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Old 05-02-2008, 04:08 PM
 
1,854 posts, read 2,300,558 times
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Bluefly stated:

"There is no seething demand in metro Detroit for transit. People are fine without it, as horrific as the metropolitan area has become as a result."

THIS IS VERY TRUE. I AGREE WITH THAT STATEMENT! MOST SUBURBAN FOLKS COULD CARE LESS ABOUT IT!

This is where I am coming from. I don't care about the suburbs all that much. I don't have no illwill against them, they just don't interest me. I CARE ABOUT THE CITY and its revival. I believe that one of the factors to revitalize the city is to be the opposite of the sprawl - characterless stripmalls, bland housing, big-box stores fronted by gigantic parking lots, and non-pedestrian-friendly - that proliferates in the Southeastern Michigan area.

The city can distiguish itself as a pedestrian-friendly, walkable, moderately dense alternative by establishing rapid transit, thus INVITING SUBURBANITES who prefer that lifestyle to move and/or establish businesses in the city. So the city needs rapid transit as one of the components of its revival (along with lower crime, better city services), but the suburbs don't need that. Most of them have always been low density, and it doesn't make any sense to try to change them. But the City at its peak jammed nearly 2 million within its 139 square miles, and was able to do so because of its extensive streetcar system.

You also stated:

"You're just missing the point. They didn't just build freeways and "poof!" suddenly everybody wanted to try out these new fandangled automobiles. There was a demand waiting for the infrastructure to support the surge in automobile lifestyles that was fulfilled by the freeways."


But there is a demand for a more urbane, pedestrian-oriented lifestyles by a large segment of the population> Since the city of Detroit once offered that (whether you agree with me or not), why not re-establish that in the city that already has the basic infrastructure (the spoke roads). It would take a WHOLE LOT of reconstruction to make Troy and Southfield walkable. Most of their subdivisions DON'T EVEN HAVE SIDEWALKS!

If Detroit would lower its crime rate a great deal so that people feel safe going to the neighborhoods, than demand to move back in and reclaim downtown and the historic, solidly built neighborhoods that surround it will be FANTASTIC. What we have to do in the city is to curb the crime - which nobody has been able to do in the past 50+ years.
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Old 05-02-2008, 04:49 PM
 
1,039 posts, read 3,142,176 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by usroute10 View Post
Bluefly stated:

I believe that one of the factors to revitalize the city is to be the opposite of the sprawl - characterless stripmalls, bland housing, big-box stores fronted by gigantic parking lots, and non-pedestrian-friendly - that proliferates in the Southeastern Michigan area.

The city can distiguish itself as a pedestrian-friendly, walkable, moderately dense alternative by establishing rapid transit, thus INVITING SUBURBANITES who prefer that lifestyle to move and/or establish businesses in the city. So the city needs rapid transit as one of the components of its revival (along with lower crime, better city services), but the suburbs don't need that. Most of them have always been low density, and it doesn't make any sense to try to change them.

But there is a demand for a more urbane, pedestrian-oriented lifestyles by a large segment of the population> Since the city of Detroit once offered that (whether you agree with me or not), why not re-establish that in the city that already has the basic infrastructure (the spoke roads). It would take a WHOLE LOT of reconstruction to make Troy and Southfield walkable. Most of their subdivisions DON'T EVEN HAVE SIDEWALKS!
Besides the polarization between city and suburbs, metro Detroit has several things working against it when it comes to mass transit. Whether you believe me or not, Detroit's suburbs are nowhere near as bad as other major US metros when it comes to sprawl and sterile stripmalls. Yes, there is Troy and Livonia, but there is also Ferndale, Berkley, Royal Oak, Birmingham, Rochester, Ann Arbor, Plymouth, etc. There are a BUNCH of older, walkable downtowns in the burbs of Detroit. Yes, it would be great if we had a big time downtown in Detroit like most major cities, but this leads to the other thing working against Detroit.

Detroit is too disjointed and its urban fabric is fundamentally damaged. It will take serious fixing to reach a critical mass of development. We desperately need it as studies show that the creative class is attracted to functioning urban areas with over 500,000 people, which creates a minimum "buzz," something none of the suburban downtowns have.

Detroit should put all its efforts into revitalizing the area bounded by Grand Blvd. This would include downtown, Midtown, Corktown, New Center, and Belle Isle. The "jewels" of Detroit that should be saved at all costs. Forgot all the neighborhood initiatives for now. It's good politics, but it's not revitalizing the city in the longterm. It's diluting whatever resources the city has. Once you have a thriving core, THAN you can build from there and work on the rest of the city. Build rapid transit (probably BRT) on Woodward in dedicated lanes from downtown to New Center. This would connect downtown to Midtown and the Amtrak Station. If and when this gets going, you can expand this to 8 Mile and beyond.

