The Traverse City Downtown Development Authority (DDA) needed a “fix” on a set of engineering documents for a dilapidated road in its Warehouse District. At the same time, Traverse City engineering officials sought to reimagine the corridor to promote inner-city connectivity and enhance the identity of an eclectic district The project challenge was to create a “blended, fully accessible street” that served pedestrians and automobiles with a clear right of use.
Fleis & Vandenbrink was hired to create a design for the Garland Street corridor. The Traverse City engineering project’s improvements in the Warehouse District included a brewery, art gallery and several other boutique business. We provided survey, engineering and design services for the improvement project. Limited curbs were used to create a “woonerf” environment.
Visual and audio sensory queues, such as texture, geometric pavement bands and serpentine center lines, helped to slow and calm traffic, making the area safer for pedestrians while incorporating art. Lighting will be incorporating industrial revolution styles, as well as market lighting, to create an interesting and comfortable atmosphere.
Art and industrial came together on Garland Street creating a unique identity for the non-traditional pedestrian-friendly area “like no other,” in Traverse City, according to DDA director, who helped craft the original plan. Before Garland Street was opened, it was hailed as a world-class “public square,” by business and community leaders, and as a magnet for bikers, families and strolling visitors.
The biggest benefit for the DDA and City is that in repurposing an industrial district they now have a new set of tools for future projects for enhancing business and creating an event and gathering place. During the ribbon-cutting ceremony, the chairman of the county’s Brownfield Redevelopment Authority said as much. “It’s just a glimpse of what was ahead,” for the City.
In 2016, the project won the “Placemaking Award” from the Grand Traverse County Chapter of Michigan Township Association and the Grand Traverse County Planning Commission.