M-5 (Grand River Ave) at MLK and Trumbull, Detroit

Jimmy McBroom

I travel through this intersection daily, and I don’t know a single person who doesn’t think it’s completely ridiculous.

Firstly, this intersection is overbuilt for current traffic: the latest AADT figures on Grand River and Martin Luther King Jr. (MLK) are about 6000 cars/day, Trumbull is just under 2000 (obtained from SEMCOG).

Drivers are frequently confused about what they are ‘allowed’ to do (in terms of turning) and by the byzantine traffic signals (which change cycles about once a week). Pedestrian and bike facilities are non-existent.

Before 1990 or so, MLK terminated from the east at Grand River. Because it is now a fairly important crosstown route, I chose to retain this feature and instead sacrifice the ability to proceed through on Trumbull.

I reduced the number of travel lanes on Grand River and MLK from 6 to 4 (keeping a turn lane on Grand River) while adding protected 2-way cycletracks (Detroit’s 1st!) (in dark green) on each roadway. Although Trumbull is split in my redesign, the basic roadway design is left unchanged (1 lane + a turn lane + striped bike lanes [in light green])

I added plazas (orange) for pedestrians where riders can wait for the bus (currently this intersection is served by 3 bus routes.) Other pedestrian-oriented areas could be added around the rest of the intersection, to make it more of a ‘place’ and less of a thoroughfare. Ideally, Norm’s Liquor Express/Family Dollar would relocate their parking lot.

The City of Detroit, DTE/MichCon, and neighborhood groups control most of the vacant land around this intersection, which sits at the edge of three neighborhoods (Briggs to the south, Core City to the west, and Woodbridge to the north). Scripps Park could also be integrated into the redesign.

If it were rebuilt to be more of a gateway to Woodbridge and Detroit’s west side in general, it is an excellent location for mixed-use, transit-oriented development (in red). It’s extremely close to employment centers in Downtown and Midtown, residential areas such as the Woodbridge Estates and housing further west, and could help spur more development along Grand River.

Visual Representation of Project:


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Place of Project Implementation:

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