On Wednesday, May 22, 2013, ULI Michigan held its’ first-ever international program; Global Priorities: An Infrastructure Spotlight on the Rt. Hon. Herb Gray Parkway, at St. Clair College Center for the Arts in Windsor, Ontario.
The event focused on the Rt. Hon. Herb Gray Parkway project (formerly known as the Windsor-Essex Parkway), the westward extension of Highway 401 which will connect Ontario to Detroit via the New International Trade Crossing, and featured presentations on the efforts surrounding the project from Consul General Roy Norton of the Consulate General of Canada in Detroit and Garfield Dales of the Ontario Ministry of Transportation, as well as remarks from Windsor Mayor Eddie Francis on the city’s economic revitalization efforts. The program also featured the Infrastructure 2013: Global Priorities, Global Insights report, presented by ULI Senior Resident Fellow Maureen McAvey of the Urban Land Institute’s Infrastructure Initiative.
Following the morning program, attendees embarked on a bus tour of the Rt. Hon. Herb Gray Parkway project, guided by Dennis Regan and Lesley Racicot of the Ontario Ministry of Transportation.
“I was impressed at the progress being made,” said event attendee Nicolette Carlone, “This is an exciting project and I look forward to getting involved in the implementation from a real estate perspective.”
The project is the result of community consultation and extensive technical and environmental studies. Following the Detroit River International Crossing (DRIC) study,Ontario’s most comprehensive environmental assessment conducted, the Parkway was selected as the solution to community needs and transportation goals. Upon completion, the Parkway will represent the access road portion of a proposed end-to-end border transportation system at Canada’s busiest land border crossing and premier trade corridor; the Detroit River. The system, which includes the Parkway, a Canadian inspection plaza, an international bridge, a U.S. inspection plaza and a U.S. interchange, will link Windsor to Detroit by connecting Canadian Highway 401 directly to the U.S. Interstates I-75 and I-94. The parkway is currently scheduled to open in late 2014-early 2015.
“[The] event provided an insight into an international urban connection which may not be well understood in the southeast Michigan communities,” said attendee John Cox.
The Rt. Hon. Herb Gray Parkway is named after Herb Gray, one of Windsor’s most popular politicians – the Right Honorable Herb Gray – who represented Windsor as a member of parliament for an unprecedented 13 consecutive terms.