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Detroit New Center Intermodal Facility

  • Currently, the existing Detroit Amtrak passenger rail station and Howard Street Station are approximately three miles apart and there is not a way to easily transfer between the two facilities. This project will combine the facilities enabling efficient transfers. For example, a user could bike to the station, store their bike in the indoor storage facility, and then connect to either Amtrak or a bus service provided by multiple carriers. Similarly, a passenger arriving by train could switch to an intercity bus or easily connect to local and regional transit options along M-1 (Woodward Avenue) through the QLINE streetcar and Suburban Mobility Authority for Regional Transportation (SMART)/Detroit Department of Transportation (DDOT) bus services to complete their trips.

    Additionally, this project aligns with the City of Detroit’s stated goals to increase density at New Center’s core and provide infrastructure to connect other neighborhoods to that core via Woodward Avenue transit service. The DNCIF will support the revitalization taking place in the New Center neighborhood, creating improved community resources for multimodal use. Independent of this project, there are over 20 foreseeable future projects near the site (identified through the Detroit Development Tracker), including the local revitalization project through Henry Ford Hospital.

  • As of spring 2023, an environmental assessment was drafted for the DNCIF project. This is part of the National Environmental Protection Act (NEPA) process. MDOT will release the environmental assessment document for public review in advance of a public hearing in summer 2023.  Once the environmental assessment process is complete and a decision document is issued (anticipated Fall 2023), MDOT will work to finalize design and begin construction in the 2024-2026 timeframe.

  • This project is partially funded through a $10 million federal Rebuilding American Infrastructure with Sustainability and Equity (RAISE) grant awarded in 2021. The rest of the project costs will be covered by state funding.

  • Analysis found that the DNCIF would not result in significant traffic impacts at nearby intersections. The project will enhance the multimodal network in the immediate area. MDOT will make sidewalk improvements to the south side Baltimore Avenue between Cass Avenue and Woodward Avenue. Bicycle storage will be included within the passenger station and there will be an addition of a bikeshare station (through a partnership with MoGo). Local transit systems (DDOT, SMART, QLINE) are anticipated to continue serving existing nearby stops along Woodward Avenue and Cass Avenue.

  • During 2020-2021, MDOT conducted a preliminary analysis of potential sites for the DNCIF. Since the rail line and existing Detroit Amtrak rail station locations are established at New Center, the analysis evaluated alternative locations for the intercity bus facility. The most desirable sites co-located the intercity bus terminal with the existing Amtrak rail station in the New Center neighborhood.

  • The DNCIF passenger station is expected to be open to the public approximately from 5:30 a.m. to 1 a.m., consistent with when bus and rail services operate, as well as the hours of operation of other stations in the Detroit region. The parking deck would be open 24 hours a day seven days a week.

  • The site will have a 24-hour security presence via for-hire security staff, like what is currently provided at the Howard Street bus station and the Detroit Amtrak rail station. There will be two on-site staff at a time to monitor the facility. Space will be provided for a video monitoring system and a security office on the ground floor of the main passenger station. Security staff will have visibility of the south-side bus circulation area and parking deck, as well as the perimeter of the station site. Wayne State University Police Department are the closest first responders for any incidents or help needed at or near the DNCIF.

  • Amtrak, the bus carriers, and SMART will have leases and dedicated spaces within the facility for various office and administrative uses. Approximately 1,000 square feet of space will be allocated for a café space (tenant to be determined). The MDOT Office of Real Estate will manage leases within the facility, like the current arrangement in Detroit for Amtrak and bus carriers.

  • Parking will be available for rail and bus customers, on-site employees, and the public. Long-term parking will be paid, with daily rates determined by demand in the New Center area.  Parking for the DNCIF will be on a second-floor deck above the bus station and will provide less parking spaces overall than the surface lot spaces currently on-site. The parking deck would be designed and built so that it could accommodate additional floors of parking in the future as adjacent development occurs.

  • The primary short-term pick-up and drop-off locations are expected to be along the south side of Baltimore, adjacent to the station. Through the engagement process, concerns have been raised about traffic along Baltimore Avenue, which currently accommodates pick-ups and drop-offs for the existing Amtrak station and surrounding schools. The proposed drop-off lane for the DNCIF will provide a minimum of 10 spaces along Baltimore Avenue, an increase from two spaces currently available. If additional pick-up/drop-off zones are needed, there is potential to provide space in the parking deck above the bus station. MDOT acknowledges that there may be a need to manage traffic accessing the DNCIF during busy arrival and departure periods.

  • Final design details, including the exterior appearance of the building, will be determined as part of the design- build process after the conclusion of the environmental assessment. The passenger station design could be up to two stories. Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) access to the rail boarding platform will be provided in the passenger station. The passenger station, the adjacent intercity bus terminal, and vehicle parking deck will be connected by an indoor pedestrian underpass. The intercity bus terminal and parking deck would be two stories, with bus operations on the lower level and vehicle parking on the upper level. 

  • MDOT intends to collaborate with the City of Detroit to foster mixed-use and transit-supportive development on these areas. This privately led development would occur after the construction of the station. Until then, the property management entity would have responsibility to maintain these adjacent areas.

  • MDOT will procure a third-party property manager for the overall building systems and shared areas of the facility. The property manager also would likely manage the security staff and the parking garage. Tenants will be responsible for maintaining their own dedicated spaces.

  • Initial plans indicated that intercity buses would access the bus station via Woodward Avenue. Further study showed this entrance did not allow sufficient sight distance for bus drivers and posed a safety hazard. This finding prompted the team to evaluate other options and determined Amsterdam Street to be the best suited location. The proposed design includes a modification of the street corner at Woodward Avenue and Amsterdam Street to accommodate buses making right turns from Woodward Avenue onto Amsterdam Street to access the terminal.