Proposed Woodward Avenue Streetcar Project

Aug 19, 2012

Woodward Avenue circa 1910
Woodward Avenue circa 1910

The city of Detroit is going through some very positive changes right now—and public transportation is on the community’s list of things to improve. One major improvement is the proposed Woodward Avenue Streetcars (M-1 Rail Streetcar) project.

There is a lot of buzz about this project. Originally the plan was to build a 9.3-mile light rail system from downtown Detroit, along Woodward Avenue, ending near 8 Mile Road. The project has been modified to a shorter, 3.3-mile streetcar line along Woodward Avenue between Downtown and the New Center area with 11 stations along the planned route.

According the the official blog of the U.S. Secretary of Transportation, Woodward Avenue is a very historic location in both the U.S. and the world. The first mile of paved concrete road was on Woodward Avenue between Six and Seven Mile Roads in 1909. It was also one of the first streets with electric traffic lights.

Interesting factoid: The first four-way, three-color traffic light was created by Detroit police officer William Potts in 1920.

Streetcars used to be a popular mode of transportation in Detroit up until the 1950s when they were replaced by buses. But it looks like there may be a need for streetcars to make a comeback.

Woodward Avenue Circa 1942
Woodward Avenue circa 1942

The Michigan Department of Transportation (MDOT) and the Federal Transit Administration (FTA) are hosting an open house on Tuesday, August 21 from 3 – 7 p.m. at the MSU Detroit Center (3408 Woodward Ave., Detroit) to discuss the proposed streetcar project.

To learn more about the Woodward Avenue Streetcar project, check out the Southeast Michigan Council of Governments (SEMCOG) or MDOT websites.

Do you ride public transportation in Detroit? We’d love to hear from you. Tell us what you think about the city’s public transportation options and the proposed streetcar plan in the comments section below.

– Jennifer

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