Skip to comments.Is the Woodward Loop hurting Pontiac's downtown?
Posted on 03/03/2012 6:24:40 PM PST by Darren McCarty
Its been called the Woodward Loop and Wide Track Drive.
Its also been cited as the reason for downtown Pontiacs struggle to survive, circling traffic around local merchants and restaurants.
Oakland County planners are trying to figure out ways to attract traffic into downtown Pontiac, rather than have traffic diverted around the downtown district.
The public is invited to attend a meeting with local government officials, planners, residents and business owners to discuss how to fix what many argue has become a barrier for the neighborhoods and surrounding communities.
Funding for the effort was through a $300,000 Sustainable Communities Challenge Grant awarded to Oakland County Planning and Economic Development Services.
Oakland County is contributing a $104,000 match in in-kind staff services for the project.
The Michigan Department of Transportation also has been assisting with support.
Representatives from these groups have been meeting since December, working on what has become the Downtown Pontiac Transportation Assessment.
The exact outcome of the project is difficult to predict, said Dan Hunter, deputy director of Economic Development and Community Affairs for Oakland County.
It is looking at how best to connect downtown and then the flow of traffic downtown, so it is pretty exciting to at least look at doing things a bit different, Hunter said. Weve had the Loop and Wide Track ever since urban renewal. Maybe there are ways to improve that accessibility.
(Excerpt) Read more at theoaklandpress.com ...
Jackhammer up the street.
Now Pontiac can mail me a check for $404,000.00 and everyone will be happy.
So, let's see, 23 million in likely mostly federal funds to develop 60 rental units, plus a market and a gym. Even if you're assuming one heck of a great gym building and market building, that's $234,000 per unit build cost for rental units that will rent between $580 and $1160 a month. Pretty sure you'd be hard pressed to get a home loan for $234,000 of anyone's money and only pay $1160 a month for it.
I was once asked by someone what I would do if I could go back and do it all again, not caring about my personal morals, just how to get stinking rich. I would have held on to my Apple stock, then used the money to start a 'public redevelopment consulting firm' and simply raked in the taxpayer's money.
And every time I hear about how hard it'd be to cut the federal debt, I think of wastes of my tax money like this one.
Personally I’d run from anything labeled “sustainable”.
If your business depends on other than local traffic, move it to the new thoroughfare...
$580 a month? I could rent in Farmington Hills for that, much better area than Pontiac.
All the really great beer joints with the outstanding 2 AM hamburgers disappeared within weeks of these "rush hour only" bypasses going into operation.
It isn't so much that the bypasses "bypassed" these older business districts, it's that they CUT OFF all the access streets into the district, or, if built overhead, created an instant "Oh my gawd it's a dangerous poorly lit alley" situation UNDER the bypass in dozens of crossings.
I'm not sure what was on the planners minds other than copying over the layouts proposed for the first such "downtown bypass".
A better solution would have been to simply run the bypass through nearby residential districts.
Whether it was ISOLATED with a fence, or open to other traffic, high speed roads are not a good mix with pedestrians within 8 to 16 feet.
Typical leftist bureaucrat think- the problem isn’t that people don’t want to go downtown its just we haven’t found a way to make them.
Where does the money for the lofts come from? Sounds like a waste of money and a bad investment.
Federal funds - IE: You and me, FRiend. We get to pay for this boondoggle. (Typically, that means the feds put up 75-80 percent, and local 'redevelopment agencies' put up the remainder. Of course, redevelopment agencies get their money from seizing it from the public, so same thing in the long run.
Yes and the same thing had a large contributing factor to the demise of downtown Detroit.
I was born and raised in Pontiac. Most of my family worked at Pontiac Motors back in the day. The city has been in decline since the mid 80’s with the loss of jobs at GM. Pontiac is just another GM boom-bust ghost town along the I-75 corridor, with the likes of Flint, Lansing, Saginaw, and Bay City. I left there a long time ago, and never looked back.
I grew up near a city in North Carolina, that was fairly wealthy from Reconstruction onward and did numerous things as far as public works that were surprising, given the era and location. There were several European style traffic circles, for instance. One of the first cross-town limited access multilane highways. But, nothing but complaints, that’s what I remember.
So, after who knows how many decades, the traffic circles were ripped out and replaced with conventional multilane intersections and traffic signals. A bypass was built. But, a downtown revival appears to have actually taken root there anyway, it’s cheap by national standards, and being old and fairly wealthy back in the day, there is a wide variety of interesting architecture, well kept, to convert to residential space. The sections of town with higher crime rates are, as luck or design would have it, on the other side of that old downtown, crosstown highway, so in and out isn’t easy for many of those with potential criminal intent and patrolling is made simpler.
That’s not to say that the downtown didn’t die between the seventies and just a decade or so ago, it did. What killed it was the advent of enclosed suburban shopping malls. Those have finally fallen out of favor. Correcting all the urban planning road nonsense did help, losing all the confusing one way streets, lane dividers, supposedly scenic landscape plantings that did nothing but kill business due to loss of parking. The fools failed to realize that downtown businesses need customers, and that they just aren’t going to circle the block forever for a space nearby, or park in a parking deck four blocks away and walk every time they stopped in. They just stopped stopping in.
And now, traffic circles are all the rage, lol. They’re putting them in all over. Urban planners are just as fickle and irrational as your garden variety mall rat shopping addict.
Actually Downtown Detroit isn’t all that bad. Now go outside of downtown and it’s another story.
My dad, now in his 70’s, worked at the Mud Farm. He was born and raised in Pontiac (both my grandfathers worked for Pontiac and Fisher Body)’ graduated from Pontiac Northern, and remembers when The Mall went in. He describes a city I couldn’t even imagine. Maybe that’s why I grew up in Lake Orion and later, Clarkston.
Money isn’t the problem. It never is. But it’s easier to blame poverty than the real reasons for the decline.
Has the “Avoid Ghetto” app been causing Pontiac this much trouble already???/s
Lake Orion, Clarkston, Oxford, Drayton Plains, and Waterford might as well have been on a different planet as far as I’m concerned. I was born and raised in a GM town. If you lived in Pontiac, you either drove a Pontiac, a Chevy, or a broken down Huffy. Pontiac is-was a GM boom town, along with all of the rest. I left Michigan this year after 40 years, and I’m not looking back. I’ve been a shop rat long enough.
Darren Thanks for the post. MDOT is re doing the major in and out roads. So at least you can leave in a hurry. LOL