Detroit is undergoing a spate of “development” with the new Whole Foods store and a Meijer Thrifty Acres both opening this summer on the Woodward corridor. Both are heralded as job-producing, and community enhancing, but for who?
Smack-dab in the middle of these developments are the North End and Highland Park, neither of which stands to gain much from this construction. Nor from the proposed Street Car to nowhere in particular. Why? Because we cant get to them.
I started looking for the Woodward bus at Milwaukee on Monday at 2 PM with 8 other people who had already been waiting 5 minutes. Then I began walking North.
I strolled past Detroit Hardware and Roby Shoes, small but long established business, historic churches, and the Value World Store,and finally,at 2:25 pm, past Family Dollar and Metro PCS at Hague, without a single Woodward bus overtaking me.
I also passed young people on their way from school, middle-aged people on their way to and from work, and old people on their way to what people with lots of leisure and little money do. All waiting for the bus.
What good are new stores to people who cant get to them? Cant work there. Cant shop there
Access from neighborhoods along the Woodward corridor to these developments and to their attendant benefits, depends on access to Woodward Avenue. Access to Woodward is being increasingly denied to residents and businesses along that corridor. Our access by car, by bus, by bicycle and even by handicapped transport will be critically reduced by the Street Car, which is envisioned as occupying the two current curb lanes on Woodward.
This will eliminate curb-side parking for many existing businesses to provide a cute, albeit slow, mode of transportation to sports, entertainment, and higher end jobs, for developers swooping in to devour what they perceive as Detroit’s carcass.
Wait a minute! We are still alive. Lets make some noise and let the vultures know it