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  #461  
Old Posted Aug 13, 2014, 10:47 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Innsertnamehere View Post
The Windsor - Essex Parkway is an extremely expensive piece of infrastructure, given a 6 lane freeway typically costs around $30 - $40 million per km, this one clocks in at a whopping $168 million per km.

those pretty tunnels don't come cheap. (though there were also large expropriation costs involved)
True, but there's a responsible and an irresponsible way to design a highway inside of a city. Is it really a victory if the highway rips out the guts of a neighborhood and just leaves an ugly gash for eternity? That's the kind of highway planning that destroyed American cities in the 1960s, and if we have to spend four times as much to avoid those consequences, it is worth every penny.

Side note: the Windsor-Essex Parkway seems very similar in design to Robert Moses' parkways in New York, before the Interstate Highway Act forced him to adopt the same soulless design as other cities for New York's "expressways".
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  #462  
Old Posted Aug 14, 2014, 7:59 AM
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Originally Posted by animatedmartian View Post
First load of rails arrived today. I'm really surprised at the pace of things.

https://twitter.com/StacyWitbeck/sta...944897/photo/1
It's such a Detroit thing that the picture they post of the rail delivery prominently features a bombed-out building. lol
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  #463  
Old Posted Aug 14, 2014, 4:16 PM
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Why are they using T rail here and not tram rail?
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  #464  
Old Posted Aug 14, 2014, 10:57 PM
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While the new rails have arrived earlier today, the old rails left in Woodward have been uncovered and dug out at the same time.


https://twitter.com/M1RAIL
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  #465  
Old Posted Aug 15, 2014, 12:48 PM
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I know I'd brought this up in passing a few weeks ago, but with transit improvements nailed down for Woodward Avenue (Woodward Avenue BRT), the next corridors up for study by the RTA are Michigan Avenue and Gratiot Avenue.

Anyway, the RTA put out an RFP for the two corridors on August 1st. Nothing much notable about the RFP's save for the fact that they make very clear that no modes of transit are excluded from the study, and that the costs (construction and operational) aren't the main point factor in how they'll evaluate modes and services.

The Michigan Avenue corridor will study the length of the street from downtown Detroit all the way to the Blake Transit Center in Ann Arbor (with a spur to Metro). The Gratiot Avenue corridor studies the length of the road from downtown Detroit to Mt. Clemens. And, here's the timeline for the RFP;

8/1/14: RFP issued.

9/15/14: Proposals due back to the RTA.

10/15/14: RTA approves/votes down proposal.

The process is actually moving a bit faster than I thought, particularly since the RTA won't even be able to go to voters for significant money for any project until 2016. My only major question concerns the Michigan Avenue study, and that's if this is confined totally to the street right-of-way, or if the planned commuter rail could be included in the study, since the service basically parallels whatever they'll find along Michigan Avenue proper? My gut feeling is that if the study doesn't include the railway, then this could very well doom the commuter rail, as I doubt there would be enough demand for both a commuter rail service, and a BRT/LRT service paralelling that along Michigan Avenue.
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  #466  
Old Posted Aug 15, 2014, 3:46 PM
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I'm not very hopeful for any LRT on any of the routes considering how M1 turned out. But I'm glad that they're at least looking ahead. It's always possible that support for light rail will pick up steam as M1 is put into operation and more communities see the benefits of it.
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  #467  
Old Posted Aug 16, 2014, 12:38 AM
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Oh, if they couldn't get legit light rail on Woodward, there is no way studies for the other corridors will find a mode higher than BRT. Still, any transit upgrades along these corridors are needed. Heck, even more frequent bus service (and better coordination of the routes between SMART and DDOT) and reinstatement of freeway express buses would be an improvement. I'm not stuck up on light trail, though it would have been nice along Woodward. It's also be nice to have heavier modes as a way to recenter development in the metro area as growth continues to come back to the region. I realize that that will not be nearly a persuasive enough region for an RTA which I suspect will be cash-strapped for some time to ever allow for anything more than BRT.
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  #468  
Old Posted Aug 16, 2014, 1:27 AM
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Good news:

Quote:

Bill Laitner | Detroit Free Press

Troy Transit Center opening back on track after judge's ruling

By Marlon A. Walker | Detroit Free Press

August 15, 2014

Officials in Troy were optimistic today that the city’s controversial Multi-Modal Transit Center would finally be able to open now that a judge has granted the city the title for the land.

