M-1 RAIL PROVIDES UPDATE ABOUT STREETCAR PROJECT AT DOWNTOWN DETROIT PARTNERSHIP STAKEHOLDER MEETING
Category: Community Published on Wednesday, 17 July 2013 10:05 Written by Michigan Chronicle Staff
With construction scheduled to begin by late summer/early fall of this year, M-1 RAIL's Chief Operating Officer, Paul Childs along with Director of Governmental and Community Affairs, Sommer Woods presented some of their planning details to the people who attended the meeting at the Compuware Building.
"We have had some very good stakeholder meetings over the last several months, but today's was very productive," said Woods. "Our team was able to provide updates on key topics that are important to greater downtown businesses and institutions. Today's meeting also brought to light some questions we still need to answer as we work to finalize our plans for construction."
Maps, Streetcars and Stations
As a part of their 30-minute presentation, officials with M-1 RAIL tried to help those in attendance envision Woodward Avenue with a streetcar by showing documentation from the supplemental environmental assessment, illustrative renderings of the stations and a sample rendering of the type of streetcar that likely will be used.
Along with showing a picture of a sample streetcar, M-1 RAIL officials said six Americans with Disabilities Act compliant streetcars that meet the Buy-America standards are going to be purchased; and they are still exploring whether Detroit's streetcar will be on-wire or off-wire.
Segment 1 Construction
Construction for the streetcar line will occur in two segments with the first segment—Larned to Adams—scheduled to break ground this year. Today's presentation helped to begin to set expectations. M-1 RAIL team members explained construction includes track construction, utility relocations, and station platforms. They also discussed the tentative construction schedule, the impact it will have on businesses, and the traffic management strategy, which includes bus routes, street closures, supply deliveries for businesses, and parking.
"Right now our team is investing a significant amount of time identifying the various ways greater downtown stakeholders may be impacted by the construction of the streetcar line and devising mitigation strategies," said Childs. "During construction there will be some short-term inconveniences that will bring long-term benefits, however our goal is to minimize the inconveniences as much as possible to corridor users."
Childs and his team shared preliminary plans for:
• Woodward Avenue will be closed to traffic and pedestrians but clearly marked detours will be available. Construction is expected to be limited from 7 a.m. to 7 p.m. Sunday – Saturday.
• All cross-streets will be accessible during construction except for when active work needs to take place in the intersection. Anticipated time for closure for each intersection is four calendar days.
• One lane of vehicular traffic will be maintained around Campus Martius Park during construction
Transit Systems & Utilities & Emergency Responders
• DDOT, SMART and Transit Windsor will maintain service during construction and M-1 RAIL is working with them to redirect bus routes and create temporary stops.
• Utility service interruptions will be avoided when possible; however when necessary stakeholders will be given 5-days advance notice.
• Access for emergency responders will be maintained at all times. A complete emergency access plan is being developed.
• Crosswalks will still be provided at major intersections.
• Sidewalks will be provided during construction; however, they will be no larger than six-feet in width.
• Limited number of short-term sidewalk closures may be required, but will occur on one side of street during off-peak hours.
• M-1 RAIL, Midtown Detroit Inc., and the Downtown Detroit Partnership and other partners are working on developing a comprehensive business mitigation strategy that will be introduced before construction begins.
• M-1 RAIL established a Business Advisory Council to provided advice and input to the projects throughout construction that meets monthly.
• M-1 RAIL has created and begun to distribute a survey to businesses along Woodward Avenue to help inform how to best assist them during construction.
• Businesses will be accessible to customers at all times during construction; debris will be kept from the sidewalks.
• Access to alleys and driveways will be maintained to allow for regular business deliveries.
Parking & Garage Access
• On street parking between Grand Circus Park and Campus Martius Park will not be allowed during construction.
• Parking garage access will be provided from cross-streets at all times.
• Contractors will be required to observe all noise ordinances.
• Contractors and M-1 RAIL will inform businesses of upcoming work in their area on a block-by-block basis.
"When speaking with any group our team is focused on setting realistic expectations," said Woods. "We do not want people to be caught off guard about what happens during a major infrastructure project like this one.
More specific details about the construction schedule and activities will be announced after a Construction Manager is in place, which is expected to be in the near future.
"Even though it is a more fluid period in the project timeline, people today were receptive to the information we could provide them at this stage" Woods continued. "As we get closer to breaking ground, and throughout the construction our communication and outreach will become increasingly more frequent and robust."
Construction Segment 2—north of Adams to West Grand Boulevard—will begin next year.
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