I am writing to you in support of our local Police Department's efforts to mitigate excessive noise levels along the Woodward Avenue Corridor. As local ordinances cannot enforce vehicle noise, it is imperative that changes to the Michigan Vehicle Code state statute result in a clear and enforceable law regarding excessive vehicle noise.
Car enthusiasts have peacefully and respectfully gathered to “cruise” Woodward since the 1950’s. Please help us to ensure the excessively loud minority of vehicles do not create an unsafe environment for drivers and spectators. It is our hope that with clear laws in place, we can return to classic cars on Woodward and simultaneous tranquil evenings in neighboring yards.
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.
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).
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.
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.
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.
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.