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  #1  
Old Posted Nov 8, 2011, 5:07 PM
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Very detailed fantasy Detroit transit system

Freshwater Railway is the most detailed fantasy transit system I've ever seen.

I'll post the commuter rail map here, but the website is way more extensive. It has bus routes, schedule information, all sorts of things.

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Old Posted Nov 8, 2011, 5:19 PM
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Impressive work at first glance. But given that much of the purpose would be local transit, why would it focus on the Central Station? It's a solid mile from the CBD.

The idea seems to start with reuse of the station, rather than the needs of commuters.

Likewise, even intercity trains are better when you can walk to hotels, offices, convention center, etc., and connect to local transit.
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Old Posted Nov 8, 2011, 5:48 PM
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Originally Posted by mhays View Post
Impressive work at first glance. But given that much of the purpose would be local transit, why would it focus on the Central Station? It's a solid mile from the CBD.

The idea seems to start with reuse of the station, rather than the needs of commuters.

Likewise, even intercity trains are better when you can walk to hotels, offices, convention center, etc., and connect to local transit.
Because of the changing urban form of Corktown and Southwest Detroit, Michigan Central Station is no longer viable for use as a regional transit hub. I can see why the people who designed that mock-up would choose it, though. The existing rail infrastructure that would be used for some of those commuter lines connects directly to MCS, and it would be expensive and difficult to acquire the ROW to connect those lines to downtown. The Amtrak station in New Center is the most realistic hub for a future commuter system. It's further from the CBD than Michigan Central, but at least it's located in a district with considerable commercial activity and a light rail connection to downtown.
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Old Posted Nov 8, 2011, 6:17 PM
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They can also add an extra line from the main station with customs for easy transit entry into Windsor as well which would probably be the VIA rail service using it to terminate in Detroit.
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  #5  
Old Posted Nov 8, 2011, 6:47 PM
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Sexy map. Hope they can make it come true some day.
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  #6  
Old Posted Nov 8, 2011, 11:00 PM
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Because of the changing urban form of Corktown and Southwest Detroit, Michigan Central Station is no longer viable for use as a regional transit hub. I can see why the people who designed that mock-up would choose it, though. The existing rail infrastructure that would be used for some of those commuter lines connects directly to MCS, and it would be expensive and difficult to acquire the ROW to connect those lines to downtown. The Amtrak station in New Center is the most realistic hub for a future commuter system. It's further from the CBD than Michigan Central, but at least it's located in a district with considerable commercial activity and a light rail connection to downtown.
I'd have to make the argument that Michigan Central would still be the best option for a commuter rail terminal, save a Philadelphia-esque downtown rail tunnel. (Which would probably go through MCS anyway.)
The New Center location has limited room for expansion. If a commuter rail project like this were to really take off, you'd need a station capable of handling quite a large number of trains per day. (Especially since it would be a terminal station.) Plus, a light rail station at New Center would probably end up as a tiny platform in the middle of Woodward which couldn't adequately handle the amount of people heading downtown.

With Michigan Central, you have room for at least twelve platforms and a decent amount of unoccupied real estate for a large-capacity light rail station to get people into downtown quickly. (Plus you can funnel them past vendors on the way.)

That being said, I'm skeptical of how much Detroit can achieve through transit improvements. I think the city's problems run a little deeper than just "lack of adequate transit". Though, I must admit, a project like this would provide an enormous amount of jobs and would probably stimulate the local economy to a significant extent.
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Old Posted Nov 8, 2011, 11:09 PM
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I agree that Detroit's problems go deeper than lack of transit, but I'm not sure why that's relevant. Must any proposal solve every conceivable problem in order to be worth doing?

Apply that same standard to road projects. Surely we can all agree that Detroit's problems go deeper than highways, but I doubt you or anyone would suggest that nobody ever spend another dime on road projects there.
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  #8  
Old Posted Nov 8, 2011, 11:22 PM
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Did anyone go further than to look at the map in the OP?
Holy crap.

Someone put a lot of work into this thing. I do hope residents of Detroit become aware of this thing.

EDIT: Good point on that one, Cirrus. Transit is at least an easy step in the right direction.
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  #9  
Old Posted Nov 8, 2011, 11:49 PM
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It is a little far from downtown, but it's only about a mile and a half from the nearest People Mover stop. You could create branch of the People Mover up Michigan Avenue, or extend a Woodward lightrail line along Lafayette to the existing ROW that connects to the terminal. Or both.

If you ran either of those with limited stops to the center, it would get people into the center in just a few minutes.
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  #10  
Old Posted Nov 9, 2011, 12:22 AM
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Wow, if only this could be... Looking around, the creator has taken into consideration the distance between MCS and downtown, with a system of relay buses running to downtown. In addition, his buses (which run every 5 minutes or so at rush hour), connect MCS to Wayne State, and Wayne State directly to downtown.



