Uber has taken metro Detroit by storm since its introduction to the local market two years ago. In that time, the mobile app ride share service has become a staple of bar-goers and tourists from downtown Detroit to Royal Oak to Ann Arbor -- but not without controversy.
Unlike taxicabs and their drivers, Uber cars and drivers are not subject to rigorous regulations. For example, taxis are required to pass safety inspections and be driven by people with chauffeur's licenses, while Uber cars are not.
A pair of Republican State Senators are hoping to change this with the introduction of two bills. According to MLive, "Senate Bill 0184
, introduced by Sen. Jones, R-Grand Ledge, would hold cars in a transportation network company to the same safety inspection and insurance standards as limousines. It would also and allow local municipalities to regulate transportation network companies.
Senate Bill 0188
, introduced by Sen. Dale Zorn, R-Ida, would define what insurance a transportation network company's vehicles had to carry and also require drivers to carry a chauffeur's license. It also requires the company to do background checks on drivers."
Read more on MLive
Metro Detroit's most popular tourist destination, The Henry Ford, has acquired a new permanent exhibit. Designed and realized by Charles and Ray Eames in 1961, "Mathematica" conveys the world of numbers and mathematics through interactivity. The exhibit will go on display next year.
"'Mathematica' not only changed the way exhibitions were designed, but it was created to address a specific problem within the museum and education community that is still relevant today, which is a better way to convey mathematical principles and ideas to visitors,” says Patricia Mooradian, president of The Henry Ford, in a press release. “Learning by doing has always been an important concept for our organization and with this acquisition we can now fully provide our visitors with unique, educational and entertaining elements that incorporate the STEM (science, technology, engineering and mathematics) platform."
The exhibit coming to The Henry Ford is one of three versions of "Mathematica" created by the Eameses. One is installed in the New York Hall of Science and another is owned by the Museum of Science in Boston. The version acquired by The Henry Ford was originally installed at the 1964 New York World’s Fair and incorporates interactive elements unique to it.
According to a release, The Henry Ford is currently working on the design and location for a permanent display of "Mathematica."
Charles and Ray Eames are recognized as two of the greatest designers of the 20th century. They are perhaps best known for their iconic chair designs. The pair's connection to Michigan is deep, having both studied and taught at the Cranbrook Academy of Art in Bloomfield Hills and worked as designers for Zeeland's Herman Miller brand.
On Dec. 22, teenager Paige Stalker was shot in the head in Detroit near the city's border with its affluent suburb Grosse Pointe. The case remains unsolved.
According to the Detroit Free Press, "The Stalker family has joined others dealing with similar tragedies, going door-to-door in neighborhoods where people have been raped, murdered or disappeared. They aim to encourage dialogue among neighbors, advocate against violence and help bring about answers for unsolved cases."
The family is currently planning a "Community Unity Walk" that will take place on May 2. Participants will walk a 1.5-mile stretch of the Detroit-Grosse Pointe Border along Mack Avenue between Cadieux and Alter roads. According to the Free Press, organizers hope to assemble 400 to 500 local families who have lost loved ones to violence.
The Free Press reports that "the route was selected after the Stalker family developed a bond with the Detroit family of Chris Samuel, whose daughter, Christina Samuel, 22, was shot to death on Christmas Eve. It was three days after Paige Stalker's death, also at night in a car, about 5 miles away, and also in Detroit. Her case, too, remains unsolved."
For more information about the May 2 Anti-violence demonstration, visit the Detroit Free Press
In metro Detroit, we often hear about communities refusing to collaborate on regional issues, particularly when it comes to opting in to the SMART bus public transportation system. Motor City Freedom Riders, an organization "uniting bus riders and their allies in standing up for the right to move," however, points to an example of a small community in Oakland County that had a change of heart after long refusing to participate in SMART.
In August of 2014, Lathrup Village, a small enclave city surrounded entirely by Southfield, voted to join the SMART bus system after 19 years of opting out.
Motor City Freedom Riders' Joel Batterman writes, "When the SMART bus system had its first millage back in 1995, the small Oakland County city of Lathrup Village chose not to take part…[but] in 2014, Lathrup Village officials started talking to SMART about joining the system by joining the Oakland County Public Transportation Authority, the pass-through entity that collects the property tax millage for SMART’s Oakland County cities. Lathrup Village City Council unanimously voted to join the Authority, and in August 2014, fully 73 percent of Lathrup Village voters said 'yes' to the SMART millage – one of the highest levels of support in Oakland County."
Batterman challenges the notion that all communities that opt-out of SMART are "bastions of prejudice," instead positing that many simply suffer from "political inertia."
Read more on Motor City Freedom Riders' blog
Did you know that most of the founding members of seminal Detroit rock group the MC5 met 50 years ago while students at Lincoln Park High School? Now you do.
To help commemorate the 50th
anniversary of the band's formation, the Lincoln Park Historical Museum will host an exhibit honoring its native sons this summer. The News Herald is reporting that the exhibit will be kicked off with a reception on July 11 and a tribute concert at the Lincoln Park Memorial Band Shell on July 12. Both events will be open to the public.
According to the News Herald, "Museum curator Jeff Day is looking for MC5 memorabilia and material for the exhibit…and is specifically looking for items that show the group’s ties to Lincoln Park, such as high school photos."
“It’s important for us to approach it from an angle of their early history,” Day said. “I’ve talked to some local fellas here who went to high school with them and played ball with them. I’d like to show who these guys were and where they came from.”
