henry ford museum 004On Saturday my son and I took the Woodward bus downtown. We were heading to the Federal Building on Fort St. Of course, some traffic was re-directed due to the crowd, demonstrating for Trayvon Martin, but I wondered, not for the first time, why Detroit bus riders cannot get to Jefferson (the Riverfront) on week-ends.

Our taxes provide a police presence, pay for clean-up after events, and for maintenance of Hart Plaza and the River Walk. These are heavily advertised and promoted, but for who?

Downtown parking is prohibitive for the working poor, and what once entailed a bus ride down Woodward to Jefferson, now requires a transfer or lengthy walk.

When and why did the Woodward bus stop running all the way down Woodward?

To get to the Library, to CVS or any number of businesses on  Woodward, you have a walk of several blocks. Not so much trouble to get to Campus Martius, which seems to be the new transportation destination of Downtown Detroit-Not only do buses that circumvent many businesses on Woodward transport folks to Campus Martius, but the turn-around for the proposed Street Car project is also Campus Martius. And guess what? While folks will be able to access the Street Car where it turns at Campus Martius, those disadvantaged, transit dependent citizens north of Grand Boulevard will not have access when the Street Car turns in the North End to make its way back Downtown. It just stops in the North End to sweep out the trash. Is this some kind of metaphor for why no one can be picked up north of the Boulevard? And is there a lost pot of gold at Michigan and Woodward?

Probably. The gold coming out of the pockets of Detroiters and into the pockets of developers. This project does not enhance the existing public transit down Woodward, or take the average Detroiter to work-How many people work at Campus Martius?

Not only are transit dependent Detroiters slighted as far as enjoying the riverfront, the projected 3 mile long Street Car Project promises to further inconvenience the transit dependent by disrupting both car and bus traffic in during its first phase, as streets are closed off and buses rerouted. So everyone who has to pass down Woodward or through Downtown, can expect even more time added to a commute which for bus riders may already be up to 2 hours for a Woodward bus. Bus Riders, it’s time to get out your sturdy shoes-you will probably get to work faster walking.

In its second phase, extending the line to the Woodward Amtrak station, not only will traffic be disrupted and re-routed, but existing businesses north of Downtown, dependent on curb-side drop-offs and on-street parking will lose both to a Street Car running in curb-side lanes. For what benefit?