By ZEINAB NAJM
DEARBORN — The East Dearborn Downtown Development Authority, the city and the Conservation Design Forum will host sustainable parking lots preliminary site master plan development workshops open to the public.
The overall project goal is to improve and revitalize parking lots in downtown east Dearborn with leading-edge green practices and new technology.
These elements are intended to improve the functionality, performance and benefits of the public parking lots.
The plans include improving walkability with contrasting colored or textured pavement, visitor experience by providing shade with trees, seating spaces, new signs and navigation signals.
Also included is optimizing vehicle access and parking with a tailored number and location of parking availability as well as integrating bicycle use and improving safety, visibility with better light quality.
Featured in the finished project will be a primary ecological engineering with an objective to balance water locally, green infrastructure strategies to allow rainwater to be slowed, cooled, cleansed, stored and infiltrated.
Also proposed is permeable pavers as the surfacing for the sidewalks and driving surfaces which are less costly to maintain over time and allow for design flexibility.
The two-day planning workshops will include lectures and presentations, large group discussions and breakout topical work sessions where the public is invited to give their input.
Both workshops will be held in the City Council chambers inside the Dearborn Administrative Center, 16901 Michigan Ave.
The first workshop will be from 8 a.m. to 5:30 p.m. July 20 and the second from 8 a.m. to noon July 21.
Day one will feature initial brainstorming to provide a parking plan that will enhance or create a downtown experience and sense of place for visitors and customers through site development and enhancement solutions.
Also during day one will be a break into small groups and brainstorm for potential planning, infrastructure and development scenarios for land use, water, energy and materials.
Topics that will be presented during day one will include retail and city opportunities, integrated green development, vision for water, energy and wellness, ecology, branding, background information and expected outcomes.
Day two will focus on refinements and finalization of a preferred concept plan, site infrastructure, green building strategies, site plan components and financial opportunities.
Topics to be discussed on day two will be a review of day one findings, issues or concerns, financial opportunities, phased approach to implementation and preliminary budgets for each phase.
“The overall project will allow the spaces to be more functional and comfortable for visitors,” EDDDA Executive Director Michael Bewick said. “It will enable the parking lots to have multiple uses and allow for events, fairs and festivals to take place.”
(Zeinab Najm can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.)