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Old 04-30-2008, 09:58 AM
 
Location: Tokyo
156 posts, read 519,351 times
Reputation: 49

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Quote:
Originally Posted by UpperPeninsulaRon View Post
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.
Sounds great! We need you on the planning board.
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Old 04-30-2008, 10:21 AM
 
11,145 posts, read 14,234,072 times
Reputation: 4209
^^^
That's just the point. It will be the beginning and the end if they don't cater to the desires of the current middle class - which is centered in the Troy / Southfield area.

I think if someone living in Royal Oak or Berkeley could hop a train to their job in Troy or Southfield, transit would catch on as viable option that could then expand into Detroit. If Detroit builds a transit line that doesn't actually go anywhere middle class people go, it will never expand beyond that.
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Old 04-30-2008, 10:55 AM
 
Location: Tokyo
156 posts, read 519,351 times
Reputation: 49
Quote:
Originally Posted by Bluefly View Post
^^^
That's just the point. It will be the beginning and the end if they don't cater to the desires of the current middle class - which is centered in the Troy / Southfield area.

I think if someone living in Royal Oak or Berkeley could hop a train to their job in Troy or Southfield, transit would catch on as viable option that could then expand into Detroit. If Detroit builds a transit line that doesn't actually go anywhere middle class people go, it will never expand beyond that.
While I am never opposed to useful public transportation, there is one flaw in your thinking. Why should a transit system favor one economic class over the other? Seems to me that lower income people need public transit even more than the middle class, though ideally everyone should have access. A lot of metro Detroit's business might take place outside of the city proper, but there are still nearly a million people living within city limits, some of whom, I suspect, actually "reverse commute" to the 'burbs. Why should they be ignored, or according to your plan, put on the backburner until the middle class suburbanites are happy? Wouldn't it be better to deal with both issues at once?
Also, the better grid road systems outside the city are probably better suited to bus transit than the area near the downtown core, although most of the regular bus users are in the city. Moreover, one of the many reasons downtown has trouble attracting business is that the parking isn't cheap or convenient, whereas all the industrial parks outside the city have ample free parking. Seems to me the area without parking would be better served by a good mass transit system. The idea behind rail leading into the city is to concentrate economic activity within the city, which creates a lot of efficiencies when, for example, a salesperson from one business doesn't have to drive the length of 696 to go see his/her customer at another business. Live in the suburbs or city outskirts (or in the city itself), commute by rail to the city, do all your business in the city. That's the way it's done all over the world, and for good reason.
But I do agree, and have stated earlier, that it makes no sense to end the rail line at 8 mile.
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Old 04-30-2008, 12:48 PM
 
6,791 posts, read 7,306,515 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by OhEdo View Post
While I am never opposed to useful public transportation, there is one flaw in your thinking. Why should a transit system favor one economic class over the other? Seems to me that lower income people need public transit even more than the middle class, though ideally everyone should have access. A lot of metro Detroit's business might take place outside of the city proper, but there are still nearly a million people living within city limits, some of whom, I suspect, actually "reverse commute" to the 'burbs. Why should they be ignored, or according to your plan, put on the backburner until the middle class suburbanites are happy? Wouldn't it be better to deal with both issues at once?
Also, the better grid road systems outside the city are probably better suited to bus transit than the area near the downtown core, although most of the regular bus users are in the city. Moreover, one of the many reasons downtown has trouble attracting business is that the parking isn't cheap or convenient, whereas all the industrial parks outside the city have ample free parking. Seems to me the area without parking would be better served by a good mass transit system. The idea behind rail leading into the city is to concentrate economic activity within the city, which creates a lot of efficiencies when, for example, a salesperson from one business doesn't have to drive the length of 696 to go see his/her customer at another business. Live in the suburbs or city outskirts (or in the city itself), commute by rail to the city, do all your business in the city. That's the way it's done all over the world, and for good reason.
But I do agree, and have stated earlier, that it makes no sense to end the rail line at 8 mile.
I agree with this, we need to focus on downtown business not Troy or Southfield. Michigan needs Detroit to become a "real city." We can't attract businesses and educated younger people with out a real city full of business and cultural amenities. Detroit already has a lot and more and more people are getting over the fear and discovering what has been there all along and creating new attractions.
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Old 04-30-2008, 01:40 PM
 
11,145 posts, read 14,234,072 times
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I'm not saying to focus on only one class or to ignore Detroit. I'm simply offering a reasonable path to complete inclusiveness given the realities of metro Detroit.

The Middle and Upper classes hold the power and ultimately drive policy. If they are not personally benefitting from a mass transit system (such as is the case with SMART), then they won't care about it, won't vote for it, and won't fund it. The ones who need mass transit the most are not the ones who will fund it.

