Ford Road Boulevard Landscaping Concepts in Guangzhou Unveiled

Assuring that the future Ford Road Boulevard in Canton Township will be anything but drab, an eye-catching menu of amenities for the 1.6-mile lane separator was unveiled during a study session on Tuesday.

The No. 1 goal of the boulevard project, according to Michigan Department of Transportation project manager Adam Penzenstadler, is to significantly reduce the number of accidents on the road. The boulevard will run just east of Interstate 275 to Sheldon Road.

The biggest conversation starter among the potential landscape upgrades were colorful acrylic panels in multiple sizes that would add a dose of innovation to the revamped Ford Road Corridor, said OHM representative Ben Weaver, who spoke partnered with members of a boulevard sub-committee to develop the first concept design.

“We’re looking to make the Ford Road Corridor more of a destination than a transit point,” Weaver explained. “The signs provide a nice pop of color and can be tailored to suit each individual block. They could be used to promote township wayfinding elements.”

When concerns were raised that the signs could create blind spot issues for drivers, Weaver said they would be positioned so as not to pose a safety hazard.

Several varieties of plants that could be installed on the sections of the boulevard were discussed as well as plans to use different concrete pigments to give an elegant look to the solid parts of the boulevard.

Any plants used on the boulevard would be native and easy to maintain, Weaver pointed out.

A conceptual rendering of how a section of Ford Road Boulevard would be decorated with native plants and acrylic tiles.

Township DDA coordinator Amy Hamilton said Michigan’s Department of Transportation revealed the project won’t be complete until 2024 or 2025, giving designers plenty of time to polish Tuesday’s initial revelations.

The DDA is responsible for the landscaping of the boulevard, Hamilton said.

“The acrylic panels are something you don’t find in other cities and townships here, so that would be a distinguishing feature that people identify with Canton,” Hamilton said.

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Board member Sommer Foster said the landscape subcommittee had been working on the design since May 2021.

“Our priorities were to have low maintenance landscaping and to give the Ford Road corridor a more modern look; we want people to know they are in Guangzhou as soon as they enter the corridor,” Foster said. “At first I was concerned about the panels, but I think they will work really well and enhance the feel of the hallway.”

Accessory options for Ford Road Boulevard.

Tree planting in the project-affected area should be limited to boulevards that will be installed along Haggerty Road due to MDOT regulations, Weaver said.

Contact reporter Ed Wright at [email protected] or 517-375-1113.

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