Ann Arbor's State Street reopens with curbless design

After four months of construction, Ann Arbor’s State Street has reopened to traffic with a new curbless design from North University Avenue to William Street. The project, which also involved repaving that stretch of street with concrete, is the first phase of a major street renovation designed to improve safety, accessibility, and business flexibility.

Maura Thomson, communications manager for the Ann Arbor Downtown Development Authority (DDA), says new trees and planters will be added to the area in the next few weeks. 

“This is a pedestrian-focused project,” Thomson says. “We’re looking to make that corridor safer for all users, whether you’re walking, biking, or driving. The data has shown that there are more pedestrians than vehicles typically in that area, but there won’t be great delays for vehicles.”

With these renovations come new opportunities for local businesses and Ann Arbor event planners. Thomson explains that the new curbless design is going to help businesses in the area with flexibility, a need that became more apparent as a result of COVID-19 safety precautions. 

“Restaurants can extend their patios where there once was a parking lane. There’s the possibility for more or larger drop-off and pick-up areas,” Thomson says. The design will also allow for improved accessibility and make event setup much easier. 

Phase two of the project will involve extending the curbless design north to Washington Street, including the area of State Street in front of the State Theatre. Phase two will also include resurfacing the area from Washington to Huron Street. All underground work that began this year will continue next year in that area as well, according to Thomson.

“This is the first curbless design in Ann Arbor, and we’re really excited to bring this to the community," Thomson says. "Curbless streets are working successfully in many other communities, and we think it will be embraced by the community in Ann Arbor.”

The project is slated to be finished by next September, which will cause intermittent lane closures in the area before it is closed entirely from next April through Labor Day 2023. More information on the project is available here.

Rylee Barnsdale is a Michigan native and longtime Washtenaw County resident. She wants to use her journalistic experience from her time at Eastern Michigan University writing for the Eastern Echo to tell the stories of Washtenaw County residents that need to be heard.

Rendering courtesy of Ann Arbor DDA.
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