In a move the Michigan Department of Transportation hopes "will ensure the safety of drivers and pedestrians," the right-most lane of southbound Woodward Avenue, adjacent to Little Caesars Arena, will be closed "during downtown Detroit events," the department announced Wednesday morning. 

The lane closures start March 20 and affect Woodward from Temple north to Interstate 75 to the south, said Diane Cross, spokeswoman for MDOT. 

During these event nights, the Detroit Police Department will use "specialized green cones and signs" to block off that right lane, and two other lanes on the southbound side will remain open.

Cross said Detroit police already block off those lanes during events nights, but that people will sometimes pull up to the arena to drop people off or pick people up. Closing the lane, Cross said, will allow police, EMS, and the QLine streetcar to use the lane unimpeded.

A northbound closure, affecting the area near Comerica Park, is not being considered, Cross said.

In an email, Cross explained the thinking behind the closure of a southbound lane.

"One of the safety issues this SB closure will address is the pedestrian traffic which crosses the service drive from southbound to northbound on the same side as the arena," Cross wrote. "By closing the right lane of southbound Woodward, and not allowing traffic to turn right onto the southbound service drive, it will be safer for pedestrians to cross. Currently, the pedestrian crossing would keep traffic from turning right onto southbound service drive and that would back up traffic onto Woodward."

Officials with the QLine and Little Caesars Arena could not immediately be reached. 


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