Beckett and Raeder, Inc. was retained by the Ann Arbor Downtown Development Authority to develop design plans for Fifth Avenue and Division Street in Downtown Ann Arbor. These two streets form a one-way pair traversing the downtown in a north south direction, linking several different neighborhoods including historic residential neighborhoods, Kerrytown, Community High School, the governmental zone, Washington and Liberty Street retail districts, the Public Library, some University of Michigan properties, and student residential areas.
A primary goal of the plan was to change the culture of the streets from a primarily vehicular route to a pedestrian and bicycle friendly route while still handling the projected traffic loads for the two streets. Lane widths were modified, on-street parking was increased, bike lanes were added, and pedestrian streetscape enhancements were proposed.
The design strengthens gateways at the north and south entrances to the corridor and emphasizes the unique character of special areas along the corridors. Core intersections where these two streets cross the heart of downtown were improved to create a more welcoming environment for visitors. Special pavement throughout the intersection and crosswalks, improved lighting and pedestrian amenities were proposed. Street bump-outs were proposed the length of the corridor where on-street parking had been accommodated.
The Historic Kerrytown area was proposed to have a brick street with portions of the street raised to the top of curb elevation and contrasting brick bike lanes. Public plaza spaces and an overhead Tivoli lighting trellis were proposed for Kerrytown to tie it together with the adjacent Community High School and Ann Arbor Farmer’s Market and give the area the feel of a single community events space.