is a state trunkline
in the U.S. state
, running along the northern boundary of Detroit
. It is known as 8 Mile Road
for most of its length. M-102 is the physical and psychological boundary between Detroit and the northern suburbs. M-102 is routed on only a portion of 8 Mile Road which extends both east and west of the M-102 designation. The routing of M-102 changes to Vernier Road just west of Beaconsfield Road. M-102's eastern terminus is at the junction of Vernier and I-94
. Its western terminus is at the junction of 8 Mile Road and M-5
/Grand River Avenue. The 8 Mile Road designation continues west to Pontiac Trail near South Lyon
. A discontinuous portion of 8 Mile is located west of US 23
8 Mile Road
The boundary between the city of Detroit (and Wayne County) and Detroit's northern suburbs in Oakland and Macomb counties is formed by 8 Mile Road. Residents of Detroit, and, as a whole, the state of Michigan, refer to this road (and other "mile" roads) as "Eight Mile", or "Eight" (as in 8 and Woodward). It extends west of Detroit and is also the boundary between Wayne and Washtenaw counties on the south and Macomb, Oakland, and Livingston counties on the north. Past Middlebelt Road in Livonia, 8 Mile Road becomes known as Base Line Road because it was the base line for surveying the Northwest Territories.
The name comes from the Mile Road System, a method used to delineate east/west roads through the Detroit area. Mile roads begin at the intersection of Woodward and Michigan Avenues in downtown Detroit; therefore 8 Mile Road is approximately 8 miles north of that point. 8 Mile Road ends at Marshall road in Green Oak township.
8 Mile Road generally follows a straight line east of Northville. Between Griswold Street and Taft Road, 8 Mile bends toward the north, avoiding the city center before returning to its base line. Further west, 8 Mile crosses Pontiac Trail (which connects South Lyon and Ann Arbor) before becoming a dirt road; it then ends about a mile east of Whitmore Lake. West of Whitmore Lake, 8 Mile Road picks up briefly and crosses US 23. The far western end of 8 Mile past US 23, at a junction with Hall Road, a local road near Hamburg.
The eastern terminus of M-102 changed a number of times before the completion of I-94. Initially ending at US 25
/Gratiot Avenue (present-day M-3
, M-102 was, for a time, extended east, then north, to connect with M-29
. However, once I-94 was completed, M-102's eastern terminus became fixed at the new freeway.
Prior to the completion of the Jeffries Freeway (present day I-96), M-102 had the same western terminus as today, but for several years, M-102 extended onto a segment of what is now M-5 between the present western terminus for M-102 and the major freeway junction for M-5, I-96, I-696 and I-275. The freeway portion had previously carried I-96, as the Jeffries had originally been proposed to run along Grand River Avenue (which was signed as BS I-96). As I-96 was rerouted, Grand River southeast of its junction with 8 Mile became M-5, and M-102 was thus extended along Grand River and the former I-96. In 1994, a northerly extension originally planned as part of I-275 opened, and M-102 was scaled back to the junction of 8 Mile and Grand River, while M-5 was lengthened to include the new extension.
8 Mile Road
While not very significant prior to the 1950s, 8 Mile Road is one of Michigan's most popular roads. Starting out as dirt road, 8 Mile was designated as M-102 in 1928. It was around this time when 8 Mile was widened into a divided highway between Gratiot and Woodward, where M-102 originally ran. As more people started moving out to that area, 8 Mile Road was widened into a divided highway west of Woodward, all the way to Grand River in 1942, where M-102 was extended. In the early 1960s, 8 Mile Road was widened from a total of four lanes (two lanes on each side of the divided highway) to a total of eight lanes (four lanes on each side of the divided highway), much like it is, today. This was due to the growing population of Detroit suburbs such as Ferndale
, Oak Park
, Hazel Park
, and Southfield
Racial and economic divide
The road has long served as a de facto
cultural dividing line
between the predominantly poor African-American
city and its wealthier, predominantly white
northern suburbs. (The suburbs of Grosse Pointe
are exceptions to this cultural dividing line since they are white
affluent suburbs south of 8 Mile Road. Harper Woods
is another exception, being traditionally white but not affluent.) Although in fact this line has become blurred as certain communities immediately north of the road (notably Southfield
and Oak Park
) have gained black residents in recent years, the perception of 8 Mile as the chief dividing line between races and classes persists, in part because the suburban counties of Oakland and Macomb remain, on the whole, significantly whiter and more prosperous than the city of Detroit.
According to the 2000 U.S. Census, the median family income for the city of Detroit, whose population was 81.55% African-American, was $33,853, and 26.1% of the population lived below the poverty line. By contrast, the median family income for Oakland County, whose population was 82.75% white, was $75,540, and only 5.5% of residents lived below the poverty line.
Parts of the city of Detroit were experiencing urban renewal
; neighborhoods which middle-class people would have generally avoided in the recent past have become more fashionable. A new mall called The Shoppes at Gateway Park
is planned to be built at the southeast corner of 8 Mile and Woodward Avenue. The mall will break ground in 2008 with an expected completion date of 2009 with over 40 different retailers. JC Penney
has already shown a major interest in being an anchor store for the mall.
The Joe Dumars Fieldhouse development includes state of the art basketball and volleyball courts and is located on the state fairgrounds.
The movie 8 Mile
, starring Detroit area hip hop
, as well as his song "Lose Yourself
", both take their names and subject matter from this high-traffic and broad thoroughfare.
8 Mile in music
There are a number of songs that name-drop "8 Mile."
8 Mile in surveying
8 Mile Road is also known as Base Line Road
, and marks the baseline
used in the survey
of Michigan land. It forms the boundary for many southern Michigan counties. Prior to the system used in Michigan, county boundaries were often set by geographic markers such as rivers, hills, and trees, and were therefore rather irregular. Michigan counties in the Lower Peninsula
tend to be regularly bounded, and evenly sized, except in the cases of counties bordering one of the Great Lakes
Where 8 Mile deviates from the base line in Northville, a portion of Base Line Road is a residential street, running from Old Novi Road to Center Street (Sheldon Road). Running slightly off alignment east of Old Novi because of a tributary of the River Rouge, Base Line reconnects to 8 Mile via Griswold Street.
Mile points are only given along the M-102 designation.
|colspan="5" align="center" | Gap in 8 Mile Road
|colspan="5" align="center" | Begin M-102 designation
|colspan="5" align="center"| M-102 follows Vernier Road
8 Mile continues east to Mack Avenue