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Allan

Driven to destruction

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Allan    0

I know this is long, but it's a good read. I highlighted some of the more important parts.

BS1Freeway.jpg

Driven to destruction

Sidewalks, not highways, are Detroit

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baldy    0

good article, long, but worth the read.

Now that's a good debate, widen I-75 and I-94, or invest in a commuter rail.....

I do agree that I-75 needs to be 4 lanes a side from square lake down to 696, since it is the only north south freeway and it is always congested.

I think a passenger communter rail would be great for the region, although, I wonder how much a line from Ann Arbor to Downtown would be used. A stop at the airport is a great idea and with it running into downtown, it creates a great means to get people there and boost business. I've always thought that a Woodward line would be best place to for the first commuter rail. Starting at a hub connecting the other lines when and if developed, it would go from downtown to midtown and new center areas, the DIA and such, stops in downtown Ferndale, downtown Royal Oak/Zoo, Downtown Birmingham, and downtown Pontiac. There is probably more going on down this stretch than anywhere else in the metro area and would be great not only for Downtown, but also in the metro area. Personally, I don't live close to take it, but would drive to a station to get into downtown.

What are people's thoughts about investing in Freeways vs. commuter rail?

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Allan    0

Commuter rail is prefered over freeways as far as I am concerned. It has been proven time and time again that adding lanes to freeways just increases the amount of sprawl and amount of traffic. Widening I-75 will spur more sprawl farther north, draining the life out of the inner ring suburbs. The Detroit metro is already spilling into southern Genesee County faster than you can imagine. I can see the census adding more counties to the Detroit metro very soon.

With that said, however, it is important to make the distinction between light rail and commuter rail. Commuter rail is generally for longer distances, and runs on conventional train tracks. For years there was a commuter rail line that ran between Pontiac and Downtown Detroit. There is now talk of restarting this service, as well as a commuter rail line west to Ann Arbor. Light rail, on the other hand is for much shorter trips, and is generally integrated right into the existing streetscape.

I firmly believe that rail transit is needed in the metro ASAP if it is to compete with other metros in the country. Other much smaller cities are getting light rail systems, such as Charlotte. Even Atlanta has a heavy rail system (MARTA). Light Rail has been proven to increase investment in the areas which it is built in.

If it was up to me, I would restart the commuter rail line from Pontiac to the New Center Area. In conjunction with this project, I would run a light rail line up Woodward Avenue from Hart Plaza to Royal Oak. A transfer station would be located in the New Center Area. As funds permit, light rail lines along Michigan Avenue and Gratiot Avenue would be constructed. Later on, the light rail line on Woodward would be extended all the way to downtown Pontiac.

Constructing light rail in Detroit would definately spur new development and make the city more attractive for people to live in. I love Detroit, and would like to move to either midtown or downtown after college; however, the lack of mass transit makes me weary of living there. I don't like having to jump in my car anytime I want to go somewhere, which is currently the case in Detroit. Walkable neighborhoods with adequate mass transit should be at the heart of any city, but especially a major city like Detroit.

Unfortunately, the lack of regional cooperation hinders any sort of mass transit system. L Brooks Patterson, the Oakland county executive, thinks that sprawl is good, and opposes any mass transit system in the county. A few months back, he cut Ferndale's downtown funding because the city spoke out against the I-75 widening. Detroit and Ferndale would support a light rail line. Royal Oak wouldn't necessarily support it, but they wouldn't have any problems with its construction either. As far as the rest of the cities along Woodward go though, getting the project to go through would be a challenge to say the least!

There is one thing the Detroit suburbs can all agree on, and that is hating the city of Detroit. It is this mentality that keeps anything from ever getting done in the metro region. Until there is some degree of regional cooperation, the region will continue to suffer economically. I believe that Detroit can once again be a thriving city. However, the region will need to change its attitude towards the city.

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Ivory Tower    0

I know that area real well, it will seem odd to have the mercury and the roosevelt fixed up after all these years.

Southwest Detroit Hospital isn't but steps from that area, the last time I were there, was 10 years ago when my wife was pregnant with our son.

At the time only the main floor I think was being used for the clinic, I wonder what will happen to it ?

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BrandonTO416    77

I took time to read the entire thing and absorb it. A lot of what is in the article is great news for change and progressive attitude - but the part where they want to expand highways instead of maintain what is already there somewhat baffles me. That's just waste for a region with problems like these.

Detroit is not a lost cause, but it will take lots of work.

I question whether an I-94 corridor rail program is the best. That is a less populated corridor. Detroit's suburbanites and urban areas lie downtown and north, northwestward for the most part - southwest and south is not a great rail-starter corridor IMHO.

But you take what you can get many times, and that may be a great start rather then nothing!

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G W North    0

The LAST thing they need to do in Detroit is lessen traffic congestion. Strong downtowns/inner-cities are almost invariably the most congested, and weak downtowns/inner-cities are almost invariably the least congested. Congestion leads to walkability. Relieving congestion just ensures that people will continue to drive everywhere, and live miles from work, shopping, etc.

I've been to Detroit and it's "congestion" is overrated. What they need to do is fix up the highways, but not widen them.

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boo    0

i agree that detroit does not need to lessen its congestion. the problem here is that people are moving to the outer fringes of the metro area BEFORE proper infrastructure is in place. of course, they are going to complain about the commute! why should the region as a whole be penalized? if the region were to build smartly than less money would need to be spent on new construction of infrastructure and there would be more dollars in the bucket to maintain what we already have. it's a shame to watch everything near the city crumble.

on one hand, i say let them sit in traffic- it is part of the cost of living "way out there". on the other hand, more traffic means a less competitive region. taking the policy of only maintaining what we have is, in a sense, an urban growth boundary since it limits how far out you can really live without traffic commutes severely affecting your quality of life. detroit could do much better by regionalizing so that oakland county is not pitted against detroit- it seems that each is so competitive about drawing businesses and residents from each other instead of trying to draw new things to the region as a whole.

that being said, if the area were to form a regional government maybe then we could all agree on a rail line...

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Nostyle    0

My concern would be how elected officials are going to handle the majority 'voting public'. Detroit city is only 900,000 of the metro's 5.5 million people i.e. VOTERS. The strength is in the suburban numbers, so it's kinda dangerous to tell suburbanites that you are going to invest more heavily in the center city rather than their precious suburbs.

It's the right thing to do IMO, but as an elected official, it takes BALLS to stare 4.6 million suburbanites in the eye and say "you are not the priority".

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Allan    0

Metro roads set for major fix-ups

I-75, I-96, I-94 repairs slated for next few years

How fitting that this article was in the paper today! I'm not going to post the whole thing, since nobody is going to read it, but here are some highlights:

I-75 is scheduled for a major expansion in 2011 through 2015. The plan calls for spending $533 million to widen the freeway to four lanes in each direction between Eight Mile and M-59.

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Allan    0

My concern would be how elected officials are going to handle the majority 'voting public'. Detroit city is only 900,000 of the metro's 5.5 million people i.e. VOTERS. The strength is in the suburban numbers, so it's kinda dangerous to tell suburbanites that you are going to invest more heavily in the center city rather than their precious suburbs.

Yeah, that is a major problem. Ever since the suburban population passed the city problem that's been an issue. And the suburbanites are mostly people who left Detroit because they feel it is a lost cause. So the last thing many of them want to do is to support the city. With that said, however, some people are begining to move back to the city. Unfortunately it's still not enough to offset those leaving.

A city-county merger would help the city gain more power in the region, putting the city at around 2 million people or so. But something tells me the people out in Canton, Northville, or other rapidly expanding suburbs wouldn't stand for it.

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Nostyle    0

It's the exact same situation as Buffalo is facing, only on a much larger scale. buffalo's city population is less than 300,000 now, while the 'burbs account for 820,000 of the 1.20 million people in the metro. The power is in the 'burbs, and the city is left to rot.

As for the city/county merger, whenever the idea is proposed in Buffalo, suburbanites cry bloody murder. I'd imagine the same thing would happen in detroit. A suburbanite is not going to see the long-term good of having a strong center city at the metro's core. They only see the short-term good of having a mega-highway so they can get to work on time tomorrow morning.

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bobliocatt    0

If Detroit ever wants any type of rail system, its going to have to find a way to get it started on its own. The first thing I would do, is build a lightrail line from Downtown to New Center, and do everything in my power to turn that area into one of the premier urban destinations in Michigan and the Midwest. Start small and work your way up. Houston and Fort Lauderdale would be good examples of new starter lines that Detroit could follow. Normally, if a city commits to fund a portion of rail transit, the federal & state governments will match it. Its very possible that if you took all of the money for the I-375 expansion, that would probably be more than enough money to pay for a light rail line from downtown to New Center along Woodward.

There's no doubt that the city/state has the money to do this. Unfortunately, like Cincinnati and Louisville, its not a priority.

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Allan    0

Yeah, they'd rather widen I-75 & extend 375. I will admit that traffic on I-75 sucks, but it's not going to get any better, even if they do widen the road. All I know is that it took me nearly two hours to get from Lawrence Tech (on 696 at the Lodge) to my house in Grand Blanc this afternoon. On a good day I can make it in 50 minutes..I guess today just wasn't a good day.

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SWF    0

Hmmm... Detroit has many problems: crime, poverty, congestion, fear, etc. etc. etc., and I think it is necessary to go "Back to the Future" if we are going to fix it.

While I am not a native Detroiter (I grew up in Flint, until my move in 2001), I am quickly learning about its history. It seems the recent articles re: Detroit's future has caused major discussions amongst "burbanites," as I call them, and even urban-burbanite conversations. From what I've heard, the riots in the 60's is what began the "white flight" to the 'burbs.

I cannot help but ask the question, "Why?" Why did this occur ? To me, the answer is clear: fear...fear of the black people, the black culture, our fellow man. I think if we are truly going to "fix" Detroit, we have to go back to address the initial cause of its decline. We must change the thinking of the 'burbanites (for they are the ones who fled), who are largely Caucasian people. Once the thinking is changed, actions will surely follow.

Because we didn't live through the riots and the mass exodus, I believe it is the responsibility of Gen-X to change this thinking. We don't have the memories, fears, and prejudices of surviving such a tumultuous time period. Consequently, I believe it is our responsibility, nay, it is our DUTY, to lead this and future generations toward co-existence with those that may look differently on the outside. I say on the outside, because are we not all concerned about the same things? Are we not all concerned about safety, education, peaceful living for ourselves and our children/ future children? "If you prick us, do we not bleed?"

While I cannot change your thinking, I can change mine. I can lead by my example. I can move back to Detroit. I can decide that I am not going to be haunted by the fears of the past, but love my neighbors and work toward making my neighborhood the safe haven it should be. I can start a Neighborhood Watch. I can cross the street so my neighbors are no longer strangers to be feared, for we all fear the unknown.

If we take steps toward learning, understanding, and tolerance, the "unknown" will become a thing of the past, for now I know you. I understand you. I empathize with you, for you are my brothers, my sisters, in this human race.

I believe that if more people like myself and Kelli Cavanaugh will stand up to our fears, our parents' fears, and move into Detroit with a mission of peace, hope, and love, the whole city of Detroit will feel this change, and welcome it. Detroit can change, but change always begins with "Me."

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G W North    0

Heavier congestion leads to a stronger downtown/inner-city, less congestion leads to a weaker/sparser/deader downtown/inner-city. Anyone who has travelled extensively overseas surely sees this relationship. Auto congestion is actually desirable in building an urban environment. The slow the traffic moves the better for pedestrians, the more impetus to build stuff within walking, not driving distance, the more incentive for people to use public transit, or even bicycles, and the more incenitve for business to locate on top of subway stations, and the more incentive to build/expand rail transit to provide an alternative to driving.

Widening highways works AGAINST building a stronger urban core in almost every way imaginable.

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