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Old 04-27-2008, 01:42 PM
 
Location: At my computador
2,057 posts, read 3,138,976 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Blue Grass Fever View Post
It's a good start, but, of course, in my opinion, it's been "a few" years too late!

I just wished it would stretch out into the suburbs instead of ending in the city, but like i said, it's a start and anything is good for Detroit at the moment.
Then you obviously don't live near Detroit.


I think this whole light rail thing is just like anything else Detroit: Someone else needs to fix it. It can't be that Detroiters, as a group, keep Detroit nasty. It's got to be, like a kid,"If I only had this, everything would be better."

Problem is, unless there's a culture transplant, it's all just flushing money down detoilet.
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Old 04-28-2008, 02:00 PM
 
Location: Tokyo
156 posts, read 519,189 times
Reputation: 49
The Woodward light rail line is a great idea with bad execution.

I agree with many others who say that stopping the tracks at eight mile will accomplish very little. Haven't the authorities learned the lesson from the two SMART/D-DOT bus systems and overlapping county/municipal functions and costs? A train that stops at 8 mile will in many ways just make the division between Detroit and its surroundings worse, unless maybe there's a big commuter station and parking so that the southern Oakland Co. people who commute downtown will consider driving to 8 mile then taking the train for the rest of the commute. Otherwise, I really fear that it will become just another decoration like the People Mover.

But really, the first track should not be put down on Woodward, it should be laid from the airport to downtown, with an eventual extension to Ann Arbor. I think it is ridiculous that there is no viable public transportation alternative to the airport besides the highly unreliable SMART buses which just don't work in this age of arriving an hour before flight departure and long security lines. Also, since DTW is a major hub airport as well, people with long layovers might be tempted to venture downtown and spend some of their money here if there was a quick and easy train ride. As it stands, I just hear people at the airport on their cell phones gabbing about "being stuck in Detroit" between planes.

Once Ann Arbor-DTW-Detroit are connected, there should ideally be a "capital line" running roughly parallel to Grand River to connect Lansing and Detroit. Then maybe a Woodward line going up to Pontiac. But of course, each project will be contingent upon the one prior to it so fat luck on any of this reaching reality.
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Old 04-28-2008, 04:58 PM
 
Location: Tucson
686 posts, read 3,500,005 times
Reputation: 224
I'd love to see the line go from Metro airport to downtown. Right now you either take a bus (which is not good) or take a cab which can cost a bunch. Light rail from the airport to downtown and then up Woodward would be good. If they could get the money though
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Old 04-28-2008, 05:28 PM
 
955 posts, read 1,983,759 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by OhEdo View Post
The Woodward light rail line is a great idea with bad execution.

But really, the first track should not be put down on Woodward, it should be laid from the airport to downtown, with an eventual extension to Ann Arbor. I think it is ridiculous that there is no viable public transportation alternative to the airport besides the highly unreliable SMART buses which just don't work in this age of arriving an hour before flight departure and long security lines.

Once Ann Arbor-DTW-Detroit are connected, there should ideally be a "capital line" running roughly parallel to Grand River to connect Lansing and Detroit. Then maybe a Woodward line going up to Pontiac. But of course, each project will be contingent upon the one prior to it so fat luck on any of this reaching reality.
I agree with your plan, however I might execute it a little differently. As I said in my earlier post on the subject, the Norfolk Southern rail line currently spans the southern tip of downtown with the airport. Let's not reinvent the wheel here. Use those tracks which could begin with commuter rail on a short timeframe and much less costly approach.

Then, a four mile stretch of new track running north from the airport would intersect with the Amtrak Chicago line which would then take you right to downtown (pretty close anyway) Ann Arbor.

Continuing on, there are existing and well maintained CSX rails that run from Lansing near Grand River Ave. which goes through Okemos, Williamston, Webberville, Fowlerville, Howell Brighton, then turn south and end up - Guess where? - in Romulus and would connect with the Detroit Ann Arbor section and the airport.

If you are still up for Detroit to Pontiac - guess what? We have rails that take you there too. They were stopped as a commuter line a number of years ago but Amtract still goes to Pontiac from Woodward near Grand Blvd.

Now we have a regional system that makes sense and is inclusive of everyone.
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Old 04-28-2008, 05:53 PM
 
11,145 posts, read 14,223,672 times
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Something Detroiters need to accept is that their city does not function like any other American city.

Washington, DC's subway system is a HUGE economic boon to the city - every ad for housing has "3 blocks from Metro" or whatever. Entire cities have sprung up around the subway stops where once were placeless stripmalls and auto dealers. Housing prices skyrocket around the subway. So, mass transit can be a smart investment as the automobile era winds down and people of all political stripes seek walkability.

