Auburn corridor plan gets boost

Progress update for residents planned for Aug. 16

By: Linda Shepard | Rochester Post | Published August 13, 2018

ROCHESTER HILLS — A $10 million plan to create a vibrant main street-style district on Auburn Road is a little closer to realization, thanks to a recent funding award.

The Southeast Michigan Council of Governments’ Transportation Alternatives Program is providing almost $500,000 to help develop the Auburn Road streetscape, which was created following feedback from residents and a recent engineering study.  

“Our residents have provided a blueprint for a walkable, people-oriented area,” Rochester Hills Mayor Bryan Barnett said in a statement. “We look forward to creating a space where people can dine, shop and gather with friends in public spaces, and we thank SEMCOG for investing in our community.”

The Auburn Road corridor plan aims to deliver upgrades including wide sidewalks, benches, bike racks and street lighting to give Auburn Road a main street spirit between Culbertson and Dequindre roads.

The vision for improvements was inspired by residents’ feedback, helping to create a multiphase plan that enhances the identity, history and brand of the Auburn Road Brooklands neighborhood, according to city officials.

Future plans include strengthening the district as a unique destination, calming traffic and improving safety, creating a more walkable environment, encouraging development opportunities, and improving accessibility.

An engineering study by LSL Planning was finalized after well-received property owner meetings that addressed concerns that were implemented into the design, said Paul Davis, Rochester Hills engineering director. Last year, the Rochester Hills City Council approved a $75,000 project budget for the study, paid for with budgeted funds.

The study addresses elements designed to promote slower traffic speeds, alternative access and parking for commercial properties, and roundabouts — along with improved rear alleys, a stand-alone median island, on-street parallel parking and side street parking improvements.

“A major goal of the project is to make it pedestrian friendly,” Davis said.

Potential funding sources include state grants and transportation funds along with $3 million from the city’s general fund that is marked for local and major roads, the tree fund, and the safety path fund.

“There are a number of different options to achieve the funding goals for the project,” Davis said. A timeline identifies a 2019 construction season.

As the area is developed, city officials will continue to seek public feedback.

Residents are invited to join the city 4-7 p.m. Aug. 16 at the northwest corner of Auburn and Emmons roads to be updated on progress and to share their thoughts on the proposed streetscape features.

For more information on the project, visit www.rochesterhills.org.