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Old 05-03-2008, 04:14 PM
 
6,791 posts, read 7,301,383 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Bluefly View Post
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.
Nope, not even close!

In High school I was heavily into music and theatre spent all my weekends downtown at clubs and plays. I went to Wayne State and lived in midtown for a few years and LOVED it, then I moved to the east river area, and loved it there too. I moved to CA for 12 years, but things have only gotten better. right now I'm stuck in Warrendale, but I would move back down in a heartbeat. It's not a fairy tale. People like you are not REALISTIC, but actually unneccesaily negative. and trying to justify fear. I really don't want to argue with you. I don't think you are a bad guy like some others on this forum, but you clearly don't spend much time in the city. I never felt unsafe, not even close. I never experienced any crime. The worst thing that ever happened was one of my friends had her radio stolen from her car. That happens in every city. BTW I have never lived in the suburbs, I grew up in the city, maybe that's why I am not paranoid. I'm also a small white woman, 5'7" thin and blond so often I stood out, still no problems.

I have a large group of friends who live in the city and we get so frustrated trying to explain why we love it to suburbanites. We are artistic people and Royal Oak/Ferndale just don't have enough to offer. We aren't claiming it's perfect by any means, but we aren't putting our lives in danger either. We aren't alone, the bars and resturants are packed, suburbanites are coming down there. It's hard to get them to come that first time but once they do, they keep coming.

Detroit doesn't have to be a suburb, it can be a real city again, but all the negativity is part of the reason that isn't happening. The government is the other part, and I hope people are wising up enough to elect some decent government.

Last edited by detshen; 05-03-2008 at 04:46 PM..
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Old 05-03-2008, 04:25 PM
 
6,791 posts, read 7,301,383 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by UpperPeninsulaRon View Post
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.

All I am promoting is the connecting downtownish neighborhoods. There are bars, restaurants, art galleries, theatres. It's not a pain to drive downtown, but it can be a pain to park and it's definitely a pain to drive form place to place when you go see a concert then want to go to a club or restaurant. There are so many places to go, people just don't try to find them because other like the posters on this forum fill them with fear. It's so frustrating!


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.
I have never heard of emily's but I recently went on a Detroit scavenger hunt ad we went to a bunch of new businesses in different neighborhoods and we had to keep getting in and out of the car. that's the connection I think might help.
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Old 05-04-2008, 09:44 AM
 
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Precisely - you're an artist doing what artists do - overtaking the fringe places no one else wants to go. I do the same. It's the first step to a city's recovery, then the gays move in, then the middle class.

Perhaps in 20 years Detroit will be ready for what you're advocating and what we're all hoping.
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Old 05-04-2008, 10:36 AM
 
6,791 posts, read 7,301,383 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Bluefly View Post
Precisely - you're an artist doing what artists do - overtaking the fringe places no one else wants to go. I do the same. It's the first step to a city's recovery, then the gays move in, then the middle class.

Perhaps in 20 years Detroit will be ready for what you're advocating and what we're all hoping.
I'm a little more optimistic than 20 years. It's already happening. Corktown is coming along nicely, hopefully Michigan's economic problems won't hurt that. I'm not advocating everyone live in Detroit, but anyone can feel safe visiting. There is a puppet theatre in mexicantown, it's really interesting and I brought my suburban neice to a show, and she enjoyed it. We supported the city and had a good time.
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Old 05-05-2008, 03:00 PM
 
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UpperPeninsulaRon and Bluefly are thinking in one paradigm - that current suburbanites will never, ever move to the neighborhoods of Detroit, and will only come to the city to go to its downtown area.

This is my paradigm - that light-rail will encourage those suburbanites and (the few) people moving into the region to live along the Woodward corridor and for those who are entrepreneurs, to establish businesses near it or in the downtown area. Or if a large corporation recognizes that many of its employees live in the downtown area or along the Woodward corridor, they might be compelled to relocate from the suburbs.

If you are building the train on Woodward thinking that you are going to get a whole lot suburbanites to park at a parking lot near 8 mile Road and then take the train to the Fox Theater in Downtown, then the train is a waste. But if you anticipate that the train will be one of the main factors leading to the re-vitalization and repopulation of Downtown, and the (beautifully built, but shoddily maintained) neighborhoods along the Woodward corridor, then you do it.

See folks, the city of Detroit has taken the initiative to start this up. Nobody else in the region was willing to anyting in the past 50 years. Let Detroit do its thing, and hopefully it will encourage the inner suburbs to hop on board. A light rail train along Woodward going from Downtown to Ferndale, Royal Oak, and Birmingham is ideal and would be a economic boon to ALL of the communities along that corridor, including the neighborhoods in the city.
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Old 05-05-2008, 03:27 PM
 
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I totally disagree with Cato the Elder, Bluefly, and detshen about ignoring the outlying neighborhoods of Detroit, and just concentrating on the 5 square mile area within the Grand Boulevard Loop.

First of all, about 800,000 or so people still live in the outlying neighborhoods. Are these people so insignficant to you? There are many, many, many unique neighborhoods in varying stages of decay that are worth saving!!!

Here's one reason why they should be saved that you might be able to relate to:

These neighborhoods were built just as walkable, pedestrian-friendly, and urbane as all of those urban suburbs that you mentioned (Royal Oak, Ferndale, Rochester, Berkeley, etc). In fact, 95% of Detroit was built like Ferndale or Berkley (BUT WITH FAR SUPERIOR HOUSING STOCK). If you call those suburbs "urban", then the Detroit neighborhoods are urban as well, and thus are worth saving. They are not as built densely as downtown or midtown, but they are charmingly urban in a small-town kind of way.

