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Detroit Mobility and Innovation Corridor

This grant provides funding for a project to modernize and update safety features on Michigan Avenue, one of the most important downtown transportation corridors in Detroit, Michigan.

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Photo shows people walking across a street as the sun sets in the distance.
Pedestrians cross Michigan Avenue in downtown Detroit on February 1, 2019. (Getty/Nick Hagen)
Snapshot
  • Project name: Detroit Mobility and Innovation Corridor

  • Program: Rebuilding American Infrastructure with Sustainability and Equity
  • Law: Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act

  • Recipient: Michigan Department of Transportation

  • Investment amount: $25,000,000

  • City: Detroit

  • State: Michigan

  • Congressional districts: 13 and 14
  • Construction start date: 2024

This profile is part of a project that finds and tracks the public and private sector investments generated or supported by three of the Biden administration’s economic laws. These laws make investments in the American people, helping to grow the middle class, lowering the cost of living, and setting up America to better compete and cooperate in the world. Pulling directly from several sources, this catalog provides users with publicly available information such as the number of jobs created, workforce training partnerships, and storytellers benefiting from particular projects, among other detailed information. The profile below expands on the economic, practical, and climate impacts of just one of the 35,000 investments that can be found in the Biden Administration Investment Tracker. It may be updated to account for future project developments.

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The Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act, also known as the bipartisan infrastructure law, is providing a grant to reconstruct Michigan Avenue in Detroit and turn it into a multimodal corridor. This $20 million investment will support the installation of new dedicated transit lanes, connected autonomous vehicles lanes, midblock crossings, curb bump-outs, and dedicated turn lanes.

Historical context

  • Michigan Avenue is one of Detroit’s most important downtown transportation corridors and passes through Corktown, a diverse and historic neighborhood:
    • “Michigan Avenue passes through two neighborhoods in the city: downtown and Corktown. Downtown Detroit, at the easternmost edge of Michigan Avenue, is the employment and activity center of the region, home to the central business district, a growing residential community, major retail activity, and some of the region’s most visited cultural and recreational assets.” – Michigan Department of Transportation, 2022
    • “Toward the western edge of downtown near M-10, land use along Michigan Avenue shifts to largely institutional uses that do not promote as much pedestrian and social activity on the street.” – Michigan Department of Transportation, 2022
    • “Corktown is a predominantly residential neighborhood but includes a strong business district along Michigan Avenue comprised of shops, restaurants, bars, and neighborhood services. Corktown is branded as Detroit’s Oldest Neighborhood and includes well-known residential and commercial historic districts. Major redevelopment, such as Ford’s renovation of Michigan Central Station and the city’s replacement of the Clement Kern Gardens apartments, continue to build upon the strength of this historic neighborhood.” – Michigan Department of Transportation, 2022
  • The corridor is currently dangerous for pedestrians, bikers, and drivers: “Safety for all users was one of the central purposes that this PEL was undertaken by MDOT, and that theme was reiterated during the engagement process. A review of crash history along Michigan Avenue indicated several hotspots, most commonly occurring at signalized intersections with the most severe hotspots occurring at the intersections of Michigan Avenue and 14th Street, Wabash Street, Rosa Parks Boulevard, Trumbull Street, and 3rd Street. … A field review indicated that these areas include wide distances for pedestrians to cross, challenging geometrics, vehicles traveling faster than the posted speed limit of 35mph, and significant commercial activity.” – Michigan Department of Transportation, 2022

Project summary

  • Reconstruct almost 2 miles of Michigan Avenue into a multimodal corridor, replacing old brick pavers with new ones: “This project will reconstruct approximately 1.9-miles of US-12 (Michigan Avenue) to create a multimodal corridor in Downtown and Corktown Detroit. The construction will include installation of new dedicated transit and connected autonomous vehicle lanes along US-12 between I-96 and M-1. The project will also replace old brick road pavers with new ones.” – U.S. Department of Transportation, last accessed March 21, 2023
  • Improve conditions for bus riders and bicyclists: “The project will transform an urban highway into a multimodal facility with state-of-the-art improvements for pedestrian, cyclists, and transit users. Currently, bus stops lack shelter and seating, and are separated from buses by bike lanes and parking lanes, creating safety concerns. The project will add mid-block crossings, curb bump-outs, dedicated turn lanes, restriction of through lanes, and relocation of transit stops that will improve safety for pedestrians accessing transit.” – U.S. Department of Transportation, last accessed March 21, 2023
  • Revitalize the corridor from Interstate 96 to the heart of downtown: “The project limits extend from M-1 (Woodward Avenue) in downtown’s Campus Martius Plaza to the I-96 overpass on the western edge of the Corktown neighborhood. Construction is expected to begin in 2024.” – State of Michigan Office of the Governor, August 11, 2022

Outcomes, improvements, and practical impact

  • Create safer pedestrian crossing: “Through the Corktown neighborhood, signalized and marked pedestrian crossings are spaced approximately ¼ mile apart, making safe crossings difficult and time consuming. Between these crossings, pedestrians tend to cross mid-block to reach their destinations.” – Michigan Department of Transportation, 2022
  • Preserve delivery vehicle parking: “Providing space for all modes along Michigan Avenue is another important aspect to redesigning the road to be more functional to the community. The density of restaurants, shops, and entertainment venues necessitates safe and comfortable walking and biking facilities to ensure access. These same businesses rely on delivery vehicles and visitors from outside the neighborhood, so adequate vehicle parking is needed.” – Michigan Department of Transportation, 2022
  • Enhance transit options for commuters in this major corridor: “Finally, Michigan Avenue is a major transit corridor in the Detroit region with long term plans for additional transit investment. Enhanced transit facilities are needed to continue to build ridership on the corridor.” – Michigan Department of Transportation, 2022
Image shows a street with buses, cars, bikes, and pedestrians in front of a city skyline.
An image of the proposed design at Turnbull Street, with a transit lane, a travel lane, a sidewalk-level bike lane, and expanded sidewalk space. (Credit: Michigan Department of Transportation)

