DETROIT — State Rep. Stephanie Chang (D-Detroit) and her office recently conducted a survey in order to gather data from residents regarding the Michigan Department of Transportation’s proposed I-375 project in House District 6.
MDOT is currently conducting an environmental review process regarding the I-375 freeway as part of its five-year plan, and reviewing six proposed alternatives, ranging from reconstructing I-375 as it is to bringing the freeway up to surface street level.
By going door-to-door and through an online survey link, 326 survey responses were collected between June 22 and Sept. 8. The survey asked three questions:
1) What are the three most important factors that you hope MDOT will consider when evaluating the six alternatives? (Choices included air quality/health impact, noise impact, safety impact, walkability/ability to bike and impact on historic neighborhoods or landmarks)
2) If I-375 were to become a surface street, what would you prefer to see more of? (Choices included more green space, more residential development and more commercial development)
3) Of the six alternatives, which do you prefer?
There were a number of key findings from the survey:
- Walkability was ranked most often as one of the most important factors respondents hope MDOT will consider (31 percent).
- If I-375 were to become a surface street, most respondents would prefer additional green space over residential or commercial development (54 percent).
- Across the board, alternative two (reconstructed freeway with riverfront connection) was the choice most often preferred for respondents from Detroit, for Lafayette Park respondents, and for Hyde Park respondents.
- All respondents: Alternative two was most often ranked the number one choice (26.94 percent), but alternative five (boulevard on the west) was most often ranked in respondents’ top three choices (27.45 percent).
- When looking at neighborhood-specific responses, it appears that Lafayette Park and Hyde Park respondents had different opinions than respondents from any other Detroit neighborhood or the whole group of respondents.
- Lafayette Park respondents: Alternative two (reconstructed freeway with riverfront connection) was most often ranked the number one choice (28.21 percent), but alternative one (reconstructed freeway as is) was most often ranked in respondents’ top three choices (20.23 percent).
- Hyde Park respondents: Alternative two (reconstructed freeway with riverfront connection) was most often ranked the number one choice (36.36 percent) as well as the number one, number two or number three choice (29.41 percent).
“I launched the I-375 survey project because hearing directly from my neighbors and residents across the region is critical,” said Chang. “It was clear from my conversations with neighbors about I-375 that there are strong opinions regarding this project.
“Most people would prefer to see more green space, rather than residential or commercial development. If MDOT ultimately makes the decision to change the freeway to a surface street, I hope that the state and city will take these preferences into consideration as the project moves forward, especially because the quality of life, walkability and safety of those living closest to the freeway may be greatly impacted by whatever changes take place.”