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Author Topic: Detroit - Removal of I-375  (Read 80514 times)

JREwing78

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Detroit - Removal of I-375
« on: November 24, 2013, 11:25:14 PM »

No more I-375? Detroit to study removing freeway in favor of walkable surface street
http://www.freep.com/article/20131124/BUSINESS06/311240072/I-375-downtown-MDOT

"The City of Detroit and the Michigan Department of Transportation have formed a committee with local stakeholders, including development agencies and downtown employers, to study transforming I-375 into a surface street."

"With the 50-year-old freeway and the bridges that cross it probably needing upgrades or repairs sooner or later, fans of walkable downtowns say removing expressways are a big plus."

Changed title so that replies show that replacing I-375 with an at-grade boulevard moved forward
- Alex
« Last Edit: October 09, 2022, 04:22:54 PM by Alex »
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SSOWorld

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Re: Detroit - Potential I-375 road diet?
« Reply #1 on: November 24, 2013, 11:27:14 PM »

Did Nordquist become mayor there at some point?  :eyebrow: :happy:
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bulldog1979

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Re: Detroit - Potential I-375 road diet?
« Reply #2 on: November 24, 2013, 11:49:03 PM »

MDOT's been looking at this since April (Crain's Detroit Business published an article on it back then), but now they're advancing the study to include various businesses in the area, like GM, and other groups on both sides of the issue.
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Stephane Dumas

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Re: Detroit - Potential I-375 road diet?
« Reply #3 on: November 26, 2013, 11:23:24 AM »

I saw some discussions about it on DetroitYes and City-Data
http://www.detroityes.com/mb/showthread.php?17457-Should-we-get-rid-of-I-375/page3
http://www.city-data.com/forum/detroit/1998678-possible-removal-i-375-a.html

One guy on City-Data DTWFlyer suggested the following:
Quote
No one project will be the panacea for Detroit.

Again, MDOT is exploring all options for what to do with I-375. Doing nothing is not an option, as in the very near future MDOT will be forced to either reconstruct, tear-down, or close many of the bridges over I-375 since they are becoming structurally defecent.
Options include:
1) Reconstruct as-is
2) Reconfigure / redesign into a blvd

Traffic flows, cost, and future development all factor into this analysis.

If it is cheaper to turn I-375 into a surface road, and it has a neglible impact on traffic flow to/from/around the downtown area, and it opens up additional areas for future development, and better connects neighborhoods east of I-375 to the downtown core, then it sounds like a win-win proposal.

Personally, I would like if they did the following:
- Reconfigure the I-75/I-375 interchange to allow for better through traffic on I-75 and eliminate some of the loop-ramps
- Eliminate the unnecessary loop ramps from WB Gratiot extension to SB I-375
- Transition I-375 from a highway to a surface street to an at-grade intersection at Gratiot (if possible) or by Lafayette.
- T-intersection with Jefferson, elimating the massive fotress-like width of Jefferson just east of the Ren-Cen

DTWFlyer got a interesting point about the I-75/I-375 interchange and we mentionned that interchange in another thread. ;)  https://www.aaroads.com/forum/index.php?topic=3618.msg113463;topicseen#msg113463
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Alex

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Re: Detroit - Potential I-375 road diet?
« Reply #4 on: November 26, 2013, 01:01:07 PM »

Because those abandoned buildings on the east side of I-375 generate so much foot traffic...

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Re: Detroit - Potential I-375 road diet?
« Reply #5 on: November 27, 2013, 08:24:28 AM »

Might draw this one out at some point...
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Indyroads

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Re: Detroit - Potential I-375 road diet?
« Reply #6 on: November 27, 2013, 12:12:05 PM »

I would approve of the I-375 relinquishment and conversion to surface boulevard only if they agree to concessions for the northward completion of the I-275 route (north of I-696) to I-75 north of Detroit. This route is needed but cuts through some very affluent areas. If the Detrioters  want a walkable downtown then they can make some concessions. I would even support conversion the south segment of M-10 freeway in downtown Detroit to a surface boulevard as well if they agree to the concessions. This project could also be paid for by a north of 8 Mile property tax surcharge of 1%. Ok its a pipe dream. But also conversion of the freeway to surface boulevard is a very costly project for a city that is bankrupt and a state DOT that is financially strapped.
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Re: Detroit - Potential I-375 road diet?
« Reply #8 on: November 28, 2013, 10:36:07 PM »

I don't see this changing anything.
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mrsman

