If the Walled Lake Downtown Development Authority (DDA) has its way, it may soon be forging a partnership with the city of Novi to construct new sidewalks along 14 Mile Road from Novi Road to the city’s namesake in an effort to promote a walkable community.
Decker Road and Novi Road are the same road, named according to each community’s jurisdiction.
“We are encouraging development and it may be useful to partner with Novi,” said City Manager L. Dennis Whitt, who also serves as the Walled Lake DDA’s executive director. “We want a walkable community to get people attracted to our downtown.”
The Walled Lake city limits extend along the north side of 14 Mile, whereas Novi is on the south side of 14 Mile. It would be less costly to build sidewalks on the Novi side instead of trying to obtain rights-of-way, said DDA Board Chairman Casey Ambrose.
“From a property standpoint, we don’t have the right-of-way and would have to purchase (it), which would be expensive and time consuming,” he said.
The roadway currently poses a potential danger to pedestrians.
“It’s difficult from a logistics and safety standpoint to get from Decker to the lakefront,” Ambrose said. “There’s very little (or) no shoulder and you must walk in the street and over a small hill that could have the potential for pedestrian danger.”
There are sidewalks running from Novi Road to the lake, but there’s a gap that prohibits the area from being considered a walkable zone.
“This is a major link and it would be advantageous to both communities,” Whitt said. “It would be a pretty small project if we get this partnership going. The short-term goal is to complete this section, but ultimately we would want to erect sidewalks on the Walled Lake (portion) also.”
The Walled Lake DDA is brainstorming some possible funding solutions in order to defray project costs.
“We could maybe police the Novi side of the lake to offset costs and do something beneficial for the lake users in Novi,” Ambrose said.
Whitt was instructed to approach Novi’s city administration to begin the conversation.
“The DDA Board instructed me to approach the Novi DDA and the (Novi city) manager’s office to get the ball rolling,” Whitt said.