Originally Posted by LMich
I'd posted this in the transit subforum, but back i 2006 when talk of the light rail began, there was a concept put forth that have expanded the PM along the same route for three miles for $150 to $200 million:
So, they were thinking they could do a line of the grade seperated PM for even less than $75 million a mile. At the time, the PM expansion seemed like a pipe dream, but after seeing how much the at-grade LRT plan ended up costing, the PM expansion was actually competitive.
It's nothing compared to the I-94 expansion that IMO will do more harm than good for Detroiters. It does nothing for improved mobility for city residents and only benefits truck traffic and travelers on through the city. There's good correlations in transportation studies between growing centralized office districts and rail corridors, but not so much for highways...only because the areas they have created growth are incredibly decentralized.
Mdot has proclaimed I-94 will bring economic growth and community connectivity, but there's nothing to support those claims. They are widening the valley and throwing down more concrete. Furthermore, if local traffic was encouraged to take the freeway, that just means less traffic for businesses on the city's more established corridors. They're speaking fluff to make an unattractive plan sound marketable to the community and limit opposition by supplying pretty landscaping and stamped concrete reliefs on bridges as if they are selling them a park.
What the PM can do that I-94 cannot is create permanent non-construction jobs. A people mover would increase pedestrian traffic in areas where there are already businesses and create new opportunities for residential and commercial growth.
I can't say for certain how popular a suburb to downtown line would be, but I could see the line going up to New Center doing quite well. The Woodward area has the highest concentration of combined commercial, residential, and institutional activity in the city.