Rapid Transit is coming to Woodward! But how rapid will it be?
Very Good (But):
After decades of consideration and years of active planning, southeast Michigan has a recommended plan, or “Locally Preferred Alternative” (LPA), for how to best build rapid transit on the full 27 mile length of Woodward Avenue! While additional analyses, engineering, design work, and funding are still needed, this is an important step forward.
More good news: The LPA is mostly very good. If built, it would provide frequent, attractive transit service to many major destinations along this essential corridor. It would operate faster than current bus service with travel times that could be competitive with driving!
The plan is for this rapid transit service to be “bus rapid transit (BRT),” not light rail. TRU believes that light rail would serve more people faster and that the potential ridership along this corridor justifies the cost. That said, TRU also supports bus rapid transit, if it is done right. We strongly support the push for truly Gold-Standard BRT that would include premium features to provide the highest quality of transit service, even if the wheels run on pavement instead of rail.
Room for improvement:
Ever wish you could have your own lane of the road so you didn’t have to wait behind other cars? Truly rapid transit runs in its own dedicated lane, whether on rails or pavement.
Although much of the proposed Woodward BRT would have dedicated lanes, the LPA recommends moving the BRT off Woodward south of Grand Boulevard through midtown Detroit and potentially sharing traffic lanes on Cass and John R instead.
The RTA’s Citizens Advisory Committee (CAC) evaluated the LPA, seeking an option consistent with the CAC adopted vision and values for regional transit, and recommends the following:
The CAC strongly supports a Mainline / All-Woodward alignment between Grand Boulevard and Grand Circus Park, running in a dedicated facility. This alignment should be represented as an option in addition to alignment options #1 through #4 of the LPA document submitted to SEMCOG. The CAC strongly requests evaluation of this alignment alternative in the upcoming Environmental Assessment.
The RTA will need to consider this recommendation as they move forward with planning this important transit service.
(By the way, you can see other recommendations of the RTA CAC online.)