Until a minimum, functioning urban environment is created, there is no way the vast majority of middle class people will leave places like Ann Arbor and Royal Oak for Detroit.
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Old 05-02-2008, 05:13 PM
 
6,791 posts, read 7,315,856 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Cato the Elder View Post
Besides the polarization between city and suburbs, metro Detroit has several things working against it when it comes to mass transit. Whether you believe me or not, Detroit's suburbs are nowhere near as bad as other major US metros when it comes to sprawl and sterile stripmalls. Yes, there is Troy and Livonia, but there is also Ferndale, Berkley, Royal Oak, Birmingham, Rochester, Ann Arbor, Plymouth, etc. There are a BUNCH of older, walkable downtowns in the burbs of Detroit. Yes, it would be great if we had a big time downtown in Detroit like most major cities, but this leads to the other thing working against Detroit.

Detroit is too disjointed and its urban fabric is fundamentally damaged. It will take serious fixing to reach a critical mass of development. We desperately need it as studies show that the creative class is attracted to functioning urban areas with over 500,000 people, which creates a minimum "buzz," something none of the suburban downtowns have.

Detroit should put all its efforts into revitalizing the area bounded by Grand Blvd. This would include downtown, Midtown, Corktown, New Center, and Belle Isle. The "jewels" of Detroit that should be saved at all costs. Forgot all the neighborhood initiatives for now. It's good politics, but it's not revitalizing the city in the longterm. It's diluting whatever resources the city has. Once you have a thriving core, THAN you can build from there and work on the rest of the city. Build rapid transit (probably BRT) on Woodward in dedicated lanes from downtown to New Center. This would connect downtown to Midtown and the Amtrak Station. If and when this gets going, you can expand this to 8 Mile and beyond.

Until a minimum, functioning urban environment is created, there is no way the vast majority of middle class people will leave places like Ann Arbor and Royal Oak for Detroit.
I couldn't agree more with this. So many people who don't spend any time in the city have impractical ideas. When I read this i immediately thought about a great pubcrawl, restaurant tasting, or artcrawl that could span the places people already go without making them drive. That is the sort of thing that draws the creative class.
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Old 05-02-2008, 06:34 PM
 
11,145 posts, read 14,249,068 times
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USRoute10 - I'd love to see Detroit become that. Smart growth and walkability are my passions. You're just being unrealistically idealistic without understanding how change is systematically achieved. You're clearly so focused on the city itself and dismissive of the suburbs and the general supply and demand of economic principles that you're missing the basic fact that Detroit is a regional economy and isn't going back.

The most vibrant "urban neighborhoods" of Detroit are in the suburbs - Royal Oak Ferndale, Birmingham, Berkeley... You can characterize them as bland or whatever, but this is the core of Detroit, whether you want to admit it or not. The 1950s are over. Back then - when my Mom was being raised there - Royal Oak was far out hinterlands with dirt roads. The spoke system made sense. The economy of Detroit, however, left the spoke design decades ago, made Royal Oak an urban destination, and isn't going to be well served by trying to force people to conform to focusing downtown and ignoring the suburbs. Perhaps LA's subway system offers some insights in this regard.

I'm seeking the same end but from a far more fiscally and socially responsible perspective. As Washington, DC has proven, if rails exist where there is demand and a few city codes are changed, the private sector will redesign the infrastructure as demand increases.

I agree with Cato. I would support a short transit from Midtown to Downtown and linking those core neighborhoods. Detroit seriously needs to build from a core and, sadly, ignore the outlying neighborhoods until there's really something there... there. It's still sad, intimidating, and lonely walking around for the average middle class person. That said, people are very engaging in those core neighborhoods. They range from offering insane threats to unsolicited assistance. There's a lot from which to build.
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Old 05-02-2008, 06:35 PM
 
Location: southern california
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takes skill, only person who is guna ride it right now would be "Blade" and he is, well, detained.
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Old 05-02-2008, 08:51 PM
 
6,791 posts, read 7,315,856 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Bluefly View Post
USRoute10 - I'd love to see Detroit become that.
The most vibrant "urban neighborhoods" of Detroit are in the suburbs - Royal Oak Ferndale, Birmingham, Berkeley... You can characterize them as bland or whatever, but this is the core of Detroit, whether you want to admit it or not. The 1950s are over. Back then - when my Mom was being raised there - Royal Oak was far out hinterlands with dirt roads. The spoke system made sense. The economy of Detroit, however, left the spoke design decades ago, made Royal Oak an urban destination, and isn't going to be well served by trying to force people to conform to focusing downtown and ignoring the suburbs. Perhaps LA's subway system offers some insights in this regard.


