An estimated $4.53 million in streetscape and road improvements is planned to begin in spring 2013, from Elizabeth to Sixth streets in Fenton. Road pavement rehabilitation and reconstruction make up an estimated $3.69 million of the work, with a projected $838,000 for the streetscape. Improvements will target LeRoy Street and a number of other areas.
The plans, conceptual at this stage, began in spring 2010 when international walkability expert Dan Burden visited Fenton, said Downtown Development Authority (DDA) Director Michael Burns. The plans include ideas from Burden on improving the city’s streetscape and the downtown’s physical design.
Timothy Juidici, of and Joseph Wright, of Landscape Architecture Services, presented conceptual plans to at Monday’s meeting.
Cost estimates are $4.53 million, including approximately $2.75 million for road reconstruction, $942,000 for pavement mill and overlay and $838,000 for streetscape enhancements.
Councilwoman Patricia Lockwood asked how the DDA will fund it. Burns replied funding will include bonds, and the DDA will apply for transportation enhancement grants from the Michigan Department of Transportation. In addition, other economic development grants might be available.
Complete roadway reconstruction is planned for LeRoy Street, from Elizabeth Street to the In addition, road reconstruction is planned for Elizabeth from Oak to South LeRoy streets, Ellen Street from LeRoy to Walnut streets, Mill Street from Adelaide to South LeRoy streets, and Shiawassee from Adelaide to South LeRoy streets. Not including streetscaping, the cost is estimated at $2.75 million for road reconstruction in these areas.
Pavement rehabilitation, with 2-inch mill and overlay, is planned for roads that are in much better shape, Juidici said. These include LeRoy Street from the community center to Sixth Street. In addition, Caroline Street, from Adelaide to South LeRoy streets, will receive mill and overlay, at an estimated $190,000 for 925 feet of roadway.
- Lincoln Street, from Silver Lake to Roberts, will receive 162 feet of mill and overlay, for an estimated $33,000.
- Roberts Street from Adelaide to Silver Lake Road, 520 feet for $107,000.
- River Street, from Silver Lake Road to Caroline Street, 325 feet for $67,000.
- South LeRoy Street from the community center to Silver Lake Road, 800 feet for $165,000.
- South LeRoy from Silver Lake Road to Sixth Street, 1,850 feet for $380,000.
The total estimated cost for these streets, not including streetscape improvements, is $942,000.
Juidici said the project will address existing conditions, including some concerns Burden raised. These include lack of walkable areas, aesthetic concerns, high vehicle traffic speeds and minimal downtown parking. In addition, in some areas of the downtown district, pedestrians must cross almost 60 feet of pavement. This wide area can be daunting for walkers, and there aren’t Americans with Disabilities (ADA) accessible ramps, Juidici said.
In addition, a large road project like this presents Fenton with the opportunity to address old water and sewer infrastructure, he said. Fixing old underground infrastructure then would prevent tearing up streets after the new pavement is installed.
The streetscape and road improvements will increase downtown Fenton’s economic vitality, Juidici said. Narrowing roadways and creating bumpouts for pedestrian crossings will lower traffic speeds. Walkers will have 22 feet of pavement to cross at one time in certain areas, instead of 60.
Sidewalk, curb and gutter and driveway replacements will be done as needed. Moreover, narrowing existing roadways will provide room for streetscape improvements such as trees, Juidici said.
The streetscape portion of the project, for LeRoy Street from Elizabeth Street to Silver Lake Road, is estimated at $838,000 for 2,050 feet. Wright, the streetscape designer, said there are many questions still to ask, and plans are preliminary. Grant funding could lower the cost to Fenton.
With narrower roadways to increase walkability, there will be room for plant beds, decorative pavement, benches, trash containers and bike racks, Wright said. Different types of plantings can highlight intersections and corners. And sidewalks can be made more visually interesting in some areas with features such as tinted concrete, brick pavers and angled scoring joints.
More parking spaces will result from narrower streets, near the community center and Elizabeth Street, east of LeRoy, he said.
Near concrete walls would protect diners if the restaurant someday has outdoor service, he said. Walkways must be 7 feet across, and open spaces would provide areas to display art.
His goal is to make Fenton look different from every other downtown he’s worked on, Wright said. Some of his other design projects include landscape architecture in the cities of Durand, Lansing and Gaylord.
Resident Sean Orzol said one of his concerns is Ellen Street, which will have sizeable bumpouts on both sides for pedestrians. In addition, Orzol said sidewalks near O’Donnell Park are in very bad condition.
The city is responsible for this sidewalk, Mayor Sue Osborn said. She agrees with Orzol that Fenton should set an example.
Regarding the types of trees for the project, resident Scott Grossmeyer said although some current trees look great in bloom in the spring, there now are rotting cherries on the sidewalks. This should be kept in mind when selecting trees, Grossmeyer said.
Resident Cherie Smith asked whether Fenton considered adding bicycle lanes. Burns said the DDA looked at it, but many communities with bike lanes in their downtown districts are finding it isn’t working. They are eliminating bike lanes and going back to normal traffic conditions, he said.
Community’s input needed
Councilman Les Bland said meetings should take place with property owners, once preliminary designs are completed. Fenton can receive concerns and address them, if possible, before the consultants prepare their final plans. Doing this will save extra work, Bland said.
The DDA is planning a public session sometime in January, Burns said. of Milford, will assist with public relations and marketing. In addition, the DDA will have mechanisms to keep businesses informed during the project.
There also will be one to two public hearings required, as a condition of state funding, Wright said. The public will have opportunities to provide feedback on design.