Construction on Woodward Avenue 'road diet' set to resume in Ferndale

What’s happening: Construction is set to resume on the Woodward Moves project in Ferndale on Monday, March 20. The reimagining of this particular stretch of one of the country’s most iconic commercial corridors is expected to be completed in the late fall of 2023.

What it is: The Woodward Moves project will submit Ferndale and Pleasant Ridge’s stretch of Woodward Avenue – an interactive map is available online – to a road diet, removing one travel lane on each side of the avenue to make way for a more pedestrian-friendly corridor. The eight travel lanes will be reduced to six, with parking-protected bike lanes, shortened pedestrian crossings, and bus islands added to make the heavily trafficked corridor safer to walk along and across. Additional improvements include a complete resurfacing of the roadway, targeted improvements to curbs, accessible curb ramps, drainage upgrades, and more.

[Related: Read “Here's how road diets have transformed Metro Detroit – and where they're going next” on Metromode.]

What it does: The popular destination that is downtown Ferndale stretches across wide Woodward Avenue, and it’s not uncommon to see pedestrians rushing through the crosswalks to make it to the other side of the road or using the median to wait out oncoming traffic and take their chances crossing in between groups of cars. Officials expect that the Woodward transformation will make the corridor an even more attractive – and safer – place to shop, dine, and drink.

As Ferndale DDA Executive Director Lena Stevens said in a statement when the project first launched last October, “Enhancing the overall experience along Woodward will ultimately bring more foot traffic to Ferndale and encourage people to spend more time exploring all the city has to offer.”

Why it’s important: “This is a pivotal moment for this community,” Ferndale Mayor Melanie Piana said in October 2022. “Streets and communities where walking and biking is safe and accessible are areas where people thrive. This project is about letting Woodward Avenue evolve to meet the needs of the current and future residents, businesses, and visitors.”

Visit Ferndale Moves online to learn more about the Woodward Moves project and other transportation projects happening in the city.

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MJ Galbraith is a writer and musician living in Detroit. Follow him on Twitter @mikegalbraith.