Like many intersections in Detroit, West Warren and Grand River Avenues are pretty nondescript. There is a used auto parts place on one corner; a former bank that now houses the Kunsthalle Detroit Museum of Contemporary Art sits on another. There is a small warehouse type building on the southeast corner of the intersection, and a grassy field spreads inward from the southwest corner where buildings once stood.
Like most, if not all major intersections in the city, the corner is home to bus stops. In this case, they pick-up and drop off riders for those traveling east and west on Warren Avenue and along Grand River from downtown to the far northwestern city limits. What struck me about the stops that service West Warren at this intersection were the bus stop benches. They are not the usual DDOT plastic encased units with benches that span the interior length.
The benches there are unique, hand crafted, one-of-a-kind benches. They are a simple, functional design, made from a variety of basic building supplies available at any home center. The materials used to build the intriguing benches include ordinary wooded doors, a couple of pieces of plywood, standard 10’ metal wall studs, and thin sheets of translucent plastic panels found in drop-ceiling lights of many new buildings. Various eye bolts, long threaded rods, clamps, and small turnbuckles hold them all together.
The simple x-frame structures are painted in bold colors and the new, shiny aluminum studs add a contemporary look to the unusual benches. The colorful, eye-catching designs of the handmade benches remind me of a swing set that may be found on a large front porch. Both of the imaginative benches are on Warren Avenue, a little west of Grand River. They sit across the street from one another and both add a blast of color and interest to a rather dreary, urban intersection.