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Posted on: August 16, 2018

City Council OKs contract to continue build-out of new 'Fletcher Discovery Trail'

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fletcher discovery trail proposal

City Council on August 8 approved a contract between with Michigan Department of Transportation and the City of Taylor to continue the build-out of what is commonly known as the new Fletcher Discovery Trail, a series of non-motorized pathways that will eventually connect the Midtown Goddard area with Heritage Park, Wayne County Community College’s Downriver Campus, a new park near Superior and Pardee, and even the Eureka Way! business district.

When it comes to connecting one location to another in a large suburban community, it often comes down to driving a car or truck – or not connecting at all. While that may have been fine at one time, residents now want their community to feature more non-motor vehicle connectivity. Creating that type of climate isn’t always easy.

In an effort to increase connectivity, SEMCOG’s Regional Clearinghouse Review Committee selected Taylor for Transportation Alternatives Program (TAP) funding in 2018, with focus on the to-be-developed “Fletcher Discovery Trail” and a new “Fletcher Park.” Council’s approval last week underscores the City’s commitment to the overall plan, which is being rolled out in segments.

MDOT is currently bidding out the latest segment, which will include:

  • Shared use paths in the new park location, between Pardee and Superior
  • Shared use paths along Racho Road from Northline to Eureka
  • Shared use paths along Superior from Racho to Telegraph
  • And shared use paths along Katherine Street from Goddard to Heritage Park.

Work in all of these locations could begin before the end of the year, or in the spring.

  • The main focus of the TAP connectivity grant is:
  • To provide non-motorized connectivity between neighborhoods, parks, education and commerce centers
  • Move people safely by improving walk ability and bike ability
  • Provide comfortable access to all ages
  • Open access to surrounding neighborhoods
  • Make pedestrians comfortable
  • Create recreational destinations
  • And promote economic development and quality of life.

The old Fletcher School site along Pardee Road near Superior is one of the key element to the overall concept and one of the “hubs” of the discovery trail. The property, which is traversed by a long drain, is not ideally suitable for development. Instead, the plan turns the property into parkland, currently referred to as “Fletcher Park,” with connective asphalt pathways cutting through.

The new and existing pathways would create connectivity from Midtown (Goddard Road) through Heritage Park, WCCCD, Racho Road, Fletcher and on into the Eureka Road business corridor (to the south) and Telegraph Road (to the west).

"Increasing alternative transportation options in our community is part of our greater vision moving forward, a vision not only shared by our partners at SEMCOG, but the leadership at Wayne County Community College, which has supported our efforts in creating a ’cultural corridor ’ in and around the Heritage Park location," said Mayor Rick Sollars earlier in the process. “The City of Taylor currently lacks the presence of bike or pedestrian routes or pathways … The creation of the Fletcher Discovery Trail will serve as yet another productive chapter in those efforts, connecting key areas like Heritage Park, WCCCD, Superior Blvd., the Eureka Way retail and entertainment district and even Telegraph Road."

The discovery trail will be a combination of 10-foot wide paths, sidewalks, sharrows, new signage and bike racks. A shared-lane marking or “sharrow,” is a street marking placed in the travel lane to indicate where people should preferably cycle.

The non-motorized concept fit nicely into future plans for the Eureka Road business district, which is undergoing its biggest modernization in decades, thanks to huge investments from Southland Center and the creation of Trader’s Pointe.

A partnership between Wayne County and the Taylor Tax Increment Finance Authority (TIFA) calls for new streetscape project including a bike-pedestrian friendly district between Allen Road and Telegraph. This would include traveler-friendly bus stops (there are 12 in that area), better connectivity to shopping centers, and improved intersections.

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