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Woodward Ave. Traffic & Noise

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2024 Woodward Avenue Noise Levels Infographic

Contact your state and local representatives to share your support for House Bill 5696.

Governor Gretchen Whitmer, Gretchen.Whitmer@michigan.gov
Senator Mallory McMorrow, SenMMcMorrow@senate.michigan.gov
Senator Debbie Stabenow, www.stabenow.senate.gov/contact
Senator Gary Peters, www.peters.senate.gov/contact/email-gary
Representative Haley Stevens, https://stevens.house.gov/contact
State Representative Natalie Price, NataliePrice@house.mi.gov
State Representative Sharon MacDonnell, SharonMacDonell@house.mi.gov
State Representative Samantha Steckloff, SamanthaSteckloff@house.mi.gov
County Commissioner Charlie Cavell, cavellc@oakgov.com
County Commissioner Dave Woodward, woodwardd@oakgov.com
Oakland County Sheriff Michael Bouchard, ocso@oakgov.com

Woodward Avenue Noise FAQ
Each year more than one million people head to Birmingham to celebrate the Woodward Dream Cruise on the third Saturday in August. Car enthusiasts begin cruising Woodward long before the August event, with many heading out as soon as the weather warms each spring. The City receives many questions regarding traffic and noise levels along Woodward Avenue in the spring and summer months. Please see the FAQ below for helpful information regarding Woodward Avenue cruisers.

Frequently Asked Questions

How long have people been "cruising" Woodward?
M-1, commonly known as Woodward Avenue, is a north–south state trunkline highway. It is one of the five principal avenues of Detroit, along with Michigan, Grand River, Gratiot, and Jefferson avenues. The name Woodward Avenue has become synonymous with Detroit, cruising culture and the automotive industry. There is no clear-cut date when casual driving turned into cruising, although it generally began in the years after World War II. The trunkline is the dividing line between Detroit's East and West sides, and connects to some of the city's major freeways like Interstate 94 (I-94, Edsel Ford Freeway) and M-8 (Davison Freeway).  
What is the Woodward Dream Cruise?
The Woodward Dream Cruise began as a small fundraiser to raise money for a soccer field in Ferndale. In August 1995, Nelson House and a group of volunteers looked to relive and recreate the nostalgic heydays of the 50s and 60s, when youth, music and Motor City steel roamed Woodward Avenue, America’s first highway. That year, 250,000 people participated—nearly ten times the number expected. The rest, as they say, is history.

Today, the Woodward Dream Cruise is the world’s largest one-day automotive event, drawing 1.5 million people and 40,000 classic cars each year from around the globe—from as far away as New Zealand, Australia, Japan and the former Soviet Union. North American cruisers from California, Georgia, Canada and all points in between caravan to Metro Detroit to participate in what has become, for many, an annual rite of summer.
What is the City of Birmingham doing to address concerns about excessive traffic along Woodward?
The Birmingham Police Department increases patrols on Woodward as traffic and noise levels increase each year.  The department also coordinates enforcement activities with other law enforcement agencies along the Woodward Ave corridor. In some instances, the City may also request assistance from the Oakland County Sheriff's Office and/or the Michigan State Police.   
What is the City of Birmingham doing to address concerns about excessively loud vehicles?
Woodward Ave is a state highway, controlled by the Michigan Department of Transportation (MDOT).  All signage, traffic signalization and speed limits are determined by MDOT, not the City. The issue of noise on Woodward Ave is enforced by the police department in accordance with the Michigan Motor Vehicle Code. Current motor vehicle codes make noise enforcement problematic for officers to enforce. To address this, the City is working with locally elected State representatives to clarify language in the motor vehicle code to allow officers to be able to enforce noise violations as well as address modified exhaust systems. 
Are officers issuing tickets to cruisers along Woodward?
Officers will issue tickets to drivers engaging in illegal activities such as speeding, drag racing, equipment violations or any other violation of the Michigan Motor Vehicle Code.
Can the City of Birmingham temporarily reduce the number of traffic lanes on Woodward?
No, MDOT will not permit closures or lane restrictions due to the traffic volumes Woodward is designed to service.
Why can the police department issue speeding tickets on Woodward Avenue, but not enforce the local noise ordinance pertaining to a vehicle's exhaust system?
Recently the police department and the city have been asked to make changes to Woodward Ave. as a means to control traffic.  Some of those suggestions have been to lower the speed limit and narrow it to three lanes.  Unfortunately, the City of Birmingham has no authority to make those changes as it is an MDOT highway and therefore under the jurisdiction of the state.  In terms of enforcement, the Birmingham Police Department does have jurisdiction to enforce all laws on Woodward.  However, local noise ordinances cannot enforce noise from a vehicle's exhaust system.  A vehicle's exhaust is covered by state law under the Michigan Vehicle Code section MCL257.707. 
Where can I find more information?
For more information, please email the police department at birminghampolice@bhamgov.org or call the department's non-emergency telephone line at 248-530-1870.