The city of Detroit has begun work on a one million-dollar project to redesign East Jefferson Avenue. The goal is to make it safer for bicyclists and pedestrians.

The project centers on a nearly 5-and-a-half-mile stretch of East Jefferson from Rivard Street downtown to Lakewood Street in the Jefferson-Chalmers neighborhood. There, it will join up with protected bike lanes already in place … meaning cyclists will be able to ride on protected bike lanes from downtown all the way to the Grosse Pointe Park border.

It’s a segment of road that saw more than 750 traffic accidents between 2012 and 2016 — plus three pedestrian fatalities. And it’s a hotspot for speeding tickets and other traffic violations issued by Detroit police.

Crews will convert the road from seven driving lanes to five, including two driving lanes in each direction and a center left- turn lane. They’ll also install dedicated pedestrian crosswalks, paint red boxes on the pavement to mark bus stops,and add protected bike lanes on both sides of East Jefferson. Bike lanes will be marked by plastic bollards and further separated from traffic by on-street parking lanes.

The project is expected to be completed by the Fourth of July. Work will be done in phases to minimize traffic disruption.

The city plans to repave the same stretch of the road and replace old water and sewer lines two years from now. Detroit officials hope this summer’s redesign can help people get accustomed to the changes before they’re made permanent by the resurfacing.

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