The Congress for the New Urbanism released their report Freeways Without Futures 2017, and on that list was Detroit’s own 375. According to the report, the little-used freeway could be removed to fight pollution, ease traffic, and improve walkability and health in the city.
The freeway runs from Eastern Market and Ford Field in the north to Jefferson Avenue to the south, between Greektown and Lafayette Park. There’s been much debate over what to do with this road in the past. The report suggests that when these urban freeways near the end of their lifespans, cities can save money by investing in economically productive placemaking strategies instead of costly highway replacements.
The report advises on creating a boulevard out of the road.
“Replacing urban expressways with surface boulevards improves traffic distribution while saving tax dollars and adding value to local tax bases,” said John Norquist, the former four-term mayor of Milwaukee, a city that successfully replaced an elevated downtown freeway. “Research has shown that removing in-city freeways makes residents healthier, strengthens local economies, opens up land for parks, creates opportunities for development, and can even ease local traffic problems.”
Their suggestion is #4 from six suggestions compiled by MDOT in 2014.
This would free up about 12 acres for redevelopment in the area.
Detroit has seen a spike in development since these talks in 2014. More recently, we know there’s possible development along the Riverfront near the Ren Center and a decision around the jail looming. Talks about the freeway have been on hold for a while. Maybe they could start up again soon?