A complete rebuilding and transformation of Evergreen Road, east of campus, will begin in May. During the 12 to 15 months of construction, the street will be upgraded to a four-lane boulevard with a landscaped median, bike path, stormwater mitigation, and mid-block crossings.
The $12.1 million project also includes underground utility upgrades, wayfinding signage, LED street lighting, and pedestrian-friendly amenities. It is being funded by the Michigan Department of Transportation, the City of Southfield, SEMCOG, and the Southfield City Centre.
Lawrence Technological University is part of the City Centre district, (www.southfieldcitycentre.com,) a roughly triangle-shaped area anchored by LTU’s 102-acre campus on the west, Evergreen Road on the east, Interstate 696 on the north, and Ten Mile Road on the south. The district’s boundary extends outward from this triangle to include Southfield’s municipal complex which has a wide variety of amenities ranging from the city hall and its events pavilion, to the city library, hockey arena used by Lawrence Tech teams, a golf course, and more.
In 1992, a special assessment was created to provide for operation, maintenance, and promotion within the City Centre district, including pedestrian amenities and facilitating economic development. LTU Vice President for Finance and Administration Linda Height serves on the citizens’ committee that helps oversee and encourage the District’s growth.
Height, Dean of Students Kevin Finn, Campus Architect Joe Veryser, Associate Professor of Architecture Constance Bodurow, and others at LTU are partnered with Mayor Brenda Lawrence, the City Council, Southfield Planner Terry Croad, and corporate and business neighbors in the city to develop the types of amenities that attract students and others, and build the 24/7 community and relationships that distinguish vibrant “college towns.” Bodurow’s design lab, studio[CI], which includes students, is playing an important role in helping to visualize and plan the district’s enhancements.
“Southfield’s City Centre’s evolution is designed around people and not just cars, with restaurants, shops, offices, apartments, public spaces, cultural institutions, and recreation all within convenient walking distance,” said Rochelle Freeman, Southfield’s business development manager.
The overriding goal is reinvention of the district into a walkable, pedestrian-friendly environment designed around people’s interests and lifestyles. The area’s market demand, employment base, and civic center, all within a 10-minute walking radius, creates a unique opportunity to develop a lifestyle center with broad appeal to additional restaurants and retailers.
Lawrence Tech took the lead in the first phase of a comprehensive array of public infrastructure improvements and pedestrian amenities including new pathways, decorative crosswalks, bus shelters, benches, trash receptacles, and bike racks. In 2012, the University helped fund improvements at the northeast corner of the campus that connect, via Civic Center Drive (10 1/2 Mile Road), to the rest of the district and the Arbor Lofts just off campus, where many students reside.