WUOMFM

public transportation

SMART Bus
Mysid / Wikimedia Commons / http://j.mp/1SPGCl0

A Michigan taxpayer group has filed for a recount of a bus tax proposal in Macomb County. 

This month voters narrowly renewed a millage to help fund the region's bus system, known as SMART, through the year 2021.

SMART Bus
Mysid / Wikimedia Commons / http://j.mp/1SPGCl0

 


The Regional Transit Authority of Southeast Michigan is expected to make a final decision Thursday on whether it will let residents vote on the latest proposal to expand public transit in Southeast Michigan.

Barring a last minute change of heart from Oakland County leader L. Brooks Patterson and Macomb County's Mark Hackel, voters will likely not get the opportunity to weigh in.  

Meanwhile, Southeast Michigan continues to rank as one of the worst metro areas for public transit in the nation, which would come as no surprise for anyone who's had to use buses to get to Novi.

Passengers prepare to board the high-speed rail in Minneapolis
Micheal Hicks / FLICKR - HTTP://J.MP/1SPGCL0

The counties in Southeast Michigan cannot agree on a regional transportation plan. Regional unity, as is well known, is an uphill struggle in the state.

A new report, recently completed for Michigan Future, Inc., discusses another Great Lakes state that has had major success in creating a unified regional transportation for its citizens, among other things.

The new report by journalist Rick Haglund is called Regional Collaboration Matters: How Metro Minneapolis has forged one of the wealthiest and most livable metropolitan areas in the United States.

Lindsey Scullen / Michigan Radio

Michigan Radio’s Issues & Ale team hit the road again Wednesday night. This time, they stopped at Fillmore 13 Brewery in Pontiac to talk about the future of regional mass transit.

Whatever happened to citizenship?

May 11, 2018
Q Line
Tony Brown / Michigan Radio

Two years ago, southeast Michigan voted down what I think may have been the region’s best chance at a sensible and affordable regional transit service.

One year in, Detroit’s QLine falling well short of expectations

May 1, 2018
The QLine on Woodward Ave.
Bridge Magazine

After a year of constant problems, the shiny electric streetcar that hums down Detroit’s main thoroughfare has proven more troubled than trusty.

The QLine, the privately operated streetcar that launched along 3.3 miles of Woodward Avenue last May, attracted less than half of its projected riders for several months its first year, as it was beset by traffic snarls and dwindling popularity.

steve carmody / Michigan Radio

This week, public transit officials from Michigan and across the country will be in Washington D.C. to lobby for more public transportation funding.

There is concern the Trump administration is not including public transit in some of its funding proposals.

“We hope that a new infrastructure package will be kind to transit,” says Edgar Bening, the general manager of the Flint Metropolitan Transit Authority. “We have many needs.”

Bening is also in D.C. to push for a change in Medicare rules to allow recipients to get reimbursed when they use public transit for medical appointments. 

“If we can get this amendment… this change…it’s going to help our community and across the country,” says Bening.

A DDOT bus in Detroit.
Sarah Hulett / Michigan Radio

As the old saying goes: “If at first you don’t succeed, try, try again.”

That applied today as Wayne County Executive Warren Evans went to the Regional Transit Authority board to offer a revised regional transit plan.

Courtesy of the City of Toledo

Once a week, the new mayor of Toledo gets to work by hopping a city bus. Mayor Wade Kapszukiewicz has promised to take a Toledo Area Regional Transit Authority bus to work once a week for his entire term. In doing so, he hopes to spark a conversation on public transportation, an issue critical to many Rust Belt cities trying to attract new residents and spur economic development. 

 bus
flickr user Matt Picio / http://j.mp/1SPGCl0

When Detroit joined the national scrum to win the second Amazon headquarters, a big deficiency became glaringly obvious.

Amazon wants access to public transit for that $5 billion second headquarters with its 50,000 jobs.

And southeast Michigan gets a big zero for public transportation.

Gov. Snyder attended a ribbon cutting Monday to celebrate the opening of the Flex Routes along the US-23 corridor
Paulette Parker / Michigan Radio

The dreaded commute on US-23 between Ann Arbor and Brighton is about to get a little easier.

