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rbdetsport

The Future of Detroit Transit

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With the Minneapolis Transit System being a total success and the Metro Detroit Area in major need of an expansive system, Detroit should use Minneapolis's success as an example. We somewhat already are looking for our own "Hiawatha Line" as the designers of that line, USR, continue on DDOT's Detroit Transit Options for Growth Study in order to get an FTA grant to build a starter line. And at the same time that is being moved forward on, SEMCOG is working with Amtrak and others to implement a Commuter Rail Line from Ann Arbor to New Center Detroit. Also, people are working on an expansion of the People Mover from Grand Circus Park into Midtown and up to New Center. And yes, progress is being made on that expansion project. These three projects, if completed, could be the start of a century of improvements and growth to the area as the system expands. Also, if the starter line is indeed Woodward, an Intermodular Transit Center in New Center, as is planned (New Center Council 3-year Plan), and the Rosa Parks Transit Center could serve there full purposes. Bring LRT, CRT, Bus Transit, the People Mover, and Greyhound together. The future of an actual transit system does look bright, FINALLY! So indeed progress is being made on transportation here in our city. But while this is "progress," many can point to the many attempts in the past to make transit work. Although I am not one to think like that. As I look at the ups-and-downs Minneapolis had and is going through and how they got through those obstacles I feel a sense of urgency to see what happens. Look at Minneapolis, and you, yourself, will have some optimism.

HIAWATHA LIGHT RAIL LINE

LRTmap400.gif

http://www.metrotransit.org/rail/index.asp

ltrl24.l.jpg

Nicollet.gif

THAT THING IS HOTT!!!!!

And then there is the many other proposals and things being constructed like the Northstar Commuter Line, Central Corridor LRT Line, Southwest Corridor LRT Line, the Red Rock Corridor Commuter Line, and many others.

Central Corridor LRT Line

centralcorridormap.gif

Detroit, DDOT, SEMCOG, TRU, the State of Michigan, and the suburbs of Detroit need to kick it into gear and get working FAST! Everyone will benefit from a transit system and of course a strong downtown core which would come from a massive system.

My own timeline of expectations:

Ann Arbor-Detroit Commuter Rail

-Running by 2009

Woodward Corridor Starter Line

-Running by 2011

-To Birmingham

-Goal of 2015 expansion to Pontiac

Dequindre Cut/Atwater/Jefferson Streetcar line

-Running by 2013

-To Cadillac Boulevard

-Spur future development of already growing riverfront

Michigan Avenue Line

-Running by 2014

-To Dearborn

-Goal of 2020 expansion to all Metro Airport Terminals

Gratiot Avenue Line

-Running by 2014

-To Mt.Clemens

I know my expectations are way too optimistic, but those are things I feel need to be done. They probably wont all get done, but in order for a Metro Detroit Mass Transit System to benefit all and to work too its potential, I feel this all must be done.

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I don't see why we would need a commuter rail from Monroe,Lansing or Flint seeing as very few commuters would come from those areas on a daily basis.What about Suburbs-City so people like my dad can commute there everyday?

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It would be nice to see Detroit have a mass transit in place ASAP. But I don't think the Lansing to Detroit is rail is neccessary.

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The Hiawatha line is nice. It helps having the MOA and airport on it.

I'll post some photos I took last year of it.

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Actually nvm. I can't find them and I'm too lazy to search.

No worries, I'll be out in Minneapolis in a month.

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As far as light rail is concerned, I think Detroit currently only needs a line along Woodward Ave between Downtown and Birmingham and along Michigan Ave between Downtown and Telegraph Rd.

However, as far as commuter rail is concerned, I would ultimately like to see eight lines:

1. Downtown - Port Huron (serving eastern Macomb/Mt Clemens)

2. Downtown - Lapeer (serving western Macomb/northern Oakland))

3. Downtown - Owosso (serving Woodward corridor/Pontiac)

4. Downtown - Lansing (serving western Wayne/Livingston counties)

5. Downtown - Jackson (serving Dearborn/Ann Arbor)

6. Downtown - Adrian (serving Metro Airport)

7. Downtown - Toledo (serving Downriver/Monroe)

8. Flint - Monroe (serving western Wayne/Oakland counties)

The tracks are there for the most part (they have been removed in some areas, but the right of ways still exist.)

commuterrail.gif

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I like the idea. Too bad they would never extend a line up here to Bay City.

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I like it, minus:

Downtown - Port Huron (eastern Macomb/Mt Clemens)- Served by Gratiot Line until Mt.Clemens

Downtown - Owosso (serving Woodward corridor/Pontiac)- Served by Woodward Line until Pontiac

Downtown - Adrian (serving Metro Airport)- Ridership Issues?

Downtown - Jackson (serving Dearborn/Ann Arbor)- Stop at Ann Arbor

I am a firm believer that Light Rail should mostly come first. And by building a few of these lines, it takes away the overall appeal of LRT. I know the whole purpose of Commuter Rail is to bring the suburbs into the core of the city, but why can't some commuter rail come from the exurbs and other cities into the suburbs and have the light rail connect the suburbs to the core?

