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  #721  
Old Posted Feb 11, 2019, 7:43 PM
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Part of widening I-75 is reconfiguring the Big Beaver and 14 Mile interchanges into DDI or Diverging Diamond Interchanges. I never really thought the Big Beaver interchange was really congested enough to warrant a change in design, but I guess in the long-term if traffic is expected to increase then it'll probably be worthwhile to create a more efficient design now.



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Construction on I-75 in Oakland County is set to ramp up again next month with an 8.5-mile overhaul as well as the state's first carpool lane and two more interchange projects.

Segment two of the nearly $2 billion I-75 Modernization Project will include redoing the freeway from Coolidge Highway to 13 Mile Road.

That means traffic on that stretch will be reduced to two lanes each way. The downside is traffic delays; the upside is new roads and safer, innovative designs, such as the state's first carpool lane, Rob Morosi, spokesman for the Michigan Department of Transportation, said Monday morning during a media update.
https://www.crainsdetroit.com/infras...art-next-month
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  #722  
Old Posted Apr 2, 2019, 10:38 PM
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Report: Amtrak considers bringing back Detroit-Toronto train service

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A passenger rail connecting Detroit and Toronto is up for discussion in the future.

According to Curbed Detroit, Amtrak presented a plan and grant request to Congress for fiscal year 2020 that including a line item labeled, "restoration of the Detroit-Toronto Service." As for funding, the report listed it as "TBD."

Amtrak's annual report submitted to Congress did not include a construction timeline.

“Amtrak is exploring places it can modernize and expand its services and network,” Amtrak Spokesman Marc Magliari told Curbed Detroit. “A Chicago/Western Michigan–Detroit–Toronto corridor is one of the services where we see promise.”

Currently, there is a tunnel bus service that connects downtown Detroit to Windsor and then VIA rail to Toronto.
Like the Toledo rail connection, this is something that should have never stopped. It will be interesting to see what the new stations are in Detroit and Windsor if this is reinstated.
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  #723  
Old Posted Apr 29, 2019, 10:36 AM
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Update on the I-375 Removal. The project advisory committees met last in December on this one, and it looks like they've narrowed it down to the Alternative 5 refinement I've quoted above, with the partial local road (terminated at Monroe) on the Lafayette Park side. They've furthered refined that alternative by:
  • Further reducing the overall width of the boulevard from 105 feet to 99 feet.
  • They've evaluated the bicycling route along the boulevard and have decided for a two-way, 10-foot-wide off-street path on the east side of the boulevard, which will be sandwiched between a 5-foot wide median on the bounevard side and a 15.5-foot sidewalk on the far side.
  • On the west side of the boulevard will be a 25-foot wide sidewalk. Both sides of the boulevard will be landscaped.
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Originally Posted by Lmichigan View Post
North of Gratiot:

1. There will be a new off-ramp from southbound I-75 to Brush, and a new on-ramp from Brush to northbound I-75. The lanes from the Fisher Freeway (I-75 east-west) to the Chrysler Freeway (I-75 north-south) will be a much gentler curve, and will be a through-way and not a ramp since traffic will no longer access Gratiot on the other side. This whole thing, in fact, will have much gentler curves since the Gratiot Connector will be removed. This interchange has been a death-trap fro semis because of the ridiculouse curves. They'd never allow you to build anything like them today. Another big deal is that you finally get access from nortbound I-375 to the Fisher Freeway.
Refinements have also been made to the I-375/I-75 interchange alternative including:
  • The proposed addition of an auxillary lane from NB I-375 ramp at Brush. This would provide local access to the northbound I-75 service drive so you wouldn't have to stay on the freeway once you got on at Brush.
  • Conversely, they've added an auxillary lane from SB I-75 ramp at Mack to provide local access to Brush.
  • The southbound I-75 exit ramp onto Gratiot now includes options to exit onto Monroe and Gratiot individually. A large median has been added so that you can keep right and exit onto Monroe, or continue a short way south to a controlled exit at Gratiot.

https://www.michigan.gov/documents/m...L_641619_7.pdf

Anyway, we're almost at the end of this. The full Environmental Assessment is planned for release to the public imminently, at which point we'll find out which revisions made it through and we'll have arrived at the Preferred Alternative. There will then be public hearings over the Spring. The Finding of No Significant Impact is scheduled to be completed by summer.

