Brigitte Smith Wolf, assistant planner with McKenna Associates, talks to a group gathered at Christian Trinity Church in Eastpointe to hear information and plans for Kelly Road through the Complete Streets Corridor Plan March 21.

Brigitte Smith Wolf, assistant planner with McKenna Associates, talks to a group gathered at Christian Trinity Church in Eastpointe to hear information and plans for Kelly Road through the Complete Streets Corridor Plan March 21.

Photo by Patricia O’Blenes

Three cities working on plan for Kelly Road

By: Brian Wells | Roseville-Eastpointe Eastsider | Published April 4, 2024


EASTPOINTE — The cities of Eastpointe, Harper Woods and Detroit are working together to come up with a plan to redesign a stretch of Kelly Road.

Since the fall of 2023, representatives from the three cities, along with members of the Kelly Road Corridor Improvement Steering Committee, have been creating designs for Kelly Road between Seven Mile and 10 Mile roads. The designs are aimed at improving public spaces, seating and lighting options; better multimodal transportation pathways and safer traffic circulation; and adding landscaping and green stormwater infrastructure.

“The goals of the project are multifaceted and earned the project a (Southeast Michigan Council of Governments) Planning Grant in mid-2023,” Eastpointe Economic Development Manager Ian McCain said in an email. “Some of the broader goals are to support existing and to attract new businesses to the corridor, implement equal access through Complete Streets design, market and brand the corridor as a regional destination and enhance and expand greenspace areas with new trees and green stormwater infrastructure.”

On March 21, the steering committee held a public engagement session to show proposed plans and receive feedback from the community. Brigitte Smith Wolf, an associate planner for McKenna Associates, said that between 40 and 50 people from all three cities attended the session.

“The project is rooted in feedback received before this Complete Streets Corridor Improvement project even began, such as feedback in Harper Woods’ 2022-2023 Master Planning process, feedback from the City of Eastpointe 2022-2023 Zoning Ordinance process, visions of creating a neighborhood downtown, and even from engagement during the 9 Mile Redesign project,” Smith Wolf said in an email. “Engaging the public in the development of the vision for Kelly Road is important to ensure the needs and interest of a diverse range of users is included in the redesign.”

McKenna is working with the three municipalities to facilitate the project as well as prepare the redesign concept, conduct public engagement sessions and draft reports.

Smith Wolf also said they wanted the opportunity to inform the community about the benefits of different design elements being considered, such as how roadway designs can improve traffic safety and have the potential to create a more vibrant public space.

“Once the Steering Committee created the framework for the Kelly Road redesign project and assembled feasible redesign to accomplish these goals, it was imperative to gauge public interest in the direction of the project,” she added.

In addition to the public engagement session, the committee has been gathering feedback from an online survey, which Smith Wolf said has received more than 110 responses.

Smith Wolf said that most of the feedback has been “overwhelmingly supportive” and constructive. Much of the feedback creates a consensus that while there are many great, long-standing and new businesses along Kelly Road, on-street parking and additional infrastructure elements need to be upgraded, she said. Many of the responses indicate that residents feel it is not pedestrian friendly and there are too many parking lots, and those lots are in poor condition, she said.

“Overall, people were supportive of the elements included in the redesign and our efforts to make Kelly Road more user-friendly and aesthetically-pleasing,” she said.

Smith Wolf said additional ideas were brought forward at the public engagement session, including roundabouts being added at several intersections and that the median on Kelly Road south of Eight Mile Road be widened to make way for a linear park. It has also been recommended that the bicycle lane be shifted to the residential side of Kelly Road rather than between the sidewalk and on-street parking.

Further action on engaging with the public for input, as well as action on designing and implementing different ideas, will depend on public and grant funding being pursued, Smith Wolf said.

While the city of Eastpointe saw strong opposition regarding the city’s Nine Mile Road diet that eventually was retracted, McCain said much of the feedback regarding this project has been positive. He said residents “seem much more excited” about this project because they believe it is the better place to reimagine elements of the road.

“Even through pushback in-person and on social media, residents have sounded off that they would prefer and be more open to road changes on Kelly verses Nine Mile,” he said. “While there will always be folks that are critical or opposed to the project, the response in-person and via the survey has been overwhelmingly positive.”

McCain said the steering committee will continue to engage the communities going forward.