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Farmington Hills ponders bus service

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Farmington Hills ponders bus service

Councilman: Is SMART worthwhile?

From the Detroit Free Press - September 26, 2005

Following Livonia's lead, Farmington Hills is taking a second look at the cost of belonging to the region's only public transit system.

The city is mulling the economics of sending upwards of $2.5 million to SMART every year. The city could decide to go the way of neighboring Livonia and ask voters if they want to opt out of SMART. Farmington, which raises $240,000 a year for SMART, could follow.

Losing Livonia and Farmington Hills, two of the metro area's bigger customers, would hobble but not cripple the organization, said Ron Ristau, SMART's service development director.

....

But perhaps the strongest argument for staying in SMART also is economic. Employers need workers who may not live nearby, and workers may not have cars.

Read the entire article here

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I understand that the bus system costs money, but not everyone can afford a car. How are people supposed to get to their jobs then? I know someone who lives at 7 & Greenfield, but is very limited as to the employment options he can persue, since all the jobs are out in Troy or some other place where it is hard to get to on a bus. Yes, it is possible to get from Detroit to Troy...if you don't mind transfering buses several times and spending 2-3 hours trying to get from point A to point B. Not to mention that many of the buses stop too early to be of much use, so hopefully you work a 9:00-5:00 job. If anything, the region should be expanding the bus system, not removing parts of it.

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I try to ride the bus lines, I reeaaallly tryyyy! All I can come up with is to scrap the entire system and start anew. It's a joke compared to every other city I've been to. When the city and county burbs decide to come together for the region is when I'll be back on the bus or rails. Until then, Livonia in particular and Farmington Hills have it right- get rid of the tax burden and hope a realistic proposal that will be funded will come along. What we have now is an embarrassment.

Peace to you and peace to Detroit,

DetroitBazaar

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I used to live in Sterling Heights until a couple of years back (1 block off of 15 mile and Van Dyke). For about 1.5 years I rode 510 SMART bus (Van Dyke to Gratiot) to work. It was very convenient since the bus stopped right at 15 and Van Dyke and right in front of my work in downtown. It was often quicker to take the bus (no transfer) than to drive by as much as 15 minutes. It meant far less stress and I loved it.

SMART definitely has issues, like buses that often broke down (even brand new ones) but even then, I preferred it over driving.

Now I'm stuck in a "no men's land" that is Commerce Township with no choice but to drive. :(

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If anything, SMART isn't keeping up with growth. It has cut Haggerty road off which isn't even near the boundaries of the metro area anymore. When it does stretch past that road, watch the taxes go up out of proportion to the ridership (you'll be lucky to count three per bus) as has been the traditional history of Farmington Hills and Livonia. It's time to revamp mass transit IMO. It's time to focus on what a region really means because without Detroit, this region is NOTHING in the scheme of things(I hate to say it, but it's true).

Peace to Detroit and peace to you,

DetroitBazaar

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It's time to focus on what a region really means because without Detroit, this region is NOTHING in the scheme of things(I hate to say it, but it's true).

Detroit is a factor, yes. But the region being nothing without Detroit? I don't think so. Oakland County is one of the wealthiest county (I think 3rd or 4th in the nation) with much of it that could do just fine without Detroit.

IMHO, one of the things that's holding back Detroit is this notion that it's somehow THE center of MI or even center of just SE MI. The sooner Detroit gets over itself, the sooner it can begin to realize itself into something of real value in the region rather than just a potential.

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huh? Oakland County exist in the past, and still, because of it's proximity to Detroit. It's not like someone set up Detroit, and then inconsequently someone said let's set up Oakland County completly independent of Detroit right afterwards. For most of it's history, one grew because of the other. Where do you think most of Oakland County's current wealth, (hell, even it's population) came from? It would be different if we were talking about some twin city metro like Minneapolis-Saint Paul, Dallas-Fort Worth in which case one could make a strong argument that the two exist independent of another. We are talking about a suburban county that owes its very existence to Detroit. Only a few cities in Metro Detroit can claim to have been set up inconsequentially (i.e. Pontiac).

