Woodward Moves—a partnership of the City of Ferndale, the City of Pleasant Ridge, the Southeast Michigan Council of Governments (SEMCOG), and the Michigan Department of Transportation (MDOT)—is a road construction project designed to increase Ferndale’s mobility, safety, and inclusivity.
Woodward Moves will not only provide the much-needed re-pavement of the street itself, but also the chance to improve our City’s safety, foster economic prosperity for the entire community, and provide diverse and accessible opportunities for people to explore Ferndale and Pleasant Ridge. It will help Woodward Avenue evolve to meet the current and future needs of residents, business owners, and visitors.
DECEMBER 2023 UPDATE:
We’re SO excited...The structural work of Woodward Moves is complete and the orange barrels are going away. Now, what does this look like moving forward?
- Driving: The right lane of each side of Woodward has been converted to biking and parking—see the graphics below to identify the layout. Vehicles are not allowed in the bike lanes. Right turns can be made from the vehicle lane only, NOT through the bike lane. Pay careful attention to road signs and signals, other vehicles, bicyclists, and pedestrians.
- Bike lanes: The new bike lanes are still being striped. Permanent fixtures and additional striping will be placed when the weather warms up in the spring, so you may see some cones sprinkled here and there. Please note that there are two-way bike lanes. Bicyclists must obey traffic signals and should pay attention to vehicles and pedestrians. Drivers should be aware of cyclists coming from both directions.
- Parking: As a reminder, parking is only allowed in the identified square spaces outside of the bike lanes. Vehicles are not allowed to park in the former street spaces. Parking regulations will be enforced, but we’ll make sure to give you ample warning before citations are issued. For the time being, parking on Woodward in the new spaces is free for two hours! This is our gift to you - please be mindful of the two-hour window to share the joy and avoid a fine.
Our top priority is safety. We know this is a huge change for all of us, and it will take some time to adjust to this design. This is a major accomplishment for this project, and we’re looking forward to the finishing touches in the spring. We know there are questions and concerns and we’re here to answer them.
Thank you so much for your patience as we’ve navigated this journey. We’re happy to celebrate a new and improved Woodward Avenue with you, just in time for the holiday season.
Scope of Project
Woodward Moves is a partnership of the City of Ferndale, the City of Pleasant Ridge, the Southeast Michigan Council of Governments (SEMCOG), and the Michigan Department of Transportation (MDOT.)
Although Woodward is a main thoroughfare in Ferndale, people are intentionally choosing not to walk along Woodward due to difficult and unsafe conditions. This means people are missing the opportunity to explore and enjoy all Ferndale has to offer, including our diverse mix of Woodward-facing businesses.
Woodward Moves will not only provide the much-needed re-pavement of the street itself, but the project also provides the chance to improve our City’s safety, foster economic prosperity for the entire community, and provide diverse and accessible opportunities for people to explore Ferndale and Pleasant Ridge.
Woodward Moves will help Woodward Avenue evolve to meet the current and future needs of residents, business owners, and visitors. The project will allow Ferndale and Pleasant Ridge to enhance the experience along Woodward while maintaining it as a desirable gathering place for the community for generations to come.
CONSTRUCTION KEY POINTS
- Resurfacing of Woodward from 8 Mile to the northern Ferndale City limit
- The reduction of a travel lane on each side of Woodward
- Targeted improvements to curbs
- Shortening of pedestrian crossings
- Parking-protected bike lanes
- Improved visibility at intersections
- Accessible curb ramps
- Bus islands
- Drainage improvements
Woodward Moves is not changing the heart or spirit of Woodward Avenue, but rather evolving the corridor to make our downtown more modern. Modernizing Woodward Avenue will help foster inclusive mobility to bring new and diverse people downtown, increase safety to encourage people to travel Woodward in new ways, and boost economic prosperity by increasing foot traffic and time spent on Woodward.
- Inclusive Mobility: As a small community within a large regional area, Ferndale continues to work towards its identity as welcoming and accessible for the entire region. Currently, Woodward is only inclusive of cars. The project aims to make Ferndale a safer place for people walking or biking, including those traveling: on foot, by bike, with mobility aid devices, with children and pets, via bus, and more.
- Safety and Accessibility: Crossing the street as a Ferndale pedestrian is stressful, especially on streets with high traffic volumes, large widths, high speeds, and a lack of signals, crosswalks, or stop signs. Redesigning Woodward so that 6-lanes are dedicated to car traffic and one lane on each side is dedicated to pedestrians and individuals on bikes, will reduce the distance they have to cross through traffic, while also minimizing the risk of high car traffic and speeding.
