The Birmingham City Commission held its , during which commissioners heard reports from various city departments on what happened in 2011 and what's in store for Birmingham in 2012.
Birmingham Patch was there all day, but just in case you missed it, here are some of the highlights about the upcoming year in city government.
Planning Department talks Complete Streets, collaborating to improve Woodward
The had more than an hour to itself during the City Commission's planning session Jan. 21, during which it outlined its proposed plans and some of city’s top priorities in 2012. These plans include:
Assistant City Planner Sue Weckerie first touched on the Planning Department’s multimodal master plan, in which Birmingham streets are reinvented using the principles of , which takes pedestrians, cyclists and cars into consideration.
As part of that, Weckerie reviewed the status of the , in which the city proposes . Mayor Mark Nickita noted there has been , and when people do bring their bikes downtown, they’re locked to everything from trees and door handles to lampposts.
“It’s very difficult to bring your bike downtown now,” he said.
Weckerie said the Planning Department also plans to begin work to improve the intersection at Woodward and Lincoln, from installing barrier-free ramps and realigning the crosswalks, to decrease the amount of time it takes to cross the street.
Planning Director Jana Ecker touched on several of the initiatives and projects the city is working on with surrounding communities, particularly ways to unify the Woodward corridor through Complete Streets and mass transit initiatives.
Primarily, Ecker talked about the Woodward Avenue Action Association, a multijurisdictional planning task force that connects communities from Birmingham to Ferndale and aims to improve the quality of life in the communities along Woodward Avenue.
The group established a Transit Framework Plan in 2011, Ecker said, which recommended that participating communities conduct zoning analyses and brainstorm ways to make Woodward more pedestrian-friendly.
“Woodward has been described as unfriendly,” Ecker said. “You don’t want to be there.”
Master plan updates
Intern planner Matt Baka discussed what projects Birmingham has left to complete from its various master plans, including:
- Commercial parking along Woodward, between Lincoln and 14 Mile. Baka said the Planning Board will study the issue in coming years.
- Improving alleys and passageways downtown. The plans to improve these spaces are part of Birmingham’s 2016 Master Plan.
- Reviewing parking standards throughout downtown.
- Improving sidewalks in the Rail District and throughout the Eton Road corridor.
- Branding the Eton Road corridor, including installion of signs.
- Realigning streets throughout the Triangle District, which is east of Woodward and west of Adams.
For more: For a full report from the long-range planning session, check out . Make sure to tell us what you think city government should focus on in 2012 by taking our poll at the end of the story.