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Plan moves forward to eliminate 1 lane of Woodward Ave. for bike lane between 696, 8 Mile

Posted at 7:05 AM, Mar 22, 2021
and last updated 2021-03-22 07:05:52-04

(WXYZ) — The cities of Ferndale and Pleasant Ridge are moving forward with plans to give Woodward Ave. a road diet.

Just like a real diet, road diets are all about slimming things down. Woodward Ave. would go from four lanes to three lanes in both directions between 8 Mile and I-696, allowing for bike lanes to be installed.

Both cities approved a measure to apply for a grant to make the work happen. The total cost of the project is $3.9 million, but the grant would help pay off $2.5 million.

People we spoke with had concerns over taking the road from four lanes to three, and worries a bike lane on Woodward might be unsafe.

Greg Callan, drive Woodward often 10:27:52 "I don't think it is a good idea, maybe the cars might hit the bikes and stuff," Greg Callan said.

"Woodward gets busy enough as is, and especially around here with all the bars people drink so already enough accidents with nighttime riders, I don't think it would go well," Brendan Rudberg said.

Ferndale Planning Manager Justin Lyons said there are over 800 crashes on Woodward in both comunities over thep ast four to fiv years.

He said there would be a degree of separation from the bike lanes and traffic, either through a lane designated for parking or through flex posts.

"By taking that lane it shortens the crossing distance for people trying to go east and west on Woodward, so that reduces on each side of Woodward 8 to 10 feet where right now that travel lane where people are running and doing the Woodward jog to get across," Lyons said.

Ferndale already has four other roads that have slimmed down – 9 Mile, Hilton, Livernois and Woodward Heights.

Other communities have implemented road diets, including Superior Rd. in Taylor, Jefferson in Detroit and Martin St. in Roseville.

"We are seeing a lot of different areas like Woodward Heights and Livernois fill up with different type of uses and breweries, and restaurants and retail and office and so and more housing so I think we are seeing where we slow down traffic and make things more walkable people feel more safe and there is more investments on those corridors as well," Lyons said.

The cities are hopeful to hear about the grant in June, with construction taking place between April and November 2022.