The TIGER II Program of the USDOT is a partnership between U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD), U.S. Department of Transportation (DOT), and the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) with the goal of creating more livable, sustainable communities.
Grant dollars will be spent to create a plan that will detail the best ways to use the city's physical and natural assets as the foundation for making better connections between downtown Pontiac, the neighborhoods immediately surrounding it, employment centers, and other nearby communities. These assets include, but are not restricted to, the newly refurbished Pontiac Multi-Modal Transportation Center, the regional bike trail system, the "Loop", Clinton River and other assets located within the project study area. The completed plan will describe the steps for implementation and develop specific design guidelines for redevelopment parcels, transportation connections, wayfinding, improving livability, and safety in Downtown Pontiac.
Oakland County Planning & Economic Development Services, in partnership with the City of Pontiac, applied for and was awarded a TIGER II Program of the USDOT Grant in October, 2010. The grant provides $300,000 to develop a plan to address livability and connectivity in downtown Pontiac and surrounding neighborhoods.
Oakland County Planning & Economic Development Services will manage the grant and provide $104,000 in in-kind services to the project, consisting of professional planning staff time. In addition, after a competitive process a team headed by Parsons Brinckerhoff Michigan, Inc. was selected to serve as project consultant. This firm has worked locally and nationally to help similar communities create more livable and suitable places. Their team will be responsible for working with local stakeholders to determine the best ways to leverage the city's assets and coordinate transportation, housing and commercial development to better serve the people of Pontiac.
Community support is vital to the success of this project to envision Pontiac's future. There will be a number of opportunities for the entire community to learn about and participate in the project. This includes a series of planning and design workshops currently scheduled for early summer 2012. Workshop participants will help identify assets, challenges and opportunities for improving livability and connectivity in the city. Input from these workshops will be compiled and used in preparing the plan.
Additionally, a stakeholder advisory group called the Pontiac Downtown-Neighborhood Community Advisory Group (CAG) will be convened in December 2011 and meet up to 6 times during the project. This group will be comprised of city-wide stakeholders representing community and neighborhood groups, businesses, churches, local agencies, schools, and other city organizations. Like the general public, they will help identify assets, challenges and opportunities. They will also evaluate alternative ideas and recommendations from the project team.
It is expected that many ideas will emerge as community members and the project team collaborate. However, generally speaking solutions that benefit the community as a whole in the areas of transportation, land use, natural environment, housing, and economic development will be considered.
For example, when considering transportation, remedies for improving mobility and connectivity that benefit all road users - pedestrians, cyclists, transit users, people with disabilities as well as motorists – will be studied. Specific transportation-oriented options for consideration might include retrofitting "The Loop" to create a more user-friendly environment for non-motorized travel; and creating links that connect downtown, transit, employment centers, and surrounding neighborhoods.
The new plan will align with the City's 2008 Master Plan and will support transportation, economic development and future land use goals. In addition, the planning team will look for the best ideas from other City and County plans that support these goals.
The project is expected to take 18 months from fall 2011 to spring 2013.
This web site ensures that project information is accessible to the public. A link to the web site will also be posted on the Oakland County web site at www.oakgov.com and City of Pontiac web site at www.pontiac.mi.us. Printed copies of the same Information will be available for review at Oakland County One Stop Shop (2100 Pontiac Lake Rd., Waterford MI) and Pontiac City Hall (7450 Woodward Ave. Pontiac, MI 48342). Information is also available by contacting Bret Rasegan, Oakland County Planning Supervisor, at 248-858-5445.