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Belle Isle Multimodal Mobility Study to Develop Transportation and Circulation Improvements

DETROIT, MI — The historic Belle Isle Park, a 982-acre island located in the Detroit River, has realized increasing transportation network and parking demands due to a significant rise in visitors since it became a state park in 2014. To accommodate and enhance visitor access and travel throughout the park, the MDNR — in partnership with the Michigan Department of Transportation (MDOT) and Belle Isle Conservancy — launched a comprehensive multimodal mobility study for improvements to transportation, parking, and traffic management.

Led by Wade Trim, the study will recommend a phased mitigation strategy for implementing innovative and sustainable improvements to multimodal transportation for various modes of travel including vehicles, pedestrians, bicyclists, and buses. Transportation improvements will focus on enhancing traffic operations and safety throughout the park, providing a plan to help visitors find their way around with additional wayfinding and enhanced parking, while preserving the park’s natural, historical, and cultural resources.

An extensive data collection phase was conducted in July 2022, which included collection of 3,136 hours of video footage used for counting vehicles, buses, pedestrians, and bicycles at approximately 60 intersections and driveways. Data collected is also being used for traffic modeling of alternative improvements and provide insight into operations for various conditions including typical days and high-visitor days during the summer. Multimodal infrastructure solutions and recommendations will be made to improve traffic operations and circulation throughout the park.

A stakeholder communication plan, which includes visitor surveys, is being developed to recommend strategies to reach all stakeholders such as vendors, agencies, partner groups, and the community. Three rounds of meetings will be held in 2023. The first round will gather stakeholder input for the technical team to understand current stakeholder perspectives and challenges for consideration in developing potential mitigation strategies. The other rounds will present proposed mitigation strategies and, subsequently, the final plan for stakeholder feedback. The study is scheduled for completion by December 2023.

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