It's not about an ego or pride, Detroit should be (and still is in many instances) the center of Metro Detroit, and the premier Michigan city.

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I'm not denying that Oakland County grew out of Detroit. The argument I put forth is that right now, right here, Detroit is not the economical center of this region and nor does it have to be in order for the region to prosper.

For example, was downtown Detroit the only or even the economically the best place for the Comerica Park? The Ford Field? Beyond the idealized notion of taking the team back into the city, were there really no other place where it would have been more convenient or more economical? How long before players who play there to actually live inside the city limits? How long before visiting team doesn't commute in from Birmingham? If it wasn't for Karmanos having personal conviction to move into Detroit, did it make sense for CompuWare to move into downtown?

I admire the leaders of the industries who found something within themselves to make things happen. Much of what's happening along the Woodward is happening b/c of CompuWare. Much of what's happening along the river front is happening b/c of GM. It took conviction and faith, not necessarily logic to make Detroit once again relevant to the suburbia. Detroit will be better for it in the end, yes. But it wasn't out of necessity.

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Our city cannot rely upon heavy subsidies for the likes of compuware. How about the small businesses that make up most of the retail found in many large urban shopping districts? Sure there is a variety of "big stores" and small stores but the thrux of true development is the proximity of service! No Walmart or Michaels is going to bring that especially when considering the convenience and competition factors. Am I right here Detroiters I'm all for a home depot, or a Best buy or a mall with a Marshall fields, don't get me wrong. We need thousands of residents to make that happen though and how will that ever happen when the tax rate many times that of suburbuan locations with plenty of land to develop? Perhaps a rail system that funnels people toward the downtown is what is key. That way, everyone from Somerset to to the foot of Jefferson wins.

Peace to you and peace to Detroit

PS, I'll be the first to shop downtown when I know most of the cost increases aren't going toward corrupt government regulations.

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Hmm, that big business that was going to locate in Farmington Hills, now chooses Lansing. They found it too risky to locate in one of Detroit's attractive, booming suburbs in fear that they too will drop out of mass transit.

Lansing has mass transit through CATA. A system that is VERY efficient. Stay away from Detroit and Metro Detroit. It's not our priority.

^I'm just saying that out of frustration. Mayor Hendrix is pro-transit, so hopefully he can move and shake where moving and shaking need to be done.

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I like that Hendrix is pro-transit. However, I don't agree that the city MUST work with the suburbs on it. Frankly, if the suburbs don't want transit, going ahead with a intra-Detroit transit that works is one major way that Detroit can differentiate and even best the suburbs and will eventually lead to making the city itself the most attractive place to live in the SE MI.

Working with the suburbs is a great thing until they become impedence to the city becoming a progressive world class city that it wants to become.

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We need branches going out to the suburbs like the Boston T. Also connect all of the SE Michigan universities and colleges to Detroit. It is like that in Boston. Boston College, Boston University, Harvard, Cambridge, etc. We shouldn't worry about the suburbs dropping out of bus service. It will only make them want light rail more and more.

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I have to say exactly, rbdetsport.

Force these communitities to want it. This area isn't that decentralized to substain relevent transit. You roll some light rail up the major corridors like Michigan, the Airport, Woodword, Gratiot, Grand River, and you'll see more than one or two people on any given line. People crave this. Perhaps partial private funding is necessary, but if the money is there- rather than building an "arc" along interstate 94- people will get on board. It'll be better than what we have now which is 3 hour commutes. Connect the corridors of light rail with an efficient bus system and BAM, you have some of the makings of a real metro area- or shall I dare say, a real city. The city busses by the way are packed, it's SMART that can't seem to do anything right. I want rail here and there is absolutely no reason it can't be done in an objective way condidering the other cities that have it. Sure, they won't generate the millions in revenue but we can figure ways to improve on that once the mindset of the suburban communities and regional politics changes. That's the key. Regional mindsets. It seems this issue is based on principle and not reality. Everyone I talk to who comes to the region, whether Birmingham, Northville, Novi, or Sterling Heights, comments on the lack of any way to get to where they need to be without a rent-a-car.

Peace to you and peace to Detroit

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