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public transportation

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 robust economy requires—it...

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. More from the University Record : Passengers would hail rides...

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. You just can't fit the scale of a freighter being transferred from one Great Lake to another in your head...

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.

A familiar site along US-23 during rush hour.
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: https://youtu.be/gs-enALvF6Q Will it work? Or do you think there's a better plan for "the most congested corridor in Michigan outside the Detroit...

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.” The #12 Conant route will also add a new pilot service to Belle Isle state park. The Detroit Department of Transportation has made some gradual but real bus service improvements...

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

The Next Idea We may be living in the 21 st 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." "Ridership is up,”...

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: An investigative reporter fights city hall to acknowledge there are hundreds and hundreds of broken fire hydrants. Many Detroit and Wayne county homeowners are losing their homes to tax foreclosure when they shouldn’t. Unemployment in Detroit is consistently twice the state rate. Employers say too many Detroit residents are unskilled. The working poor are one crisis...

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.

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. Duggan wasn’t there then; he wasn’t quite five years old. But it shows black and white...

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." “It’s a warm,...

Sarah Hulett / Michigan Radio

As state lawmakers look to boost investment in Michigan's roads, transit advocates are calling on Lansing not to forget the state’s public transportation systems. House Speaker Jase Bolger has proposed legislation that would reconfigure gas taxes and add other measures to raise about $450 million a year for road repairs. On Tuesday , Senate Majority leader Randy Richardville said he wants to triple that amount to about $1.5 billion. That's much closer to what most experts think is needed to...

smaedli / Creative Commons

NILES, Mich. (AP) - An Amtrak train carrying more than 200 people has arrived in Chicago after weather-related problems caused it to stop for more than eight hours in southwestern Michigan. Amtrak spokesman Marc Magliari says the train's engine lost power Sunday due to cold weather. But he says heat, lights and restrooms still worked. The train started in Pontiac, north of Detroit, and had trouble between Niles and New Buffalo in the corner of southwestern Michigan. It was later connected to another westbound train and arrived in Chicago around 1:30 a.m. CST Monday. Magliari says passengers may have been frustrated but they were always safe on the stalled train. He says it was better to keep them on the train rather than switch to buses, even if buses were available.

Detroit cancels bus runs Monday, cites `sick out'

Oct 20, 2013
Sarah Hulett

Operators of Detroit's public buses say riders may have to find another way to get around Monday because of what officials say is a threatened "sick-out" protest by unionized drivers.
The union says it isn't behind the job action and can't do anything if drivers call in sick.

A recording on the Detroit Department of Transportation's phone line Sunday evening says that the union has "scheduled a sick out Monday" and "bus service will not be in operation."

Fred...

Detroit Bus Co. Facebook page

In the quest to improve life in Michigan's cities, one of the biggest challenges comes down to transportation. And one of the most problem-plagued, dysfunctional bus systems in the entire state is in the city of Detroit, where using a bus to get from Point A to Point B can become a herculean task. And for kids, it's an even greater challenge getting them to and from summer enrichment and after-school programs and doing it safely. But there's a solution to that challenge which launched this summer and which may have lessons that can apply to cities all over Michigan. It's called the Youth Transit Alliance. It's a pilot program funded by the Skillman Foundation, a public-private partnership between the Detroit Bus Company and area youth groups. Andy Didorosi, the president and founder of the Detroit Bus Company and Nina Ignaczak, the project editor for Model D's transportation series, joined us today to tell us how it works. Listen to the full interview above.

It's called many things -- the ACA, the Affordable Care Act, Obamacare. As implementation of the law continues, so does the confusion. On today's show, we sat down and tried to make sense of it all. What will the law mean for Michigan and for you? And, we spoke with the Detroit Bureau correspondent for the new TV network Al Jazeera America. And, author Jim Tobin and illustrator Dave Coverly joined us to talk about their new children’s book. And, public transportation can be confusing, especially for children. The Youth Transit Alliance in Detroit is looking to improve this. Also, Moo Cluck Moo, a fast food restaurant in Dearborn Heights, has stepped up and raised their starting wage to $12 an hour. The founder spoke with us about why he thinks fast food workers deserve to be paid more than minimum wage. First on the show, President Obama is conditionally endorsing a Russian offer for international inspectors to seize and destroy chemical weapons in Syria. It's an effort to avert U.S. missile strikes. President Obama addressed the nation last night amidst the continued erosion of support in Congress for military strikes. The President's speech drew mixed reactions from Michigan's Congressional delegation. Todd Spangler, D.C. based reporter for the Detroit Free Press, joined us today from Washington.

Jennifer Guerra / Michigan Radio

School is almost out for summer! For some students, that means camp. For others, it means time to get a job. For the three high school sophomores you’re about to meet, it means a break - not just from school, but from riding the bus. Every day, the girls leave their homes in the struggling Detroit neighborhood of Brightmoor and hop on two city buses and one yellow bus to get to New Tech High School in Dearborn Heights. Their names are Shaqueria (Shay) Harris-Bay, Navia Daniel and Tanesha...

