Don't get us wrong, a rapid transit bus is a great idea for the metro Detroit region. The question is, should it come at the expense of scrapping plans for light rail - an amenity many ubanists point to as vital to creating a vibrant urban community and spur economic development? A recent OSU grad adds his voice to those arguing in support of rail.
"The original light rail proposal – which was only intended as a system that would be useful for getting around the urban core of Detroit – should be revived and make use of the generous philanthropic support that is still on the table ($100 million). Detroit desperately needs to create a neighborhood that will be attractive to new residents and the class of creative entrepreneurs that are driving the global economy. Otherwise, we’re really only helping people to abandon and overlook the city. To accomplish this goal, Detroit will need to overcome its overall financial crisis; no easy feat. However, I truly doubt the BRT system, which is envisioned as a cheap alternative to light rail, will do much of anything to attract new investment or residents to the city. After all, SMART buses are already pretty dependable and quite rapid, as they make only minimal stops within the city. It also doesn’t sound like the stakeholders are envisioning something like Cleveland’s BRT, which at around $200 million included attractive stations, a priority signaling system, sleek vehicles and overall street beautifications. That price tag was for only seven miles."
Read the rest here