Kiss The Light Rail Goodbye... (Detroit, Royal Oak: sale, unemployment, established neighborhood)
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BTW, as for the immigration angle, immigrants will never flood into Detroit until jobs are available.
That's another catch-22 BTW. The people already here would have to do their part to bring jobs here or create jobs, and I havne't seen sings of that happening yet (the reason the unemployment rate has dropped is because many people are no longer considered "unemployed", not because we have job growth).
EDIT: Mass transit and the location of these jobs will be another issue. New York City is very friendly to tourists and immigrants, where as they can access everything on Mass Transit and within Walking Distance in densely built neighborhoods, since they don't have the money and mobility to commute to White Plains for a job at McDonalds. Again, giving the latest developments, I don't see that happening either.
True but I think race and the schools are a factor too. Immigrants especially Asian ones really view schools as very important. A similar thing is happening here in the DC area where immigrants are more or less bypassing the predominantly black county in the area for whiter areas.
Different leadership and subtle but pronounced differences between the two black populations. Atlanta had a sizable, urban and educated black middle class and they moved into leadership roles after the Civil Rights Era. They were practical and instinctively knew that whites would be needed to have a successful city.
In Detroit most Blacks have roots in the poor rural South, many literally fled with the Klan at their backs. Education was limited among the group and the middle class paled into comparison to Atlanta's middle class.
Blacks in Detroit were upset and did not view whites favorably thus they responded well to Black leaders who rose to power on a Black pride/anti-white platform.
You are missing the true differences. The South is where slavery existed and where most blacks lived through our history in this nation. States like South Carolina, Georgia and Mississippi were and are over 25% black and blacks were evenly distributed throughout the states, in the cities, in the suburbs and in the rural areas. Contrast that with Michigan where blacks lived primarily in the central cities and once you left the central cities the landscape became 98% or more white.
This is an important point because there was nowhere in Georgia for whites to run and get away from blacks. In fact, blacks and whites existed together in the same neighborhoods, but separated by social taboos. Hence, whites could not run to the suburbs or exurbs to get away from blacks, like they could in Michigan, because blacks were already in these areas in the South.
Also in the South, whites did not fear blacks, blacks feared the whites. Whites had conditioned, by force and law, blacks to “stay in their place”. I experienced this first hand went I went to College for a few years in Atlanta back in the early 90’s. Older black people were pasified and did not challenge white people when disrespected. I worked in a factory on Chestnut street and Memorial drive in SE Atlanta , while going to college. If a white person said something to one of those older blacks, they just dropped their heads and became submissive, and these were their peers….not supervisors or managers. However, let another black person say the wrong thing (to another black person) and fights broke out.
In light of that, since whites had no exclusive place to run (Forsyth county was one of the only nearly all white counties...but it was about 40 miles outside Atlanta) they choose to coexist with black people. In Detroit, whites chose not to coexist with blacks. Furthermore, Altanta's first black mayor, Maynard Jackson, was seen as simply a figure head in the city described as "to busy to hate". It was the good ole boys in the business community still dictating things.
One of the other important things is that Atlanta was trying to become the capital of the South. It was a city trying to gain stature and compete with Northern Cities. It constantly sold itself as more than it actually was. It created a self fullfilling prophecy by believing that it was more than it was......IT BECAME MORE THAN IT WAS BEFORE. Despite one of the higest poverty rates, one of the highest murder rates, poor schools and racial issues.....the area and people managed to still see itself as a great place to be. This is the complete opposite of how the Detroit area sees itself and the self fullfilling prophecy that it created for itself.
Last edited by Indentured Servant; 12-22-2011 at 08:13 AM..
What I was thinking was, that if I were either living in a truly urban section of Detroit or planning to move to a truly urban part of a city sometime in the near future, would I want to move to the painfully slow work in progress that is Detroit, or would I want to move someplace already pretty much complete, like NYC, Chicago, et al? I like the idea of light rail, subways, all that, but would I want to sit here and wait ten or twenty years while city fathers fight over it (and suffering through construction delays all that time like when they build an interstate highway) or would I want to go someplace that has it already and enjoy it while I'm still more or less young enough to enjoy it?
Metro Chicago's population is over twice Detroit's. NYC's metro population is over 4 times Detroit's. Both cities have substantially more corporate headquarters than Detroit to sustain a thriving downtown commercial district.
How can you attract people with wealth to an environment with a relatively low quality of life?
Who determines what qualifies as "quality of life"? The millions of people that choose to live in the suburbs or suburban-like areas within the city, or the very few people who prefer dense downtown areas.
Absolutely. Like many people, I had pinned much of my hope for the city's continued turnaround on the anticipated LRT system. To see it get axed on the eve of construction after 5 years of work and millions of dollars spent really shocked me. Especially since some of Metro Detroit's most prominent business leaders personally committed funding to get the project going.
This decision by our elected officials was, in my opinion, not only a huge mistake, but a clear sign that they are not to be trusted. Their choice to scrap this plan must have been known for months, yet we the voters were strung along and hung out to dry as they fed us misinformation. Their decision to rebuke all the progress for LRT sends a national message that Detroit, Michigan's largest city, is not worthy of receiving even basic infrastructure. Infrastructure that should have been put in place more than 50 years ago.