- Economic Prosperity: Streets and communities where walking and biking are safe and accessible are areas where businesses thrive. Increasing safety and accessibility will also work to enhance our community’s experience on Woodward. By making time spent on Woodward more enjoyable, Woodward Moves will increase the amount of time people spend downtown. The more time people spend downtown, the more likely they are to explore Ferndale and its businesses/experiences.
Community members and leaders have participated in a number of local and regional studies over the years with a focus on making Woodward Avenue a more "people-friendly" corridor. In 2019, the Cities of Ferndale and Pleasant Ridge completed the Woodward Avenue Bicycling and Walking Safety Audit, which made a preliminary recommendation for short-term and long-term modifications to improve safety on the corridor. Of 387 community members surveyed by the Woodward Avenue Bicycling and Walking Safety Audit in 2019, among the greatest concerns on Woodward Avenue were pedestrian, bicycle, and vehicular safety and crashes (82%, 82%, and 61% respectively). These significantly outranked concerns about traffic congestion (50%).
People also reported that crossing Woodward Avenue is stressful, with only 49% feeling comfortable or somewhat comfortable crossing in the 2019 Woodward Avenue Bicycling and Walking Safety Audit. The Ferndale Moves 2020 plan reports that 25 out of 34 crosswalks along Woodward (from 8 Mile to I-696) have a stress rate of 4 (the highest rating), based on the number of lanes, traffic volumes, and posted speed limits.
The Cities of Ferndale and Pleasant Ridge collaborated on a "road diet feasibility study" in 2019/2020, which led to meetings in December 2020 and January 2021 to gather community feedback about possible modifications to Woodward Avenue and inform the community about the upcoming MDOT repaving project.
At the February 22, 2021, Ferndale City Council meeting, City Council approved two resolutions of support: (1) to support the road diet project; (2) to apply for a Transportation Alternatives Program (TAP) grant in late February 2021 to help fund any community-supported modifications to Woodward in 2022.
City staff had anticipated a July 2021 decision about whether we would receive TAP grant funding and MDOT approval for the proposed project; however, State transportation authorities required some additional research and plan modifications, resulting in a short delay. The City worked closely with local MDOT staff to find a compromise that met MDOT’s traffic standards and the community's safety and mobility goals. The Ferndale City Council unanimously approved a revised resolution of support for the project at the September 13, 2021 meeting.
The Woodward Moves project entered its structural final phase.
- Detours: As part of this last push, the City initiated three detours by the Michigan Department of Transportation (MDOT) for residents and visitors to be aware of. As of December 2023, all three detours officially re-opened for two-way traffic.
- Bump-Outs: Concrete “bump-outs” were installed at major intersections, including Marshall St., Nine Mile Rd., and Cambourne St. The bump-outs are designed to serve as delineation for bike users at busy intersections. As safety is the number-one focus of this project, this was a critical step in ensuring all people can safely travel along Woodward Avenue using all types of transportation.
- Repaving and Structure Work: Paving work saw completion as of November 2023. Following repaving, the process of striping and structure work began. Structure work is a crucial component in vehicle safety—particularly for larger vehicles. This was conducted in the daytime with double-lane closures and/or evening with triple-lane closures to keep workers and travelers safe.
- Bus Stops: There were also temporary bus stop closures along Woodward along both northbound and southbound Woodward Ave. Affected bus stops reopened following construction completion. Those bus stops in Ferndale and Pleasant Ridge included:
- Southbound Woodward Ave.: Millington, Elm Park, Cambridge, Oakridge, West Maplehurst, West Cambourne, Albany, Cemetery, Fielding, and 8 Mile Rd.
- Northbound Woodward Ave.: Webster, Silman, College, Ardmore, East Cambourne, and East Maplehurst.
- Bus Islands: The installation of bus islands took place to assist pedestrians in accessing the bus once construction was complete.
- Parking: Parking along Woodward was unavailable during the construction process. As of December 2023, the new parking spaces are open and operable. View all our accessible parking options at https://www.parkferndale.com.
Funding for Woodward Moves is provided by the Michigan Department of Transportation (MDOT), the City of Ferndale, the City of Pleasant Ridge, a Transportation Alternative Program (TAP) Grant of MDOT and the Southeast Michigan Council of Governments (SEMCOG).
This $9 million project includes $5.6 million in resurfacing work from MDOT, $1,176,500 from City of Ferndale, $139,500 from the City of Pleasant Ridge, and $2 million in grants.
The City of Ferndale local funds for Woodward Moves will come from fuel tax revenue collected from the Public Act 51 of 1951 (Act 51), specifically earmarked to be spent on public transportation projects.
Frequently Asked Questions
WHEN WILL THIS PROJECT BE COMPLETE?
The work has been on schedule since the beginning of this project in March of 2023, and we’re happy to announce that work will be finished in fall of 2023! Stay tuned for celebration information.
