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A Vision for Transit Along Michigan Avenue

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We're just excited that bus is going to the airport

The Regional Transit Authority (RTA) has been working alongside MDOT, Human Scale Studio, businesses, and community members to develop a master plan in anticipation for a millage campaign in November for four counties (Wayne, Oakland, Macomb, and Washtenaw). Human Scale Studio released this rendering yesterday to show what Michigan Avenue (at 14th Street, looking toward downtown) could look like in the future.

A few things to note here:

1. This is years down the line, and the CPA Building looks exactly the same as it does today, which is not a surprise. Well played, Human Scale Studio. Well played.

2. That bus is going to the airport. The airport! Can you imagine?

3. There's dedicated lanes for each type of vehicle. No buses or cars driving over the bike lanes like they're a regular traffic lane. It's the future!

From Human Scale Studio's Facebook page:

We've been working with MDOT and the RTA to reimagine Michigan Avenue and we are extremely happy to be able to share this rendering with the public. This image represents the consensus of Corktown residents and small business desires--extended sidewalk, protected bike lane, and center-running Bus Rapid Transit-- and it is absolutely wonderful that this is the official plan being pushed forward at the state and regional levels. A few things:

1. This makes voting for the RTA all the more important in November. It's about more than just voting for bus rapid transit, it's also about voting for a more bikable and walkable region.

2. The task now shifts from reimagination of the street to staging it properly. There is no reason we have to wait for BRT to come online for us to get extended sidewalks and a protected bike-lane. If BRT won't happen on Michigan Ave for a decade, then we can still have nice things in the interim. We need to make that clear to the powers that be.

3. We still need to change the rules around the activities that are permitted along state highways. An extended sidewalk isn't as powerful if we can't have cafe seating outside. We need to continue to push for policy change in order for Michigan Avenue to be a truly complete street.

Last October, the RTA (a state-appointed ten-person board from these four counties) released a full plan for Michigan Avenue transit, with routes to the airport and Ann Arbor. The full plan can be read here.

According to the Detroit News, "RTA officials haven’t yet made public how much the four-county millage will cost, but it would fund the authority as well as rapid transit on three major routes, a fare card system and an airport shuttle service. The tax would raise an estimated $130 million a year for the life of what could be a 20-year millage."