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Re: Detroit - Potential I-375 road diet?
« Reply #9 on: November 29, 2013, 01:09:59 PM »

I believe that M-DOT should pick the cheapest possible option here.  Boulevard conversion won't convert this neighbrhood into a desirable location, but if it's cheaper than a complete rebuild and it would be unsafe to just leave it alone, then by all means convert it to a boulevard.
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JREwing78

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Re: Detroit - Potential I-375 road diet?
« Reply #10 on: December 01, 2013, 01:03:29 PM »

Perhaps the biggest irony in Detroit development now is the possibility that we may see I-375 removed for a surface street, restoring a neighborhood feel to downtown Detroit’s east side, even as road builders widen I-94, bulldozing more lanes of asphalt through the heart of the city’s rapidly developing Midtown district.

Removal of I-375 could come as I-94 is widened
http://www.freep.com/article/20131201/BUSINESS06/312010066/I-375-I-94-MDOT-freeways-Detroit
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Re: Detroit - Potential I-375 road diet?
« Reply #11 on: December 02, 2013, 02:35:00 PM »

If they could do an Embarcadero-style rebuild there, then I'd be all for it. (Of course, the only difference is that I-375 was never a double-decker freeway like I-/CA 480 was.)
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JREwing78

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Re: Detroit - Potential I-375 road diet?
« Reply #12 on: December 16, 2013, 12:07:36 AM »

Named for the rich dark soil that French explorers first found there, the Black Bottom district in the 1940s and ’50s housed the city’s African-American entrepreneurial class, with dozens of thriving black-owned businesses and the Paradise Valley entertainment zone, where Duke Ellington, Ella Fitzgerald and Count Basie performed.

But the builders of I-75 and I-375 plowed multilane highways right through Hastings Street, the commercial heart of Black Bottom, and projects such as Lafayette Park and the public housing projects to the north destroyed the rest in the name of progress.


When Detroit paved over paradise: The story of I-375
http://www.freep.com/article/20131215/OPINION05/312150060/Black-Bottom-Detroit-I-375-I-75-paradise-valley-removal

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JREwing78

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Re: Detroit - Potential I-375 road diet?
« Reply #13 on: December 16, 2013, 12:09:51 AM »

It is a masterpiece of urban design and planning, providing rapid access to downtown. And it was designed to provide relief from urban traffic noise pollution for the residences. Detroit’s most effective architect-planner, Charles Blessing, who created the Medical Center (now Midtown), knew exactly what he was creating, and the solution is brilliant. Few cities provide such rapid access with ease to its core. The current design is crucial for the Detroit-Windsor Tunnel.

Lewis (Bill) M. Dickens: Removing I-375 an urban planning accident waiting to happen
http://www.freep.com/article/20131215/OPINION05/312150052/
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JREwing78

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Re: Detroit - Potential I-375 road diet?
« Reply #14 on: December 16, 2013, 12:13:55 AM »

More commentary:

It is an article of faith among much of the urban living crowd that the construction of I-75 was one of the biggest culprits to the city’s population decline. People would have stayed in the city, the thinking goes, if only you hadn’t made it so easy for them to live in the suburbs and work in the city. What these folks really want, although they never put it like this, is for the city to basically force people to stay by denying them the infrastructure that allows them to live elsewhere.


If I-375 goes away, we need a better reason than 'hot trends'
http://blogs.detroitnews.com/politics/2013/11/24/375-goes-away-need-better-reason-hot-trends/
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silverback1065

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Re: Detroit - Potential I-375 road diet?
« Reply #15 on: December 16, 2013, 08:33:06 PM »

More commentary:

It is an article of faith among much of the urban living crowd that the construction of I-75 was one of the biggest culprits to the city’s population decline. People would have stayed in the city, the thinking goes, if only you hadn’t made it so easy for them to live in the suburbs and work in the city. What these folks really want, although they never put it like this, is for the city to basically force people to stay by denying them the infrastructure that allows them to live elsewhere.