Oakland County Circuit Court Judge Leo Bowman’s order transferring the title is contingent upon the city paying the owner of the land — developer Gary Sakwa and his Farmington Hills company Grand/Sakwa Properties — $1.05 million for the 2.7-acre parcel.

Though the land owners are expected to challenge the purchase price, that shouldn’t stop the center from opening soon.

“The transit center can open even though the purchase has not been complete,” said Lori Bluhm, Troy city attorney. “The critical step is to have the title, which we now have. We’re optimistic we’re going to be able to get the transit center open as soon as possible.”

...

Now, the city can proceed with the next step, Bluhm said, and finalize a lease agreement with Amtrak officials. The transit center is expected to serve as a regional base of rail-transit customers arriving by car, SMART bus, taxi and bicycle. It was endorsed by Gov. Rick Snyder and Oakland County Executive L. Brooks Patterson.

“Obviously we’re feeling pretty good,” Troy Mayor Dane Slater said. “I think we’re looking at it from a positive standpoint and a necessary step we need to take to get it open.”

...
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  #469  
Old Posted Aug 22, 2014, 8:29 AM
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The media reported, recently, that M-1 Rail is way ahead of their schedule for the Woodward Streetcar. Here's a photo from the 20th looking from SEMCOG's office in 1001 Woodward:


Timothy R. Fischer

In other transit news, Michael Ford has formally been hired to become head of the Regional Transit Authority. His contract with the Ann Arbor Transportation Authority will laspe in 60 days. They tried hard to keep him, but the RTA up the ante as far as his salary will be concerned.

Also, the Detroit Transportation Corporation announced back on the 14th that they are bidding out work to completely reconstruct the People Mover's Grand Circus Park station. It will now be completely ADA compliant and will include both an interior and exterior reconstruction.
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  #470  
Old Posted Sep 6, 2014, 12:45 AM
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Week 6 of m1 Rail construction.

Conduit pipes being laid.





Measuring for rebar intervals.



https://www.facebook.com/M1RAIL
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  #471  
Old Posted Sep 21, 2014, 11:36 PM
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I-96 is finished a few weeks ahead of schedule and to celebrate its reopening (which occurs tomorrow morning) pedestrians were allowed on a one-mile stretch of the newly built freeway.






https://www.facebook.com/TheDailyDet...01439066706736
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  #472  
Old Posted Sep 22, 2014, 10:33 PM
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DDOT on a hiring more drivers and getting 50 new buses.

http://www.detroitnews.com/story/new...vers/16032091/

Quote:
New bus drivers are being heavily recruited by the Detroit Department of Transportation for the first time in years in the hopes of hiring close to 50 men and women by year’s end.

DDOT has already trained two classes of new drivers, and a third class just started. And the new ones say they are undeterred by a high-stress job that often involves dealing with an unruly and impatient public.

http://www.detroitnews.com/story/new...rant/16066241/

Quote:
The U.S. Transportation Department is awarding the city of Detroit $25.9 million to buy 50 new buses — a move that will boost the city's struggling transit system.

The Ladders of Opportunity Initiative grant comes through the Department of Transportation's Federal Transit Administration.

....

In December, the Federal Transit Administration approved $41.6 million for the Detroit Department of Transportation that would allow the city to overhaul 60 buses, improve facilities and acquire security equipment.

FTA is also investing in several capital projects to improve Detroit's bus and passenger facilities. Some of the money is targeted for the Central, Gilbert and Shoemaker bus facilities and repairs, as well as a $6 million upgrade for the Rosa Parks Transit Center.

The struggling system has seen expenses rise and passenger trips fall, while several high-profile incidents on buses have raised concerns about the safety of drivers and passengers.

In an April 2013 report, the Detroit bus agency said ridership has declined 13 percent since 2008 to 32.8 million total passenger trips in the 2012 budget year — down from 37.8 million in 2008.

