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Allan

People Mover may get expanded to New Center

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Just looking at the ridership this may sound strange for me to say this, but 10% ridership doesn't really seem all that bad. We are talking about a thing that just loops around downtown. It acts as a small shuttle service instead of a full fledged mass transit operation. If a connection gets built between downtown and new center, I'm sure it will increase quite a bit.

Really, it would be stupid not to build this extension. $200 million doesn't seem like too big of a sacrifice for something that should have a positive impact on the future of Detroit. If it ends up being succesful, I'd hope to see future extensions.

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Werent we given 100-150 million for the AA to Detroit study? If we can get that much for a study I dont see why we cant get the funding for something concrete.

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To put this into further perspective, in Jacksonville, Florida, which is still much more the center of its region than Detroit, their 2.5 mile people mover only averages around 2,800 for weekday ridership. Detroit's 2.9 miles people mover loop averaged a daily ridership of 6,000 so far this year (not including December). It's really not great, but it just shows you how limiting these small loops can be and how these things can't be successful unless they are expanded.

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I say we spend some time on this study and make it a great one for a federal grant. And while their at it, can they get the Lodge and 375 capped. How long did it take to build the downtown loop?

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I would prefer to see federal funding towards the operation of the expanded system.

Speaking of capping of the freeways, I'd like to see something similar as to what was done in Columbus, OH by putting actual buildings over top of the freeway. It doesn't look much more complicated than what was done with I-696. I'd like to see this over I-75 around Woodward, however. IMO 375 should just be eliminated and turned into a wide parkway. It would help improve access to the RenCen and Greektown, while making the 375/jefferson interchange less of a high speed, pedestrian unfriendly mess.

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It would also be good with eliminationg or capping 375 if they found someway to redo the abrupt Fisher/Gratiot terminus mess. Actually, the huge interchanges along the Fisher at both 375 and the Lodge seem completely out of place in an urban area. They almost look as if they were made for suburban locations. If it would have been up to me, the Lodge and Fisher would have been the only two freeways coming into downtown.

As for the People Mover expansion any expansion is better than no expansion, and the Henry Ford/New Center-Downtown line is a sure bet. I've been wishing for that particular line for some time, which would also serve Midtown.

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How exactly would an expansion work? Would it be two loops that share a few stations, or would it be completely intergrated into it?

If it's just two loops that share a few stations, then I think it would be better just to have some kind of normal street car instead.

But I hear one of the reasons that using the people mover technology will be cheaper is because the current people mover is so undercapacity that a lot of the equipment for a new loop is already there and just sitting around. Is that right?

But yeah, I think it would be really great. Wayne State students would be able to easily go to greektown or a concert, and if they're looking for a job it would be easier to find one. There's plenty of DMC people who would use it during lunchtime. It would help connect New Center with the rest of downtown, and it would connect the train station to downtown.

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With tons of new residential development in brush park and all the way up to new center, I think this would be very successful. The new resident of this area, the young professional would much rather ride a train downtown than drive one mile and try to find parking or even walk (god forbid).

I just hope if this ends up happening that we will see a two way system. I know I would not want to get on at WSU and have to ride up to Grand Blvd before making the trip all the way back in the other direction.

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To put this into further perspective, in Jacksonville, Florida, which is still much more the center of its region than Detroit, their 2.5 mile people mover only averages around 2,800 for weekday ridership. Detroit's 2.9 miles people mover loop averaged a daily ridership of 6,000 so far this year (not including December). It's really not great, but it just shows you how limiting these small loops can be and how these things can't be successful unless they are expanded.

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Im sure what helps Morgantown is the fact that West Virginia University happens to be there. Transit is a big deal in college towns.

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It's not just helped, it's all because of the fact of the college being there. It would be liking putting a People Mover inside of MSU.

I knew nothing of the Jacksonville system's reputation, but I still find it odd that a city with a downtown more important to its region's than Detroit that the line is so unpopular. And the size of the system is the most comparable to Detroit's People Mover, also considered to be a 'failure' (i.e. a train to nowhere) by many. It's about a good a comparison as you'll find.

As for what to aim for, I'd think aiming for something like the Miami Metromover people mover, in the short term, would be a good bet.

Mover_map.gif

I'd say build this proposed people mover loop, and use it like Miami's to connect it to a commuter/light rail system since commuter rail would come into New Center, anyway, and the PM would be a link to get people through greater downtown.

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A few of my major concerns include that we will get a far more significant bang for our buck using light rail. Moreover, I think the land uses of midtown are more consistent with a LRT type system (smaller and more numerous small developments versus large trip generation centers such as sports entertainment centers, expo center and major office centers, casinos, etc...) While I think it is very intriguing to think that we could get private funding to get an expansion under way, who is to say we couldn't get private funding to help establish a light rail system in downtown/midtown. The costs would be significantly less, there would be less need to ROW acquisition (no need to buy up parcels of land for stations). Speaking of stations, don't forget about the shareholders and their desire for their own station. Sure the DMC may pay for the DPM system, but they would for sure get a station. Those smaller shareholders in the system would not see the same payoff for their investment... they may become less inclined to pay.

My personal opinion of what we should do with the midtown and downtown areas is as follows:

1. Establish Light Rail on Woodward. (consider a possible circulator loop around the outside running on Brush and Cass streets?)

