NFL Draft phase 2 of road closures kicks off with parking confusion

Residents frustrated as several cars get towed in the early morning hours at Cadillac Square
Detroit towing voices draft
Posted at 5:58 PM, Apr 08, 2024

DETROIT (WXYZ) — Barricades are in place and fences are up in Detroit's Cadillac Square.

It's all part of the upcoming NFL Draft's phase 2 of road closures.

The city says there is already a lot of information about the closures in the public space. However, some folks were caught off guard Monday morning.

Cellphone footage shows around 2 a.m., the Detroit Police Department towing away several cars from the Cadillac Square area.

"Inconvenient is barely scratching the surface," Eric Jones, a Cadillac Square resident, said.

voices draft parking frustrations
Eric Jones, a Cadillac Square resident in Detroit, on April 8, 2024.

Jones found out around 8:30 a.m. that his car was taken. Two hours later, he got his car back after paying a tow fee of $220.

"I lost out on a morning's worth of work. My dad is 65 and on oxygen. So, he is constantly in and out of appointments at Henry Ford... so not having my car today was not an option," Jones said.

According to residents, there weren't enough clear visible no-parking notices. Meanwhile, the reason behind the towing was to clear the area for the upcoming draft's phase two fencing and road closures.

"I'm just a little surprised that it's this early in relationship to when the draft is actually going to happen," said Robert Johnson, director of operations at 111 Cadillac Square, apartments downtown.

Johnson says he attended the NFL Draft planning meetings to learn about the closures.

voices draft parking frustrations
Robert Johnson, director of operations at 111 Cadillac Square in Detroit, right, talks with 7 Action News reporter Faraz Javed, left, on April 8, 2024.

"But did they mention the fencing or give you an idea of what they meant by blocking?" 7 Action News reporter Faraz Javed asked.

"No, we did not have the indication at the time. They said certain streets will be shut down but not fencing as far as the pedestrians are concerned," Johnson said.

Cadillac Square Diner owner Austin Tinha
Cadillac Square Diner owner Austin Tinha talks with 7 Action News reporter Faraz Javed on April 8, 2024.

While Johnson agrees that the building could have done more to create awareness about road closures among residents, Cadillac Square Diner owner Austin Tinha says nothing could have prepared him for the limited foot traffic due to the fencing.

"What happened today, this way... shutdown until this whole thing is over. What am I supposed to do? If the people don't come in, that's what supports us," Tinha said.

Cadillac Square Diner draft fencing

However, the city's infrastructure chief, Sam Krassenstein, says the draft planning commission has kept local businesses in mind, with several access points without compromising event security.

"So, how do folks access this diner?" Javed asked.

"All they have to do is go around, walk on the sidewalk and that's direct in," Krassenstein said.

City of Detroit Chief of Infrastructure Sam Krassenstein
City of Detroit Chief of Infrastructure Sam Krassenstein, right, talks with 7 Action News reporter Faraz Javed, left, on April 8, 2024.

Krassenstein says his team will also look into placing more no-parking signs and trying to roll out an update on the Park Detroit app.

"We are continuing to communicate with all the business and residents. Because this shouldn't be, as we have been pretty proactive in communicating. But as you pointed, there is always room for improvement," said Krassenstein.

We also contacted Detroit Police Department Capt. Jason Adams to see if something could be done about the towed cars.

"The six vehicles that were specifically identified, we will waive the fee if they've not paid it. And if they've already paid it, we will look for reimbursement for them," Adams said.

voices Detroit Police Department Capt. Jason Adams
Detroit Police Department Capt. Jason Adams talks with 7 Action News on April 8, 2024.

For additional questions, people can call 313-267-4600.

Meanwhile, over the next few days, more road closures will come into effect, and the city says they will make it as smooth as possible. However, expect some growing pains.

The closures starting April 8 are:

  • Northbound Woodward Avenue from Congress Street to State Street
  • Eastbound Cadillac Square from Woodward Avenue to Randolph Street
  • Westbound Cadillac Square from Randolph Street to Bates Street
  • Bates Street from Cadillac Square to East Congress Street

The first phase of closures began March 29 and will last until May 7. Those were:

  • Randolph Street between Monroe Street and Fort Street
  • Monroe Street between Woodward Avenue and Randolph Street
  • Farmer Street between Randolph and Bates (Garage access only)
  • Bates Street (no through traffic)

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