After that, it's simply about the MDOT fitting thing into their scheduled transit plan.
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  #724  
Old Posted Oct 3, 2019, 6:51 AM
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The I-94 Modernization project's "Draft Supplemental Environmental Impact Statement" was released this week. Sounds like they took a lot of community advice on this one.

New draft for I-94 overhaul in Detroit includes less widening, better pedestrian bridges

Quote:
For years, MDOT has been working on a plan to modernize I-94 on the 6.7-mile stretch in Detroit between I-96 and Conner Avenue. Finally, the plan seems to be coming together.

In a recently released draft of its “Environmental Impact Statement,” which details how the project would affect residents, MDOT lays out its latest plans for the I-94 overhaul. Changes from previous the draft are pretty substantial.
Quote:
The plan has gone through several iterations since then, in large part due to community pushback on several key issues. In particular, residents didn’t like the widening of I-94’s footprint, which would result in too many building relocations, and the elimination of pedestrian bridges.

In the latest plan, both these issues are addressed.

Another lane will still be added in each direction on the freeway, as well as the shoulder widened. But to mitigate displacement and traffic routing issues, service drives will be redesigned and the total I-94 footprint won’t be as large as in previous plans. As a result, property displacement decreased by 61 percent for residential and 17 percent for commercial.
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In more positive news for cyclists and pedestrians, most non-motorized bridges will not only be kept, but converted into “complete street” bridges. Instead of narrow, elevated bridges accessible by ramp, nine bridges will have street-level access for all modes of transit and include both bike lanes and sidewalks.

Three new pedestrian bridges will even be added, including one at Connor Avenue for the Iron Belle Trail, part of Michigan’s 2,000-mile non-motorized trail network. Unfortunately, the Third Avenue bridge will be removed due to improvements made at the M-10 to I-94 interchange.

Even transit advocates like the Detroit Greenways Coalition are enthusiastic about the changes.
https://i94detroit.org/i94-project/dseis/

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  #725  
Old Posted Dec 15, 2019, 5:56 PM
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Sad to see Macomb excluded but it's better than having it hold up transit for the whole region. While Oakland is now the big question mark but after the passing of L. Brooks Patterson and subsequent leadership change Pontiac is now acting like its finally ready to go all in on regional cooperation. Getting a real mostly regional transit system up and running asap is one of the most important steps Metro Detroit can make to keep up the momentum that's been building (with its willing partners). Transit ridership is up bucking a national trend & the region is belatedly embracing urbanism at the same time as Detroits comeback is spreading out into the keystone neighborhoods now is the time ... get 'er done!

Quote:
Southeast Michigan leaders devise new regional transit plan for 2020
And it involves excluding Macomb County

By Aaron Mondry
Curbed Detroit
Nov 20, 2019


The new plan does not involve the Regional Transit Authority, which has been working to update its own plan. (Last version shown below)



A well-funded regional transit system has been a dream of certain leaders in Southeast Michigan for years. A new plan announced this week could make that goal more likely by excluding the area’s most resistant partner: Macomb County.

Quote:
Current

Quote:
At a Monday news conference, Wayne County Executive Warren Evans, Oakland County Executive Dave Coulter, and Detroit Mayor Mike Duggan announced a plan to ask the State Legislature to amend the Municipal Partnership Act of 2011, which allows for local municipalities to partner on services and raise taxes. Oakland, Washtenaw, and Wayne counties could then propose a tax millage on the 2020 ballot to fund regional transit.

Though the exact details of the bill will be released soon, Evans said that all three counties would have to vote in favor of the tax hike, or else the initiative would fail.

...

Leaving out Macomb is an obvious path forward, given the resistance by both leaders and residents. In the lead up to the 2016 RTA millage vote, former Oakland County Executive L. Brooks Patterson and Macomb County Executive Mark Hackel expressed skepticism of the plan, and ultimately their counties voted against it. In Oakland, the vote failed about only 1,000 votes. But in Macomb, it was by nearly 75,000.

