In 2017, the city of Detroit announced the sale $125 million in bonds to fund corridor improvements, of which $80 million would be spent on infrastructure in key neighborhood thoroughfares.
With designs largely wrapped up, construction will begin in a matter of weeks in seven of those corridors, including Livernois Avenue, Bagley Street in Mexicantown, West Vernor Highway, Joseph Campau near the riverfront, and others.
Some of these projects include infrastructure “firsts” for Detroit.
On Livernois Avenue, for example, sidewalks will be expanded to not only accommodate more space for businesses and pedestrians, but also sidewalk-level bike lanes separated by landscaping.
The main thoroughfare for the “Avenue of Fashion,” Livernois will also have its median removed, which was installed in the mid-2000s to calm traffic, but had been controversial from the start. The end result will be parking on both sides of the street, two one-way lanes for cars, and a center turn lane.
Caitlin Marcon, deputy director of Complete Streets with the city’s Department of Public Works, says that there was “overwhelming support” from the community to remove the median, adding that all projects were resident-driven. “You can see each community reflected in the designs chosen,” she says.
Another first for the city will be the shared street on Bagley in Mexicantown, where the sidewalk will become level with the street, resulting in a seamless integration between cars and pedestrians. The street could also be closed-off to vehicles to allow for neighborhood festivals.
During the engagement phase, Marcon says, residents wanted the colors of the new streets to reflect Latino heritage, which is why the city is installing colored pavers.
On Joseph Campau south of Jefferson in Rivertown, there will be a two-way cycle track installed on the side of the road. A greenway will connect the riverfront all the way north to East Vernor Highway. The rest of the changes, on McNichols, West Vernor, Riopelle, and Kercheval, can be found on the city’s website.
Marcon says that implementation for these seven projects will begin in early April, with much of the work being completed before construction season ends. The city hopes to be finished by spring 2020.