Reimagine Washtenaw Corridor Improvement Study

Washtenaw County

As part of the four-jurisdiction ReImagine Washtenaw effort, Washtenaw County hired Carlisle|Wortman to create Washtenaw Avenue Design Guidelines for Pittsfield and Ypsilanti Township.

The Design Guidelines will facilitate phased development for a livable, walkable, and workable corridor. These standards are a paradigm shift - from customary single-use zoning and automobile-oriented development patterns to development decisions focused on building form, integrated use, universal access, and pedestrian amenities - all to transform the Washtenaw Avenue corridor. The primary focus of the Design Guidelines is to “reimagine” the relationship of the building to the street, which considers building mass, site access, parking arrangement, and treatment of the pedestrian realm.

The Design Guidelines focus on these key design parameters:
• Enhance the pedestrian realm
• Encourage a mix of uses
• Incorporate functional public spaces and decorative public art
• Ensure transportation choices
• Provide “complete streets” that include facilities for vehicles, bicycles and pedestrians of all abilities
• Offer varied housing options

The Design Guidelines are intended to guide new development of individual properties and consolidated parcels along the corridor, and promote a cohesive and inviting pedestrian realm through abundant landscaping and public amenities, integrated transit infrastructure, and smart access management. By encouraging visionary thinking and collaborative action, following proven design principles, and prioritizing deliberate site improvements, these Design Guidelines provide strong foundations for innovation and corridor revitalization. The guidelines promote improvements that respect and relate to the existing development, and provide a comfortable, distinctive, and stimulating investment environment.

Following up on the Design Guidelines, CWA assisted Pittsfield Township in the adoption of a FormBased Code along Washtenaw Avenue. The Washtenaw Avenue Form-Based Code implements the vision established by the Master Plan and the ReImagine Washtenaw Corridor Improvement Study. The Washtenaw Avenue Mixed Use District requires the development of mixed-use sites and mixed-use neighborhoods while maintaining existing neighborhood fabric and providing appropriate edge transitions. The overall intent of the District is to develop a street form of mixed use buildings set close to the street that reflect quality urban design and promote multiple forms of transportation.

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