Some time ago, I started a series called “M-1 Will Happen, Here’s Why – Part 1” – I continue it here with Part 2:

circulator quote

  • Don’t compare this to the People Mover: The people mover is a failure because it is a small circle, going around a fairly walkable radius, that is arguably all one single destination/node (downtown). Fixed troute transit is a linear concept that creates and connects individual walkable live/work/play nodes at stations that are too far to walk to and from. The means of movement from fixed route transit stations is walking or biking in a half mile radius. Fixed route transit like LRT/Streetcar is not meant to connect through or within a place, it is meant to connect to and from places. There is little need to put another type of transit to encircle that walking node. Because its radius is so small, and walking in a straight line across downtown is often shorter and faster, each People Mover station is competing against all the others because they are within each other’s walking distance radius.  The People Mover’s success will come from one or both of the following two things:


    1) Development immediately adjacent to each People Mover station needs to grow up to become very distinctive/independent nodes in and of themselves with extremely high densities of 24/7 living working and playing at each.

    2) Finding something that will feed people into the system from another node/destination outside of downtown so that it becomes a mechanism to distribute people across downtown once they arrive (think M-1). It is important to note however, that unless the Grand Circus M-1 and People Mover stations are extremley well physically integrated, transfering riders between the two will be lost. A key method the People Mover could utilize to retain transferring riders from the Streetcar will be to initiate a universal Southeastern Michigan fare payment card. One excellent example of this is the London Oyster Card – which is used for all forms of transportation from the Tube to local buses to the National Railway.

  • The TOD plan is already finished: The Transit Oriented Development Plan (TOD) is done already. (I have a paper copy, but can’t find a link online to the Greater Downtown Transit Oriented Development Study). The M-1 project is ahead of the game by already having done the detailed planning work necessary to help direct the development investments that are necessary to the success of the project which I just discussed in the previous  blog posts. The major roadblock is actually getting the City to adopt major zoning changes to allow the development in the TOD plan to happen rapidly. Another major roadblock is finding gap financing to cover the gap between the relativley low rental/lease income in Detroit and the cost of construction.


up next:  Part 3 of  ”M-1 will happen, Here’s Why”