..

Coulter, who succeeded Patterson as Oakland County Executive, is firmly behind regional transit. There could always be the opportunity for Macomb to join the system at a later date.
https://detroit.curbed.com/2019/11/2...nsit-plan-2020
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  #726  
Old Posted Dec 25, 2019, 3:30 AM
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RTA proposes Detroit to Ann Arbor express bus

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Regular public transit between Detroit and Ann Arbor is sorely lacking. The Regional Transit Authority (RTA), which oversees transportation services across Southeast Michigan’s four counties, is looking to fill that gap.

The RTA, in partnership with the Ann Arbor Area Transit Authority (TheRide), announced today that it will pilot a Detroit to Ann Arbor commuter bus in 2020. The proposed express service would travel between the cities hourly from 6 a.m. and 10 p.m. during the week, and at limit times on the weekend.

Proposed one-way fares would be $12 base, $10 with an advanced booking discount, and $6 for seniors and those with disabilities. Bus stops haven’t been announced at this time and the RTA declined to comment further.
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  #727  
Old Posted Dec 25, 2019, 4:26 PM
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Why are they obsessed with Detroit-Ann Arbor? That isn't a viable route. It's like some idiot politicans just looked at two prominent points on a map and said "hey why don't we connect them".

The most viable corridor for rail/express bus transit in Michigan is the Woodward/Grand Trunk corridor, by a longshot. Then Gratiot, Grand River, and the other major arterials. Detroit-AA wouldn't be in the Top 10. Detroit-Pontiac is the blindingly obvious first step.

Also, these regional transit maps are stuck in 1960. They don't seem to acknowledge where people actually live and work. If you didn't know any better, you would think that most jobs were downtown, most people live in Detroit and most congestion is between Detroit and its neighborhoods.
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  #728  
Old Posted Dec 25, 2019, 8:30 PM
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According to SEMCOG and the census, downtown is by far the biggest single employment area in the region. According to various office market reports, downtown is the biggest, highest quality, and most expensive major office submarket in metro Detroit. There are no numbers which support any other single place as being bigger.

And despite the abandonment, Detroit's overall population density is still the highest in metro Detroit, except for Hamtramck (which is in fact dense), and a few small inner ring suburbs (which have artificially high averages because they don't have industrial land). And obviously the built form and the demographics are more supportive of transit in Detroit than in the suburbs.

And you seemingly know this to be true, because you say the most viable transit corridors are... the ones feeding into downtown Detroit.
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  #729  
Old Posted Dec 26, 2019, 2:09 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Jasoncw View Post
According to SEMCOG and the census, downtown is by far the biggest single employment area in the region. According to various office market reports, downtown is the biggest, highest quality, and most expensive major office submarket in metro Detroit. There are no numbers which support any other single place as being bigger.
I don't think this is true, and you're missing the point. The highest office rents are likely Birmingham, the largest concentration of office space is likely Southfield. Downtown Detroit has a tiny share of regional employment, especially professional employment.

But the larger point is that the region is extremely decentralized, so fixed transit is highly questionable. And congestion is almost entirely in east-west directionals in Oakland County, not directionals headed in and out of Detroit.

But all that said, Woodward is, by far, the most viable route for fixed transit. Detroit-Ann Arbor makes no sense. People don't live in AA and commute to Detroit, or vice-versa, and if they did, they don't encounter congestion anyways, and there aren't walkable activity/employment centers along the route as with Woodward.
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  #730  
Old Posted Dec 26, 2019, 5:04 AM
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Originally Posted by Crawford View Post
Why are they obsessed with Detroit-Ann Arbor? That isn't a viable route. It's like some idiot politicans just looked at two prominent points on a map and said "hey why don't we connect them".

