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Belle Isle visitors, tell us about your experiences getting around the Detroit island park

Multimodal mobility study public input survey is open through Feb. 19

Cooling off at the beach, grilling with family and friends, a giant slide, access to hiking trails and paddling, food trucks, outdoor gardens, exotic and rare plant collections and historic architecture – these are just some of the many opportunities and amenities that annually draw millions of visitors to Belle Isle Park in Detroit.

Growing interest in the island and its many natural and cultural attractions has boosted visitation via vehicle, bicycle, Detroit Department of Transportation buses and other modes of transportation. In fact, there were more than 5 million estimated visits to the island park last year – nearly doubling annual visitation since 2014.

While public interest in Belle Isle is good news, increased visitation and use come with new challenges, such as traffic and parking demands. A team working to understand and adapt to that growth has launched an online public input survey inviting park visitors to share their observations and suggestions tied to traffic flow, parking and movement around the island.

A link to the survey and project website is available at Michigan.gov/BelleIsle.

The survey will be open through Sunday, Feb. 19. It is available in English, Spanish and Arabic.

For those who prefer an alternate format, the survey also can be taken by phone and is available in paper copies. Call 313-261-5059 for these options.

Survey, study background

The survey is part of the Belle Isle multimodal mobility study, an 18-month effort to develop a phased strategy for implementing sustainable improvements to better manage circulation, wayfinding and parking on the island. The goal is to reduce congestion, increase safety and ease travel for all park users and modes of transportation.

The Michigan Department of Natural Resources, the Michigan Department of Transportation and the Belle Isle Conservancy are partnering on the study. Wade Trim, a Detroit-based engineering consultant firm, will complete the study, which should be finished at the end of 2023.

As the study and process evolve, the Belle Isle Park Advisory Committee will offer periodic progress updates during its regularly scheduled public meetings.

“With a rising number of visitors accessing the park, getting onto and around the island can come with challenges during certain times of the year,” said Amanda Treadwell, urban field planner for the DNR Parks and Recreation Division. “Hearing from park users about their experiences – what works well for them, what changes could make their visits more enjoyable – will help us develop mobility solutions that work for everyone.”

Since July 2022, Wade Trim has collected extensive data to better understand mobility on the island, including:

  • Counts of all modes of transportation at 60 intersections.
  • An aerial traffic inventory study that included 38 flights.
  • In-person observations of how people use and move around the park.
  • An early intercept survey (conducting on-site surveys with visitors) of more than 400 island users.
  • An inventory of all regulatory and wayfinding signs.
  • Extensive discussions with staff and key stakeholders, such as the city of Detroit, island vendors and tenants, community organizations and others with specific interests in the island.
  • Ongoing conversations with park users and residents across the city of Detroit and the region.

In addition to exploring a wide range of options to ease vehicle congestion, the study also will look at ways to improve or create trails that allow visitors to walk or bike between island destinations, public transit, a ferry or shuttle service, and micromobility options such as MoGo bikes, scooters and access for personal watercraft. (Micromobility generally refers to transportation over short distances provided by lightweight, usually single-person vehicles.)

For more information about the Belle Isle multimodal mobility study, contact Amanda Treadwell at TreadwellA@Michigan.com or 313-269-7430.


Note to editors: Accompanying photos are available below for download.

Contact: Amanda Treadwell, 313-269-7430