Council approves next iteration of Ferndale Moves program

By: Mike Koury | Woodward Talk | Published May 29, 2021

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FERNDALE — On April 26, the Ferndale City Council approved the adoption of its Ferndale Moves Mobility Plan.

The plan follows the first Ferndale Moves Mobility Plan that was adopted in 2014, which put in place the city’s vision for creating multimodal transportation projects and making Ferndale a better place to walk, bike and take transit. The plan also resulted in the city receiving more than $2 million in grant funding to support corresponding projects related to Ferndale Moves.

The 2021 plan was drafted to, according to city documents, update “the community’s mobility plan to equitably reflect current and future mobility needs.” Ferndale worked with Toole Design Group in designing the plan.

In a presentation delivered to council, the plan was outlined as being built on four goals that would shape mobility in Ferndale. The goals cover the environment and decreasing emissions by prioritizing and investing in energy-efficient transportation options, and community life and connecting Ferndale’s key destinations with a network of safe, comfortable streets that make daily travel an enjoyable aspect of community life.

The goals also highlight equity and regional mobility. Kristin Saunders, a senior planner with Toole Design Group, said equity is a major component in all of the recommendations.

“That is just to really prioritize non-automobile transportation options for people that have been historically underrepresented in the planning process, and in the transportation planning process and decision-making,” she said.

Saunders said regional mobility will be important for Ferndale as a community within the larger metro Detroit area. The goal is to “promote and improve public transit and high-quality biking connections to economic centers throughout the entire region.”

“How do Ferndale residents get to and from Ferndale, but also how do people travel to and from the greater region?” she said. “One major component you see throughout the recommendations is just the need to work with your neighbors and to kind of build those relationships so that some of the bigger projects that are impactful to Ferndale can happen.”

The city’s plan gave recommendations for future policies, projects and upgrades in Ferndale. This includes 80 infrastructure projects, which consist of bike lanes, pavements markings or signal upgrades; 42 crossing upgrades; and three priority projects.

The priority projects are the Woodward Avenue Complete Streets project, a project on the Hilton Road corridor for slow zones, and a traffic calming toolbox.

Mayor Melanie Piana asked City Planner Justin Lyons during the meeting how the slow zones policy would work. Lyons said traffic calming requests have increased over the years, and, particularly during the COVID-19 pandemic, there has been a spike in speeding around the city.

Lyons further stated that the general approach to slow zones would be a hybrid approach of the current program, which is petition-based, and something more of a proactive approach on the city’s part.

“We’ve seen some continued issues on some wider streets, some streets that are near parks, some streets that are near schools, where we do feel like coming up with a policy to share with City Council on being proactive with certain streets like that,” he said. “Sharing those plans where the city can get out ahead of issues and take care of some issues that we think, you know, if it’s a particularly long stretch of a corridor or something like that where it would be onerous on a resident to ask for petitions on a very long street.

“We still would have the petition process because there are certain streets where it can be contentious and some folks are a bit divided on if they would like to have a speed bump on their street,” he continued. “We sort of adjusted this process a little bit last year where we would provide the actual concept design with the petition so people — residents on the street — would know what they are signing up for in the future.”

Aside from speed bumps, traffic calming techniques that Ferndale is looking into consist of curb extensions, or “bump outs,” and pedestrian refuge islands, which the city’s website describes as “a protected space in a center lane to allow pedestrians to cross only one direction of traffic at a time. It can also serve to narrow roadway and calm traffic.”

To review the 2021 Ferndale Moves Mobility Plan, visit