“We know that walkability is crucial for a thriving neighborhood,” said Kevin Waskelis, senior strategist at DTE Energy. “By creating a vibrant, walkable corridor connecting downtown Detroit and a key neighborhood, we are creating a natural flow that allows people to explore the city freely and safely. Now that the project is complete, we look forward to seeing residents exploring the space and this great city.”

The final work was completed in Oct. 2021

Collaborating and listening to the community to understand their mobility pain points is important as we all work together to help people more freely and safely. That is why in 2019, Ford Motor Company, in collaboration with the Downtown Detroit Partnership and PlanetM – a mobility initiative of the MEDC that has since transitioned to the Office of Future Mobility and Electrification – conducted the City:One Michigan Central Station Challenge, with a goal of improving mobility for people living in, working in and visiting the community surrounding Michigan Central Station in Corktown, Detroit. The program brought together government officials, residents, startups and entrepreneurs in an effort to understand mobility issues and design solutions, while encouraging the community to submit mobility solutions that complement existing transportation services. 

After receiving 164 proposals for mobility solution pilots, a team composed of the Detroit Downtown Partnership, DTE Energy and local artists Freddy Diaz and Donald Calloway were one of the three finalists for the idea of improving the safety and walkability of the Michigan Avenue Bridge over the Lodge Freeway in order to better connect Corktown and Southwest Detroit to Downtown. The team was inspired by the way art has been used to transform different spaces around the city of Detroit to make them much more engaging. They also wanted to work with artists from two different areas along Michigan Avenue as a way to underscore the project’s theme of the way in which bridges can create linkages, as opposed to divides. The team also conducted community outreach and engagement to get input on the design at in-person and online forums.

The project involved the installation of colorful public art paired with street furniture and amenities and used 25 gallons of paint, 15 4’ X 6’ wood boards and hours of careful, creative time. This will make the bridge more inviting for people using all modes of transportation, including pedestrians, cyclists and drivers.

“We are thrilled to continue working with citywide partners to invest in Detroit’s forward momentum,” said Ryan Epstein, Program Manager for the DDP. “Enhancing a key gateway to Southwest Detroit, Corktown and Downtown will bridge and strengthen communities within our city in a fun and unique way.” 

The installation will be up for at least one year. If you’d like to enjoy the bridge, you can see it over the Lodge between the MGM Grand Casino and 6th Street.