If you’re like me you are constantly grilled to every RSS feed, every blog post and every news article regarding the M-1 Rail. For the last few years I have been eagerly anticipating the sight of heavy construction vehicles starting to rip apart the proposed 3.4-mile stretch of Woodward Avenue. To my dismay the sight of orange barrels lining the center lane of Woodward Avenue is still a pipe dream. But thanks to a group of some of Detroit’s prominent business leaders and a $25 million grant delivered last month from the U.S. Department of Transportation Secretary Ray Lahood, this dream is now becoming a reality. This summer we may finally see the grueling, but beautiful site of orange barrels as the unofficial symbol of Woodward Avenue!
So outside of the massive amounts of traffic jams and the grueling sounds of jack hammers as they destroy the center lane of Woodward Avenue, what will this 11, possibly 12 stop, 3.4 mile dream project of so many bring?
Help generate the rise for Midtown and downtown housing incentives. With the development of this light rail, there will be a growing demand for housing in and around the M-1 Rail, allowing more citizens the accessibility to the many amenities that Detroit has to offer.
The creation of more walkable neighborhoods and increased foot traffic for shops, restaurants and many of Detroit’s cultural institutions for residents, employees and visitors. We will start to see revitalization of these neighborhoods that surround the M-1 Rail due to an increase of the occupation of neighborhoods that have since been abandoned and forgotten.
Increased property values for citizens who live on or near the M-1 Rail. More residence, more business and more foot traffic will spur an increase in property value as the demand to live in a sustainable Detroit continuously grows.
Decreased traffic, which will in turn reduce traffic jams. It is perceived that more and more people will begin to start relying more and more on the M-1 Rail as a means of transportation as more residents, employers and visitors start to limit their automobile use.
The beginning of a large-scale mass transit system that could link the majority of the metro Detroit region. With the hopes of one day connecting the metro Detroit region, the M-1 Rail will hopefully set the groundwork for a much bigger mass transit system.
Spurring development of new real estate development that will change the landscape of the historic Woodward Avenue. With 11 stops, all situated on Detroit’s most iconic and populous street, the possibilities for new and improved development on vacant lots and existing buildings are endless.
With announcements rolling in weekly it is hard not to get excited about this development. Looking at cities such as Portland and Dallas, cities that have been able to facilitate light rail, serve as a beacon of hope for a city that is leading the revitalization of this country.
Check out this interesting take on what light rail, along with high-speed rail, can do for the region.