Brighton is a city in Livingston County.
Historic The Brighton area is not without its history. Brighton was first settled around 1832 and became incorporated as village in 1867, with the Brighton Fire Department forming in 1873. Brighton obtained city status in 1928, and slowly grew until the 1990s. In the early 1990s, many residents of the Metro Detroit area began to flock to Brighton area from Detroit suburbs such as Livonia and Dearborn. Once just a small town, the population of the Brighton area began to grow strongly. Home construction and service businesses ballooned to support the swell. During the Recession and Stagnation of the late 2000s, the Brighton area was able to weather the storm with less trouble than other communities.
Developments in the mid-2010s lend to predictions of a strong economy and fair winds for the Brighton area. The completion of the I-96/Latson Road interchange in Genoa Township boosts the already-developing business cooridor along Grand River Road shared with Howell, MI, up the road. Larger, technological and industrial businesses such as Eber-Spracher are moving into the Brighton area, complementing industries already present such as March Coatings. The mix of large outlet stores, a vibrant downtown nightlife, combined with a strong school system and idyllic lake-front communities make the Brighton area a distinctly sought-after destination to live, work, and play.
The Brighton area is most easily accessible by personal vehicle. Many major thoroughfares in southeastern Michigan cross through the Brighton area. This reason, as noted previously, has also made the Brighton area a bedroom/residential community for many southeastern Michigan and south-central Michigan ex-urbanites. From both the west (Howell, Williamston, Lansing) and east (Novi, Livonia, Farmington) Grand River Road and Interstate 96 provide direct routes through the center of the Brighton area. From both north (Hartland, Fenton, Flint) and south (Ann Arbor, Saline), US-Route 23 and Old US-Route 23 skirt the eastern side of the Brighton area.
Personal Vehicle Having a personally-owned vehicle is almost a necessity to both visit and drive around Brighton outside of downtown and the south-eastern corridor of Grand River. There are plenty of car-hire/rental businesses located both in the downtown of Brighton, as well as towards Genoa Township on Grand River.
To navigate, using a GPS or mapping program prior to and while en-route is encouraged. Visitors should be advised that, given an annexation of Genoa Township in the past, address numbers in the downtown area will "jump" from the city-centered ordination starting at the "Main Four" (Main Street and Grand River), to the county ordination. This is most noticeable on Grand River at Cross Street. Parking in the downtown area can sometimes be frustrating, and visitors should check the City of Brighton official website and Chamber of Commerce website for street-closing festivals, fairs, and events, such as summertime Sunday concerts, Art Fest, parades, etc.
Traffic itself in the Brighton area can vary based upon time of day and season or weather. Rush hour on Grand River through town and along the Genoa Township business corridor oftentimes proceeds at an uncomfortably slow pace. Locals to the area often take back roads around Grand River during the rush or to cut off time, though visitors are advised against this practice to avoid a potential Deliverance moment. During the winter months, expect the streets along the Grand River corridor and the city of Brighton to receive service for plow and salt first, within 24 hours. The rural areas, such as the townships of Brighton, Green Oak, and Hamburg, rely upon Livingston County Road Commission services, and may take up to a week to cleared. Spring and summer storms may also down trees and power lines within the area, and travelers should exercise caution when driving during and after these weather conditions.
In the more rural areas of Brighton that, given property lines and the large number of waterways in the area, roads are rarely straight. Especially in the bedroom community of Brighton Township, roads often will change direction, merge into other roads of a different name, or disappear. Both Brighton Township and the outskirts of Genoa Township have plenty of housing developments and even some farmland remaining. A map of Livingston County will serve a traveler well, but GPS outages and dead zones are rarely an issue.
Public Transit Public Transit in Livingston County, and the Brighton area, is next to non-existent. the Livingston Essential Transportation Service serves those unable to drive or who do not own a car, but a general public transportation system has not broken ground yet. The WALLY passenger-rail transit program, which would travel between Ann Arbor and Howell through Washtenaw and Livingston counties, would stop at Chilson, an unincorporated center to the west of Brighton by four miles.
Livery Currently, Blue Cab Taxi Company is the mainstay livery service in the Brighton area. One can be called in advance, or often be found outside the downtown Brighton bars during the later hours. As of February 2018, Uber appears to service the Brighton area based upon their website.
Bicycle The Brighton area does not sport any true bicycle-path system, and bicyclists must use either roads or sidewalks to traverse. Rural roads also may have hard shoulders, and local drivers have been known to not be particularly courteous to bicyclists.
Festivals and Fairs Festivals and fairs are one of the main draws to the Brighton area for local residents and visitors. Various events throughout the year involve closing down Main Street in the downtown area, allowing vendors and attractions to set up and patrons to promenade the downtown area. Events such as Summerfest, Artfest, the Smokin' Jazz and Blues Festival, and the Millpond Summer Concert series all draw large crowds, with family-friendly venues. Various civic organizations, such as the Lions Club, Kiwanis, and so on, work together to host these events.