Our April 2023 newsletter is now online!
Giving input given during project planning is the most effective way for the public to improve them for walking and biking. It gets much more difficult to make changes once a project is under construction.
Below is a list of five major Detroit projects that will have planning in 2023. The first two have surveys you can take now to provide your input. The other three should have meetings later this year. While we’ll do our best letting you know when those occur, you might consider subscribing to get email updates.
Belle Isle Mobility
We’ve been raising safety issues for bicyclists and pedestrians on the island for over a decade. Little has been done, but that could be changing. There is a currently a mobility plan underway that could lead to real safety improvements on the park roads as well as the MacArthur Bridge. The first step is to take the survey which is open through February 19th. There will be additional engagement throughout the year.
MDOT Pedestrian Bridges
Pedestrian bridges over the freeways provide safe, critical community connections. However, MDOT doesn’t want to maintain these pedestrian bridges, and when the bridges are no longer safe, they want to permanently remove them. One of the recent closures is the Spruce Bridge that safely connected North Corktown to Downtown. MDOT has a survey to collect feedback on how people use the bridge and while pitching the much less safe alternative crossing at Temple — a bridge that doesn’t provide east-west crossing for bicyclists.
Later this year MDOT will be evaluate all the Detroit pedestrian bridges to determine which other ones they can remove. We asked that MDOT also evaluate where pedestrian bridges need to be installed, though it remains to be seen if they will do that. We really need the community voice to back us up and tell MDOT they can no longer disinvest in their Detroit infrastructure and disconnect communities.
MDOT will be replacing the current I-375 freeway with an surface-level boulevard. While the basic framework for this project is set, there are still opportunities to get involved and provide feedback. For example, we’re continuing push for safer biking and walking along and across the boulevard so that it really does reconnect communities. Per MDOT, “there will be many more opportunities for community input and participation” but especially as it relates to excess property this project creates.
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Gratiot Avenue in Detroit is likely the most dangerous road in Michigan. By our estimates, 1.5% of all Michigan road fatalities occur on this stretch of road. MDOT has now started a PEL study to “identify and evaluate safety, multimodal mobility, transit needs, and proposed improvements.” We expect there will be community engagement this year and hope there’s a strong collective voice that demands a safer, saner street for all users.
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A PEL Study was completed for Michigan Avenue. That helped attract $25 million in federal funding to rebuild that state road. We want to see the same happen for Gratiot.
Joe Louis Greenway
Planning and construction is happening quickly for the 27.5 mile trail. The City of Detroit is trying to keep everyone updated on this project as well as the public engagement opportunities. The best way to get “in the loop” is to subscribe to their newsletter.
UPDATED 3/7/2023: Our original map showed the streets the city wanted to improve. Since the grant award was less than what was requested, US DOT asked that four corridors (Kelly, Whittier, Springwells, & W Vernor) be removed.
The Bipartisan Infrastructure Law created the Safe Streets for All federal program with $5 billion in grants over the next 5 years. The competitive grants support the U.S. DOT’s National Roadway Safety Strategy and the goal of zero deaths and serious injuries on our roadways.
Today the U.S. Department of Transportation announced their first year of grants and Detroit was among those selected. The city will receive $24.8 million that will focus on improving roads in the high-injury network. The city is required to provide an additional 20% match.
This award will help Detroit improve road safety in high-injury areas with components like new bike lanes and pedestrian refuge islands. It will also support safety measures throughout the city, including curb extensions, high-visibility crosswalks, pedestrian countdown timers, and additional improvements focused on improving pedestrian safety and promoting safe speeds.U.S. DOT Safe Streets for All grant announcement
This grant award is a major win for the city and the Department of Public Works Complete Streets team. It’s also compliments the Vision Zero resolution that was passed by Detroit City Council last year.
Of course it’s not enough funding to solve all of the city’s road safety issues, but it will be enough to make signficant improvements to the most dangerous roads as outlined in the Detroit Comprehensive Safety Action Plan.
While Detroit was the only Michigan implementation grant, other communities received funding to develop safety action plans, including Ann Arbor, Ferndale, Highland Park, Macomb County, Road Commission for Oakland County, and SEMCOG.