I agree with Cato. I would support a short transit from Midtown to Downtown and linking those core neighborhoods. Detroit seriously needs to build from a core and, sadly, ignore the outlying neighborhoods until there's really something there... there. It's still sad, intimidating, and lonely walking around for the average middle class person. That said, people are very engaging in those core neighborhoods. They range from offering insane threats to unsolicited assistance. There's a lot from which to build.
Royal and Ferndale are fine, but I am a member of the so called creative class and I spend all my free time in Detroit, I say downtown, but what I mean by that is midtown, downtown, corktown, etc. Those ares need to be connected and built up. If all Detroit had to offer was Royal Oak I would move. I'm not sure what you mean by unsolicited assistance, but you sound like a typical scared suburbanite. I don't want to be argumentative, but the scared suburbanites spreading the fear are a big part of why Detroit is mostly undiscovered and it drives me nuts.
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Old 05-03-2008, 08:41 AM
 
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I'm not a scared suburbanite at all. I'm simply looking at the numbers of critical mass. It's great that you spend your time downtown. More are doing so every year. But you're a pioneer. I'm simply pointing out that there are many scared suburbanites in that area who are not - the ones who hold the political and economic power in the region.

I'm simply being realistic. Whatever. Viva la revolucion, I guess. Good luck.
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Old 05-03-2008, 10:38 AM
 
6,791 posts, read 7,315,856 times
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Assuming the worst doesn't create change. Getting people downtown is the only hope for attracting people to southeast Michigan, young people like cities, Royal Oak just doesn't cut it, neither does Ann Arbor. Those places are great and important to the region but they are still suburbs. Transportation that links the popular "downtowish" areas will be used by visiting suburbanites and urban pioneers like myself.
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Old 05-03-2008, 12:59 PM
 
955 posts, read 1,985,696 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by detshen View Post
Assuming the worst doesn't create change. Getting people downtown is the only hope for attracting people to southeast Michigan, young people like cities, Royal Oak just doesn't cut it, neither does Ann Arbor. Those places are great and important to the region but they are still suburbs. Transportation that links the popular "downtowish" areas will be used by visiting suburbanites and urban pioneers like myself.
I like the enthusiasm and the concept. My belief is that it is not transportation that hinders people from going downtown. It is just not a hassle to drive downtown. What are needed are places to go to. Therefore, I would say that $350 million dollars in tax incentives to bring businesses downtown would do more to make your wish a reality than spending the same amount on light rail that only goes down one spoke and would not be used by the visiting suburbanites that you want to encourage to go downtown.

I am just trying to crystalize in my head the mindset that would have young and trendy types parking at the fairgrounds so they could ride downtown. Why they would be downtown and parked way before the light rail got them downtown. I think most posters are not wishing Detroit ill, they are just trying to point out some facts that anyone who has spend twenty or thirty years in the area would recognize.

I'll bet that you are way to young to remember (or even were born) when Emily's opened up and all the enthusiasm that centered around two people whose motto was "Say nice things about Detroit". The very nice store folded, along with countless other business ventures. These people were suburbanites with money who tried and had the support of most everyone. A mass transit system would not have saved their store.
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Old 05-03-2008, 02:41 PM
 
11,145 posts, read 14,249,068 times
Reputation: 4209
Quote:
Originally Posted by detshen View Post
Assuming the worst doesn't create change. Getting people downtown is the only hope for attracting people to southeast Michigan, young people like cities, Royal Oak just doesn't cut it, neither does Ann Arbor. Those places are great and important to the region but they are still suburbs. Transportation that links the popular "downtowish" areas will be used by visiting suburbanites and urban pioneers like myself.
Yeah, I'm starting to think you're rather new to the area, just out of college, or have just moved in from the suburbs yourself. I'm not sure you really understand the unique dynamics of metro Detroit. I appreciate your enthusiasm - Lord knows Detroit needs it - but what you're missing is that 'Detroit' as a whole is a suburb. It is the ONLY major city in the United States that has no core functioning at critical mass.

I know one of the men who led the transformation of Southfield into a commercial center. At the time, they thought it would share commercial space with downtown in the same way that Tysons Corner shares commercial space with downtown DC. He had no idea it would sap downtown of its business. He has in many ways regretted his efforts ever since. Dallas has tons of corporate headquarters downtown, so their light rail system has worked.

I have a friend (young, small idealistic woman) who moved to Brush Park - one of the only houses left standing on her block - and really tried to build a life there. After a couple muggings and having her vehicle broken into numerous times, she had to retreat to Ferndale. Her life was in danger.

This is the reality of Detroit, whether any of us want to admit it or not. Until that changes, no suburbanites are going to spend their time down there (which is in itself a long trek from the economic heart of the region in Oakland County) except for special events.

Seriously - I love Detroit. It's the most fascinating city I know, but you're kind of dreaming of fairy tale land, then accusing me of expecting the worst, when in reality I'm simply facing the unique reality of the region. It's a tough city and some trains to places people won't yet go aren't going to change that right away.
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