PrinciplesReinvesting to Maximize the Benefit of Existing and Future Infrastructure
Maintaining and investing in infrastructure is essential to downtown's ongoing stability and vitality. By providing consistent attention, the DDA ensures that facilities continue to serve the functional needs of residents, businesses, government agencies, visitors and others.
Infrastructure's physical form and condition, particularly sidewalks and parking facilities, communicate a great deal about a community's goals, values, and identity. Well-maintained, inviting, aesthetically pleasing elements make a strong quality statement about our community.
The strategies below are designed to address current and future needs. These strategies propose investments that aim to fortify and increase downtown's attractiveness to developers, businesses, residents, and visitors. Plans include maintenance and eventual replacement of downtown parking facilities and streetscape improvements, and strategies to maximize the use of downtown infrastructure and public open space.
- Continue DDA commitment to ongoing repairs and maintenance of downtown parking facilities, including structures and lots.
- Recognize that maintenance and repair are perpetual concerns and plan accordingly. This means conducting on-going structural assessments and anticipating maintenance and repair needs in one-year, five-year, and ten-year capital improvement plans.
- When making or supporting structural improvements and new development, consider not only cost concerns, but also the need for quality, aesthetics, safety, and longevity.
- Conduct regular and ongoing analyses of downtown development to anticipate and respond to parking needs.
- Provide new parking options as needed, and ensure that parking revenue funds remain available and committed to an on-going parking structure development, operations, and maintenance plan.
- Encourage the inclusion of parking facilities within new downtown developments, particularly underground parking.
- Install pedestrian improvements along select downtown streets. This includes replacing existing, worn sidewalks with pleasing sidewalk paving and/or bricking, improved lighting and signage, landscaping, etc. These improvements promote walking as the primary transportation mode and increase downtown's attractiveness for development and business.
- Support the creation of an Allen Creek Corridor Land Use Master Plan in collaboration with other public agencies and the private sector, including an analysis of land use, the potential development of a system of linked open spaces and a pedestrian/bicycle path along the rail line. As part of this study, the City may be encouraged to consider the possible acquisition of private property to enable plans to be realized.
- Encourage the City and the private sector to develop new, attractive open spaces, including additional public plazas (such as at Ashley Mews), and the development of through-block arcades, atrium spaces, and pocket parks throughout the downtown.
- Install new physical improvements (e.g. street furniture and lighting) to existing open spaces, including Liberty Plaza to enhance their use.
- Encourage pedestrian and non-motorized vehicular links from downtown to nearby residential areas and other significant areas of Ann Arbor (e.g. Old West Side, Lower Town, etc.) as a means to support downtown retail and reduce downtown automobile traffic.
- Consider the special needs of children, seniors, and the disabled when planning new sidewalk and streetscape improvements.
- Regularly maintain previous DDA improvements projects. This may include setting aside funds for anticipated future repairs. All pedestrian and streetscape improvements should be designed with high-quality yet easily maintained elements.
- The DDA will continue working in partnership with the City Parks Department and the Dean Fund to provide for maintenance and replacement of trees in the downtown, in addition to maintaining, improving and expanding downtown park areas.
- Ashley St. (North & South)
- First St. (North & South)
- Fifth Ave. (North & South)
- South Division
- Huron St. (East and West)
- Ann St. (East and West)
- South Main St. between William and Mosley
- W. Washington between Ashley and Third St.
- E. Washington between Thayer and Fifth Ave.
- Promote the DDA's role in supporting the provision of downtown infrastructure. Public awareness of the DDA's role in maintaining and investing in downtown infrastructure will encourage communication between the public and DDA on how best to make improvements and maximize its use.
- Promote a philosophy of sustainability in all infrastructure improvements. Attentive maintenance to existing infrastructure and timely investment in well-designed, quality improvements will ensure that they will continue to serve downtown needs for years into the future. Attentive maintenance of City assets decreases the need for much larger, future capital expenditures by extending their useful life.
- Support infrastructure improvements in anticipation of future technological needs of downtown, such as conduit for fiber optic wiring. This may include encouraging initiatives in partnership with the University of Michigan, the Washtenaw Development Council, and the City.
- Encourage alley improvements to facilitate deliveries, solid waste and recycling collection, improve alley cleanliness and attractiveness, assist pedestrian use, and discourage graffiti. Strategies may include inviting artists to paint murals in selected alleys, providing incentives for businesses to maintain a clean alleyway, repairing storm water inlets, repaving, etc.
- Encourage infrastructure-planning efforts by the City of Ann Arbor and the University of Michigan to improve and maintain public utilities, streets, water, and sanitary sewers.