M-1 RAIL Outlines Plans for Streetcar Project

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DETROIT — M-1 RAIL officials presented at the Downtown Detroit Partnership’s Summer Stakeholder meeting Tuesday afternoon, telling the crowd their goal is to minimize the impact the construction of the 3.3-mile streetcar circulator has on businesses, residents, pedestrians and visitors of the Woodward Avenue corridor.

With construction scheduled to begin by late summer/early fall of this year, Paul Childs M-1 RAIL chief operating officer, along with Sommer Woods, director of governmental and community affairs, 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,” Woods said. “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.”  

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. 

Construction for the streetcar line will occur in two segments, the first segment—Larned to Adams—scheduled to break ground this year. 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,” Childs said. “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.”

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