Climate impact

  • Support access to public transit and encourage use of low- and no-carbon transportation: “By creating a safer multi-modal corridor, the project will support efficient and accessible public transit while encouraging low or no-carbon transportation modes. These changes also will also better connect residents who do not or cannot drive to economic opportunities and public services along the corridor.” – State of Michigan Office of the Governor, August 11, 2022

Racial equity and justice impact

  • Prioritized access for the most vulnerable road users in a diverse neighborhood: “At community meeting #1 and LAC/GAC meeting #1, a number of themes emerged. The pavement condition is generally in poor condition and warrants reconstruction. Safety along the corridor is a big issue that many residents and business owners were concerned about. Related to safety was the issue of access, specifically ensuring that the new design for Michigan Avenue is prioritizing access for the most vulnerable road users.” – Michigan Department of Transportation, 2022

Economic impact

  • This $25 million grant is half of the estimated total project cost of $50,020,000: “Including engineering, construction, and contingency costs, the estimated total cost for the DMIC is $50 million with $42.7 million going toward the State portion of Michigan Avenue, and $7.32 million going toward the city’s portion within the project limits. MDOT is committed to contributing $22.7 million toward the overall project costs, or 45 percent of the total.” – State of Michigan Office of the Governor, August 11, 2022
  • Up to 5,000 more employees are expected to work in the neighborhood eventually, and this project will help ensure residents, business owners, and workers can coexist safely in a major hub of mobility: “With the forthcoming move of Ford Motor Company into the Michigan Central Station building, Michigan Avenue is becoming a hub of mobility in Southeast Michigan. With up to 5,000 more employees anticipated to be working in the neighborhood, a greater emphasis on mobility is needed to ensure that residents, workers, business owners, and visitors can coexist along the streets in the neighborhood. Mobility is evolving to include a variety of transportation modes, including driving, walking, biking, shared mobility devices such as scooters and bike share, rideshare, ride hailing, and autonomous vehicles. As new technology emerges, Michigan Avenue can have the ability to accommodate changing mobility preferences.” – Michigan Department of Transportation, 2022
  • Relatedly, this project’s west end will be at the Michigan Central Innovation District, a pre-bipartisan infrastructure law project that is being guided in part by a community benefits agreement with the city of Detroit. – Michigan Central, August 19, 2021
  • “The section of Michigan Avenue spans multiple commercial businesses, the upcoming Godfrey Hotel, Michigan Central (Ford’s mobility innovation district), and The Corner, an apartment and retail project that overlooks The Corner Ballpark by Detroit PAL (former Tiger Stadium at Michigan and Trumbull Street).” – DBusiness, August 15, 2022

Official supporting statements

  • Michigan Gov. Gretchen Whitmer (D): “Today, Michigan’s economic momentum continued to build as the Michigan Department of Transportation won a prestigious $25 million RAISE grant. … This investment will make Michigan Avenue through Corktown more accessible, facilitating ongoing residential and commercial development in the area. Getting this done will create and support good-paying construction and auto-related jobs and ensure that Michigan continues leading the future of mobility. Our leadership in this space continues to grow, building on our legendary Motor City roots. 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. Michigan is on the move, and every region of our state is creating good-paying jobs and building the future of mobility. We will continue winning competitive grants, growing our economy, and moving Michigan forward.” – State of Michigan Office of the Governor, August 11, 2022
  • U.S. Sen. Gary Peters (D-MI): “Investing in mobility infrastructure will not only ensure residents and families can get around safely and efficiently, it will help communities like Detroit rebuild in a way that ensures long-term growth and resiliency. … That’s why I was proud to help secure this grant, which will upgrade a critical Michigan Avenue corridor and support autonomous vehicles as Detroit and our autoworkers continue to spearhead the deployment of these technologies in the years to come.” – Office of U.S. Sen. Gary Peters, August 11, 2022
  • Then-Michigan Department of Transportation Director Paul C. Ajegba: “The DMIC will provide a more safe, accessible, and environmentally sustainable corridor for travel. … Improving pedestrian space and crossings, raising protected bike lanes to sidewalk level, and providing dedicated transit and connected vehicle lanes will simultaneously enhance comfort and safety for non-motorized users while providing an infrastructure platform for the next generation of electric and connected mobility.” – State of Michigan Office of the Governor, August 11, 2022
  • Michigan Chief Infrastructure Officer and Director of the Michigan Infrastructure Office Zach Kolodin: “This $25 million RAISE grant not only helps to create jobs and boost our state’s economy, it further positions Michigan as a leader in connected and autonomous vehicles and multimodal transportation design. … The Governor’s leadership in establishing the Infrastructure Office helps ensure Michigan continues to be best positioned to take full advantage of the historic grant and competitive funding opportunities provided by the Bipartisan Infrastructure Law.” – State of Michigan Office of the Governor, August 11, 2022

Selected clips

  • “Mobility Corridor Along Michigan Avenue in Detroit Lands $25M Grant” – DBusiness, August 15, 2022

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