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Major changes to the way residents move around Downtown Jackson is getting statewide attention. At its 3rd Annual Award Ceremony on Thursday, April 4, the Lansing-Jackson Branch of the American Society of Civil Engineers honored the City of Jackson and the Michigan Department of Transportation with its Quality of Life Award.
The award recognizes the conversion of Louis Glick Highway and Washington Avenue from one-way to two-way traffic. The two major roads were part of a ring road system that was constructed in 1967 that allowed drivers to by-pass the downtown area. In 2017, the City of Jackson started working with the Michigan Department of Transportation to redesign these two roads to provide greater accessibility to the downtown area for drivers and pedestrians.
City Engineer Jon Dowling says the award is an incredible honor and highlights the close collaboration between the City and MDOT. “There was a lot of work behind the scenes to plan the project and complete it. We are pleased with the ongoing results of the conversion and to see it acknowledged,” Dowling said.
Jackson is already seeing the benefits of the change. City leaders credit the conversion with creating greater connectivity between downtown and surrounding neighborhoods, along with attracting new businesses. One year after the conversion, Downtown Jackson has seen a variety of new businesses open, with four large apartment developments making plans to start construction.
Mayor Derek Dobies says he is proud to see Jackson receive this award and applauds the work of City staff. “This shows how changes to traffic flow and pedestrian access downtown can help make our City more attractive to businesses and families to locate here. Seeing future developments come into Jackson, it shows that good design can help support increased economic development,” Dobies says.
Washington Avenue between First Street and West Avenue was also converted to two-way traffic this past fall to further provide greater traffic flow around the downtown area.