Michigan Avenue in Corktown
Michigan Avenue in Corktown is being targeted for a project to install dedicated bike, transit and autonomous vehicle lanes. Construction work for the Detroit Mobility and Innovation Corridor is expected to get underway in 2024. (BridgeDetroit photo by Christine Ferretti)

The state and city have been awarded a federal infusion of $25 million toward the revamp of a two-mile stretch of Michigan Avenue from Interstate 96 to Campus Martius Park with dedicated bike, transit and autonomous vehicle lanes.

The shared corridor project, with a design that also calls for removing, restoring and reusing historic red brick pavers in Detroit’s Corktown, is coined the Detroit Mobility and Innovation Corridor and will be funded in part with the Rebuilding American Infrastructure and Sustainability and Equity (RAISE) grant announced Thursday by Gov. Gretchen Whitmer and the U.S. Department of Transportation.

The state Department of Transportation and City of Detroit project is estimated to cost $50 million altogether between engineering, construction and contingency costs. Of that total, $42.7 million will go toward the state’s portion of the project and $7.32 million will be used for Detroit’s portion. MDOT, the state noted, has committed to contributing $22.7 million – or 45% – of the cost of the full project. 

“This investment will make Michigan Avenue through Corktown more accessible, facilitating ongoing residential and commercial development in the area,” Whitmer said in a Thursday statement announcing the grant award. “Not far from this new, high-tech corridor, Ford and Google are turning the historic Michigan Central Station into a hub for advanced mobility entrepreneurs, a new wireless charging road for electric vehicles is being built, and all around Lake Michigan, we are installing electric vehicle chargers, to create the best clean energy road trip in America.”

Funding progress for the Michigan Avenue corridor comes weeks after Detroit launched a $6 million effort to add plaza spaces, event lawns and other amenities at Roosevelt Park, the entryway to Michigan Central Station. 

By next spring, the 9.5-acre park on Michigan Avenue will grow to 13 acres, with a promenade connecting the thoroughfare to The Station, event spaces, benches, tables and landscaping.

The park project, funded mainly with federal American Rescue Act Plan dollars, is another means of boosting amenities for southwest Detroit neighborhoods as well as the 5,000 workers anticipated at the train depot. 

Project limits for the Detroit Mobility and Innovation Corridor will extend from Woodward in downtown’s Campus Martius Plaza to the I-96 overpass on the western edge of Corktown. Construction is set to begin in 2024. 

Public meetings were held in 2020 and 2021 by MDOT and the city to consider environmental, historical and cultural impacts during the transportation planning process. State officials said the changes are expected to better connect residents who do not or cannot drive to access the services and opportunities along the corridor. 

Of those who took part in the public meetings, pedestrian experience and safety was ranked the highest priority. Other areas of importance were wider sidewalks for cafe space and safer public crossings, according to state data. 

Public presentation documents note plans to expand sidewalks, provide more space for outdoor dining and retail, improve crosswalk markings and add mid-block pedestrian crossings. 

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