The Village of Oxford and it’s downtown have the unique opportunity to reevaluate the way the vehicles and people interact with our community. The Michigan Department of Transportation (MDOT) has elected to repave the section of M-24 that runs through Downtown Oxford, and through a series of grants and contributions, the Village of Oxford and the Oxford Downtown Development Authority (DDA) are investing in infrastructure improvements along the M-24 corridor that will improve a wide range of aspects of our community for decades to come.
To see this project through, and to ensure that as many different viewpoints are considered as possible, an “M-24 Taskforce” has been established to coordinate each phase of this complex project. The M-24 Taskforce is made up of local officials, residents, and stakeholders from around the area with the common goal of improving our community. The intent behind these proposed streetscape infrastructure improvements is to cultivate the pedestrian amenities, increase safety and comfort, as well as accent the welcoming environment that is Downtown Oxford. These improvements can be broken down into a few key categories.
Proposed Streetscape Design
The Downtown corridor has large volumes of vehicles moving at high speeds, making pedestrian movement more challenging and unappealing. By buffering sidewalks from passing vehicles with a variety of hardscape features, the area will not only improve its physical appearance, but will also improve the pedestrian safety aspects of the Downtown area. Some of the features will include:
- More accessible On-Street Parking
- Street trees & various forms of vegetation
- Planters, benches, and other physical amenities that separate pedestrians from passing vehicles.
Currently, all pedestrian traffic is routed to the intersection of Burdick and Washington streets to cross M-24. The streetscape plan that has been developed will provide for two additional crossings at non- signalized intersections. These new additions will assist pedestrian navigate throughout the downtown, making it easier and more comfortable for people to utilize everything that our Downtown has to offer.
Another major consideration for the redesign of Downtown Oxford is the mitigation of noise. The current combination of road and vehicle noise levels are above acceptable standards for a downtown, leading to a less comfortable experience for those navigating downtown. The proposed streetscape design includes hardscape elements that block and reflect these noises, as well as landscape elements to absorb and buffer the noise.
One of the most influential concerns that every Downtown faces is how to mitigate the high-volume of traffic that flows through their core. The current lane design that is being proposed for M-24 calls for 11’ lanes which is narrower than federal design standards, with the goal of encouraging through-traffic to slow down while traveling through the core of Downtown. Some of the other new pieces of physical infrastructure include:
- Raised Medians
- Street trees
- Street lights
- On street parking
These additions are designed to visually narrow the roadway, slowing traffic speeds in the Downtown and encourage a more pedestrian-friendly experience.
Sense of Place
Part of what makes Oxford unique is the special atmosphere of the community, especially in the Downtown area. This area developed around the core commercial district that serves as a hub for social gatherings, commerce, and a sense of community, and the M-24 project places a tremendous focus on highlighting that “sense of place” in Downtown Oxford. Some of the placemaking features will include: Increased sidewalk widths, installing hardscape and landscape features, as well as seating, lighting and other elements
- Increased sidewalk widths
- Planters & street trees
- Street, parking, and auxiliary lighting improvements
- Improved wayfinding signage
- Visually appealing and comfortable seating
These new features will frame the public spaces and promote a walkable, inviting area that looks and feels as special and unique as we know that it is.
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