Livernois Avenue Corridor Project

Detroit, Michigan
Source: Pedestrian and Bicycle Information Center (PBIC)


Livernois Avenue was difficult for pedestrians to cross due to its 90 ft width and lack of pedestrian crossing facilities at midblock and unsignalized locations.


The median provides a place for pedestrians to wait as they cross the roadway. Image courtesy of T.Y. Lin International.

Livernois Avenue is a north-south arterial in Detroit, Michigan. It serves commuters from northern suburbs and local motorists. The roadway had many shops that attracted pedestrians, but its high traffic volume created an unwelcoming pedestrian environment. The surrounding neighborhoods and institutions of higher education, such as the University of Detroit Mercy and Marygrove College, have been fairly resilient over time and could provide increased pedestrian traffic to the Livernois Avenue corridor.


To improve pedestrian safety along Livernois Avenue, the City of Detroit and the Michigan Department of Transportation (MDOT) improved the roadway between Grand River Avenue and Eight Mile Road. The project occurred in three phases: phase 1 in 2007 was from McNichols Road to 8-Mile Road, and phases 2 and 3 in 2009 were from Davison Avenue to McNichols Road and from Grand River Avenue to Davison Avenue.

The project involved the construction of a median in the roadway, which transformed Livernois Avenue into a roadway with two travel lanes and a parking lane in each direction. The median included left turn bays so that motorists could still access destinations on the other side of the roadway. The median also improved pedestrian crossings because the pedestrians only had to pay attention to one direction of traffic at a time.

Other pedestrian improvements included a Pedestrian Hybrid Beacon (HAWK) where Chalfonte Street intersected with Livernois Avenue. At the intersection of Santa Clara Street and Livernois Avenue, a two-stage pedestrian crossing was installed. The crossing stages were offset from each other so that pedestrians crossing the roadway walked to the right in the median. This treatment reduced the likelihood of pedestrians not looking at traffic before crossing the second half of the roadway.


The addition of the barrier median dramatically reduced motor vehicle crashes. Crashes along the corridor decreased 63 percent between 2004 and 2010 (1). Crashes involving pedestrians on Livernois Avenue were rare, and the roadway improvements further lowered the rate of pedestrian crashes between McNichols Avenue and 7-Mile Road. In 2011, the 85th percentile speed for motorists was around 32 mi/h (1), which was near the posted the speed limit of 30 mi/h. Pedestrians crossing the roadway benefited from this relatively low vehicle speed.


Deirdre Thompson
Pedestrian and Bicycle Safety Engineer
Michigan Department of Transportation
425 W. Ottawa
P.O. Box 30050
Lansing, MI 48909
Phone: (517) 335-2834


T.Y. Lin International and Corradino Group. Case Study Report. Michigan Department of Transportation, April 2012.

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