Contrary to DC (whose downtown was buoyed during white flight by the federal government), Detroit has to accept that, for better or worse, the economic center of the city is in Oakland County, not the spokes coming to downtown. My Dad moved to Detroit in the 1960s before the collapse and his first thought was, "Why does this city need a downtown? All the Big 3 are elsewhere." Sure enough, it didn't and proved it with resounding force. Even today, rebuilding downtown is more of a fanciful effort than an actual necessity, sad as that might be.

So, I think a commuter rail centered on downtown is stupid. Downtown should definitely be a part of it, but using the old spoke system is not going to work. A transit system - perhaps without an epicenter - would have to link Troy, Royal Oak, Ferndale, Pontiac, Dearborn, etc... to make any economic sense. Curitiba, Brazil has a world renown bus system with committed bus lanes and raised platforms to ease entry onto the buses and built for significantly less than rail. Perhaps Detroit - with its ever shifting population centers, would be smart to build something flexible.

Probably the best place to start is commuter rails to current economic centers of activity, as others have suggested, to get people out of their cars. Building a rail line hoping to lure people downtown is stupid. In all honesty, once you get past Midtown, it's pretty much a straight shot of nothing much going on until you hit Ferndale.
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Old 04-28-2008, 10:18 PM
 
Location: Garden City, MI
695 posts, read 3,159,544 times
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Imagine a train down Big Beaver from the Mall, through the office parks, through the restaurants, with some sort of a spoke connecting to Downtown Birmingham and Royal Oak. Now that could be useful.
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Old 04-28-2008, 10:49 PM
 
2,992 posts, read 3,144,804 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Bluefly View Post
Something Detroiters need to accept is that their city does not function like any other American city.

Washington, DC's subway system is a HUGE economic boon to the city - every ad for housing has "3 blocks from Metro" or whatever. Entire cities have sprung up around the subway stops where once were placeless stripmalls and auto dealers. Housing prices skyrocket around the subway. So, mass transit can be a smart investment as the automobile era winds down and people of all political stripes seek walkability.

Contrary to DC (whose downtown was buoyed during white flight by the federal government), Detroit has to accept that, for better or worse, the economic center of the city is in Oakland County, not the spokes coming to downtown. My Dad moved to Detroit in the 1960s before the collapse and his first thought was, "Why does this city need a downtown? All the Big 3 are elsewhere." Sure enough, it didn't and proved it with resounding force. Even today, rebuilding downtown is more of a fanciful effort than an actual necessity, sad as that might be.

So, I think a commuter rail centered on downtown is stupid. Downtown should definitely be a part of it, but using the old spoke system is not going to work. A transit system - perhaps without an epicenter - would have to link Troy, Royal Oak, Ferndale, Pontiac, Dearborn, etc... to make any economic sense. Curitiba, Brazil has a world renown bus system with committed bus lanes and raised platforms to ease entry onto the buses and built for significantly less than rail. Perhaps Detroit - with its ever shifting population centers, would be smart to build something flexible.

Probably the best place to start is commuter rails to current economic centers of activity, as others have suggested, to get people out of their cars. Building a rail line hoping to lure people downtown is stupid. In all honesty, once you get past Midtown, it's pretty much a straight shot of nothing much going on until you hit Ferndale.
That's a highly defeatist attitude. Having lived in Washington, I know that many of the areas where Metro went were exactly like Woodward (past New Center), vast crime-ridden, waste lands. Now, like where the Green line goes, to the NW and Anacostia in the SE, economics through mixed-use Transit Oriented Development (TOD) is huge and driven by Metro. Look at Los Angeles, the ultimate sprawl driving city. Now, with Metro (which they want to expand), the multi-line Metro light rail and the 400+ mile commuter rail system, LA is becoming more traditional -- Downtown LA has expanded by leaps and bounds since rail transit development w/ many tight, high-density, mixed-use condo/retail developments around rail heads. Ditto Hollywood & Vine where, now, a large percentage of visitors come by subway and the area has become -- GASP -- a walking district!

So why do you just assume Detroit can't develop like this? Your viewpoint is just negative, defeatist and ooooh so Republican.
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Old 04-29-2008, 06:05 AM
 
955 posts, read 1,983,759 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by TheProf View Post
That's a highly defeatist attitude.

Downtown LA has expanded by leaps and bounds since rail transit development w/ many tight, high-density, mixed-use condo/retail developments around rail heads. Ditto Hollywood & Vine where, now, a large percentage of visitors come by subway and the area has become -- GASP -- a walking district!

