W. Vernor improvements to target pedestrian safety, add bike lanes

The Traffic Engineering Division of the City of Detroit's Department of Public Works held an open house in Southwest Detroit last week to discuss plans for traffic and safety improvements along the corridor, including new crosswalks, upgraded traffic signals, and changes to striping and lane use on Vernor Highway, including the installation of bikes lanes.

Walkability and traffic audits conducted in the area last year prompted many of the recommendations. Southwest Detroit Business Association and Southwest Detroit Environmental Vision, which operates a Safe Routes to School program, were invited to submit ideas and concerns, and these were taken into account by engineers in their presentations.

Concepts shared at the Open House include the installation of bike lanes on W. Vernor between Waterman and Lansing, which would mean narrowing the road down in some areas to one lane of vehicular traffic; redoing the street surface and water and sewage lines on the stretch of W. Vernor that passes under the viaduct just east the W. Vernor/Dix/Waterman intersection, as well as the installation of new sidewalks and lighting; the incorporation of a left-turn lane on eastbound W. Vernor at Livernois to prevent illegal and unsafe turns; and improving lane configuration at the W. Vernor/Dix/Waterman intersection to prevent lane jockeying.

Theresa Zajac, who manages the W. Vernor Business Improvement District at SDBA, made some further recommendations to the engineers at the Open House that include installation of directional signage at the often-confusing W. Vernor/Dix/Waterman intersection and the implementation of additional safety considerations for cyclists.

Plans will be submitted for approval to the Michigan Department of Transportation this month in the hope that construction can begin this year.

Source: Theresa Zajac, SDBA
Writer: Kelli B. Kavanaugh

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