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  1. #1

    Default Uniting Hart and Spirit Plazas: Bridge or Tunnel?

    The Freep's John Gallagher lays out the argument for uniting the two public spaces in today's edition. He like the tunnel concept but will take either. I prefer a bridge, mainly for the added vistas it would offer. The ultimate would be moving Jefferson underground but that isn't going to happen. How about you?

  2. #2

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    I'm in favor of the bridge. Bridges can be so beautiful to me and burying Jefferson would be a biiiitch

  3. #3

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    I would prefer a pedestrian tunnel. My experiences with tunnels underneath major thoroughfares when we lived in Nuremberg as well as visiting other cities were nothing but positive. The ability to traverse major thoroughfares safely without dealing with 8 lanes of traffic, not to mention the winter snow and wind was convenient, without the visual obstruction to the downtown core that a bridge would create.

    Now in fairness the tunnels in Nuremberg, Frankfurt, and other cities provided for entire subterranean economies mostly because of the densities of the cities. While I dont think Detroit could support that, it certainly would be an idea worth entertaining as the city continues to develop a downtown core.

  4. #4

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    Somebody, anybody, post a map image marked up with the affected areas highlighted.

  5. #5

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    so what is the least expensive option? What time of day/night would such a structure be open/closed?
    What are the law enforcement implications for either? (For the underground option in particular, a permanent officer on duty?)
    Even in terms of the costs, how is it paid for? Another bond proposal? Uh-oh. City residents who rightly feel that many city services are dysfunctional will not be on board. Tread carefully.
    Last edited by Hypestyles; August-03-19 at 02:41 PM.

  6. #6

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    This is something that should be done in a master plan with Hart Plaza.

  7. #7

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    People still need a reason to go there. I don't see many office workers wanting to go to Hart Plaza at lunchtime, other than those few who are on Jefferson and brown bagging it. As far as tourists, many walk along the riverfront from the RenCen already and make the effort to walk through Hart Plaza to come up Woodward.
    A pedestrian bridge is fine, but not necessarily a convenience. I've walked on many whereby when you add in the start and end point as well as the angle, it becomes a longer, more arduous walk than just crossing the street.
    Last edited by 401don; August-03-19 at 04:53 PM.

  8. #8

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    I would prefer a bridge over a tunnel. It would be less intrusive for Jefferson traffic (lord knows all the utility lines that would have to be relocated, and then there's that 'looking for archeology remnants' from Detroit's early days that would slow that down).

    I would love to see a bridge, but make it interesting (not just simply functional) so that people would be enticed to cross it. Actually I would like to see something 'wishbone' shaped with a single ramp on the Hart Plaza side branching into a double ramp on the downtown side for either side of Woodward.

    I would like to see something like the pedestrian bridge in Pescara Italy... but on a much much smaller scale...

    https://www.tripadvisor.com/Attracti...a_Abruzzo.html

  9. #9

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    Quote Originally Posted by 401don View Post
    People still need a reason to go there. I don't see many office workers wanting to go to Hart Plaza at lunchtime
    I agree with this. I often go through Hart Plaza, but for the sole reason of getting to the Riverfront. Hart Plaza can either be a space for events, or it's a giant, decaying concrete jungle, and never anything in between. I would love to see it drastically redesigned. I just returned from a trip to Boston and their public spaces were much better.

    As to the question of bridge or tunnel, I would say a decorative bridge is the way to go. It has to look good, or it may damage the perception of downtown.

    I fear a tunnel would have rumors of crime, true or not.

  10. #10

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    ^ Agreed! People might be hesitant to use a tunnel, whereas a bridge would give the perception of safety. In Detroit... it's often about perception.

  11. #11

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    I think putting Jefferson on a road diet would be the best and cheapest option.

    I don't see how the tunnel idea is workable if the exit ramp from the Lodge stays where it is at now. Extending the Lodge tunnel just creates the same problem in another location. It's also hard to see how a Boston Big Dig style system could work without a very massive construction project that Detroit and Michigan cannot afford.

  12. #12

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    Is this what we're talking about?

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    If so, I say ... neither.

    First off, get all the goofy out of the way and reopen the street to traffic like responsible cities do.

    Then, instead of wasting money on more goofy, spend that money to improve streets, lighting and emergency service response times in the neighborhoods.

  13. #13

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    ^^^Wow, what a useless post...

  14. #14

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    Quote Originally Posted by Meddle View Post
    Is this what we're talking about?

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    If so, I say ... neither.

    First off, get all the goofy out of the way and reopen the street to traffic like responsible cities do.

    Then, instead of wasting money on more goofy, spend that money to improve streets, lighting and emergency service response times in the neighborhoods.
    Absolutely spot on! Streets are for traffic, not to be used as a place to loiter. Hart Plaza is deserted 80 percent of the time and it is already paid for. People can loiter there.