Fares collected now cover 11.9 percent of the costs of running the buses in 2012, DDOT said, down from 14 percent in 2011.
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  #473  
Old Posted Sep 23, 2014, 6:09 AM
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So, that's 110 new or refubished buses coming to DDOT, then, in the coming months. Good. But, it's still an embarrassment in a city proper so in need of something simple like a workable bus system - an audience almost literally captive - that you've only got about 33 million passenger trips. And, that's not even getting into SMART cutting off its nose to spite its face by cutting routes/service to Detroit where the vast majority of rides originate. This means that you essentially have millions of passenger trips which consists of thousands-upon-thousands of Detroiters bumming rides or taking overpriced taxis to work.

Finally, things will improve with SMARTs new millage, DDOT getting some additional attention because of the bankruptcy, and the existence of the RTA, now, but Detroit has lost years of mass transit planning and building to incompetence and and intransigence.
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  #474  
Old Posted Oct 2, 2014, 8:31 PM
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First stretch of rail laid down a couple of days ago.


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  #475  
Old Posted Oct 6, 2014, 11:18 PM
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One step closer to rails on Woodward.


https://www.facebook.com/motorcitymu...4896632935848/
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  #476  
Old Posted Oct 8, 2014, 7:02 PM
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Concrete pouring. It's no longer a ditch!




https://www.facebook.com/media/set/?...8871029&type=3
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  #477  
Old Posted Oct 30, 2014, 9:56 AM
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Things are moving forward even though DC foot dragging continues.

Quote:
Crews begin clearing land in southwest Detroit for new bridge to Canada
By Khalil AlHajal. October 29, 2014.



Crews began clearing land to make way for a new bridge to Canada on Wednesday, according to the governor's office.

Officials hope to see the New International Trade Crossing from Detroit to Windsor built by 2020, and the demolition of three abandoned structures on South Post Street, South Crawford Street and Reid Street in southwest Detroit are planned this week in a step toward construction that the governor said "underscores the ongoing progress being made on this vital project."

....

A remaining obstacle is federal funding for a $250 million customs plaza on the U.S. side.

Snyder has called the lack of action on the funding from Washington "offensive" to Canada.
Meanwhile on the M1-Rail:

Quote:
3 Detroit firms win contract to build Penske Technical Center for M-1 Rail
By Bill Shea. October 29, 2014.

A consortium of four companies has won the contract to design and build what will be called the Penske Technical Center for the M-1 Rail streetcar system in Detroit.

Three of the companies awarded the work are based in Detroit: Turner Construction Co., 3.L.K Construction and ABE Associates Inc.

A fourth, Denver-based RNL, is a designer of light rail and mass transit maintenance facilities. It will work with ABE Associates to handle the architectural services for the facility, M-1 said.

M-1 has previously estimated the facility — a maintenance, storage and technical center — will cost about $6.9 million. It would be operational by early 2016, according to M-1 data.

The facility will be built near the northern terminus of the line at Woodward and West Grand Boulevard in the New Center neighborhood, M-1 said in a statement today. M-1 documents show a site west of Woodward between Bethune and Custer avenues.

The facility will be named for Roger Penske, founder and chairman of Bloomfield Hills-based Penske Corp. He has been co-chairman of the nonprofit rail project since 2008 and his company is providing $7 million toward the line’s $179.4 million project cost that includes 10 years of operations funding.

...
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  #478  
Old Posted Nov 3, 2014, 8:49 PM
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M-1 Rail has finally announced the company that they have chosen to design and build the streetcars: Czech Republic-based Inekon Trams. Honestly, I had never heard of this company before. They do have streetcars in few American cities though.

Quote:
M-1 Rail picks Czech firm to design, build streetcars
Bill Shea | November 3, 2014

Organizers of Detroit’s M-1 Rail streetcar line said today they will begin talks with the parent company of Czech rail car manufacturer Inekon Trams to design and build six streetcars for use on the Woodward Avenue loop when it begins service in late 2016.

The six streetcars are expected to cost a combined $30 million, M-1 said in a statement.

After a delay of more than a year, M-1 said it will negotiate with Inekon Group, based in the Czech Republic city of Ostrava.

“M-1 Rail will negotiate the final terms and conditions with Inekon Group to build our streetcars,” M-1 COO Paul Childs said in a statement. “Inekon has a strong track record with other streetcar projects in Portland, Seattle and Washington, D.C., and owns a 40 percent share of U.S.-installed projects."

