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Here’s what East Jefferson Avenue could look like soon

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Rendering courtesy of Skidmore, Owings & Merrill (SOM)

One of the early projects in the massive East RiverFront redevelopment plan is making East Jefferson more pedestrian friendly. As of right now, East Jefferson is, like many of the spoke streets, extremely wide (nine lanes in parts). Often times, people will try to cross Jefferson, stuck in the middle, waiting, and dodging traffic.

In the last five years, East Jefferson Avenue between Rivard Street and East Grand Boulevard has been the scene of 1,350 vehicle crashes, 39 pedestrian–vehicular incidents, and nine fatalities of vehicular and pedestrian crashes. Detroit was recently ranked as one of the most dangerous cities in the country for pedestrians.

The plan calls for decreased lanes of traffic (down to five) plus bike lanes and enhanced intersections. The new streetscapes are expected to help in a few key ways. Businesses and apartments line both sides of Jefferson, but the wide street makes it difficult for pedestrians and bikes to safely get from one side to another. The new design will include a stronger median in the middle of the street.

Protected and dedicated bike lanes will help cyclists down this fairly busy stretch. As a comparison, East Lafayette, which runs parallel, has unprotected bike lanes, and cars and buses are often seen driving right through them. There will also be beautification efforts (trees, greenery) down this stretch of road. Improving these intersections should help residents north of Jefferson easily access the businesses and Riverwalk on the south side.

Work will start on this project this year.