Detroit has need to reduce speed in neighborhoods

Sarah Rahal
The Detroit News
Detroit Mayor Mike Duggan greets workers from the Department of Public Works as they install speed bumps in a northwest neighborhood Friday.

Detroit — The city is installing speed bumps designed to slow down motorists in neighborhoods as part of a massive transit plan announced Friday. 

The four-year, 82-step plan focuses on traffic flow, safety in neighborhoods and more affordable transit options as result of receiving input from residents, Detroit Mayor Mike Duggan said. The city recently implemented main points in the plan, including rebranding and rolling out new DDOT buses, adding protected bike lanes and launching neighborhood traffic-calming projects. 

Speed bumps were installed on Sussex and Curtis Street near Peterson Playfield on the city's northwest side.

Duggan, community members and public officials gathered at the Peterson Playfield Friday on the city’s northwest side as they installed speed bumps on Curtis Street to discuss the efforts. 

"I don’t remember the last time I was at a neighborhood meeting where the neighbors didn’t say I have a problem with speeders on my residential streets," Duggan said. "We will never have enough police officers to track speeders down every street, but a number of cities have used speed cushions, and Detroit has historically not done that."

The installation is one of seven districts — 36 streets — in a speed bump pilot to reduce crashes around neighborhoods and schools. The pilot cost $100,000 for 100 cushions, and if it improves safety, Duggan said speed bumps will expand citywide. 

The plan was developed in partnership with Bloomberg Associates and Janette Sadik Khan, Former New York City Transportation Commissioner, known for converting road space into bike lanes and pedestrian plazas along Broadway at Times Square and Herald Square. Khan said she's never seen so much quick progress in a city project.

Janette Sadik Khan, former New York City transportation commissioner, speaks to residents Friday, Sept. 7, 2018 at the announcement of the new plan.

"The point of the 82 goals that are outlined in the strategic transportation plan isn't just to build better projects, it’s actually to build a better city for everyone in Detroit," Khan said. "It has goals to support the economic and educational opportunities for all Detroiters from pre-k to post-doc — choices that give people more opportunity get around without owning a car to make it more affordable to get around the streets of Detroit."

Georgia Cambell, who has lived in the neighborhood for 35 years, said she'd prefer to see the speed bumps on the other side of Sussex at Pickford Avenue, where more children play, but she's happy to see some improvement. 

"A couple of years ago, there was a speeder going west on Pickford and went airborne into a parking lot. He crashed into a car with four people, killing two of them," said Cambell, 65. "Children play more on the other side, and that's where we should absolutely have speed bumps. Sometimes, it's a bit too late, but better late than never."

June Mack, who has lived in the neighborhood for 10 years, said the speed humps are long overdue on the road that many speed through to get to the freeway. 

“They are necessary; there have been several accidents around this area — even deadly crashes,” said Mack, 66. “I would love to see them all around this park and every park in the city. It will deter speeding. ... As for transportation, we’ve seen and standby all the improvements in the area and look forward to future developments, but we have to crawl before we can walk.” 

Duggan closed Friday by saying by the end of the year, they hope to implement new technology, such as allowing riders to purchase bus fairs on their cell phones and having traffic lights controlled through a new Traffic Management Center located at public safety headquarters.

"...We will control street light timing from a central location during concerts or major events," he said. "We’re going to have safer pedestrian crossings injuries and deaths are far too high and in our commercial quarters, you’ll see beautiful streetscapes that encourage the neighbors to walk and shop. Best of all, all 700,000 of our residents will be able to see this plan and monitor our work over the years."

Also stated in the city's plan: 


  • DDOT will increase service on 10 high-capacity routes and will feature a new bus design and Wi-Fi.
  • Invest in replacing, expanding and overhauling the DDOT bus fleet to make service more reliable.
  • The ParkDetroit app will include additional features and we will pilot new pricing techniques to improve the availability of on-street parking. DDOT will make it easier to pay for the bus with mobile ticketing and off-board payments in 2019. 
  • Build a new Coolidge Bus Terminal to increase connectivity.


  • Smart technology in traffic signals will improve traffic flow and pedestrian access. 
  • Public works will rehab or resurface 300 miles of street.
  • Street safety improvements will include new and better crosswalks and shorter crossings for people on foot.
  • A new utility coordination committee will coordinate roadway infrastructure projects and reduce their impact on Detroiters.
  • Clearer signage for loading and parking will improve curbside operations.
  • Adopt a traffic fatality reduction target and identify high-crash locations.
  • Speed bumps are being added on: Puritan between Warwick and Avon, Curtis between Greenfield and Coyle, Fenelon between Outer Drive and Amrad, Lakepointe between Morang and Moross, Lawrence between Lawton and Linwood, Prairie between Joy Road and Alaska, Strathmoor between Chicago and Elmira. 

Pedestrians and drivers

  • Work with the Legislature to pass auto insurance reform to reduce the cost of insurance for 260,000 households in Detroit.
  • MoGo will expand to Northwest Detroit in 2019. 
  • Protected bike lanes piloted on East Jefferson and across lower east side neighborhoods in 2018 will roll out to additional communities.
  • Leading pedestrian intervals, providing people on foot with a head start at intersections, will be piloted at five locations in 2019.

Twitter: @SarahRahal_