Read more in the News Herald
, "The Voice of Downriver."
Today Metromode publishes its 376th issue. I have served as the publication's managing editor for 369 of those issues, since taking the helm in February of 2007. This issue will be my last.
I'm not a sentimental person by nature. At first, I wasn't sure I wanted to write a Dear John letter. Choked-up sign-offs always struck me as, well, somewhat self-indulgent. As Metromode's editor I have been, by choice and design, someone who worked behind the scenes, shaping the publication's narrative, generating its story ideas, guiding its writers, but mostly letting others take the focus.
My wife convinced me to reconsider.
So, this is my attempt (last minute as it may be) to explain what I've learned during my tenure at Metromode, what I tried to accomplish and who I have to thank for any success we might have achieved.
First and foremost, running Metromode has been an experience that has profoundly shaped the way I regard metropolitan Detroit, and one I am immensely thankful for. The last eight years have been a crash-course education in understanding what makes this region tick - no small thing for a non-native like myself, a guy who grew up in New York but spent his professional years living in the Pacific Northwest.
To say that Metro Detroit's personality, pathologies, dysfunctions and triumphs are unique, would be an understatement. This is a place rich in history and possibility, often frustrated by what it knows it can be but has yet to achieve. Watching the region's recent evolution has been both heartening and frustrating - but always exciting.
Change makes for a good story, but also a painful process for those involved. As Metro Detroit has wrestled with issues of identity and place, I saw Metromode as a tool for conversation, a forum for ideas, innovations and examples that might otherwise get drown out by traditional narratives. We've learned as we've gone along, and done our best to respond to what is moving the region forward... and what might be holding it back.
It's been an exciting to follow the new, innovative industries that now pepper our region's 1300 square miles, as we take the first steps toward a more diverse and nuanced economy. It's been encouraging to see open and heated discussions about transportation and community planning take centerstage in the media. I hope that my time at Metromode was, at least, partially responsible for igniting those conversations.
After a decade-plus of living in Michigan, I can no longer claim to be an outsider. But I hope my non-native status has prompted me to ask questions and tackle local issues with a somewhat different point of view. I have lived in diverse cities with reliable, efficient mass transit and dense urban cores. I know what it is like to own a home on a block with a seven story apartment building at the end of my street. I have rented apartments that were located within walking distance of a grocery store, a hardware store, nightlife and, even, my job. I have lived in communities that have been recycling for several decades rather than years.
Charting and challenging Metro Detroit's on-the-ground and behind-closed-doors attempts (some more serious than others) to address these and many other issues has not only helped me better understand the place I now call home, but informed my own entire world view. Not everyone gets the benefit of learning about their community through their job, especially with the breadth, depth and sophistication I have. For this I am blessed.
I have also been blessed with colleagues who have educated, partnered, supported and, thankfully, questioned my ideas and choices over the years. Jon Zemke, Kim North Shine, Dave Lewinski, Tanya Muzumdar, Dennis Archambault, Natalie Burg, Nicole Rupersburg, Amy Kuras, Nina Ignaczak and Patrick Dunn are only my more recent partners. They, and everyone who came before them, have been the heart and soul of the publication, working for far to little to produce far more than I asked. Luckily, their work here will continue even if mine does not.
Leaving Metromode does not mean leaving Metro Detroit, however. I will remain the managing editor of Concentrate in Washtenaw County (at least for the foreseeable future) and you can continue (or start) to read my film reviews in the Metro Times.
There is also, of course, the many friends, colleagues, contacts and connections I have made over the years. This community is rich with thoughtful, passionate and innovative people. I am honored to know them and look forward to finding other ways to know them better.
I have a good friend who ends our phone calls with, "bye, for now." I've always loved the sentiment behind that sign off. It's the promise that we'll talk again. So, to the readers of Metromode, past and present, thank you for indulging in my editorial vision for the last eight years. I look forward to more conversations, more debates, and more instances of inspiration.
Bye for now,
It sounds great on the surface. But then you read all the caveats -studies, "many years off," exploratory, "no funds for this" - and realize that, like most interesting transportation ideas, Michigan will probably let it die on the vine. Let's hope our cynicism is wrongly placed.
"He said they're looking at a Traverse City to Ann Arbor line in particular because the tracks are still owned by the state and, for the most part, are in pretty good shape.
A map of the A2TC route shows the train would stop in Cadillac, Mount Pleasant, Alma, Owosso and Howell on its way from Traverse City to Ann Arbor, with the option of continuing to Detroit from Ann Arbor.
MDOT is conducting the study next year because there was an overwhelming amount of interest in the idea when MDOT created the State Rail Plan back in 2011, Bruckbauer said. The top priority that came out of the public input sessions for that plan was a passenger connection to Traverse City, he said."
Read the rest here
About a year and a half ago Metromode
wrote about Kidpreneur
, a company dedicated to teaching tweens and teens about technology and entrepreneurship. Other publications soon caught on as well, writing up their own coverage. One, Xconomy
, checks back in with the brainchild of serial entrepreneur Thanh Tran to see how things are going.
"Kidpreneur recently began offering online classes over Skype, Sunday classes, and all-girl classes. In December, it participated in Hour of Code
, a global initiative to teach kids coding basics; 400 kids from 10 schools in metro Detroit joined in the fun. Seidman says Kidpreneur is also working to find sponsors for interested students who can’t afford to attend classes, and the company is reaching out to schools and libraries to gauge interest in after-school programs taught by Kidpreneur in person or over Skype."
Read the rest here