Ann Arbor's Downtown Development Authority has committed up to 250-thousand dollars for the construction of a pedestrian walkway. The project will connect Fourth and Fifth Avenues. Alleys and mid-block passages play a role in making downtown pedestrian friendly.
The proposed walkway between the Blake Transit Center and the back of the Federal Building is part of an effort to create a corridor to quickly get pedestrians across town. The plan calls for a mid-block crossing of Fifth Avenue to link up with Library Lane, and a crossing of Fourth Avenue would connect with the Fourth and William parking structure.
DDA Executive Director Susan Pollay says pedestrians could then cut through the parking structure to the alley behind Main Street. She says businesses used to make this alley more useful for pedestrians. "A lot of the retail shops on Main Street had their back doors open so that you could actually walk through their business, check out the merchandise, and continue walking to Main Street," Pollay says.
Pollay hopes some shops will re-open their back doors.
She says alleys across the city allow important services and are also designed for pedestrians. With this in mind, the development of the new parking structure at First and Washington includes an alley connecting Liberty and Washington Streets.