The most viable corridor for rail/express bus transit in Michigan is the Woodward/Grand Trunk corridor, by a longshot. Then Gratiot, Grand River, and the other major arterials. Detroit-AA wouldn't be in the Top 10. Detroit-Pontiac is the blindingly obvious first step.
The reason why the Detroit -Ann Arbor corridor is favored by politicians is because the State owns the railroad corridor. That is a very important point to remember when politicians do their art of making the possible real.
Detroit-Ann Arbor is low hanging fruit.
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  #731  
Old Posted Dec 26, 2019, 3:37 PM
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Originally Posted by electricron View Post
The reason why the Detroit -Ann Arbor corridor is favored by politicians is because the State owns the railroad corridor. That is a very important point to remember when politicians do their art of making the possible real.
Detroit-Ann Arbor is low hanging fruit.
I didn't know that. Makes perfect sense, though. It's a completely non-viable project, but sounds like a (relatively) easy lift if it's already state-owned.

There isn't even a rail line to downtown Detroit. They converted the last rail line to a rails to trails project, so commuter rail would go to New Center, which is three miles north, and which has only one major employment center - a big state govt. office. And the professional/white collar suburbs that would theoretically use a service for downtown commuting are to the North/Northwest, not to the Southwest, towards Ann Arbor, which is mostly very working class suburbs oriented towards local auto factories.

Politicians just care about ribbon-cuttings, they don't give a rat's ass about long-term viability. Watch them drop a couple hundred million on commuter rail from Ypsilanti to New Center and watch the utter shock when ridership is near zero.
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  #732  
Old Posted Dec 26, 2019, 11:34 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Crawford View Post
I didn't know that. Makes perfect sense, though. It's a completely non-viable project, but sounds like a (relatively) easy lift if it's already state-owned.

There isn't even a rail line to downtown Detroit. They converted the last rail line to a rails to trails project, so commuter rail would go to New Center, which is three miles north, and which has only one major employment center - a big state govt. office. And the professional/white collar suburbs that would theoretically use a service for downtown commuting are to the North/Northwest, not to the Southwest, towards Ann Arbor, which is mostly very working class suburbs oriented towards local auto factories.
Yeah, the geography of rail assets in Detroit isn't ideal for commuting. You could potentially bring a rail line from Ann Arbor to Michigan Central Station, and then build a new single-track line to a new riverfront station around 6th/Jefferson. At that point you could extend the People Mover slightly from the Cobo Center to connect.

This would be a huge project by Detroit standards, but it's not much different than what Brightline did in Miami.

The downside is that any commuter service to the North would still have to circle around downtown Detroit to the new station... but you would keep the New Center station as well, so downtown-bound commuters would have the option of taking the Q-Line or riding the commuter service all the way to the end, depending on which is faster to their destination.
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  #733  
Old Posted Dec 27, 2019, 12:34 AM
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Originally Posted by DetroitSky View Post
"Regular public transit between Detroit and Ann Arbor is sorely lacking"
I wouldn't call it "sorely lacking", considering that we already have 3 trips/day from Amtrak, 7 trips/day from Greyhound, and 3 trips/day from the University of Michigan's Detroit Connector which is available to the general public. It's also possible to take the #261 bus to DTW, and take the Michigan Flyer to get to Ann Arbor, though this indirect route is obviously more time-consuming.

IMO the real problem is that both Amtrak's and Greyhound's Detroit stations are inconveniently far from downtown. The Detroit Connector stops near the Orchestra Hall, which is better but still not ideal. If the proposed hourly commuter bus drops off at the center of Detroit, that would be a substantial improvement.

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Originally Posted by DetroitSky View Post
"Proposed one-way fares would be $12 base, $10 with an advanced booking discount"
That's not bad. It's pricier than the Detroit Connector's $6, but cheaper than Greyhound and Amtrak.
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  #734  
Old Posted Dec 27, 2019, 1:28 AM
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I don't think this is true, and you're missing the point. The highest office rents are likely Birmingham, the largest concentration of office space is likely Southfield. Downtown Detroit has a tiny share of regional employment, especially professional employment.

But the larger point is that the region is extremely decentralized, so fixed transit is highly questionable. And congestion is almost entirely in east-west directionals in Oakland County, not directionals headed in and out of Detroit.

