D.S.R. Route #97
D-DOT Route #52
Woodrow Wilson
From McNichols Road and Twelfth Street via Twelfth to Webb, to
Woodrow Wilson, to Seward, to Third, to Colburn, to Second, to
Peterboro, to Park,  to  Woodward, to River;  returning via
Woodward  to  Witherell,  to Adams, to  Park, to Peterboro, to
Second, to York, to Third,  to Seward,  to Woodrow Wilson,  to
Webb,  to Twelfth to Puritan,  to Log Cabin,  to McNichols, to
- Source: Detroit Street Railway Car and Bus Routes - 1941
By early 1938, the DSR's campaign of  converting over to an all–bus operation was still in its very
beginning stages, with the
Myrtle line becoming the DSR's first full–time rail line to be abandoned on  
October 11, 1937.   Meanwhile, on  Monday,  February 14, 1938 — the same day its second streetcar
Van Dyke,  was converted to buses — the DSR introduced two new downtown-bound bus routes.   
One was the east-side
Vernor route, while the other was the Woodrow Wilson bus route, which, for the
most part, paralleled the
Hamilton streetcar line.  This new Woodrow Wilson line provided service into
downtown, all the way to the foot of Woodward Avenue at Atwater Street, near the
Windsor Ferry and
Bob-Lo boat docks.

The northern portion of the route began at Six Mile and 12th (present–day Rosa Parks Blvd.) and traveled
via Twelfth, Webb and Woodrow Wilson. After turning via Seward, Third and Col-burn, the southern portion
operated via Second, along  with Peterboro, Park, and Woodward Avenue to the River.  But with traffic
congestion increasing  in the city,  a  number of streets became one-way. When Second Avenue became
a one-way northbound street on October 13,
1939, Cass Avenue was then used south of Baltimore instead of Second, while Cass, Temple and Second
to Seward was used northbound. Beginning on Monday, November 2, 1942, the
Woodrow Wilson
downtown service to the Riverfront was cut back, and the Old City Hall, at Woodward and Fort Street,
became the route's new downtown terminus.

By June 1950, evening service after 7:00PM and all day on Sundays had been discontinued. During those
hours, that portion of the line north of Oakman Boulevard was serviced by the
Fourteenth Street bus line.   
But effective June 19, 1951, the rerouted
Linwood line began providing that service up until the mid–
seventies.  Also on June 19th, service into downtown was discontinued, and the line now operated along
Grand Boulevard to John R.,  two blocks south to Baltimore.
During the route's early years,  headways on the Woodrow Wilson
line  were  as  frequent as  2½ minutes during peak hours  and  six
minutes during the base.  But it should also be noted, that prior to the
post-WW–II years, the entire
DSR bus fleet consisted primarily of the
27-passenger small–size
Ford Transit  buses, and the frequent
headways were more of  a  necessity.  However, by the time
had taken over operations in 1974, headways  had increased to 20
minutes during peak hours and 30 minutes during off peak hours.

Except for a few changes through the years –– including the one-way  
street changes along 12th and 14th streets during the early fifties —
the  route north of  Seward had remained basically unchanged since
the mid–fifties, including the use of a private-right-of-way turn into
Inverness and McNichols.

However, under the
DDOT  years,  a number of adjustments south of
Grand Boulevard were made. In December of 1973, the route was
extended further along John R. and Brush to Mack (Medical Center
area), with minor changes following.

But a major route adjustment south of the Boulevard would occur
during the mid-nineties. Effective June 25, 1994, two years before
launching the
#3 Medical Center Shuttle (also known as, Cultural  
Attractions  Trolley),  
Woodrow  Wilson service  was extended to
include the New Center, University and Cultural Center districts. The
route now provided direct service to Henry Ford Hospital via the
Lodge Service Dr. and Grand Blvd., and to Wayne State University,
and the various
Since July 1956, the route assigned to the
DSR #97 Woodrow Wilson line basically
remained unchanged throughout most of
the remaining DSR years.
museums and medical district hospitals. The new reroute would now travel via Cass, Warren,Woodward,
Hancock and St. Antoine, to Mack and John R. However, by the launching of the
#3 Medical  Center
in June of 1996, the line had again been cut back to just south of Grand Boulevard.

One of the last service reductions to the
Woodrow Wilson line occurred back  in September 2002, when
base hour service between 9:00AM and 2:00PM was discontinued,  resulting  in service now being limited
to only peak service hours.

However, beginning on April 19, 2003, a different look was in store for the
Woodrow Wilson line.  On that
DDOT's fleet of  Chance CNG "trolley–replica" buses began to be assigned full–time to the line. This
was after it was decided that these bus-trolleys should be assigned full–time to light service routes.  But the
change was short-lived,  as they were later replaced by regular line-haul coaches when the
"bus-trolleys" were put out of service in June of 2004.

By December of 2004,  according to
DDOT survey studies,  ridership totals for the  line were as low as
nine passengers per hour, low enough to convince
DDOT officials to cancel service. Service ended on  
Route  #52 WOODROW  WILSON,  after sixty–seven years of service,  on Friday, April 22, 2005.
The route map for DDOT Route #52 Woodrow Wilson during its final days of operation.
Click here to return to the "BUS ROUTE HISTORY" Main Page.
(December 26, 1991 Woodward Wilson
D-DOT Transfer courtesy of the Stan Sycko Transfer Collection)
This map shows the south-end route
the Woodrow Wilson line traveled
through the Cultural and Medical
Center areas, from 1994 thru 1996.
Did you know??? .....That before being named after the 28th U.S. President, the street we now know
today as
Woodrow Wilson was known by two separate names.  The portion north of Webb Street was
known as
Oakman Boulevard, while south of Webb it was ironically known as Wilson Street.

During the late 1920's, many streets within the city were renamed. Prior to the name changing, what we
know today as
Oakman Boulevard was originally Ford Highway  east  of Twelfth Street, and  Metzger
Street between Twelfth and Hamilton Avenue. Meanwhile, the former
Oakman and Wilson streets were
renamed during the late 1920's in honor of U.S. President
Thomas Woodrow Wilson (1913–1921).  
© 2006  (PAGE LAST MODIFIED ON 11-22-09)
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