project area. The community let us know they preferred the crosswalks rather than the bridges.”
Building a Community
The long-term result of this work will be an enhanced sense of community along Mound Road. It will also make non-motorized travel safer for those that live and work in the corridor.
“What we’ve learned is that if people have access to walk and bike to work, school, or to do business – that they will do so,” said Crumm. “Communities that have implemented these kinds of changes have seen great results. People will leave their cars at work and visit the sandwich shop down the street with co-workers for lunch. Families will walk their dogs at night down to the ice cream parlor. People with disabilities will be able to traverse the corridor more easily. In short, it’s a win-win for everyone.”
Left: Example of poor bus stop access. Right: Example of improved bus stop access.
Frequently Asked Questions
Q & A with Bryan Santo, Director, Macomb County Department of Roads
Do you have a question about this project that you’d like to ask Bryan? Email us today.
Q: Does the project include accommodations for all users?
A: Yes, it does. We will look at and accommodate the safe transport of pedestrians along and across Mound Road. The project will also look to facilitate access to existing transit routes near the corridor and the Iron Belle Trail.
Q: How is this project addressing non-motorized vehicle travel on Mound Road?
A: This article from Detroit Driven goes into detail on how this project will transform Mound Road into a cutting-edge multimodal corridor offering improved experiences for drivers, cyclists, pedestrians, and those using mobility assistance devices. This pre-planning stage is also addressing transit needs for now and the future.
Q: What are the plans to accommodate pedestrians and bicyclists along Mound Road?
A: Currently, there are plans to add a continuous shared-use path along the west side of Mound Road. Also, enhanced pedestrian facilities are being considered.