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New D's Landmark: Michigan Central Station(MCS) Rail Line Park - Future Connection of High Demand Parking Spaces and A Public Place for Fun

The proposal focuses on a solution for the parking for 5000 new Ford EV center employees and more, and reboot the underused rail line area.

Photo of Amy Z
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Written by

The new increasing vehicle traffic for the new business and office center will add over 5000 people to the location for the job, plus the neighborhood traffic flow comes to visit this area. However, if all vehicles came and park next to the building, at peak hours, the road lanes will be congested. For example, it will be hard for people to drive cars out at afternoon off-work peak hours; or drive into the parking lot at a special event.  

Our idea is to find several locations that are currently underdeveloped but very close to the roadway to enter and exit the area from North, East and West directions to serve as the parking lots - weekdays serve for the employees work in the building; weekdays serve for the residents and tourists who visit the Rail Line Park. The Rail Line Park design inspired by the Highline Rail's connection and placemaking and the employee activity space of Google and Amazon employee building - the Spheres. The Park is proposed to have a four-season landscape, rest, eating places, such as food pantry, and gathering spaces for the ford employees during weekdays and for the public during weekends.

By rational arrange the parking locations by choosing the dead corners along the raised railway, the area can be capable of a traditional and EV car users, and commuting cars won't drive into the streets that eliminate the usage of the road and lowered city's cost of future road maintenance. Then the Park with short walk distance, considering common and disability drivers' needs, adds a healthy working mode by this small amount of walk exercise but can get food on the way and sit enjoy the city view at different times of the day. Thirdly, parking a little further but closer to the local business area will create more opportunities to attract new businesses. It also makes employees more easily consume in the Detroit neighborhood before leave back home. Fourthly, the unique park elevation and features will create the main attraction for people live around the neighborhoods and the area the roadway can connect to, such as thousands of students from Education Institutes such as UDM-Dental and Wayne State, where the bike lane can easily build the connection. 

How will your solution benefit residents, workers, or visitors in the Michigan Central Station impact area? (1,000 characters)

Overview of our solution, we can solve the instant need for parking and in the concerned area. The radiation effect of the placemaking will be expected to add surprisingly opportunities and return of investment to various parties, including current and new business, neighborhood residents, urban farms and the City of Detroit.

Describe your solution's stage of development

  • Initial Design - you are still exploring the idea and have not tested it with users

Tell us about your team or organization (500 characters)

Amy Xiao Zhou, Bachelor and Master's in Urban Planning(WSU), and current Ph.D. student at Transportation Research Group of Department of Civil & Environmental Engineering of Wayne State. She has a passion for urban design. Several projects used to win the WSU Hackathon, design competitions and city bids in Detroit and China. Shaniqua Gibson, current urban planning graduate student from WSU, 2019 APA Scholarship winner. She wishes to learn more here to grow more.

Size of your team or organization

  • 2-10

Team or Organization URL

LandMaya-WSU Design Interest Group

Are you submitting as a student team?

  • Yes

Are you submitting as a team from the Impact Area?

  • No

Funding Request

  • $250,000

Rough Budget (500 characters)

In general, the high standard of a bike lane, includes landscape elements such as seeding and mulch, is $50K/mile. Overlay existing concrete with granular surface with one layer of subbase, and one layer of surfacing is $1/sqft, the total area resurfaces as a plaza is about 13,100 sqft. The bike/Segway lane total estimate 0.91 mile. Considering three lanes for bikes sharing with Segway, two way with a cut-in center lane. The sidewalk considers bikelane styles for cost estimation. Max Cost: $273K

Describe how you would pilot your idea (1000 characters)

One plan is to contact the City of Detroit's Joe Louis Greenway project team for project resources. Another option is to get quotes from local contractors and select the best proposal. During the construction phase, our team will add more Graduate students with construction management knowledge. The pilot construction phase will closely consult the professors who specialty on Construction Management at Dept. of Civil & Environmental Engineering, to manage the whole construction phase, from budget to task time control with contractors and the Ford Mobility team. In this winter time, site clearing work could start. The seeding can cooperate with the Detroit Biodiversity Network base at WSU to grew buds in January, then plant at the site in the next spring. The other works based on weather temperature can work in the spring and summer period in 2020.

Describe how you would measure the success of your pilot (1000 characters)

In the next phase, on the one hand, we plan to work with Ford mobility and the community for the comprehensive design. To ensure the completion of the project, we will use RS means Data to detail the budget and contract the construction companies. The success of our pilot will measure that with the budget limit, the project with the complete pavement, mulch and seeding and safe to operate. On the other hand, we also need to contact RTA for the Detroit Downtown to Ann Arbor Rail project and add a signal lighting for a rail pass. By interviewing MCS construction crew members, we learnt that there are four to five trains pass each day using only two of the eighteen tracks; the other tracks are out of use. The train slows down when entering the station area, then speeds up after pass.

Sustainability Plan (500 characters)

The Park will need sustainable work on landscape enrichment. The budget can only cover the basic infrastructures to make the connection, the parking lot, and landscape structures such as benches, creativity workspaces, sculptures, lighting, plant maintenance, and other extra features will need more grants. The park will generate a high volume of visitors who will bring revenues of infrastructures, such as affordable parking, Cityview telescope, restaurants in the new MCS building, and so on.


Join the conversation:

Photo of dew dew

Nice plan! Wish this area can be prosperous soon, turn out to be an excellent place for working, eating, resting and sightseeing, wish you can include more chairs and other facilities...

Photo of Amy Z

Thanks for your feedback, @dew dew. We are glad to hear that people are buying our proposal! Public space and parking are important component for a health district, especially in the highly developed downtown area.

Photo of Mackenzie Fankell

Amy Z Thank you for sharing this proposal! Ilove the idea of incorporating green spaces for everyone to share. It sounds like this space would include increased parking, elevated walkways, and eateries. Will the parking be below the elevated walkways? Do you know where the walkways would begin and end? I would love to visualize this idea a little bit more. If you have an initial sketch of the idea, I would love to see it. I look forward to hearing more!

Photo of Amy Z

Thanks for your response, @Mackenzie Fankell! I am glad to hear our idea has support. It gives us more courage to work on our proposal. :) We are drawing the visual map now and will upload it soon. I do think in a further phase, it is applicable to excavate some earthwork under the elevated walkway. But it is more costly when involving in earthwork. Considering it is not worthy of high cost at excavation unless there runs out of space options to use for parking. Our proposal designed the parking lots using the current vacant lots which are easily to repurpose.