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375 survey shows residents prefer improved freeway with riverfront connection

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Our poll saw things differently

Photo by Michelle & Chris Gerard

A couple months ago, we made a poll asking which of six plans readers preferred as MDOT looks at what to do with I-375, which runs from Eastern Market to East Jefferson just outside the Renaissance Center.

The six alternatives ranged from simply keeping it as it is with structural improvements to creating two one-way streets, slowing traffic and adding green space. Readers overwhelmingly chose the last alternative with a greenway.

Alternative 6
MDOT

State Representative Stephanie Chang conducted an online and door-to-door survey of residents. The survey asked about preferences in the options presented and factors MDOT should consider (air quality/health impact, noise impact, safety impact, walkability/ability to bike, and impact on historic neighborhoods or landmarks). It also asked if I-375 were to become a surface street, what would you prefer to see more of? (More green space, more residential development, and more commercial development).

Out of the six alternatives, respondents chose Alternative 2, which would improve the current freeway and add a Riverfront connector.

Alternative 2
MDOT

The survey gathered 326 responses and found that,

  • Walkability was ranked most often as one of the most important factors (31 percent).
  • Respondents prefer additional green space over residential or commercial development (54 percent) if 375 becomes a surface street.
  • Alternative two was most often ranked the number one choice (26.94 percent), but alternative five (creating a boulevard on the west side) also ranked high.
  • Lafayette Park and Hyde Park respondents (which are just to the east of 375) had different opinions than respondents from any other Detroit neighborhood or the whole group of respondents.
  • Alternative one—simply improving the current freeway—also ranked high among respondents who live nearby.

MDOT is conducting an environmental review process and considering each alternative. Early this year, it was named one of the worst urban highways in America.

“Most people would prefer to see more green space, rather than residential or commercial development,” says Chang. “If MDOT ultimately makes the decision to change the freeway to a surface street, I hope that the state and city will take these preferences into consideration as the project moves forward, especially because the quality of life, walkability and safety of those living closest to the freeway may be greatly impacted by whatever changes take place.”