DDA Picks Two Firms for Streetscape Planning

SmithGroupJJR and Nelson\Nygaard have been selected by the Ann Arbor Downtown Development Authority to work on a streetscape plan for the city’s downtown. Action to select the two firms came at the DDA board’s Nov. 6, 2013 meeting.

A budget for the project was authorized by the board at its July 3, 2013 meeting – $200,000 over the next two years. The Nov. 6 resolution sets a not-to-exceed amount of $150,000 and indicates that the project scope still requires refinement. The resolution establishing the budget referred in general terms to the DDA’s development plan, which the resolution characterized as including “identity, infrastructure, and transportation as key strategies, and also recognized that an enjoyable pedestrian experience is one of downtown’s principal attractions.”

The downtown streetscape framework plan, according to the July 3 resolution, would “align with these strategies, as it would address quality of place in streetscape design, on-going maintenance, and private development projects.” The July 3 resolution indicated there would be considerable collaboration with other entities like the city of Ann Arbor, the Ann Arbor Area Transportation Authority, and the University of Michigan. The benefit of having a streetscape framework plan, according to the July 3 resolution, would be “shortened planning phases, and thus cost, for future streetscape projects due to the overarching plan guidance.”

The most recent streetscape project completed by the DDA related to improvements on Fifth and Division, which included a lane reduction and bump-outs.

SmithGroupJJR provided consulting support for the DDA’s Connecting William Street project. Nelson\Nygaard is the consulting firm the DDA hired to study the parking system, resulting in a 2007 report.

This brief was filed from the DDA offices at 150 S. Fifth Ave., Suite 301, where the DDA board holds its meetings. A more detailed report of the meeting will follow: [link]