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Increased sense of safety, need for mobility options cited in Downtown perceptions survey

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Campus Martius Park was voted the most visited spot in the survey.
Photo by Michelle & Chris Gerard

The Downtown Detroit Partnership released the results from their 2016 Perceptions survey. Nearly 4,000 respondents—many who work downtown—shared insights on how they feel about downtown Detroit.

First, let’s take a look at who responded. The DDP reached out through downtown employers, Facebook, neighborhood groups, and more to take the survey. Still, 70 percent of respondents are white, with 21.8 percent African American. The age range is broad, with 22.2 percent between 45-53, and 21.2 percent between 25-34. Most respondents live outside of Detroit. 54.1 percent live in Wayne County and 29.2 percent are in Oakland County. 55 percent work downtown.

To note: This was taken before the QLINE started and before the MoGo Bike Share launched.

Overall, responses showed a positive impression of downtown, with 93.2 percent responding favorably. 85.4 percent responded that downtown is welcoming and comfortable.

Safety also scored high in the survey, with 95 percent of respondents saying downtown is safe during the day, and 72.9 percent saying it’s safe at night. There are areas for improvement: only 65.5 and 63.8 percent of respondents said police and security guards are sufficiently present on the nights and weekends.

Although many feel safe walking, many don’t feel safe parking their car or biking. 58.6 percent thought that on-street parking was safe, while only 31.7 percent felt safe and comfortable riding a bike downtown.

Eric Larson, CEO of the DDP told a media roundtable that leaders are looking for, “...more logical ways to provide transit options downtown.”

Larson also says there’s still a lot of work to do for inclusivity, noting that there’s a responsibility through public spaces to bring people downtown and that, “...access and inclusion makes for a better community.”

The bus system scored low on the survey. 26.6% said the bus was safe, 18.8 percent said it’s convenient, and 15% said it was easy to find information about the bus system.

The Downtown Business Improvement Zone also helps run the survey, and one concern is that much of the retail space downtown is controlled by only a few people. Developers and city leaders are discussing ways to make businesses and retail more diverse and inclusive.

The DDP is working on making more long-term investments in infrastructure so we don’t fall further behind in mobility. Capitol Park is one example of this: the DDP recently announced an investment in stormwater management and protected bike lanes in Capitol Park. The park itself is also undergoing a renovation in its public space.

The full report can be accessed here.