If I-375 goes away, we need a better reason than 'hot trends'
http://blogs.detroitnews.com/politics/2013/11/24/375-goes-away-need-better-reason-hot-trends/

great article, I feel these "urbanists" facts are all suspect at best.  If people don't feel safe, they won't come, that's (one of many reasons) why Detroit is struggling. 
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Re: Detroit - Potential I-375 road diet?
« Reply #16 on: December 16, 2013, 08:46:20 PM »

If people don't feel safe, they won't come, that's (one of many reasons) why Detroit is struggling. 
Get rid of the hep cats and whites will flock to Detroit!
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Brandon

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Re: Detroit - Potential I-375 road diet?
« Reply #17 on: December 17, 2013, 06:30:05 AM »

More commentary:

It is an article of faith among much of the urban living crowd that the construction of I-75 was one of the biggest culprits to the city’s population decline. People would have stayed in the city, the thinking goes, if only you hadn’t made it so easy for them to live in the suburbs and work in the city. What these folks really want, although they never put it like this, is for the city to basically force people to stay by denying them the infrastructure that allows them to live elsewhere.


If I-375 goes away, we need a better reason than 'hot trends'
http://blogs.detroitnews.com/politics/2013/11/24/375-goes-away-need-better-reason-hot-trends/

great article, I feel these "urbanists" facts are all suspect at best.  If people don't feel safe, they won't come, that's (one of many reasons) why Detroit is struggling. 

Plus, the freeway building really got going after the exodus has already begun.  It's a myth that the freeways caused the flight.  Yes, they helped facilitate it, but they only aided what had already begun.
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froggie

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Re: Detroit - Potential I-375 road diet?
« Reply #18 on: December 17, 2013, 10:58:52 AM »

A few comments (and better reasons than "hot trends"):

Per MDOT 2012 traffic counts, the part of I-375 closest to I-75 has 76K vehicles a day, a number that quickly drops to under 18K at the curve under Jefferson Ave.  18K is well within the traffic level that can be supported by an at-grade boulevard.  Even if redevelopment occurs and supports an increase in traffic volumes, those increased volumes can easily be handled by a 6-lane boulevard.  An at-grade boulevard would also be less costly to build and maintain than rebuilding the existing freeway....bridges are expensive, and rebuilding I-375 "in kind" involves 5 of them that would not be needed with a boulevard.

The argument in that Bill Dickens opinion piece that I-375 is "crucial" for the Detroit-Windsor Tunnel is a red-herring.  The tunnel being only 2 lanes plus the low volumes (mentioned above) on the Congress St/Jefferson Ave end of I-375 prove that (nevermind the "Michigan Left" that I-375 traffic has to use just to get to the tunnel).  You don't need a freeway for that low of a traffic volume.  The tunnel is a critical link, but not critical enough to warrant a freeway on the Detroit end.  Furthermore, cross-border capacity will be well-handled by the planned bridge further south that will also have the advantage of a direct freeway connection between ON 401 and I-75.  If anything, the new bridge will pull traffic off of the tunnel, further reducing demand on tunnel connections downtown.

In short, the bottom 5-6 blocks of I-375 are not needed.

What I'd do (and what I'll probably draw out in GIS for one of my future maps):

- Redesign the I-75/I-375/Fisher Fwy interchange so that I-75 is the through movement at the interchange.  The two ramps between I-375 and Fisher Fwy East can probably be removed.
- Revise access between I-75 to/from the north and the ballfields and downtown.  Still formulating how I'd do this, but I'd probably replace the direct ramps to Madison St with direct ramps to Gratiot Ave, and add a set of ramps to/from Brush St.
- Keep the Gratiot Ave overpass over I-375, but replace I-375 with a 6-lane boulevard starting at about Macomb St.  I'd give the boulevard the name of "Chrysler Dr South" and "Crysler Dr North" (depending on direction of travel).
- Reconstruct Jefferson Ave as a 6-lane boulevard between Beaubien St and Chrysler Dr North.

This idea would right-size the road infrastructure to the traffic volumes in the area and also reduce road maintenance costs.  That it would also open up the equivalent of about 7.5 city blocks for redevelopment and tax base generation (something Detroit sorely needs) is a nice byproduct.
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Henry

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Re: Detroit - Potential I-375 road diet?
« Reply #19 on: December 17, 2013, 03:13:46 PM »

More commentary:

It is an article of faith among much of the urban living crowd that the construction of I-75 was one of the biggest culprits to the city’s population decline. People would have stayed in the city, the thinking goes, if only you hadn’t made it so easy for them to live in the suburbs and work in the city. What these folks really want, although they never put it like this, is for the city to basically force people to stay by denying them the infrastructure that allows them to live elsewhere.


If I-375 goes away, we need a better reason than 'hot trends'
http://blogs.detroitnews.com/politics/2013/11/24/375-goes-away-need-better-reason-hot-trends/

great article, I feel these "urbanists" facts are all suspect at best.  If people don't feel safe, they won't come, that's (one of many reasons) why Detroit is struggling. 

