A request for proposals (RFP) was released by Detroit’s Planning and Development Department last month to develop a Framework Plan for the Joe Louis Greenway. Many teams will be applying for this project. Proposals are due November 8th.
The Coalition has a long history with the greenway but we purposely chose not to be on any given team. We’re not on the proposal review team either.
Instead we’re offering these suggestions on what we would to see in the Joe Louis Greenway Framework Design proposals.
An effective, inclusive community engagement strategy.
This is a lengthy greenway that passes through many diverse neighborhoods. It’s critical that the public outreach covers the geography and diversity of the residents, businesses, and other stakeholders along the entire corridor. We’re not aware of any local project that has faced such a challenge and we’re not sure if there’s a national example. We would expect a winning team would have a substantial, successful background of similar community engagement and be able to define a viable strategy for this project. The strategy should define the expected levels of participation by various stakeholders, the methods and resources to be employed to ensure expected and engaged participation, and how processes will be measured to determine outreach success and whether improvement is needed along the way.
A design team that can handle the constrained sections.
The greenway needs a family-friendly design. That shouldn’t be too challenging for much of the trail that travels along the former railroad property. However, there are segments in Southwest Detroit and Hamtramck that primarily use constrained road right-of-way where options become limited. For a more specific example, consider the current bike lane route on W. Vernor intersects with Dix and Waterman. It’s a non-motorized nightmare. Does the design team have the experience to design these areas?
We’re also interested in seeing how the teams plan to address the culture and history along the greenway. How can the greenway honor the legacy of Joe Louis?
Lastly, since it is a green way, we’re wanting to see a team capable of creative, sustainable design strategies for green stormwater infrastructure and other landscaping – and how to maintain them. The Joe Louis Greenway is a great opportunity to improve the lives of Detroiters while also improving the natural environment.