M-1 Rail Detroit

You can say one thing about the backers of the M-1 light rail project in Detroit, they're persistent. The on-again, off-again federal funding of the project is now on-again, according to reports from the Detroit Free Press and the Detroit News. The Freep reports U.S. Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood is expected to visit Detroit next week with $25 million for the light rail project along 3.3 miles of Woodward Avenue. The rail line is proposed between downtown Detroit and New Center. More...

Stateside: Regional transit authority faces big roadblocks

Nov 29, 2012
A DDOT bus in Detroit.
Sarah Hulett / Michigan Radio

The Michigan Senate recently passed a bill to create an authority for Detroit and surrounding counties to operate its own transit system. However, the bill faces significant hurdles in the Michigan House of Representatives. Michigan Radio’s Jack Lessenberry and Daniel Howes of the Detroit News addressed the various obstacles the bill must overcome. The bill is decades in the making and has wide support throughout Michigan, but Howes says the reason it has not yet passed is due to a history of control issues.

Lindsey Smith / Michigan Radio

Michigan’s first bus rapid transit system will be built in the Grand Rapids area. Bus rapid transit operates similar to light rail, but because less infrastructure is needed, bus rapid transit is much cheaper. Buses will arrive at stops every ten minutes. They’ll have designated lanes and be able to change traffic lights so they don’t have to slow down. On Thursday federal, state and local officials gathered at The Rapid Central Station to officially sign the agreement. Peter Rogoff is with the Federal Transit Administration. “It’s going to lower commute times by some 40-percent and even for folks that never take the bus, it’s going to take congestion off of US-131 and off of Division; in a way that’s going to be beneficial to everybody,” Rogoff said. The new bus line, the Silver Line, won’t be complete until the summer of 2014, according to The Rapid CEO Peter Varga. It will run almost ten miles between the residential suburbs south of Grand Rapids up to major employers and the ‘medical mile’ in the downtown area. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=VIh_cPP5wvE&feature=player_embedded

A DDOT bus in Detroit.
Sarah Hulett / Michigan Radio

Southeast Michigan county, business, and community leaders seem to agree; the region needs a transit authority to attract businesses and young talent. Testimony at a House transportation committee hearing overwhelmingly supported bills to create an authority. John Hertel is the general manager of the SMART transit system. He said this is the first time in four decades he’s seen this level of agreement between the city of Detroit and its suburbs. "I’ve never seen anything like this. It’s wonderful to see. But while it’s there, we need to strike and move forward. This kind of thing obviously doesn’t come along very often," said Hertel. Hertel said he’s not yet confident the Legislature will pass the plan. Robert Daddow spoke on behalf of Oakland County Executive L. Brooks Patterson. He’s confident the bills will pass. "The governor has pressed this for some period of time, has been actively working in the coordination between the units – Detroit, Wayne, Oakland, Washtenaw - in trying to get an agreement together. And we’re very, very close, if not right there, right now," said Daddow. State officials have tried many times to establish a regional transit authority in southeast Michigan. Some supporters are skeptical it can get out of the legislature. Others worry about possible legal challenges if it does pass.

Josh Leffingwell / Friends of Transit

People in the Grand Rapids suburb of Walker will vote this November on whether to withdraw from the regional bus system. Now transportation supporters are fighting back. Supporters of the bus system in metro Grand Rapid held a kick-off rally in defense of the bus sytem, known as The Rapid. Barbara Holt is a Walker City Commissioner and chairwoman of the regional transit authority. She and other business leaders at the rally said keeping Walker connected is vital to the overall community's economy. “People can stay in Walker, go shopping someplace else, go working someplace else but we all come back. It’s so important that we do not isolate ourselves from the region,” Holt said. “I use it for work, when I was working on my masters degree I used for school, medical appointments. I use it for everything,” Walker resident Tom Gilson said.

Lindsey Smith / Michigan Radio

Voters in a Grand Rapids suburb will decide in November whether the city should withdraw from the regional bus system. This week the City of Walker certified petition signatures collected by the Kent County Taxpayers Alliance. Ben Reisterer lives in Walker and is with the alliance. "We’re not against busing at all. We think it’s a good thing for the community. But we don’t necessarily agree with the way they are going about providing that service," Reisterer said. He wishes Walker would...

Lindsey Smith / Michigan Radio

Today some people in the Cities of Granville and Walker will begin collecting signatures to get their cities out of the partnership that runs the bus system in metro Grand Rapids. Its called The Rapid. The Kent County Taxpayers Alliance says its not against bus transportation in general, but feels the system is wasting tax dollars. The grassroots organization with volunteer staff tries to keeps tabs on taxpayer dollars in local government. Ben Reisterer is a member, and lives in the Grand...

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