So why do you just assume Detroit can't develop like this? Your viewpoint is just negative, defeatist and ooooh so Republican.
It is amazing to me that when someone makes a comment in a post (which should be there to spark discussion), instead of evaluating the comments, they are simply proclamations about the discussion being defeatist, just negative, and unbelievably, assumed to be associated with a political party.

Why are relating facts considered negative. I suppose I will be chastised when I point out that "visitors going to Hollywood & Vine" do not exist in Detroit and that what rational economic study will show that a light rail system from Jefferson to Eight Mile will bring in visitors or encourage businesses to locate in downtown Detroit?

Is this being negative or being brave enough to look into the mirror. Did you read that Alabama is on the short list to get another auto assembly plant because their state has lower costs and a better labor pool? Let us realistically assess our situation and not discourage taking a hard look at our state and the ways in which we must change to become competitive.
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Old 04-29-2008, 08:02 AM
 
11,145 posts, read 14,223,672 times
Reputation: 4209
Quote:
Originally Posted by TheProf View Post
That's a highly defeatist attitude. Having lived in Washington, I know that many of the areas where Metro went were exactly like Woodward (past New Center), vast crime-ridden, waste lands. Now, like where the Green line goes, to the NW and Anacostia in the SE, economics through mixed-use Transit Oriented Development (TOD) is huge and driven by Metro. Look at Los Angeles, the ultimate sprawl driving city. Now, with Metro (which they want to expand), the multi-line Metro light rail and the 400+ mile commuter rail system, LA is becoming more traditional -- Downtown LA has expanded by leaps and bounds since rail transit development w/ many tight, high-density, mixed-use condo/retail developments around rail heads. Ditto Hollywood & Vine where, now, a large percentage of visitors come by subway and the area has become -- GASP -- a walking district!

So why do you just assume Detroit can't develop like this? Your viewpoint is just negative, defeatist and ooooh so Republican.

Hahahaha!!! You might be the first person in all of my spins around the sun that has ever called me a Republican! That's just wonderful!

Look - I am probably one of THE biggest supporters of mass transit. I HATE the automobile landscape and culture (and I even grew up in metro Detroit with my entire family dependent on the auto industry). I think Detroit destroyed itself because of its obsession with the car.

I'm not saying Detroit CAN'T develop like this. I'm simply saying it needs to take baby steps in getting there. Detroit's culture is deeply ingrained in the automobile. You site LA but do you realize how much of a joke the subway is in LA to mainstream people? The people I know who live there say:

"Oh, that's for the poor people."
"It doesn't go anywhere I go."
"I'd have to drive to get to it, then drive to get to my destination on the other end, so what's the point?"
"We have a subway?!?"

I think we need to get past the notion that we will ever again live in cities with a downtown and neighborhoods all around that feed it. I want Detroit to recover more than you could ever imagine, but even if it does it will only be one piece of a regional economy that has major epicenters in Troy, Southfield, Pontiac, Dearborn, Birmingham and the Woodward corridor, the airport, etc...

To try to shift market demand to focus on downtown again is unrealistic. It worked in DC because the focus never left downtown DC and simply expanded from a core into outlying urban neighborhoods. Detroit does not have such a core. DC was planned (what a concept!) and already had basic dense urban infrastructure in place to support mass transit. Detroit - even the city itself - is spread out, making walkability an option for only a relative few. Certainly demand would build density, but there has to be something to draw that demand more than a train line.

In addition, DC is growing, vibrant, and entrenched in the educated creative class that is coming to dominate our economy. Transit can't work miracles in a region that is shrinking and entrenched in the working class economy where people are far more conservative in their willingness to change or to assess the value of the larger good beyond their immediate paycheck and their ultimate individual comforts like a car, a backyard, etc... Not trying to be mean, but that's just the reality. You can see it playing out in the Democratic race, where Obama speaks of changing society in a way that appeals to the educated creative class but falls flat on the working class that just want a paycheck and could care less about anything beyond that.

I'm simply saying that to make downtown part of a regional transit system that serves where people live and work TODAY rather than a desolate area where some want them to live and work TOMORROW is simply far more realistic for making the city of Detroit a viable part of the region's economic tapestry.

Last edited by Bluefly; 04-29-2008 at 08:24 AM..
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Old 04-29-2008, 09:38 PM
 
4 posts, read 11,940 times
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Default Light Rail System

this is just the beginning to a larger regional transportation system. Also this transportation endeavor will pay for itself in due time encouraging more people to use public transportation. It helps the enviorment by reducing traffic and pollution. So i think its a great ideal
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