Bing/Snyder/LaHood's new "plan" for BRT seems like nothing more than a ruse. Basically, Snyder and Bing needed a bone to throw after sending LRT to slaughter behind our backs. The idea that Metro Detroiters are going to pony up money for a third bus system when they refuse to pay for the two systems we already have is laughable. DDOT and SMART are on brink of collapse because they lack of support by many suburban municipalities who opt of service. It seems unlikely that Snyder and Bing even have the political clout to garner the support of enough legislators to force the creation of a Regional Transit Authority, which would be a necessary step before any BRT plan could even be possible. The fact is, extensive BRT service in Metro Detroit is light years away and any promise to the contrary is a lie.
The lack of fixed transit infrastructure in Metro Detroit has set this region back decades. Lost development and growth for the region probably reaches into the tens of billions of dollars. Yet, despite all of the evidence of LRT benefits, we have once again assured ourselves continued decline. There were countless projects in the hopper that were all but guaranteed based on Woodward Ave LRT. Now, most of those projects are in jeopardy.
There is little chance that Detroit can support sustained urban redevelopment without essential infrastructure found in most cities. LRT would have encouraged the kind of focused development and growth that Metro Detroit needs and the benefits could have been shared by both the city and suburbs. It is inconceivable to me that our leaders could set us back this far.
I would like a full and honest explanation from these leaders as to why the LRT plan was killed off months before construction was to begin. I'd like to know how they plan on funding this so-called BRT system that would be equally expensive as Woodward's LRT plan. I'd like to know why we weren't informed of these issues. Bing now says that BRT is better for Detroiters. If that's true, why then did he back the LRT plan over the past several years, making press releases as recently as a month ago singing the praises LRT? The whole thing reeks of hypocrisy and rampant lies.
The decision to trash LRT is enough to drive me and many others right out of the city and state. It's bad enough we have to put up with so much other nonsense for the pleasure of living here, but when you kill the one thing that gives people hope that tomorrow can be better, you've lost my love and affection, as well as my tax dollars.
The private backers behind the original M1 Woodward LRT line have publicly objected to what has happened and are still offering funding to build a 3.4 mile LRT section from the Riverfront to Grand Blvd in New Center. I am hopeful they will succeed to get the ball rolling and I will give them an opportunity to do so before I ultimately vote with my feet. Godspeed, folks.
I'll cut you some slack since you are still a young idealist, but I would recommend that in the future you make important life-changing decisions (like where you should live) based on the reality of the situation and not on idealistic dreams. The LRT was no less a ruse than the BRT which was no less a ruse than the People Mover, which was no less a ruse than the Washington Blvd trolley,... All of these projects are nothing more than a ruse to get people distracted from the real problems in the city (lack of ambulances, lack of police officers, failure to demolish dilapidated buildings, poor schools, social dysfunction, etc.).
From WHERE to WHERE was the light rail going to run?
Frankly, my first thoughts in seeing this thread was is there enough of a population corridor and jobs corridor to justify building a line? Having lived in Chicago and seeing them have 9x the population and clearly defined population and employment corridors.....and they STILL have had to curtail service due to ridership issues.....I'm wondering if the numbers even work in Detroit?
It was proposed to run along Woodward Ave. from downtown to 8 Mile Road. Other than a few miles downtown, it is a distressed area with many vacant small businesses. The side streets are composed of distressed low density housing with much abandonment and high crime.
It would make more sense to me to build a light rail line in a more "occupied" area of metro Detroit, like maybe Big Beaver/Metro Parkway or Hall Road, or Gratiot in Macomb County. The only problem is most people living in those areas still would prefer their cars.
Clearly, if it wasn't a political concern to him a month ago, it surely wasn't a week ago either. While I don't believe politics at the national level were at play, politics at the local level definitely were. Part of what killed light rail was Oakland County's (L Brooks Patterson's) opposition to it despite support from several OC city councils and many, many OC residents.
A central reason why the plan seems to have collapsed is over operational funding, which could not be collected from suburban municipalities because Patterson and OC did not, and never will, support a Regional Transit Authority. This is the same mentality that killed Detroit's proposed subway system offered by President Gerald Ford. It's also the reason that this new LRT system was forced to terminate at 8 Mile Rd and not enter Oakland County. Like most things in Metro Detroit, good plans were sabotaged by short-sighted, selfish morons.
For this reason, I have no faith that Snyder nor Bing can deliver on regional BRT. They will stumble over the same political hurdles that ended Metro Detroit's attempt at light rail. In fact, I see both DDOT and SMART being nearly eliminated over the next few years with no replacement bus service and no light rail. Metro Detroit will, literally, by de facto require automobile ownership for all residents. It's absolutely ludicrous.
Make no mistake, this was not about money. It never really has been. It's about regional politics. Even when given the necessary funding on a silver platter, Metro Detroit cannot set aside its differences for the betterment of its people. So, we all sink together.
Why would a county executive of a county that is heavily in favor of personal transit (the automobile) be in favor of mass transit. Elected officials are supposed to represent their constituents.
Now if you are suggesting that regional decisions should be made by the majority of the regional populace, then good luck convincing the residents of the City of Detroit that!
... We are drowning in a local quagmire while other regions are leaping forward, growing their economies, adding new residents, and improving the general welfare of their citizenry. We have no one to blame but ourselves for the problems that are within our control. The feds have bigger problems with bigger dollars at stake than a measly $10 million for light rail service in Detroit. Our state and local electorate has proven themselves utterly pathetic, as usual.
Other areas are also suffering. And most of the light rail lines that have recently been built will have the same fate as the streetcar systems once electric cars take the wind out of the sails of the "green" lobby.
...assuming electric cars don't fade away with falling gas prices...
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