BTW, how did you create that plan so organized?

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I personally think that Commuter rail would be better, since there isn't a mass transit equivalent already. Light rail and buses serve a similar purpose, and we already have buses (as sub-par as they are), so I think commuter rail would be more important. Also, I think most of the traffic is more long distancish than light rail. Light rail is more for local trips, and it doesn't seem like people work very close to where they live. I think both are very important though.

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Commuter rail and light rail can exist side-by-side as they are two very different modes of transportation. Like I said before, I think that light rail along Woodward Ave and Michigan Ave is a must. However, light rail is only effective for a shorter distance. Birmingham is 16 miles from Downtown along Woodward and assuming that there is a station every 1/2 mile it would take over an hour to get from Birmingham to Detroit. On the other hand, commuter rail works better if there are longer distances between stations. Most people who would use commuter rail would drive to the station, park and then ride to their job downtown.

So If I lived in Birmingham and I wanted to go to the zoo, I would take the light rail line. If I lived in Birmingham and I wanted to go Downtown, I would take the commuter rail line.

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I saw this in the free press today.

"And mayoral spokesman Matt Allen said the city has a federal grant for light rail service from downtown along a yet-to-be-determined 12-mile route. The service should be running by 2011, he said."

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I saw this in the free press today.

Maybe I just haven't been paying attention, but when did any type of transit (light rail or commuter) become official? You'd have to think that "undetermined route" is going to be Woodward, especially with the AA to Detroit commuter line becoming close to happening.

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DDOT's Detroit Transit Options for Growth Study

http://www.dtogs.com/main.html

What the Downtown Alignment could become once the 3 lines are complete from DDOT:

http://www.dtogs.com/f/Potential_Downtown_Alignment_2.pdf

What the Woodward Alignment will be, which is in the running for the starter line. My personal favorite. And it looks that with the success of a Woodward Line, a branch off could go up Mound if I am looking at the map correctly.

http://www.dtogs.com/f/Woodward_Alignment.pdf

This study could be the start of an entire system of Light Rail, Commuter Rail, and BRT.

*Ann Arbor-Detroit or Pontiac (In the works)

*Starter Line (Construction maybe by 2010)

The two projects are the start of it all.

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I'm a fan of this loop option myself. It would be hard to install surface light rail along Woodward south of Grand Circus without compromising traffic, sidewalk space and park space - especially at Campus Martius. What I think would be kick-a**, money permitting, would be to submerge the loop downtown (say inside the freeway loop) and have it at ground level the rest of the way. You could potentially have the Woodward line go subterranean all the way to the riverfront from Grand circus and intersect with stations on the loop. Lines on Michigan, Grand River, Gratiot and Jefferson could feed into the loop and it would give wider downtown circulator coverage than just a line down Woodward. The integration could even work in such a way as to make the people mover obsolete - replacing it with a more efficient less obtrusive alternative.

Pipe dreams I'm sure, but I do want to make it clear that I'm talking about underground light rail for only the downtown portion of the system, not a subway.

What the Downtown Alignment could become once the 3 lines are complete from DDOT:

http://www.dtogs.com/f/Potential_Downtown_Alignment_2.pdf

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The Alternatives Analysis stage on DTOGS has come to an end and the Locally Prefered Alternative stage is starting. DDOT is supposed to be holding public meeting come end of November into December. We will have to see.

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A couple of issues I see with rapid transit in the Detroit area:

- Detroit and the city bicker about EVERYTHING. Even busses. Could a system be developed that everyone would agree on?

- The commuting patterns in the Detroit area dont' seem to follow a suburbs to downtown model. People live everywhere and work everywhere - downtown, Southfield, Novi/Livonia, etc. Will there be enough critical mass to support the lines implemented?

Thoughts?

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I was at the UofM Urban Land Institute forum today in Troy and learned that the Troy/Birmingham transit hub is taking progressive action to be implimented. The forum had a few speakers from all over the country from Arlington to Denver. The local interests involved touted the plan, but sadly rarely acknowledged a greater vision other than commuter options.

My take on that is both good and bad. Good in that, my understanding is that their primary focus is on what they can do with the transit plan between Bham and Troy in order to address what those 2 communities recognize as a must in connecting the assets of downtown Bham to the Eton Station (current rail line separating the two cities) and then on to Big Beaver which includes the new Pavillions, Somerset Collection, hotels, corporate businesses and eventually the civic center near I-75. This would most likely be streetcar or light rail desired. My understanding is that this would be in addition to whatever kind of regional transit is achieved...so, in other words, two different projects. The bad is that there was little focus on the greater scheme of things.

I even heard a new comment today on a panel of speakers where one actually said something to the effect that, "with this project, we need to compete for people from Ann Arbor, Royal Oak and Detroit". My jaw about hit the floor and I thought, who the hell is competing right now for Detroit residents? Did I miss something?

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