Also, the Baltimore stop seems to be the same location as the Amtrak stop (which is on Baltimore Street at Woodward), and he has a connector bus running to Windsor: http://www.fwrail.org/bl_900.htm. This seems almost like a final project for an urban planning class or something of that ilk.
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Old Posted Nov 9, 2011, 12:27 AM
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Requiring a bus ride (or a long walk) for most workers, tourists, etc....that sort of thing dramatically reduces ridership.
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  #12  
Old Posted Nov 9, 2011, 12:34 AM
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Here's his schedule and maps for the relay buses (PDF): http://www.fwrail.org/fwinfo/r_d.pdf. The relay bus to downtown only has a few stops, with the first one at Michigan and Trumbull, and then the next already in the downtown core.

Here is his explanation of why he did all this: http://offtherail.metrio.org/.
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  #13  
Old Posted Nov 9, 2011, 1:59 AM
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It is a little far from downtown, but it's only about a mile and a half from the nearest People Mover stop. You could create branch of the People Mover up Michigan Avenue, or extend a Woodward lightrail line along Lafayette to the existing ROW that connects to the terminal. Or both.

If you ran either of those with limited stops to the center, it would get people into the center in just a few minutes.
Would it be possible to run new track on the southwest side of the existing tracks at MCS towards the tunnel and then have it turn towards downtown near Rosa Parks Blvd. crossing over the tunnel. Then have it run parallel to Lafayette all the way to the Sheriff building at 3rd.

It seems this route would be beneficial since it mostly would affect parking lots along the route as opposed to buildings. I count four maybe five buildings that would need to be demolished. One is the Greyhound bus terminal but if you built a new greyhound terminal in conjunction with the new train station Greyhound maybe willing to swap. The other buildings are industrial.

If this is the new route, instead of being 1 mile away from downtown and needing a connecting bus, the trains would let people off two blocks from a people mover stop, two blocks from Cobo, 2 1/2 blocks from the Rosa Parks bus terminal, and 5 1/2 blocks from Campus Martius. I feel that if you are spending all this money to build new stations and new lines throughout the Metro region, you might as well spend some money and get people to downtown. Not to mention MCS would need somewhere around $80 million dollars in renovation which could be used instead to build a new station and track into downtown. MCS is a great building but I think it is time to accept that it is just too costly to save anymore.

I did not have time to draw a route but here is the general area.

http://maps.google.com/maps?q=detroi...h&z=17&iwloc=A
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  #14  
Old Posted Nov 9, 2011, 2:19 AM
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Needs a spur at Merriman or Middlebelt for DTW. Which is odd since it would serve Jackson Airport (Reynolds Field), which is totally unnecessary.

Some of the stations along the outer reaches of the A,M & E lines are just odd. Azalia? Center Lake? Sylvan Center? Luna Pier? Some of these places have just a few hundred to maybe a couple thousand residents. And they've been that way for a century.

I'm not familiar enough with things north of M-59 to really know about that side of the world.
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Old Posted Nov 9, 2011, 2:30 AM
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. Not to mention MCS would need somewhere around $80 million dollars in renovation which could be used instead to build a new station and track into downtown. MCS is a great building but I think it is time to accept that it is just too costly to save anymore.
When the Continental Rail Gateway is built the MCS tunnels will be surplus for freight use, but still extraordinarily valuable for something like HSR. Restoring MCS into a regional and commuter rail center with the ability to become part of a Chicago - Toronto HSR line would be a good long term goal.
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  #16  
Old Posted Nov 9, 2011, 1:18 PM
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Requiring a bus ride (or a long walk) for most workers, tourists, etc....that sort of thing dramatically reduces ridership.
Why not extend the Woodward line to MCS from Campus Martius? You could bring it down Fort St and then directly onto a platform in MCS (not out in front on Michigan). With a little money, you could even set it up as a cross-platform transfer with one commuter-rail track inside of two light-rail tracks. Since that would be the end of the Woodward line, there would always be a light-rail train waiting there whenever a commuter train pulls in.

That would eliminate buses 2 and 4, and you would then only have one express bus to circulate around Wayne State and New Center.
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  #17  
Old Posted Nov 9, 2011, 3:10 PM
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If something like this ever came to fruition, would these commuter lines be running on old abandoned freight rail corridors? Or are these corridors still in use and the commuter trains would have to share?
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  #18  
Old Posted Nov 9, 2011, 3:46 PM
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Originally Posted by mhays View Post
Impressive work at first glance. But given that much of the purpose would be local transit, why would it focus on the Central Station? It's a solid mile from the CBD.

The idea seems to start with reuse of the station, rather than the needs of commuters.

Likewise, even intercity trains are better when you can walk to hotels, offices, convention center, etc., and connect to local transit.
There is a train tunnel at Michigan Central that connects Detroit with Ontario. Any rail passenger service that connects Montreal, Toronto, Detroit and Chicago will pass through that tunnel. For that reason, any serious commuter rail service in the Detroit area will also probably use that station as its main hub.
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  #19  
Old Posted Nov 9, 2011, 5:04 PM
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That makes it an easy location for commuter rail, but not necessarily a good one.
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  #20  
Old Posted Nov 9, 2011, 5:32 PM
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That makes it an easy location for commuter rail, but not necessarily a good one.
It probably makes more sense to build another "downtown" around the station than to move it. Or, more realistically, to build rapid transit line between the MCS and downtown.
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