DNR backs off plan for two-way traffic around Belle Isle loop

Posted at 7:40 AM, Dec 15, 2023
and last updated 2023-12-15 07:40:29-05

It may not be as busy during the summer months, but Belle Isle is still on the minds of those at the Michigan Department of Natural Resources.

After receiving public feedback, the DNR is working to make traffic safety improvements for those who enjoy the island state park.

A survey over the summer received so much feedback that the DNR is pushing back the final recommendations for safety improvements, but they are backing off on the suggestion to change island traffic to two-way traffic

Coretta McCrae walks Belle Isle often, between 15-20 miles per day, and calls herself "The Queen of Belle Isle Walking."

McCrae had heard rumblings about the traffic changes, including the loop around the island.

"I think it's a horrible idea. There is a lot of traffic here but that's part of the experience. Just changing it up I think it would complicate it for the birds and the animals and for me," she said.

She's not alone. So many people disliked the idea that the DNR is backing off.

"The feedback we heard from the public was that they really enjoyed the one way," DNR Urban Field Planner Amanda Treadwell said. "Folks like to come, cruise around the park."

There are other suggestions they are still considering, including turning Central Ave., which cuts across the island, from a one-way to a two-way and adding bike lanes.

They are also thinking of moving the toll booth in hopes of making it easier to get on the island, and create more space for bicyclists and pedestrians on the bridge.

"Do you think there needs to be some traffic safety improvements here?" I asked.

"I don't think so, I think it's pretty, pretty good," Renato D'Amico said. "I wouldn't say perfect but I've never had no problems."

"I mean it is just apart of the experience of being a part of Belle Isle," McCrae added.

A report with recommended safety upgrades to traffic is expected in the spring of 2024.