Difficult Intersection In Downtown Detroit To Become More Walkable, Get 13,000 Foot Plaza

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New plans and an animation were released today, focusing on simplifying one of downtown Detroit’s most difficult intersections for pedestrians and confusing for cars.

And the time we’re going to have to wait to see the changes is extremely short … as in as early as next week.

The intersection is at Gratiot and Randolph, which are state roads, along with city streets Broadway and Macomb. The plan is to not only move northbound Randolph traffic so both direction are in what’s currently the south side, but reduce lanes and add a 13,000 square foot plaza in front of Buffalo Wild Wings, The Well, and other buildings on that block.

Macomb will be shut down at the pedestrian plaza.

The current crosswalk at Randolph is a whopping 117 feet, that’s going to be cut in half to 52 feet and they’re leaving the door open for another crosswalk across Gratiot.

“The current alignment of this intersection requires four different traffic signal phases and indirect crosswalks, resulting in longer wait times for pedestrians,” said Detroit DPW Director Ron Brundidge. “This is a great opportunity for us to rethink this intersection and redesign it in a way that simplifies traffic movement and encourages more pedestrian use and outdoor activity.”

According to the city, this will be a pilot that will be monitored throughout the winter months and a decision will be made on whether or not to extend the pilot or make the permanent change, and the city will be working to design the plaza.

Although the design is planned to make things better for pedestrians, it’s said there will be benefits for cars, too. The new pattern will result in longer green lights both Gratiot and Randolph, which is expected to improve car travel through the intersection.

After evaluation, any necessary modifications and the proposed plaza will be coordinated with MDOT’s planned resurfacing of the intersection in spring 2017.

If approved after the pilot program, the public plaza will be programmed seasonally, similar to Cadillac Square. The City of Detroit says they have been working closely with downtown business owners and DDP in developing the project, the reasons for it and the short- and long-term benefits.

Officials and planners believe that changing this intersection around is going to result in more people walking between the stadium district, Woodward, and Greektown.

“Great cities have great public spaces and walkable streets,” said Detroit Planning Director Maurice Cox. “This partnership helps us to accomplish both in a key section of our city’s core.”

Preliminary work has already begun. The concrete islands in the middle of Gratiot and Randolph will be removed, new signals and pavement markings will be installed in preparation of the traffic shift. There’s a target of Monday, November 7 to make this change.

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