FERNDALE, MI-A national expert has beaten a path through Downtown Ferndale. Now he’s trying to beat through changes he believes will make Ferndale more attractive to pedestrians Downtown.

Consultant Dan Burden, who heads Walkable Communities Inc., in High Springs, FL, visited the city as part of Gov. Jennifer Granholm’s Cool Cities program, a program aimed at helping 20 communities become models of urban revitalization. His findings: Ferndale does a lot of things right. But it could always do more.

Ferndale recently was awarded one of 20, $100,000 grants from the Michigan Economic Development Corp. as part of the state’s Cool Cities program. The money will be used to enhance the inner ring suburb’s Downtown area.

Burden says the city should consider adding two smallroundabouts — circular road interchanges popular in Europe and recently installed, to a fair amount of success in Sterling Heights.

Enjoyable walking is a key to a successful urban center, Burden says. Ferndale’s move a decade ago to restore on-street parking to 9 Mile near Woodward, and the Downtown resurgence that followed has been widely hailed “all over the country,” Burden notes.

The revival of the city’s West 9 Mile Road stores, triggered in large part by the parking change and the removal of two lanes of traffic from West 9 Mile near Woodward, “showed that it’s not the volume of traffic that counts, it’s the pedestrian access and the right image as you drive by,” Burden says.

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