WHERE IS AVAILABLE PARKING? WHAT’S HAPPENING TO THE PARKING SPACES ON WOODWARD?
Throughout Downtown Ferndale, there are 825 parking spaces available in publicly managed parking lots, 265 on-street parking spaces in addition to those on Woodward Avenue, and 377 spaces at The dot parking deck located at 221 West Troy Street. Visit Park Ferndale to learn about the City’s parking availability, and be sure to download the ParkFerndale app to make payment easy and fast.
An estimated 100-125 parking spaces are expected to be removed along Woodward Avenue from 8 Mile Road to the northern City limit:
- Central Business District: Saratoga to Breckenridge 21-25 (Northbound 11-14, Southbound 10-11)
- Bennett to Saratoga: 45-58 (Northbound 26-31, Southbound 19-27)
- Breckenridge to North City Limit: 38-42 (Northbound 22-25, Southbound 16-17)
Now, don’t panic! Removing these spaces greatly improves accessibility and inclusion by creating pedestrian-accessible bus stops, improved intersection safety by improving site lines at intersections, and enhancing safety for bikes on the new cycle track.
WILL THERE BE TRAVEL DELAYS WITH THE COMPLETED PROJECT?
According to MDOT’s recent study, the August 2021 concept would meet MDOT’s standards for vehicle delay. The increase for southbound traffic is 86.7 and 22.8 seconds during the a.m. and p.m. peak hours. The increase for northbound traffic is essentially 0 and 35.4 seconds during the a.m. and p.m. peak hours.
HOW WILL WEATHER MAINTENANCE OCCUR WITH THE NEW DESIGN?
The City of Ferndale's Department of Public Works (DPW) currently maintains Woodward Avenue through a contract with MDOT and will continue to do so. DPW has equipment used on sidewalks, park paths, and bike lanes across the City, which would be used to maintain the bike lanes on Woodward.
WHAT IS THE DIFFERENCE BETWEEN REPAVING AND RECONSTRUCTION?
In a typical MDOT repaving project, Woodward Avenue would be resurfaced with a new layer of asphalt in between existing curbs with minor ADA curb ramp improvements. An MDOT reconstruction project would include more extensive work, like new curbs, sidewalks, deeper milling, and repaving.
HOW IS THIS PROJECT BEING PAID FOR? WHAT IS THE CITY’S BUDGET?
The City's portion of the project is funded through a Transportation Alternative Program (TAP) grant and the City's Major Streets account, which comes from the State of Michigan Act 51 dollars (generated by state taxes on gas, vehicle registrations, etc.). TAP grant funds are federal funds made available to local communities through SEMCOG and MDOT. The City of Ferndale has previously been awarded TAP funds to help pay for construction on projects like Woodward Heights, Livernois, and W. Nine Mile (Pinecrest to Republic). Visit SEMCOG's website for more details about the program and past projects.
WHY IS THIS OCCURRING IN FERNDALE AND NOT OTHER COMMUNITIES?
MDOT's resurfacing project focuses specifically on the cities of Ferndale and Pleasant Ridge. Communities such as the cities of Detroit and Royal Oak, organizations such as SMART, the SE MI Regional Transit Authority, SEMCOG, and MoGo Bike Share were consulted in the making of this plan and were generally supportive. It should also be noted that Woodward Avenue in the cities of Ferndale and Pleasant Ridge bisects the downtown districts in both communities and traffic counts are lower than in communities north of I-696.
The proposed short-term design between I-696 and 8 Mile includes Pleasant Ridge and builds upon past plans proposed by the Woodward Avenue Action Association (WA3)'s 2014 Complete Streets Plan and the SE MI Region Transit Authority/SEMCOG Locally Preferred Alternative Plan.
Stay in the Loop
Residents will be regularly updated via a variety of communication channels including the official quarterly City of Ferndale newsletter, social media channels, and this website.
Residents can also register for Mayor Melanie Piana’s e-newsletter, which provides monthly Woodward Moves updates.
Representatives for business and commercial property owners can sign up for email and text alerts from the Ferndale Downtown Development Authority. You can also check out the DDA’s short project videos for more information.
Supporting Documents & Additional Information
For additional information and documentation regarding this project, including City Council agendas, informational presentations, safety reports, and more, please review the Woodward Moves Project Page.
If there is a construction-related emergency that needs to be reported to the City, please call 911. For all other matters, please call the Ferndale Police non-emergency line at 248-541-3650.
Businesses and commercial properties can reach out to the Downtown Development Authority at email@example.com or 248-546-1632.
Kara Sokol Communications Director
City of Ferndale
James Breuckman City Manager
City of Pleasant Ridge