Free rides, restricted views for parade
— Viewing of the 88th annual America's Thanksgiving Parade will be restricted in several areas along Woodward due to the M-1 Rail Project construction zone.
The city also announced it has expanded and extended the area of road closures leading to the parade route.
On an up note, though, the Detroit People Mover will provide free rides on Thanksgiving Day.
Due to the M-1 Rail Project, there are three locations along the parade route with viewing rules:
■It will only be allowed on the east side of Woodward from Putnam to Warren.
■It will be extended from the west side of Woodward between Alexandrine to Watson.
■From Winder to Montcalm, it will be allowed only on the east side of Woodward. No viewing will be allowed on the Interstate 75 overpass.
Motorists traveling to downtown Detroit on Wednesday, the day before the parade, should be aware of the following road closures on Woodward:
■West Grand Boulevard to Warren from 6 p.m. Wednesday through 2 p.m. Thursday.
■Warren to Jefferson starting at 3 a.m. Thursday until the end of the parade.
During the Turkey Trot before the parade, "Fort will be closed from Trumbull to Woodward while Lafayette will be closed from Trumbull to Griswold," city spokesman John Roach said. "Traditionally, officers have let drivers onto the closed streets if they are on their way to work. That will again be the case on Thursday."
Starting at noon Wednesday, Amsterdam/Piquette, Harper, Palmer, Ferry and Farnsworth/Putnam will have limited access from Cass to John R.
Beginning at 6 a.m. Thursday, Michigan at Cass, Fort from Trumbull to Woodward, Congress from Shelby to Randolph and Larned from Shelby to Randolph will be closed, as well as Shelby from Congress to Michigan, Monroe from Woodward to Randolph, Lafayette from Trumbull to Griswold, Washington from Adams to Congress and Atwater from Civic Center Drive to Third Street.
Michigan and Washington will reopen at about 8:30 a.m. after the Turkey Trot.
For the first time, the Detroit People Mover will offer patrons free rides when they attend downtown activities, including the Thanksgiving Day Parade, events at Campus Martius Park and the Lions game against the Bears (kickoff at 12:30 p.m.).
From 6 a.m. until 7 p.m., riders can enter fare gates free of charge at any People Mover station. The tab is being picked up by Michelin North America.
"We're hopeful this will help ease traffic and allow people to park all around the city, utilizing the People Mover to reach their destination," advertising director Vetra Stephens said.
The People Mover will return to regular service hours Friday.
As a result of the street closures for Thanksgiving Day events, as well as the M-1 Rail project, DDOT bus passengers can expect delays beginning at 6 a.m. Thursday.
According to DDOT, east side routes will lay over at the Detroit People Mover's Bricktown Station on Beaubien north of Larned. The affected east side routes include: #7 Cadillac-Harper, #10 Chene, #31 Mack, # 34 Gratiot and #48 Van Dyke.
East side bus routes will resume regular service to the Rosa Parks Transit Center after 6 p.m. Thursday.
Michigan State Police troopers are boosting patrols as part of an effort to keep roads safe for Thanksgiving travelers.
Operation Combined Accident Reduction Effort, known as Operation CARE, runs through Sunday.
Troopers across the state will conduct high-visibility enforcement focusing on impaired driving, seat belt use, careless driving and speeding. The extra patrols are paid for with federal traffic safety funds.
In addition, the Michigan Department of Transportation will display safe driving reminders on its freeway message boards and at rest areas.
In 2013, state police say there were 12 traffic fatalities around the Thanksgiving holiday.
— Associated Press