Plus, the freeway building really got going after the exodus has already begun.  It's a myth that the freeways caused the flight.  Yes, they helped facilitate it, but they only aided what had already begun.
Even worse, the areas around where the freeways were built became poor, rundown slums filled with Blacks and, in places like NYC and LA, Hispanics.
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Brandon

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Re: Detroit - Potential I-375 road diet?
« Reply #20 on: December 17, 2013, 07:27:42 PM »

That it would also open up the equivalent of about 7.5 city blocks for redevelopment and tax base generation (something Detroit sorely needs) is a nice byproduct.

No, more empty land is not something Detroit needs.  There is plenty of open land for development as it is.  If you go just a few blocks over, you're in urban prairie.

Even worse, the areas around where the freeways were built became poor, rundown slums filled with Blacks and, in places like NYC and LA, Hispanics.

Black Bottom was already poor and Black (coincidentally with the name - it was named for the soil) before the Chrysler Freeway was built.  It was filled with slums by the time the freeway was built.
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Re: Detroit - Potential I-375 road diet?
« Reply #21 on: December 17, 2013, 09:57:56 PM »

I spent four days last week in Detroit, and I stayed at the Ren Cen Marriott. I worked in Midtown so I took I-375 to and from work each day. I left for work at dawn, and got back after dusk so I liked having the safety of a close and convenient freeway to use rather than a surface street.

I also think the idea of downgrading freeways is not good in most cases. Once a highway is downgraded, there would be no way to get it back even if problems arise.
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Re: Detroit - Potential I-375 road diet?
« Reply #22 on: December 18, 2013, 12:36:05 AM »

The "if only those folks would just die or move out, we could have our development" argument is really creeping me out....but I still am against destroying perfectly good freeways merely for "development". Contrary to the New Urbanist arguments, elevated freeways *CAN* be built with development and asthetics in mind...and there has to be a balance between neighborhood needs and traffic flow. Livable wage jobs backed by sustainable local development is what will save these neighborhoods, not merely tearing down freeways just to build more Starbucks cafes near mixed-use boulevards.
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Re: Detroit - Potential I-375 road diet?
« Reply #23 on: December 18, 2013, 10:43:09 PM »

The 75/375 interchange could stand to be rebuilt so through traffic for I-75 is more favored, rather than the semi-TOTSO situation that currently exists.

I do agree with the assessment, though, that removal of 375 itself is mindless fad following. 50 years ago we ripped up a lot of railroads. Today planners kinda regret having done this. Today there is a push to tear down freeways. 50 years from now, what will we think of that?

Philosophically, I think we need to be building infrastructure, not destroying it. If the freeway needs a rehab, then just rehab it. Surely that's less expensive than demolishing it and building a whole new facility in its place?


As for this argument that "a surface boulevard can handle the traffic, therefore we don't need a freeway"... this is wrong because it assumes the only point of freeways is capacity. A very key benefit of a freeway in an urban area is speed, and a surface street with traffic signals is woefully inferior in that regard, for people using all surface modes of transportation. Whenever I drive down the West Side Highway in Manhattan, I grumble every time I hit a red light, thinking "if this road were still grade separated, I could just keep driving". And whenever I cross the West Side Highway in Manhattan as a pedestrian, I grumble when I walk up to the corner and have to wait for the light to change, thinking "if this road were still grade separated, I could just keep walking". The same goes for cyclists, trucks, and buses. The lack of grade separation slows everyone down. So why in the hell do people prefer it that way? Because it looks prettier? Let me tell you something: if you value aesthetics over function, your priorities are way out of order.

This doesn't even consider the safety benefits of having a freeway. T-bone crashes and pedestrians getting run over don't happen at grade separations, they happen at at grade intersections!
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Brandon

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Re: Detroit - Potential I-375 road diet?
« Reply #24 on: December 18, 2013, 11:47:27 PM »

^^ However, that said regarding speed in an urban area, one of MDOT's specialties is being able to make surface boulevards work well.  Cases in point in the area include Eight Mile Rd (M-102), Telegraph Rd (US-24), Michigan Av (US-12), Woodward Av (M-1), parts of Grand River Av (M-5).  MDOT does know how to time signals for a set speed very well.  One can cruise down Telegraph for miles at 45 mph without hitting a single red signal.
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