GRDC to Build the Largest Roundabout in Metro Detroit
Anyone who lives, works, or visits Grandmont Rosedale is familiar with the troublesome intersection of Grand River, Fenkell, and the Southfield Freeway. This busy intersection makes for a treacherous crossing for pedestrians and bicyclists as well as a dicey thoroughfare for drivers. As the intersection is in the heart of Grandmont Rosedale, Grandmont Rosedale Development Corporation has taken on the challenge of creating not just safer streets, but a new recreational attraction sure to draw residents and visitors alike. GRDC will soon begin construction on a roundabout – the first roundabout in Detroit, and the largest roundabout in Metro Detroit, the Grandmont Rosedale Grand River Recreational Roundabout Project (GRGR3P).
A REVOLUTION IN PLACEMAKING
To increase foot traffic and to highlight Grandmont Rosedale as a destination neighborhood, the interior of the roundabout will be transformed into a placemaking space – a revisioning of this challenging public space into a communal area that will strengthen the connection between residents and their environment. The GRGR3P will take its inspiration from the residents of Grandmont Rosedale. Opportunities to share your ideas about how best to use the interior of the roundabout will be forthcoming at several community engagement meetings held both in-person and virtually. Whether you envision an outdoor art installation, a recreation space, or even a small orchard, GRDC wants to hear your ideas! Many small businesses in Grandmont Rosedale know that the slower the traffic the more likely it is that drivers will notice their business and consider doing some shopping. As traffic necessarily travels more slowly through a roundabout, your idea might be to include a small business or two inside the roundabout. The size of the roundabout will bring the speed limit on Grand River, Fenkell, and Southfield down to 45 mph. “GRGR3P will address traffic calming, interactive streetscape design, all the benefits of placemaking, and provide recreational activities that have never been in Grandmont Rosedale before,” says Program Director Becki Kenderes.
“I’m excited about the opportunities that the GRGR3P will bring to the neighborhood,” says Economic Development Manager Chelsea Salame, “it will be a great addition to our small business community.” GRDC’s Grand River WorkPlace, at 19120 Grand River, will be a short spin off the roundabout. Program Specialist JeNiece Freeman-Holt is looking forward to the increased awareness of the WorkPlace. “The WorkPlace could host a workshop on safe driving in a roundabout. That would be a first for us.”
GRANDMONT ROSEDALE COMMUNITY GARDEN CIRCLES IN TO HELP OUT
Since 2008, Grandmont Rosedale Neighborhood Garden volunteers have been working with and on the land at the Community Garden, very near to where the roundabout will be. Their expertise and sweat equity will be relied upon to design and lead the effort to create this new placemaking space. “There’s going to be a lot of dirt,” says Construction and Facilities Manager Tom Ridgway. If you would like to join the GRGR3P Committee, simply let us know. Home gardeners are also welcome to lend a hand.
GRDC intern Olivia Stillman sees this project as a chance to enhance her future employment opportunities: “It’s great to have well-rounded experience in the field of community development.” Intern Humiara Shordar likewise is looking forward to being a part of GRGR3P planning phase: “I’m just happy that I’m around for this!”
While GRDC is currently pursuing funding to complete this project, donations are being accepted on a number of giving levels: Drifters: up to $50, Sliders: $50 – $250, Screechers: $250 – $1000, and Sunday Funday Drivers: $1000 – $2500. “We’ll circle back with former donors and hopefully engage new ones who see the benefit of the GRGR3P and what to be a part of it,” says Operations Manager Jocelyn Moss. A Second Opportunity Special Assessment District (SOSAD) may be pursued as well. While funding is sought, GRDC staff are doing site visits at other roundabouts throughout metro Detroit, learning the best ways to make the GRGR3P a value added asset to our community. GRDC will be solving a transportation and streetscape problem while creating a new recreational space. Grandmont Rosedale won’t just be walkable, it will be roundaboutable.