But all that said, Woodward is, by far, the most viable route for fixed transit. Detroit-Ann Arbor makes no sense. People don't live in AA and commute to Detroit, or vice-versa, and if they did, they don't encounter congestion anyways, and there aren't walkable activity/employment centers along the route as with Woodward.
http://www.cushmanwakefield.com/en/r...ffice-snapshot Downtown + Midtown/New Center is 21 million square feet at $23 per square foot. It also has a higher proportion of class A space, although that's not listed in this report. Southfield is 19 million at $18, and Troy is 14 million at $20. Birmingham is indeed the most expensive but it's only 3 million square feet.

Detroit also has several major hospitals which employ about 33,000 people combined. The DMC alone has more employees than the entire city of Royal Oak.

https://maps.semcog.org/EmploymentDensity/ You can explore here. You can even filter it by industry where you can see that retail and manufacturing make up a much greater share of workers in Troy than in downtown Detroit.

They also have a freeway congestion map: https://semcog.org/Portals/0/Documen...bruary2018.pdf

It's definitely true that there's a lot of crosstown suburban commuting, and that any transit plan should take that into account, but it's also true that downtown is the biggest single employment center and that there are many people who commute there.
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  #735  
Old Posted Dec 27, 2019, 2:03 AM
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Perhaps in the future New Center and Corktown will become important employment centers in their own right. There's no reason why everything has to be in downtown Detroit.
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  #736  
Old Posted Dec 27, 2019, 2:59 AM
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Originally Posted by Jasoncw View Post
http://www.cushmanwakefield.com/en/r...ffice-snapshot Downtown + Midtown/New Center is 21 million square feet at $23 per square foot. It also has a higher proportion of class A space, although that's not listed in this report. Southfield is 19 million at $18, and Troy is 14 million at $20. Birmingham is indeed the most expensive but it's only 3 million square feet.
And furthermore it's the fastest growing office center in the region with all the major new construction being built/planned. Vacancy rates in the suburban office nodes are much higher. That's not going to change; companies, people and investment want to be in the city.

It's also obvious good urban planning to construct transit infrastructure in places that have the best ability to build density in walkable neighborhoods and areas where you want it to go for the future. That's Detroit and will never be Southfield or Troy.
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  #737  
Old Posted Dec 27, 2019, 3:22 AM
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There’s also that thing right in the middle of the two. THE AIRPORT.
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  #738  
Old Posted Dec 27, 2019, 7:13 AM
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I didn't know that. Makes perfect sense, though. It's a completely non-viable project, but sounds like a (relatively) easy lift if it's already state-owned.

There isn't even a rail line to downtown Detroit. They converted the last rail line to a rails to trails project, so commuter rail would go to New Center, which is three miles north, and which has only one major employment center - a big state govt. office. And the professional/white collar suburbs that would theoretically use a service for downtown commuting are to the North/Northwest, not to the Southwest, towards Ann Arbor, which is mostly very working class suburbs oriented towards local auto factories.

Politicians just care about ribbon-cuttings, they don't give a rat's ass about long-term viability. Watch them drop a couple hundred million on commuter rail from Ypsilanti to New Center and watch the utter shock when ridership is near zero.
Here's a map showing which rail corridors that are owned by Michigan, you might be thoroughly surprised at how much.
https://www.michigan.gov/documents/m...l_330121_7.pdf
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  #739  
Old Posted Dec 29, 2019, 8:26 PM
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Originally Posted by subterranean View Post
There’s also that thing right in the middle of the two. THE AIRPORT.
And Ann Arbor's home of University of Michigan with something like 30,000 employees on top of being the fourth largest population center in Detroit's CSA at 124,000.
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  #740  
Old Posted Dec 29, 2019, 11:56 PM
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There’s also that thing right in the middle of the two. THE AIRPORT.
The airport isn't on the rail line. You would have to take a shuttle bus from a commuter stop to the airport.

And there's no evidence that Metro Airport needs commuter rail to downtown Detroit. Metro Airport is a transfer hub, with most passengers never leaving their terminals.
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