Weekly Trackback: Will investors hold back Detroit light rail?

Admittedly, we probably wouldn’t even be talking about Woodward light rail if private investors weren’t putting up money for the downtown portion of the line. But does their $100 million stake give them the right to dictate the shape of a project that could receive four times as much public money? M1 Rail CEO Matt Cullen thinks so. “We’ll wait to see if there’s a project that makes sense and is viable. Then we’ll be prepared to invest,” Cullen tells Crain’s coyly in an implicit threat to the City of Detroit. The City feels, with TransportMichigan.org, that a center-running rapid transit line would make a whole lot more sense than the slow-moving trolley M1 wants on Woodward. The spectacle of wealthy business leaders picking on a desperate city, at the expense of rapid transit and public safety, is not one we much savor. It also raises questions about the meaning of the federally mandated alternatives analysis process in such public-private partnerships.

Cuts to the Detroit Department of Transportation bus system, already slashed to the bone, are reaching the marrow. After waiting two hours, one rider asks if it’ll take a Montgomery-style bus boycott to save the system. One could question whether or not the cuts are “a tactic to push black Detroiters out,” as she charges, but it is sobering to compare the media’s general silence on the bus cuts with the buzz over Woodward light rail. See the full list of cuts here.

Carfree tenants will receive a hefty discount at some refurbished townhomes in Detroit’s wild and wonderful Briggs/North Corktown neighborhood. Jon Koller has even put together a handy map of Spaulding Court’s bikeshed.

A new map of pedestrian deaths by Transportation for America gives tragic shape to the mean streets of Michigan and metro Detroit, among other places. As the Free Presssuggests (here and here), walking should not be an inherently dangerous activity.