Can safer streets and livelier public spaces help knit Detroit back together?
The Michigan Municipal League thinks so, and it is working hard to show southeast Michigan how. Recently the organization teamed up with some partners to address a problem area in southwest Detroit, or Mexicantown.
Sarah Craft at the Economics of Place blog explains:
Vernor is Southwest Detroit’s main street and is populated with densely packed storefronts, restaurants, and independent businesses. Due to Southwest Detroit’s proximity to Canada and the international bridge crossing, the area unfortunately has quite a bit of industrial land use and suffers from a high volume of truck traffic.
Vernor’s vibrant commercial district is divided by about a half mile “gap,” created by complicated intersections, a former industrial complex, wide one-way roads, a viaduct, and an unnatural bend in the road. In an effort to better connect the east and west sides of Vernor, the League partnered with Southwest Detroit Business Association (SDBA) and Archive DS to collect resident ideas, concerns, and desires to reduce the gap and better connect the community.