Public Art for the Cass Avenue Bridge
The Cass Avenue bridge, part of the I-94 Modernization Project, is in Midtown, one of Detroit’s most dynamic and evolving districts. Midtown includes the Cass Corridor and Woodward Avenue, home to cultural and educational institutions such as the Detroit Institute of Arts, the College for Creative Studies, the C.H. Wright Museum of African American History, the Museum of Contemporary Art Detroit and Wayne State University. New Center north of I-94, a medical research and technology district, includes Tech Town and the Henry Ford Medical Center as well as Wayne State University facilities.
The I-94 Rehabilitation Project Corridor Design Guidelines (2010) govern design for the I-94 Modernization Project. Produced with extensive public involvement, they express the community’s hope that the freeway re-design reflects community identity and Detroit’s rich cultural heritage, signaling that Detroit has embarked upon a new era of optimism and rebuilding. The Design Guidelines recognize that public art has the unique potential to meet this goal by contributing to placemaking, elevating aesthetic quality and revealing history and culture.
According to the Design Guidelines, the Cass Avenue Bridge is designated a “Community Connector” bridge because it connects commercial and cultural corridors where civic/neighborhood zones are present adjacent to the bridge. Community Connector bridges may have more intensive landscaping and feature public art that highlights the community in order to soften the transition between the freeway and residential and commercial areas.
MDOT’s community engagement efforts also revealed that improving local connectivity and walkability were a priority of neighborhood residents and stakeholders and Complete Streets concepts are incorporated into the Cass Avenue bridge design. Complete Streets accommodate all users of the transportation system, including pedestrians, bicyclists and transit riders within the roadway space.
applicable to artists working in these mediums: