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The State of Transit in Southeast Michigan

The State of Transit in Southeast Michigan

Transit has been a topic of interest in 2013 Detroit. With the M1 Woodward Avenue rail project given the go-ahead and news of the expansion of Interstates 94 and 75, organizations and movements like the Detroit People’s Platform and Convention are shifting their focus to organizing for transit justice. Issues like sustainability and economic viability

Michigan Avenue, Detroit, Michigan

Transit has been a topic of interest in 2013 Detroit. With the M1 Woodward Avenue rail project given the go-ahead and news of the expansion of Interstates 94 and 75, organizations and movements like the Detroit People’s Platform and Convention are shifting their focus to organizing for transit justice. Issues like sustainability and economic viability are central topics in the discussion.Proposed M1 Rail Stops

While the M1 rail project has faced delays, it is slated to start construction soon. But the $140 million project has sparked debates over whether a single route along 3.3 miles of Woodward Avenue is the best way to spend money on transit in Detroit. Detroit’s bus system faced major cutbacks in 2012, leaving many Detroiters stressed for ways to get to work. Now the debate around the Woodward Avenue project centers around the injustices that cuts to service have brought upon neighborhoods left out of recent redevelopment efforts.

Another controversial transportation development in Detroit is the expansion of Interstates 94 and 75, which was announced in mid-June.  A recent opinion piece by Model D media even compares the $4 billion price tag of the expansion with other transportation proposals for the region and states that the money could build 100 miles of light-rail (compare that to M1’s 3.3 miles). Adding to the controversy further is the fact that I-94’s expansion will cut into Midtown, one of the hotbeds of redevelopment in Detroit today; opening up further questions about the patterns of growth in the City.

With so much money and controversy pouring into transit projects in Detroit it will be important to watch how engineers interact with the communities their projects travel through.

How has your community been able to hold transit developers accountable in your city?

Credits: Data and images linked to sources.

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Meg Mulhall is an undergraduate student at the University of Michigan. She calls Kalamazoo, Michigan her hometown but is currently exploring community organizing and urban planning efforts in Ann Arbor and Detroit, Michigan. Planning to pursue a degr...

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