My focus on Troy / Southfield is to build this base of support so that the system has a chance to thrive when the people with money recognize its benefits for their own self interest. If it predominantly serves the disenfranchised (as the one to 8 Mile would do), it will never have the chance to really integrate into the culture of the region.

It took DC 30 years to finish building its subway system. You think they started in the poor neighborhoods? No. They started right downtown where all the federal workers go. They shot the first line (red line) up through the wealthiest part of the city. People began using it, funding began to increase, and it eventually was able to spread to the entire city. In contrast, Baltimore has never had such a comprehensive approach and its efforts at transit have faltered again and again, creating a disjointed, piecemeal system.

I'm not the bad guy here. I simply know metro Detroit culture.
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Old 04-30-2008, 02:39 PM
 
6,791 posts, read 7,306,515 times
Reputation: 6973
Quote:
Originally Posted by Bluefly View Post
I'm not saying to focus on only one class or to ignore Detroit. I'm simply offering a reasonable path to complete inclusiveness given the realities of metro Detroit.

The Middle and Upper classes hold the power and ultimately drive policy. If they are not personally benefitting from a mass transit system (such as is the case with SMART), then they won't care about it, won't vote for it, and won't fund it. The ones who need mass transit the most are not the ones who will fund it.

My focus on Troy / Southfield is to build this base of support so that the system has a chance to thrive when the people with money recognize its benefits for their own self interest. If it predominantly serves the disenfranchised (as the one to 8 Mile would do), it will never have the chance to really integrate into the culture of the region.

It took DC 30 years to finish building its subway system. You think they started in the poor neighborhoods? No. They started right downtown where all the federal workers go. They shot the first line (red line) up through the wealthiest part of the city. People began using it, funding began to increase, and it eventually was able to spread to the entire city. In contrast, Baltimore has never had such a comprehensive approach and its efforts at transit have faltered again and again, creating a disjointed, piecemeal system.

I'm not the bad guy here. I simply know metro Detroit culture.
I understand what you are saying, and I don't think you are the bad guy. I don't necessarily agree with just going to 8 mile, but I think it needs to be part of downtown so businesses can be built in the city around it, there is already a lot going on downtown. It would benefit the suburbanites who go to shows, the symphony and cultural center if the transit line can help build up Detroit. I'm not claiming to have any real answers here, the main thing I want to see is more development downtown. Detroit has come a long way and if we keep working on it we can have a working city.
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Old 04-30-2008, 02:53 PM
 
Location: Garden City, MI
695 posts, read 3,160,484 times
Reputation: 152
The thing is, the only downtown commuters it is going to help out is those who commute from other areas of Detroit. And let's face it, that is a pretty small percentage. In my opinion, it needs to poke up Woodward to at LEAST Ferndale, to try and draw some commuters in to use it. Right now I think the majority would feel it is meant for those who live in Detroit to use, and let's face it, the vast majority of those who commute who use it probably would not for this reason. It has to at least appear that it is available for commuters to use, and to do this it has to come into the suburbs.
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Old 04-30-2008, 03:06 PM
 
6,791 posts, read 7,306,515 times
Reputation: 6973
Quote:
Originally Posted by cardwellave View Post
The thing is, the only downtown commuters it is going to help out is those who commute from other areas of Detroit. And let's face it, that is a pretty small percentage. In my opinion, it needs to poke up Woodward to at LEAST Ferndale, to try and draw some commuters in to use it. Right now I think the majority would feel it is meant for those who live in Detroit to use, and let's face it, the vast majority of those who commute who use it probably would not for this reason. It has to at least appear that it is available for commuters to use, and to do this it has to come into the suburbs.
It could be used for visiting and working in the city and to address the parking issue as Ohedo pointed out. Part of the San Diego trolley is used this way. I don't love the 8 mile idea either, I wish it could way up north and come down, but I do think it needs to be part of Detroit.
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Old 04-30-2008, 04:05 PM
 
11,145 posts, read 14,234,072 times
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I'm certainly not disagreeing with that. Downtown definitely needs to be part of the overall transit concept. I just worry that they're going to build this system along all the spokes heading into downtown and not engage where most people actually live in metro Detroit.
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Old 04-30-2008, 04:22 PM
 
6,791 posts, read 7,306,515 times
Reputation: 6973
It would be great if downtown to Ferndale could actually connect with businesses and safe neighborhoods, maybe someday if we can get a decent city government. I've seen examples of Detroit school children understanding the problems with the government, they must be learning that somewhere. Maybe people are starting to wise up.
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