 Overflow lanes, known as Flex Routes, will open for traffic Wednesday. They run along the left shoulder in both directions of U-S 23, between M-14 and M-36. Governor Snyder attended a press conference today to discuss the completion of the roughly $90 million project. "This has been a major bottleneck in our state for some time, in terms of the congestion," he said. The Flex Routes will be open for traffic daily from 6 to 9 a.m. and 4 to 7 p.m. They will also be used as auxiliary lanes during off hours in the event of accidents or heavier-than-normal traffic.

The Detroit Q-Line streetcar
Bryce Huffman / Michigan Radio

The QLINE streetcar in Detroit officially launched service today. The QLINE runs along Woodward Avenue for 3.3 miles, basically connecting Midtown and Downtown.

Matt Cullen, CEO of the QLINE streetcar service, joined Stateside to talk about the launch and what expectations are for public transportation in Metro Detroit. 

Sarah Hulett / Michigan Radio

A large fire has damaged a bus terminal on Detroit's east side and could cause service disruptions in the city.

The fire at the Detroit Department of Transportation facility, which includes bus storage, was reported early Friday and burned for several hours. No injuries are reported.

There were reports of explosions during the fire and some bus bays collapsed. WWJ-AM reports about 10 buses were damaged.

The cause of the fire was under investigation.

The RTA identified the Michigan Avenue Corridor as one of the areas that would have benefited from a regional transit system, had the millage passed.
Regional Transit Authority

It's back to the drawing board for those who've been working towards a true regional transportation system for Southeast Michigan.

A slim majority of voters across Wayne, Oakland, Macomb and Washtenaw counties last week rejected the regional transit millage. And it will be two years before the RTA can try again.

Stateside was joined by the President and CEO of the Detroit Regional Chamber of Commerce, Sandy Baruah, who had been hoping the RTA millage would pass. 

A bus on the University of Michigan's campus in Ann Arbor.
Corey Seeman / Flickr

Public transit could look very different on the University of Michigan’s campus in Ann Arbor by next summer.

Reinventing Public Urban Transportation and Mobility, or RITMO, is a proposed transit system that wants to combine fixed bus routes with a ride-sharing service similar to Uber or Lyft.

According to the university, students could get rides to and from bus stops that would give them more direct routes to their destinations.

Auchter's Art for August 19, 2016.
John Auchter / www.auchtoon.com

There is nothing quite as annoying as the overenthusiastic zeal that comes with the recently discovered — especially when it has been commonly known and readily accessible for years and years.

So I apologize in advance, but, OHMYGOSH, YOU GUYS! HAVE YOU SEEN THE SOO LOCKS?! THEY ARE AWESOMINGLY AMAZING!!! 

Last month, I finally made my first visit to Sault Ste. Marie to see the Soo Locks.

A DDOT bus in Detroit.
Sarah Hulett / Michigan Radio

It's no secret that the mass transit picture in Southeast Michigan is beyond dismal.

A staggering 92% of jobs in Wayne, Oakland, Macomb and Washtenaw counties are not reachable by public transportation.

A $4.6 billion, 20-year plan to expand public transportation would address this problem by setting up the Regional Transit Authority. But today, officials from Macomb and Oakland counties voted to reject the plan. 

Rush our traffic on US-23
YouTube Screen grab / MDOT

We have two staffers here at Michigan Radio who get caught in the daily Ann Arbor/Brighton traffic jam.

Sometimes they miss dinner, or have to call in to the news meeting while traffic slows to a crawl on US-23.

That might all end with MDOT's new "Flex Route" project, which is planned for construction in 2017.

Check out their plan in this video:

A DDOT bus in Detroit.
Sarah Hulett / Michigan Radio

Detroit is tweaking bus service again as the city plugs away at revamping its notoriously bad transit system.

The latest changes kick in this coming weekend.

They include schedule modifications, some additional trips and other adjustments across eight bus routes, to “increase reliability” and “alleviate crowding.”