The company’s website is inekon-trams.com.

Inekon builds new streetcars, refurbishes old ones and designs and builds tram lines.

The company also has done tram or track work in Russia, Ukraine and China.

Inekon Group also has chemical and wastewater products units. The parent company’s English-language site is inekon.cz/en.

The company was launched in 1990 after Czechoslovakia became a Western liberal democracy after decades under communist rule.

Because federal money is financing the $137 million M-1 project, Washington mandates that the streetcars meet domestic manufacturing requirements.

“We want to assure that materials, parts, labor, manufacturing processes and final assembly will meet the Buy America requirements,” Childs said.

The streetcars will be assembled in the United States. M-1 said it will announce a final assembly location in the future, and “several locations in Southeast Michigan are under consideration.”

The nonprofit rail project, initially launched in 2007, had no other details to disclose about the streetcar assembly work but emphasized the American-made initiative.

“It’s too early to talk about any sourcing or potential manufacturing locations, but we are committed to the principles of Buy America’s support of U.S.-based suppliers and the families who work for them,” M-1 said.

Here are some of the details the M-1 did provide about the streetcars themselves, each of which will cost $5 million:

• They will have vertical bicycle racks, Wi-Fi and heating and air conditioning.

• They will be compliant with the Americans with Disabilities Act, allowing for station-level access for pedestrians and people who use mobility-assist devices such as wheelchairs.

• Each of the double-ended, double-sided streetcars will be 73 feet long, 8.5 feet wide and 13 feet high with a vehicle weight of about 76,000 pounds, M-1 said. They will each use a driver.

• M-1 said the streetcars also will include regenerative braking that adds to the efficiency of the line, an ability to travel in the same lane at the same speed as bus and vehicle traffic, low floors that eliminate trip hazards on board and doors in three locations on each car.

• The streetcars will be powered by lithium-ion battery packs but also use an aerial electrical power line for about 40 percent of the loop, M-1 said.

“M-1 Rail will minimize its impact on the aesthetics of Detroit’s iconic Woodward Avenue, and we also will not have the labyrinth of wires overhead at the Penske Technical Center,” Childs said.
...
http://www.crainsdetroit.com/article...ild-streetcars
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  #479  
Old Posted Nov 13, 2014, 2:47 PM
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From Gratiot to Adams, M1-Rail is mostly complete and Woodward repaved.

Photos by Steve Neavling from Motorcity Muckracker.



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  #480  
Old Posted Nov 17, 2014, 4:16 AM
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Quote:
Bus rapid transit study draws concerns over downtown stops, off-Woodward loop
By Bill Shea. November 16, 2014.



Red flags are being raised by transit insiders over aspects of a new study that outlines a proposed rapid transit bus service that would stretch the entire 27 miles of Woodward Avenue from downtown Detroit to Pontiac.

Specifically, the concerns are focused on the report's recommendation of just two downtown Detroit stops — the Rosa Parks Transit Center and Grand Circus Park — and the decision to split the line into a loop off of Woodward south of Grand Boulevard using Cass Avenue and John R Street.

"Those stops are not that close to where the major employment centers are," said Scott Anderson, a longtime transit researcher who spent more than 25 years in the University of Detroit Mercy's College of Engineering and Science. "I don't imagine that's going to be a pleasant walking option for a lot of people."

....

The route could add a couple more downtown stops, and be extended to the Renaissance Center, he said.

SEMCOG, which will meet with federal transit officials later this month to discuss the BRT plan, is in the process of transferring the project to the Regional Transit Authority of Southeast Michigan. The RTA will seek a regional tax in November 2016 to operate the line, and if that and federal capital funding are approved, the line could be underway by 2018 or 2019, Palombo said.

....

Anderson's downtown solution is to have the BRT become a regular, non-rapid line downtown, and use the same stops now served by the Suburban Mobility Authority for Regional Transportation bus system.

"Just follow the SMART routes in and out of the downtown. It solves the last mile problem," he said.



....
The article also goes on to say that it hasn't been decided whether BRT will have dedicated lanes with concrete barriers or simple painted lanes. Dedicated lanes could cost $400+ million dollars and would require Woodward to be widened in parts of Oakland County (where it's already 8 lanes wide not including turn lanes but pretty congested).
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