The cities of Berkley, Huntington Woods, Oak Park and Royal Oak have applied for a grant to begin a project on 11 Mile Road that would connect the communities through infrastructure improvements.
Photo by Erin Sanchez
By: Mike Koury | C&G Newspapers | Published October 26, 2022
OAKLAND COUNTY — The cities of Berkley, Huntington Woods, Oak Park and Royal Oak are partnering to attain a grant for a “reconnecting communities pilot” project on 11 Mile Road.
The four cities are seeking federal funding that would connect the communities through the “removal, retrofit, mitigation or replacement of eligible transportation infrastructure facilities,” according to Royal Oak city documents.
Royal Oak City Manager Paul Brake stated that the idea behind the pilot is to make 11 Mile more welcoming, pedestrian friendly and passable with multiple modes of transportation. The city was approached by Oak Park more than a month ago about partnering together.
Brake said that 11 Mile is difficult for pedestrians and could benefit with a left turn lane.
“For the motoring public, it’s a safer environment when you have that left-hand turn lane, that someone can merge into it and make the turn safely and not (be) impeding traffic,” he said.
Huntington Woods City Manager Chris Wilson said the project came together very quickly over the past couple of weeks.
“For Huntington Woods, what really attracted us to the project was increased pedestrian safety, the inclusion of lights and a crosswalk along 11 Mile to allow our residents, particularly our students, to get across to Berkley High School easier and allow Berkley residents to cross the street to visit Huntington Woods, as well as our parks,” he said. “We’re really looking at pedestrian safety along 11 Mile as our biggest concern.”
On the issue with crosswalks, Wilson stated there aren’t any marked crosswalks between Coolidge and Woodward, and that’s something that needs to be improved.
“People are not going to walk all the way from Woodward to Coolidge to get back across the street,” he said. “We need to make it safe for them and still move traffic volume in a reasonable way, but we’re definitely looking at some things for traffic calming to improve pedestrian access across the road and help our kids get to school safely. That’s the biggest concern.”
Brake said that downtown areas and corridors like in Royal Oak should be built around people, not cars, because when there’s slower traffic, it’s much more inviting for visitors and for potential developers for infill development, which is the development of vacant properties.
“If it creates where it becomes a destination where people want to visit and recreate, play, whatever that happens to be, I believe that will help that corridor and, especially making that the connection with the adjoining communities, it really should make no difference for anyone, that it should be quite seamless when you leave Royal Oak and you end up going into Berkley or Huntington Woods,” he said.
As of mid-October, the application for the grant has been submitted. Wilson stated that there would have to be some city match if the grant is approved, but the bulk of the funding would be coming from the grant.