Schiffer Park, named in honor of former Mayor Henry Schiffer, is on track to see improvements and updates after concept plans received City Council approval June 25.

Schiffer Park, named in honor of former Mayor Henry Schiffer, is on track to see improvements and updates after concept plans received City Council approval June 25.

Rendering by Hamilton Anderson Associates, provided by the city of Ferndale


Schiffer Park update to eliminate lane on Planavon, add seating and greenery

By: Mike Koury | Woodward Talk | Published July 11, 2018

 Along with an expanded park and new seating, the right-turn-only lane on Planavon Street will be eliminated to make room for the park expansion.

Along with an expanded park and new seating, the right-turn-only lane on Planavon Street will be eliminated to make room for the park expansion.

Rendering by Hamilton Anderson Associates, provided by the city of Ferndale

FERNDALE — The corner of West Nine Mile Road and Planavon Street has seen massive changes for more than a year with the construction of Ferndale Haus.

Even more changes will be coming with the expansion and improvement of Schiffer Park. The Ferndale City Council approved the concept plan for the expansion and improvement at its June 25 meeting.

Megan Diecchio, a landscape architect with Hamilton Anderson Associates, presented concepts and plans for the park during the meeting. The ideas included removing the right-turn-only lane on Planavon, which would extend the plaza by up to 21 1/2 feet and add more than 2,000 square feet. Two on-street parking spaces also would be removed.

According to a traffic impact study, removing the lane would increase the average delay by 1.7 seconds in the morning peak hour, and 2 seconds in the evening peak hour.

Diecchio said that one of the things the design firm heard from people is that Schiffer Park, named for former Mayor Henry Schiffer, is an outdoor space where things tend to happen downtown.

“There’s a lot of events happening on Planavon — streets getting closed — and this is an opportunity to build some infrastructure into the redesign of the park to support those many activities,” she said during the meeting.

Other plans for the park include adding more trees and greenery, seating and tables, and a raised wooden platform.

The council had some concerns about the traffic study and the elimination of the right-turn-only lane on Planavon; namely, whether the added traffic with the tenants of Ferndale Haus was factored into the study.

City staff told the council it was, but staff will double check the study and report to council if there is anything more to address at a meeting. Council voted 4-1 to approve the plans, with Councilman Dan Martin voting against, saying he’s wasn’t comfortable approving the plans at that point.

“It’s already a very difficult drive through that area, and I know construction adds to that,” he said. “There’s a lot of, ‘We’ll take that into consideration, we’ll talk to these folks,’ that to me are still key to the concept, and I’m just not comfortable approving it at that level.”

“Pending satisfactory answer of those questions, I think that most of us felt it wouldn’t be too disruptive to remove that lane,” Mayor Dave Coulter told C & G Newspapers.

Coulter said the potential disruption in traffic was the only issue for him on this project. Otherwise, he said it was a positive addition to the downtown.

“(It) will be a focal point for people to gather in that downtown space,” he said. “It’s frankly something that’s sorely lacking in our downtown, is a gathering space like that.”

“It’s a small park, and this will make it a little bigger, but it’s still considered a micro park. It’s not big enough to do the things we do in our other parks, but it’s large enough to be a significant gathering place. We’ll be able to do recreational programming like yoga, music and things of that nature. So it’s large enough to be an attraction,” he said.