Downtown Royal Oak is looking to transform five blocks of alleyway into a pedestrian-friendly pathway.
The alley runs behind the buildings on the east side of Main Street. One block, from 2nd to 3rd Street, has already received an aesthetic upgrade, with patterned stamped concrete recently installed. The block connecting 2nd Street and 11 Mile Road is next.
The city has hired the firm Fleis & VandenBrink to draft a master plan to design the alley that connects 3rd and 6th streets, which would add three more blocks to the redeveloped alleyway system.
Royal Oak, which recently joined the Oakland County Main Street program, has applied for "technical assistance" dollars from the county to pay Fleis & VandenBrink. That request is currently under review.
Central Park Development Group, the developer responsible for the Royal Oak City Center project, inspired the program after having initiated the cleanup of the alley that runs adjacent to the eventual structure. The city quickly got on board.
While still making room for deliveries and dumpsters, the alleys will be cleaned up and made attractive to pedestrians. There will be public art and hanging cantina lights.
Sean Kammer, Downtown Manager for the Royal Oak Downtown Development Authority, says that some restaurants are already planning patios for the revamped alleyway.
"The main thing is that we’re giving some much-needed attention to our alleys that are in need of repairs and upgrades. But we’re also taking pedestrian conditions into account," Kammer says.
"The alleyway project will help with walkability and non-motorized connectivity."
The first phase is complete. Now it’s on to the rest.
Kammer is confident that the alleyway project will receive approval from Oakland County. Then comes the design. And then the construction.
"When all is said and done, we will have ornate alleys from 11 Mile to 6th Street," Kammer says.
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