QLINE, buses have their own lane in front of Little Caesars Arena

When the QLINE resumes passenger service on Woodward Avenue later this month, the Detroit Streetcar will have an additional tool to help it tackle some of the challenges the system has faced since its launch.

A dedicated transit lane, which will also be open to buses operated by the Detroit Department of Transportation and the Suburban Mobility Authority for Regional Transportation, replaces the right or edge of Woodward lane in front of Little Caesars Arena where the QLINE tracks run.

This lane from Woodward southbound from Temple to the I-75 service road has been painted red and marked as “Transit Only”. The lane reserved for public transport is expected to be completed on Monday, according to Dan Lijana, spokesperson for M-1 Rail, which operates QLINE.

Lijana suggested more such projects could be in store, but didn’t provide any details.

The “dedicated track has been a priority for our riders and for M-1 RAIL since its launch. We are delighted to have the critical area around LCA as the first section of the implementation, ”Lijana said in an email. “With events happening almost every night of the year, this section of lane reserved for QLINE and other public transportation will make the tram ride faster, more convenient and more enjoyable for our passengers. “

Lijana said misuse of the reserved lane would constitute a civil offense.

“M-1 RAIL will work with transit police and other law enforcement officials to ensure that only transit vehicles use the dedicated transit lane,” he said. he declares.

QLINE is expected to resume passenger service the week of September 27, with free rides the rest of the year.

The tram system, which was greeted with great fanfare at its launch in May 2017, ended passenger service in March 2020, because the beginnings of the coronavirus pandemic disrupted daily life and the ridership of public transport. Prior to that, however, the system had struggled to achieve acceptable levels of service, in part due to the tendency for vehicles to park on or too close to the lanes, which are in the lane at the edge of Woodward on a much of the 3.3 mile course.

The southbound right lane, closest to the arena, has also proven to be an attractive location for drivers looking to load and unload passengers attending events, resulting in even more delays at times when the traffic was already heavy and the demand for QLINE service was increasing. .

Rob Morosi, spokesperson for the Michigan Department of Transportation, said converting the right lane southbound for transit use has been investigated and “has no impact on traffic at Woodward “.

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Two other lanes in this area remain open for other types of southerly traffic.

“The through lane was set up under a permit at (QLINE). As you know, they will be relaunched soon and are considering operational improvements to make the system more reliable and attract goodwill. Before the pandemic, it was very common to see event traffic blocking this pathway in front of the LCA, which in turn interrupted service (QLINE), ”Morosi said in an email.

He also noted conflicts with a “high volume of pedestrians along Woodward crossing the I-75 service road which would restrict Woodward’s right turns southbound and subsequently save traffic.”

Contact Eric D. Lawrence: [email protected] Follow him on Twitter: @_ericdlawrence. Become a subscriber.

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