What is a fact, is that young suburbanites just don't know the history of the neighborhoods of Detroit and how vibrant their urban commercial districts were, and how charming and walkable these neighborhoods COULD be if invested in.

The following is a link to a thread I started yesterday on another website about the Dexter-Davison neighborhood. Check out the pictures I posted of the rotting apartment buildings in this neighborhood. You'll be hard pressed to find housing like that in Berkeley.

Discuss Detroit: Apt. building demo'ed; Dexter-Davison's steep decline (broken link)
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Old 05-05-2008, 06:15 PM
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by usroute10 View Post

First of all, about 800,000 or so people still live in the outlying neighborhoods. Are these people so insignficant to you? There are many, many, many unique neighborhoods in varying stages of decay that are worth saving!!!

These neighborhoods were built just as walkable, pedestrian-friendly, and urbane as all of those urban suburbs that you mentioned (Royal Oak, Ferndale, Rochester, Berkeley, etc). In fact, 95% of Detroit was built like Ferndale or Berkley (BUT WITH FAR SUPERIOR HOUSING STOCK). If you call those suburbs "urban", then the Detroit neighborhoods are urban as well, and thus are worth saving. They are not as built densely as downtown or midtown, but they are charmingly urban in a small-town kind of way.

What is a fact, is that young suburbanites just don't know the history of the neighborhoods of Detroit and how vibrant their urban commercial districts were, and how charming and walkable these neighborhoods COULD be if invested in.
It seems as though the concept has changed. Since you are now talking about the entire population of Detroit, you are really discussing a different ballgame. And judging by the earlier comments, you are placing the rebirth on people moving back into the entire city. Rightly, wrongly, or otherwise, people moving to the city will want some very specific questions answered:
- Where will I send my kids to school?
- How safe will they be?
- What will property values do?
- Will my insurance rates be higher than where I live?
- How close am I to a Home Depot, Target, Kroger, etc., etc?

In order to encourage movement of people, I'm afraid that the new enclaves would out of economic necessity become gated communities. This kind of kills the charming walkable places that you envision.

As far as the solid housing stock, I have probably driven more miles than most people in every corner of the city. Pick a road - John R north to the city limits, Mack east till you hit the Pointes, Fort going all the way to Downriver. I have driven them all and I guess that I miss anything that could be renovated at a resonable cost or would call them superior housing stock.

And now the real problem. What do you do with all of the people who would be required to move due to increasing property values and could not afford to live there anymore?
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Old 05-05-2008, 06:39 PM
 
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You're really missing the point, USRoute10. You take what we say to an extreme of urban fear and suburban love without understanding that there is simply a unique dynamic to the Detroit region because it is so extreme in its development patterns. I hate suburbia. My only point is that, quite realistically, the 800,000 people living in the city of Detroit do not have the political power or financial capital to fund a major transit system (one line going up the city does not an effective transit system make). It's going to take political and economic capital from the surburbs where the wealth is concentrated.

You don't seem to understand how long these neighborhoods have decayed - how many different efforts have been made to lure the middle class back to them. Perhaps this is all new to you. I don't know. You keep talking about what they used to be. I think it's safe to say all of our families were there when it used to be what it used to be. We've all heard how great Detroit could be and its great housing stock. You're jumping on that train decades too late. The middle class hasn't bitten yet, and until they can have the questions UPRon posed above answered, they will not bite.

This is one way to get them to bite and to provide transit service to the 800,000 people in the city.
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Old 05-06-2008, 12:11 PM
 
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UpperPeninsulaRon,

the entire city of Detroit does not have superior housing stock. I live in Warrendale neighborhood, and that neighborhood has the lamest single-family housing that was ever built in Detroit. There are many other neighborhoods built like it. In fact, the Brightmoor neighborhood has the worst housing ever built in Michigan.

Truthfully, there are a lot of neighborhoods along John R that aren't anything special. However, there are several that are very special, and you will NOT find comparable housing in any of the suburbs - the neighborhoods of:

Brush Park: late 1800's mansions and apartment buildings
North end: early 1900's rowhouses, single-family houses, duplexes and two-family flats
East Boston-Arden Park: I don't know how you could have missed the GIGANTIC MANSIONS in this neighborhood
City of Highland Park - there is a historical district in the northeast part of this city
Grixdale - East of John R to Woodward, there is 8 square-block section of spectacular houses and 2-family flats on wide lots.

For Mack Avenue, I only have to mention one neighborhood, INDIAN VILLAGE, with its 5,000 to 10,000 sq foot houses, probably the 2nd most exclusive neighborhood in the city next to Palmer Woods. In addition, there are some nice neighborhoods on the eastern edge of Mack bordering the Grosse Pointes.

For Fort Street, there are no great neighborhoods. BUT, you didn't mention other major streets that do have superior housing stock, like Dexter, Linwood, Livernois, Southfield, Greenfield, McNichols, Fenkell, Puritan, Schoolcraft, etc.

Ferndale, Royal Oak, Berkeley, and Rochester may have a block or 2 that has unique housing, but Detroit has whole neighborhoods like that.
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Old 05-06-2008, 12:19 PM
 
1,851 posts, read 2,292,617 times
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To Ron and Blue fly,

If you read my first couple of posts, I always include the caveat, that in order for the city of Detroit to attract folks back, it has to have more than rail transit. It has to combine rail transit with improved public schools, far less violent crime, lower taxes and insurance. The Home Depots and other big box stores will come when there are more residents and less crime.

To Bluefly, there are hundreds of thousands of middle class residents in Detroit - but they are African-American. Unfortunately, many are moving to the suburbs to live with people who don't really like them.

Anyway, its seems to me that you think only poor people live in Detroit. The poverty rate is 32% not 90%.
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