Pedestrian bridges and overall walkability infrastructure in Detroit is suffering even with new investment in a $27 million bridge, street repaving, speed humps installation, and streetscape improvements. Our collaborative research from 2016 gained popularity after a man fell through the collapsing concrete of the Spruce Street pedestrian bridge.
A team of WSU students surveyed all 71 pedestrian bridges in 2015, today there are 59 pedestrian bridges: 10 demolished, 3 closed, 1 not included in the MDOT dataset. The extensive construction for the new international bridge crossing has meant the removal of pedestrian bridges along I-75 as well as the widening of I-94. Many of those bridges were deemed unacceptable in 2015, but the resulting loss of access is significant to the communities nearby.
This map specifically shows where bridge ratings have gotten worse. The majority of I-94 pedestrian bridges are just continuing to fall into disrepair with no clear plans from MDOT for investment or improvement. Most concerning are the closures of pedestrian bridges near Detroit’s core. Access to amenities and jobs are critical when as many as 25% of Detroiters don’t have access to a car. A large number of bridges slipped into the orange category, just a few data points away from being too dangerous.