It’s challenging keeping abreast of the recent announcements for the off-again, on-again light rail and now bus rapid transit (BRT) projects in Detroit.
The latest proposal is to build the M1-Rail’s 3-mile light rail on Woodward with BRT on Michigan, Woodward, and Gratiot.
According M-Live, the M1-Rail group has “90 days to develop a plan to incorporate their 3.4 mile light rail line into the BRT system. Just how that will work on a practical level is something to be decided in the planning process, according to Bing spokesman Stephen Serkaian.”
Are we back to the curb-side versus center-running debate? Not sure.
Both the light rail and BRTs will all but certainly share a dedicated right-of-way and some stations. As wide as Woodward is, MDOT’s not going to dedicate four lanes to transit.
And in order for both projects to move most quickly while using federal dollars, they’ll likely use the DDOT light rail study which favored center running for most of the route. That coincides with a statement from the Mayor’s office that “Any light-rail studies to date can be applied to advance the approval and construction of rapid bus.”
Following the DDOT study would be fairly ideal for cyclists who want to continue riding safely on Woodward.
However, M-Live adds, “experts say the possibility of BRT ending in New Center is a real one.” That would make it easier to put light rail on the curbs, which would be?a terrible scenario for cyclists.
Michigan and Gration Avenues
For these roads, there are definitely more questions than answers at this point.
How will the BRT affect:
- the new Corktown bike lanes?
- the planned sharrows on Gratiot in Detroit?
- the Woodward Avenue non-motorized planning north of Eight Mile?
We may not have answers to these for some time, especially since Woodward will likely be the first dip in the BRT waters.
We do know that BRT will be on state trunk lines and MDOT is committed to building Complete Streets.