2. Provide efficient LRT transfers at the CRT station at Baltimore Street and the Grand Circus Park DPM Station.

3. Develop a downtown CRT terminal in lieu of a DPM connection at New Center. I think a station either in the river east development or add why not add transit component to the possible cobo expansion with a CRT terminal parallel to Congress Street. I think either terminus would significantly increase the rider ship potential for the CRT systems and would be far less than the costs associated with bringing the DPM up to the new center. Moreover, remember that the number of passengers on one commuter rail train could not be handled by a DPM or LRT vehicle.

I think the DPM is a fine downtown circulator that, when paired with transfers to commuter rail, will finally prove its worth. I worry that the proposed DPM expansion might be trying to fit a problem to a solution, not finding the proper solution to the problem.

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I mostly agree...but I think that any new transit center (if we're talking what's most likely) will be in the place of the current amtrak station. It's already in TechTown's master plan to build a new large transit terminal there to handle amtrak, and any potential peoplemover/lrt/crt lines (the wording of plan was "future high-speed rail")

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Yeah, whatever terminal/central station there is is already going at the New Center site. That's pretty much a foregone conclusion. The new PM route will be perfect in linking downtown and New Center, which will continue to be the transit hub baring some costly rerouting to a CBD terminus.

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A few of my major concerns include that we will get a far more significant bang for our buck using light rail. Moreover, I think the land uses of midtown are more consistent with a LRT type system (smaller and more numerous small developments versus large trip generation centers such as sports entertainment centers, expo center and major office centers, casinos, etc...) While I think it is very intriguing to think that we could get private funding to get an expansion under way, who is to say we couldn't get private funding to help establish a light rail system in downtown/midtown. The costs would be significantly less, there would be less need to ROW acquisition (no need to buy up parcels of land for stations). Speaking of stations, don't forget about the shareholders and their desire for their own station. Sure the DMC may pay for the DPM system, but they would for sure get a station. Those smaller shareholders in the system would not see the same payoff for their investment... they may become less inclined to pay.

My personal opinion of what we should do with the midtown and downtown areas is as follows:

1. Establish Light Rail on Woodward. (consider a possible circulator loop around the outside running on Brush and Cass streets?)

2. Provide efficient LRT transfers at the CRT station at Baltimore Street and the Grand Circus Park DPM Station.

3. Develop a downtown CRT terminal in lieu of a DPM connection at New Center. I think a station either in the river east development or add why not add transit component to the possible cobo expansion with a CRT terminal parallel to Congress Street. I think either terminus would significantly increase the rider ship potential for the CRT systems and would be far less than the costs associated with bringing the DPM up to the new center. Moreover, remember that the number of passengers on one commuter rail train could not be handled by a DPM or LRT vehicle.

I think the DPM is a fine downtown circulator that, when paired with transfers to commuter rail, will finally prove its worth. I worry that the proposed DPM expansion might be trying to fit a problem to a solution, not finding the proper solution to the problem.

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The big advantage of commuter rail over light rail and people movers is that commuter rail can share existing railroad ROW with freight lines. In fact it can share the same tracks with freight if they rails meet passenger safety standards. Even if they don't it's not hugely expensive to replace them. Because of that it is much less expensive to implement over longer distances.

The down side of CR is that it does not have the response times of the other modes. Response times vary between 15 minutes to 1 hour depending upon how much money is spent on it. Because of that and the fact the trains are diesel powered, it's really only useful for moving people in and out of a city.

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What are the functional differences between the PM and light rail. I've never ridden the PM before. it seem from just looking at it from the street that they are nearly the same although I am admittedly uneducated on the subject. also, I think that attempting to get light rail to extend to the suburbs is unrealistic. In chicago, thier light rail only covers the city with a few exceptions (O'hare, evanston, etc.,) the rest of the suburbs are covered by Metra which is commuter rail and dumps people off in downtown chicago. the two share very few stations. the model seems to work well and should be what detroit should strive for I believe. as was shown in the rail study done several months ago it would be two expensive to establish a light rail system much beyond the city borders. of course you would have to find a way to get regional support for transportation system operating within the city only. that might prove difficult.

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Actually Chicago does have both forms of transit. Metra is their commuter rail system, and the CTA operates the "El" HRT system.

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Actually Chicago does have both forms of transit. Metra is their commuter rail system, and the CTA operates the "El" HRT system.

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This isn't a question of either/or. The city needs city-wide light rail in some form, and the metro area needs commuter rail. At the moment, it would seem smarter, with the way the population is distributed, to focus on commuter rail, but I see no problem with expanding the People Mover through the entire central core/greater downtown of Detroit. Heck, that's all the private sector can afford to do in the city, if even that, at the moment. Again, it's not either/or.

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This isn't a question of either/or. The city needs city-wide light rail in some form, and the metro area needs commuter rail. At the moment, it would seem smarter, with the way the population is distributed, to focus on commuter rail, but I see no problem with expanding the People Mover through the entire central core/greater downtown of Detroit. Heck, that's all the private sector can afford to do in the city, if even that, at the moment. Again, it's not either/or.

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You would want to expand DPM to the Airport, it would be expensive and hard. Not to mention pointless.

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It's not pointless to expand it to the airport. The DPM doesn't have to always be elevated. There's enough "dead rail" systems heading out of West Detroit for the PM to have R/A. I think a good chunk of the expenses in this project have to do with adjusting active ground infrastructure and the shear amount of concrete to build this thing.

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Extending any rail transit to the airport is far from pointless, in fact, it's a MUST. DTW is one of the only major airports in the country without rail transit into the city. Visitors (or even residents coming back into town) shouldn't have to rent cars or take taxis to get to downtown or back to the city.

So, I've got to reiterate that not only is a rail line to the airport not pointless, it's is probably one of the only sure bets for a popular rail line because it already has a built in base of users.

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