Stop Ambassador Bridge Truck Plaza Expansion
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Dear Council Members,
The undersigned residents, community groups, and local businesses request that you deny the request of the Detroit International Bridge Company (DIBC) or other interest to vacate several street and alley ways in the Hubbard Richard neighborhood in Detroit for industrial, transportation, or commercial purposes. This includes the closure of St. Anne Street from West Lafayette to West Fort Street. We ask that the following list of concerns and factors that we urge then City of Detroit and council members to consider in making their decision:
1) Public health: These closures directly impacts the health, safety, and quality of life of a dense, vibrant residential neighborhood. The bridge plaza takes in thousands of trucks per day, and many of the times the backups last hours due to truck processing issues on the Windsor bridge plaza. This request brings them closer to our homes. Furthermore, the increased diesel pollution would have a significant impact on residents, who already suffer from asthma at one of the highest rates in Michigan. The Detroit Health Department has been outspoken about the air quality challenges in southwest Detroit. They should be consulted.
2) Impacts enjoyment of property: The Hubbard Richard community would endure more noise, decreased property values, and decreased enjoyment of property. You can hear the trucks from inside of St. Anne’s de Detroit Church, Freedom House, the Academy of Americas school and homes. This request makes it worse. Mexicantown businesses will further be closed off and unable to be accessed from West Fort Street and downtown.
3) Closing off neighborhood from access of fire & police services: There are FIVE dead end streets off St Anne’s Street that depend on the access to Fort Street. The Hubbard Richard neighborhood is dense with tons of businesses, homes, a school, park and very active Church (weddings, funerals, religious events etc.). What kind of study was completed to confirm this was addressed?
4) Public notification was not proper: The City of Detroit’s notification process is flawed. The claim that residents were notified on St. Anne’s is false. Many of the signatures below reside on St Anne. We also don’t understand how residents living on the dead-end streets off St. Anne Street would not be properly notified.
5) Bridge Plaza already expanded: The Ambassador Bridge plaza recently went through a large expansion, the Gateway Project that the community supported to facilitate efficient processing of cars and trucks through this growing and thriving community. The Gateway Project represented the largest interchange project in the history of the State of Michigan, with some $238 million of cost, using mostly public tax dollars. It is unconscionable that within just a few years after the community had to host such massive construction project—designed, in part, to expand Ambassador Bridge capacity and to create a long-term separation between industrial and commercial traffic and residential enjoyment—that it is being asked to host further encroachment by the bridge.
6) Petitioner Acting in Bad Faith: DIBC has already closed at least one public alley way without permission from the City of Detroit. They also have used a standard fence with black tarp not a real wall that helps reduce noise as promised over a decade ago. DIBC sought community support for a zoning variance to expand the plaza footprint to Ste. Anne's Street and told the community that it had no plans to move any further east. Also, the claim on DIBC’s request doesn’t match what was said during the Public Safety committee hearing. There is no urgent maintenance needed, and the U.S. Department of Homeland Security has not requested an expansion.
7) Catholic Church support not enough: The fact that the Archdiocese of Detroit provided a letter of support in exchange for $400,000 donation must not be the sole reason for approval. The members of St. Anne’s Church and local residents do not support an expansion of the bridge plaza. If that is the only change in circumstances from the previous request which was denied, it is not an adequate reason to ignore the issues mentioned above.
We urge a denial of the request. Our neighborhood has survived industry, blight, and the economic recession. The second that we weather through the hard-economic times of the Global Recession and foreclosure crisis, a proposal like this one is offered, which only makes the growth and revitalization of our neighborhood that much more challenging. There is no tangible reason that would outweigh the impact to the community. Please tour the neighborhood. There is no justification to expand an already massive bridge plaza.
We hope that our voices will be heard and that you will make the right decision that protects the Hubbard Richard neighborhood.
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