Looking south on Woodward Ave
flickr user Sean Marshall / http://michrad.io/1LXrdJM

The Next Idea

We may be living in the 21st century, but the transportation infrastructure in Southeast Michigan is lagging way behind.

The number of citizens relying on public transport to get in and out of Detroit for business or pleasure is on the rise, thanks in part to the millennial generation's growing tendency to forgo car ownership in favor of alternative means of transit.

In his story for HOUR Detroit, Patrick Dunn digs into a number of projects that aim to transform the way we get around Metro Detroit.

Sarah Hulett / Michigan Radio

The Detroit Department of Transportation will begin running 24-hour bus service for three of its busiest routes Saturday.

The popular routes are part of more than 15 that will begin adjusted schedules this weekend. The changes are the product of public meetings with riders and aim to improve the system’s efficiency while expanding service.

Neil Greenberg of DDOT said the changes are within budget and that the department is getting "more use out of existing resources."

Lester Graham / Michigan Radio

A special report looking at the progress, struggles, and failures in Detroit during the city’s first year out of bankruptcy:

Groceries, including milk, eggs and produce, sitting on a counter.
Lindsey Smith / Michigan Radio

To many of us, a trip to the grocery store is simply a matter of finding the time in our schedule to jump in the car and drive a few miles.

But that grocery trip presents big challenges to many of the people who live in Flint, where supermarkets are shutting down left and right.

The city lost two Kroger stores and a Meijer within eight months.

And with about half of the city’s residents living below the poverty line, many can’t afford to get a car to drive to the suburbs for fresh, healthy food.

We're all pedestrians but our streets beg to differ

Aug 13, 2015
Flickr/SDOT / http://michrad.io/1LXrdJM

The Next Idea

If we’re going to make sure that Detroit’s neighborhoods are part of the city’s comeback, we need an agenda that focuses on integrated mobility within the region. Improved transportation is not only crucial for raising the quality of life for everyone who lives in the area, it also affects the entire state’s economic competitiveness. 

Detroit's transportation future

Jul 3, 2015

A few days ago, I went to see Detroit Mayor Mike Duggan in his downtown office. I’ve visited a lot of mayors in that office, and generally they have a large picture of their families in the space behind their desk.  Duggan doesn’t.

Instead, he has a picture of the famous civil rights march down Woodward Avenue in 1963, the place where Martin Luther King first gave a version of the “I have a dream,” speech.         

Lindsey Smith / Michigan Radio

After the failure of Proposal 1 in the May 5 election, Michigan Radio and Public Sector Consultants wanted to figure out why. This past weekend we polled 600 likely voters about their thoughts on the recent ballot proposal.

Proposal 1 was meant to fund Michigan road repair and included increased funding for schools and other provisions.

Lester Graham / Michigan Radio

Detroit Mayor Mike Duggan planned to have a lot more buses on the streets by this point. There’s been progress in some areas: more buses, better maintenance. But the bus system is still not reaching its goals.

Lindsey Smith / Michigan Radio

Officials in Grand Rapids joined a nationwide effort today to rally support for long term federal funding for transportation infrastructure.

Current funding for things like new busses expires at the end of May.

Sarah Hulett/Michigan Radio

The Next Idea

You’ve heard the impassioned arguments about public transportation in Michigan. Let’s start with the rational. Our roads are among the worst in the nation. Our lawmakers have clearly demonstrated that they are not up to the task of maintaining our aging infrastructure. Michigan, a state known for producing automobiles, has become a place where it is increasingly difficult to drive one.

Lindsey Smith / Michigan Radio

Amtrak riders in Grand Rapids will notice a huge difference the next time they board a train. A new $6 million station opened today.

Grand Rapids' old Amtrak station was tiny, dingy and outdated.

Tim Hefner, director of Michigan Department of Transportation’s office of rail, says the old station was supposed to be a temporary one when it was built almost 30 years ago.

At the ribbon cutting ceremony Monday, state and local officials cracked jokes about the old “Am-shack."

Pages