First phase of East Jefferson Avenue redesign project begins Monday

Road will be converted from seven driving lanes to five to calm traffic

DETROIT – Ron Brundidge, Department of Public Works director, announced Monday that East Jefferson Avenue will be redesigned to improve safety.

This week, Detroit will begin the first phase of the redesign project to increase safety, mobility and connectivity along a 5.4-mile stretch of East Jefferson Avenue. The project will redesign driving lanes, install protected bike lanes and include dedicated parking lanes.

The road surface redesign will help improve safety for motorists, bicyclists and pedestrians. The project will also include improved pedestrian crosswalks along East Jefferson Avenue, connecting residents safely to the Riverfront.

Key elements of the redesign include:

  • Converting the road from seven driving lanes to five lanes (two driving lanes in each direction and a dedicated left-turn lane.)  This will create shorter crossing distances for pedestrians and help to calm traffic along East Jefferson Avenue, as well.
  • Installing clearer crosswalks to further improve pedestrian safety.
  • Adding protected bike lanes on both sides of East Jefferson Avenue.  The bike lanes will occupy the curb lane. To improve pedestrian and bicyclist safety, a designated formal parking lane will be installed next to the bike lane, away from the curb, and with a buffer zone between it and the bike lane. 


The project will begin the week of May 14 and is expected to be complete by July 4.  Work will be done in three individual phases to reduce the project’s impact on traffic. The first section to be redesigned will be on the east end from Lakewood to St. Jean streets.  Once that is completed and fully reopened, phase two installation will occur from St. Jean to Van Dyke, followed by phase three from Van Dyke to Rivard.

Public Education

The redesign will come with many visual changes and the city would like to inform the residents on what the changes mean. The road will include red painted boxes on the pavement to identify bus stops and green sections where bikes and cars share the road.

This week, every household north and south of East Jefferson Avenue within the project limits will receive a printed brochure that explains each aspect of the redesign and provides tips for motorists and bicyclists on how to safely use the newly designed road. 

Street signs will be installed temporarily along the length of the project reminding motorist that the parking lane is now set farther out from the curb because of the addition of the bike lanes.

The city also has set up a web page at which includes the same information, along with an email address where residents can submit feedback.  The city will evaluate the project based on safety data, mobility data, and community feedback to determine any design changes that may be necessary.

"The safety of our streets starts by designing them for everyone who uses them,” said Brundidge. “Effective public education is another part of that strategy that reinforces safety when we bring new designs to our roads.”

District managers, DPW and Planning Department staff will be available to attend community and block club meetings. To request city staff attend a meeting, contact your district manager or email

Reasons for the changes

East Jefferson Avenue moves about 20,000 vehicles every day and saw hundreds of accidents in recent years. The Detroit Police Department regularly addresses issues of speeding and other traffic violations along this stretch of East Jefferson, which passes several schools and residential buildings for senior citizens. 

The city wants to ensure that everyone, whether they’re driving, walking or riding their bike, can safely get to their destination. The safety improvements and protected bike lanes along East Jefferson will help accomplish this goal.

The protected bike lanes are being installed this summer, ahead of a planned 2020 repaving of East Jefferson. The Detroit Water and Sewerage Department will also replace outdated water and sewer lines. To avoid repetitive and wasteful repaving, the city will restripe East Jefferson this summer, waiting until 2020 to fully resurface the road.

Impact on vehicle traffic

Street parking will be unavailable for a short period in each phase of construction. When construction is complete, drivers will have designated on-street parking spaces located on the traffic side of the protected bike lanes. Drivers will park in areas marked by paint along bollards protecting the bike lanes. 

Improved safety for bicyclists

Cyclists can expect safer bike lanes, protected by bollards, painted buffers and on-street parking following construction. During construction, bike lanes will have limited access in construction zones. After project completion, cyclists will be able to ride protected from vehicle traffic and separated from opening car doors.

Shorter pedestrian crossing distances

Pedestrians can expect limited impacts during the construction period. New pedestrian crosswalks will be installed along the entire stretch of East Jefferson, improving safety and walkability. The conversion of lanes will also create shorter crossing distances, promoting connectivity from East Side neighborhoods to the Riverfront.