Officials look at adding more toll booths on Belle Isle

Belle isle
The MacArthur Bridge to Belle Isle. Photo credit Bill Szumanski/WWJ - FILE

(WWJ) Visitors could see additional booths on Detroit's Belle Isle as leaders look to ease traffic on the Macarthur Bridge, and bring in missed revenue.

During virtual meeting Thursday, Belle Isle Park Advisory Committee member Bud Denker questioned Michigan Department of Natural Resources Parks and Recreation Unit Manager Michael Terrell, who said during "peak periods" the bridge can back up in a matter of 45 minutes.

"Most of the time I go by (the booth) is not manned... What's your thougsts about that," asked Denker, "and the opportunity to access more revenue?"

Terrell said it's important to hire the right people to man the booths and "deal with lots of money" coming in.

He hinted that there have been problems with missing funds.

"But once money starts missing; when you come in and you show us one time, maybe two times you're short," Terrell said. "But three times and we've gotta pull you out of there."

WWJ's Vickie Thomas reports that the DNR plans look deeper into these issues this year, to formulate a strategy for 2022.

Under a 30-year lease agreement approved in 2013, Detroit maintains ownership of Belle Isle while the DNR assumes responsibility for managing the park, and the Michigan Department of Transportation (MDOT) takes responsibility for the roads and bridges. The lease provides for an initial 30-year term with two 15-year renewals.

There is no cost to enter the park, however a Recreation Passport is needed to drive onto the island. This costs $12/car and $6/motorcycle for Michigan residents and $34 for non-Michigan residents. Once purchased, the recreation passport will allow you to visit unrestricted until your car registration is due. Need more info? Check out the FAQ page, HERE.

Belle Isle Park is open year-round 5 a.m. to 10 p.m.