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Woodward Avenue Streetcar Supplemental Environmental Assessment

 

Woodward Avenue Streetcar
The Woodward Avenue Streetcar Supplemental Environmental Assessment (EA) followed the original environmental documentation for the Woodward Avenue Light Rail Transit (LRT) project (2011). The project originally consisted of a Draft and Final Environmental Impact Statement (EIS) for a 9.3-mile light rail transit system in the Detroit, Michigan, approved by the Federal Transit Administration (FTA) with a Record of Decision (2011). The FEIS evaluated a number of alternatives and design options for LRT service along Woodward Avenue, but due to funding limitations from the City of Detroit, it was cancelled. M-1 RAIL, a consortium of businesses, institutions, and foundations, renewed the effort to implement and operate a streetcar system on lower Woodward Avenue as a means of revitalizing this important corridor. 


The Woodward Avenue Streetcar Project is a 3.3-mile, fixed-rail, at-grade streetcar system located entirely within the right-of-way of Woodward Avenue. Operating in mixed traffic and running from Larned Street in Downtown Detroit to north of Grand Boulevard, in New Center, the Streetcar project consists of 11 stations (with a potential 12th station) and supporting facilities, including trackwork, a vehicle storage maintenance facility, and a traction power electrical system consisting of an overhead catenary and four traction power substations. 

FTA, consequently, required a Supplemental EA to address the change in project scope. We were selected to prepare the document in December 2012. FTA, as the lead Federal agency, with the Michigan Department of Transportation (MDOT), coordinated the EA with several other agencies including M-1 RAIL, the City of Detroit, the Southeast Michigan Council of Governments, and the State Historic Preservation Office (SHPO). 

The EA evaluated a number of topics, focusing on six primary areas: transportation, air quality, historical and archeological resources, hazardous materials, noise and vibration, and social and economic resources. Technical reports supporting the Supplemental EA were also prepared for air quality, transportation, hazardous materials, Section 106, and noise and vibration. The EA was completed in February 2013.

Securing an amended Record of Decision with the Supplemental EA, is essential for FTA and M-1 RAIL to obtain private funds for design and construction of the Woodward Streetcar. Nearly 70 percent of the project will be funded by private and public investor funds.