  15. #15

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    Quote Originally Posted by SyGolden48236 View Post
    Absolutely spot on! Streets are for traffic, not to be used as a place to loiter. Hart Plaza is deserted 80 percent of the time and it is already paid for. People can loiter there.
    So unbelievably wrong. If you don't like people, don't come to a city. There are plenty of 14 lane roads in the suburbs that will satisfy your craving. The money put into the Spirit Plaza will be money well spent in creating a new green space and removing a clusterfuck intersection. More to come.

  16. #16

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    If they don't restore safety and faith in the neighborhoods, there won't be much of a city.

  17. #17

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    Quote Originally Posted by JonWylie View Post
    If you don't like people, don't come to a city.

    No problem.

  18. #18

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    Quote Originally Posted by Meddle View Post
    First off, get all the goofy out of the way and reopen the street to traffic like responsible cities do.

    Then, instead of wasting money on more goofy, spend that money to improve streets, lighting and emergency service response times in the neighborhoods.
    My neighborhood just did what was done in Spirit Plaza - closed a street to make a temporary plaza, then made the temporary plaza permanent. It's working well here.

  19. #19

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    Quote Originally Posted by Meddle View Post

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    ....get all the goofy out of the way and reopen the street to traffic like responsible cities do.
    Jefferson is 8 lanes wide in that location. 4 of them are zooming onto or off of an expressway. And right through Detroit's historical center, where the radial spokes should connect with its prime natural amenity. Spokes that were designed for pedestrians, horses, and bicyclists, by the way.

    New York is a city of 8.623 million-- nearly 13 times the population of Detroit. Not only does Manhattan not have an 8 lane road, anywhere (there is only one in the whole city, in Queens), it doesn't have an interstate except for about a half mile across its northernmost point, over 12 miles from downtown. Not even FDR Drive is 8 lanes wide. Besides, NY has successfully closed many streets to car traffic, most notably Broadway, one of its major thoroughfares. And they did that in New York's center of density: Midtown.

    Iheartthed, I'm not sure you were there yet, but NY also put a bunch of other streets on a diet in your neighborhood before they made the pedestrian plaza. They extended the sidewalks at the street corners along Fulton, Lafayette, DeKalb, and elsewhere -- forcing cars to make those turns more slowly, and making it easier and safer for pedestrians. They even moved the fire hydrants closer into the streets along with the sidewalks, as if to enforce the change was permanent.

    New York: responsible or goofy?

    I'm with iheartthed. Jefferson needs a road diet. Only some Detroiters (and ex-Detroiters) would think all those cars zooming through there is a good idea.
    Last edited by bust; August-03-19 at 11:17 PM.

  20. #20

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    A portion of Hart Plaza's desolateness is due the the Jefferson crossing. It can take waiting for lights twice if one does not move quickly. It is also intimidating as cars are accelerating into or flying out of the Cobo tunnel.

    Crossing that pain-in-the-... twice is more than enough disincentive fora lunch time wander to the river. Bridge it with a covered bridge gets my vote.

  21. #21

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    Maybe the answer is to get rid of the freeway speed traffic by tearing out M10 south of I-75 and returning surface traffic to Jefferson (like 375). The ROW of M10 could be converted into a surface street and connect to Michigan Ave. There used to be some surface streets there at some point, right? Before M10 was put in?

    The closest freeway to downtown would be 75 at that point which is OK. Jefferson is too much of a racetrack through downtown.

    I also prefer the idea of a bridge (or two) even if M10 is removed downtown. However, at street level the bridges will impact views of the river and act as a barrier of sorts, in order to be high enough for traffic clearance and require approaches that comply with the ADA.

  22. #22

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    Quote Originally Posted by Meddle View Post
    Is this what we're talking about?

    Name:  Goofy.JPG
Views: 620
Size:  113.1 KB

    If so, I say ... neither.

    First off, get all the goofy out of the way and reopen the street to traffic like responsible cities do.

    Then, instead of wasting money on more goofy, spend that money to improve streets, lighting and emergency service response times in the neighborhoods.

    If they don't restore safety and faith in the neighborhoods, there won't be much of a city.
    Wow... so many logic fallacies in just 2 posts all rolled up in one... Slippery Slope, Red Herring, and False Analogy.

    Chances are that they will be using TIFA (Tax Increment Financial Authority) dollars to make all these changes, money captured downtown that cannot be used outside of the downtown TIFA boundary... meaning NOT the neighborhoods.

  23. #23

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    Quote Originally Posted by bust View Post
    New York: responsible or goofy?
    The epitome of goofy.

  24. #24

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    How about this, what city isn't "goofy"?

  25. #25

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    People get very mad online when they can't drive 55 MPH unimpeded through downtown Detroit... "Oh but think of the streetlights!" might be the weakest argument I've ever seen against a pedestrian plaza.

    Anyway, I think we should fix up Hart Plaza, or at least program it better before we invest in any tunnels or bridges. Maybe a road diet to start, but if there's not much for people to do in Hart Plaza except trip on uneven pavers and watch garbage swirl around in the subterranean levels, the effort is futile.

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