8 Mile-Woodward Improvement Project

HISTORY

Residents near the 8 Mile/Woodward area have, for some time now, expressed concern and frustration about the conditions of the intersection. Teams from both cities have attempted to address these conditions, as well as the challenges faced by the individuals who rely on the intersection for shelter and/or a source of income via panhandling. These efforts have been unable to achieve more than short-term cleanups, nor have they succeeded in addressing the issues of persistent homelessness and panhandling.

A comprehensive improvement plan for a project like 8 Mile and Woodward takes extensive planning and research; while it may have seemed static, the Cities of Ferndale and Detroit have been working with partner agencies to address the intersection's challenges since 2018.

Beginning in February of 2018, the Cities of Detroit and Ferndale, along with MDOT and several nonprofit organizations (8MBA, Southwest Housing Solutions, Community Housing Network, and South Oakland Shelter), engaged in a pilot program to address concerns regarding homelessness and blight at 8 Mile and Woodward. The group engaged in concentrated efforts around cleanliness and safety, human services, and outreach and engagement. Of note:

  • The Cities of Ferndale and Detroit Public Works Departments and MDOT performed weekly-to-biweekly maintenance visits, removing and disposing of unclaimed litter and debris accumulating in areas that limited use of pedestrian pathways and/or generated code/blight issues or roadway safety concerns.
  • Cleanup was limited to avoid removing or disposing of anything resembling personal possessions.
  • Southwest Solutions, Community Housing Network, and the South Oakland Shelter collectively coordinated weekly visits with a Housing-First approach to engage persons at the corner and identify opportunities for connection to services and resources related to mental health, housing, and other routes of assistance. Sustained offers of resources were not accepted by most individuals.
  • We found that residents, particularly Ferndale residents, were providing—in a spirit of generosity toward those in need—a majority of the food and possessions that often become litter and debris at the intersection. An opportunity exists to offer best practices and reliable information on how charitable giving can be best channeled for maximum positive benefit to the persons at this corner.

PROJECT SCOPE

Using what the teams have learned during our involvements since 2018, the Cities of Detroit and Ferndale are moving forward with a plan to install physical improvements at the 8 Mile and Woodward intersection, and improve health and human services outcomes for the people who reside there. The proposed activities provide an opportunity to build on past work and formally establish an artistic, lighted “front door” welcome to the Cities of Detroit and Ferndale, creating a safe and welcoming environment for pedestrians and vehicles.  

GOALS

  1. Beautify the intersection: Our objective will be the beautification, branding, lighting, and artistic “welcome” signage of both cities on each side of the underside of the bridge; to invigorate this area in a way that highlights the ingenuity, creativity, collaboration, and resiliency of the Cities of Ferndale and Detroit.
  2. Improve safety: The area is currently dark and uninviting to pedestrians, vehicles, and cyclists. Improving lighting will be a critical element to the success of this installation.
  3. Account for the history: The Woodward/8 mile Bridge is the first tri-level intersection in the state of Michigan. The bridge was received Historic designation, and it will be important that any implementation be contained within the interior of the bridge.
  4. Establish a plan to improve outcomes for homeless and panhandling persons at the Intersection. Detroit and Ferndale will collectively commit staff resources to the pursuit of long-term positive outcomes, in partnership with appropriate agencies and organizations, to address chronic homelessness and panhandling at the intersection.

REQUEST FOR PROPOSAL

This Request for Proposals (RFP) is an opportunity for any interested respondent, paired with a licensed architect, to compete for the opportunity to install improvements to the 8 Mile and Woodward intersection. Proposals are due on October 23, 2020 and submission instructions are within the document.

The preliminary budget for the project is $100,000 - this is a placeholder figure to give respondents an idea of the amount of potential resources that will be allocated to the project, helping make sure that what is designed can actually be implemented. Neither the City of Detroit nor the City of Ferndale has formally allocated funds to this project. Potential funding sources are currently being identified.

The RFP can be found here.


COMMITMENT TO SUPPORT FOR CHRONIC HOMELESSNESS

The City of Ferndale shares the City of Detroit's desire to improve conditions at this intersection for the benefit of all. The City of Ferndale will not allocate funds to this project unless a satisfactory project scope and RFP are issued for a complementary effort to engage and support the persons at this intersection facing chronic homelessness and other challenges. The City of Detroit is actively working with us and other partners on that complementary effort, with a goal of scheduling a community progress update in early to mid October 2020. Please email operations@eightmile.org with questions and continue to check this page for updates.

CONTACT

For more information, please contact Ferndale Director of Community and Economic Development Jordan Twardy.

Frequently Asked Questions:

  • What is a Planned Unit Development (PUD)? This is a form of planning allows for flexibility and creativity in normal zoning requirements. There are several requirements developers must fulfill in order to qualify for this type of project. Those requirements are:
  • How can I review the documents for this project? There is a copy of the environmental reports as provided by the development team, as well as key contacts available at the Ferndale Public Library. Otherwise, there is a set of key project links found on the right side of this page. Can't find what you are looking for? Feel free to contact the CED Department at ced@ferndalemi.gov.