ROSSETTI’s QLINE Station Design Blends Civic Architecture with Modern Amenities for Riders


May 12, 2017 – (Detroit, MI) Twenty new QLINE rail stations will be fully operational today for the opening of the QLINE streetcar rail system. ROSSETTI has been working with M-1 Rail, the owner and operator of the QLINE, and AECOM (Formally URS) to design the new QLINE stations that are located along the 3.3 mile stretch of Woodward Avenue, serving 12 Detroit locations between Congress Street and West Grand Boulevard.

“Our goal was to create minimal and elegant structures that were both transparent and durable. We wanted the shelters to be visually identifiable as part of the QLINE rail system, but simple enough that they would blend into the context of the various locations where they would be placed.” said Jon Disbrow, Principal and Architectural Lead at ROSSETTI. ROSSETTI designed each 98 foot x 12-foot glass and concrete station with a strong modern form that blends with the civic architecture of Detroit to house the ‘smart’ amenity and sponsor features. Each location incorporates a different color of Pewabic tile, the iconic ceramic tile unique to Detroit. Space for sponsorship was also incorporated into the design. Each station honors the corporate and philanthropic partners whose support brought the QLINE street car to life. Rider amenities at every QLINE station include heating, concrete bench seating, sufficient lighting, WIFI access, a security camera, ticket vending machines, emergency phone and nextvehicle alert screens.

The shelters are made of precast concrete with an anti-graffiti admixture with five-panel glass partitions. Concrete was selected for its durability and simplicity. Laminated glass was selected for its durability and ability to protect the graphics. Extreme care was taken to promote transparency between areas behind the shelters and the station platforms for user safety and to minimize obstruction to circulation.

Two primary station typologies exist within the M-1 Rail streetcar system. The base station consists of the M-1 identifiers, service components and furnishings that are universal at each location – creating a cohesive appearance across all stations. The second station typology includes the same features as the base station with opportunities for additional public space and design amenities such as public art, additional benches, bike racks, etc. While some stops have one station, others have two, with one station located on each side of Woodward Ave.


List of Stations + Sponsors

  • Congress Street – Quicken Loan
  • Campus Martius Park – Blue Cross Blue Shield
  •  Grand Circus Park – Chevrolet
  •  Foxtown – Ilitch Holdings
  •  Sibley Street – Ilitch Holdings
  •  Martin Luther King Jr. Boulevard – Detroit Medical Center
  •  Canfield Street – JPMorgan Chase (northbound) and Compuware (southbound)
  •  Warren Avenue – Wayne State University
  •  Ferry Street – Fiat Chrysler Automobiles
  •  Amsterdam Street – Ford
  •  AmtrakWest – Penske
  •  West Grand Boulevard – Henry Ford Health System


ROSSETTI is a global architectural design and planning firm with a portfolio of showcase properties spanning sports and entertainment, interiors, hospitality, retail and urban planning. Founded in Detroit in 1969, the firm will be celebrating 50 years in business in 2019. ROSSETTI currently has six major projects under construction: Ford Field Renovation Project (Detroit, 2017); UCLA Health Training Center, Home of the LA Lakers (El Segundo, CA 2017); Green Bay Packers’ Titletown District (Green Bay, WI 2017), USTA’s Armstrong Stadium (New York, 2018); the QLINE stations (Detroit, 2017) and Michigan State University’s Breslin Center renovation (East Lansing, 2017). Significant projects in design stages include: the Henry Ford Health System Detroit Pistons Performance Center in Detroit; a new soccer stadium in Venice, Italy; renovation of the motorsports stadium at Phoenix Raceway; LeBreton Flats, the $3 billion mixed-use entertainment development in Ottawa, Canada; Calgary NEXT, a sports and entertainment district in Calgary, Canada. In 2016, ROSSETTI’s design was unveiled for a $1+ billion new mixed-use MLS stadium, which would propel Detroit’s sports district to become one of the largest in North America. Learn more at:


M-1 RAIL is a non-profit organization formed in 2007 to lead the design, construction, and future operation of a 3.3-mile circulating streetcar along Woodward Avenue between Congress Street and West Grand Boulevard in Detroit, Michigan. M-1 RAIL is an unprecedented public private partnership and model for regional collaboration Notably, the first major transit project being led and funded by both private businesses, philanthropic organizations, in partnership with local government, the State of Michigan, and U.S. Department of Transportation.

Janette Sadik-Khan: Revitalization Begins by Building Cities for People

Drawing on examples from her crusade to make New York safer, more sustainable and more connected, Janette Sadik-Khan, transportation principal for Bloomberg Associates, challenged leaders to take risk and reimagine new ways to utilize existing infrastructure to move people and grow the region’s economy.

“Upkeep of current infrastructure while adapting to the challenges of the 21st century is a challenge all cities face,” Sadik-Khan said in keynote remarks at the Conference. “People are used to chronic congestion and have accepted it as the status quo.”

But Sadik-Khan said cities like Detroit have the opportunity to create a transformative street agenda that adapts to growth and encourages economic development.

33050841692_989ef71ffe_o“You can’t build your way out of congestion. That is like dealing with obesity by loosening your belt,” she said. “We need a fundamental rethinking of how we use streets.”

Sadik-Khan said the key is placing more emphasis on people, adding that the variety of uses for streets directly correlates to livability. Dedicated bike lanes, bus lanes and walking paths are some of the fastest, yet also the least costly, transformation strategies to improve communities, she said.

Taking a cue from the transformation of Times Square to a pedestrian-only zone, Sadik-Khan said cities like Austin, Los Angeles, Philadelphia and Seattle have all taken steps to improve mobility. Detroit is following suit, with the opening of the QLine streetcar in the spring. Sadik-Khan said areas like Grand River Avenue and other wide streets, as well as the riverfront, are ripe with development opportunity.

MORE: Read more about the innovative work that is being done to ensure Detroit’s comeback continues. 

“With transformative mobility options, you are not just changing streets for the thousands of people in Detroit, you are changing the world,” she said.

Moving beyond a car-based to people-based city, however will require leadership and decisive action, Sadik-Khan said.

The session was sponsored by Delta Air Lines.

Read more from the 2017 Detroit Policy Conference:

Detroit Developers: Thoughtful Inclusion Key to City’s Ongoing Transformation