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Detroit light-rail plan is dead

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In a Google search on LTR profitability, I read that the only two rail transit systems known to realize a profit were Tokyo and Osaka.

With all due respect, as it pertains to highway profitability, there are only zero highway systems in the world that make a profit.

It's just that since the cost of highway maintenance is embedded as an excise tax on gasoline, people don't care.

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I suppose the CTA must have a police force but I've never heard anything about it. NYC has more transit cops than Detroit has cops.

Chicago PD has some on-duty transit cops. You seem them occasionally. I've been on a train where an incident took place (a vagrant started harassing an older, upper-income couple), and it didn't take long for the conductor and a transit cop to be there.

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I'm convinced that if Detroit weren't the most substandard major city in the United States, functional mass transit would exist and Detroit would be known for its hybrid of transit options to get you from point A to point B.

The area already has an extensive freeway network connecting the hub city (Detroit) to its surrounding metropolitan area. It's quite a beautiful thing, really, when traffic is moving smoothly. And, generally speaking, congestion here is a lot better than in other metropolitan areas.

Instead, we live with the city of Detroit and its several inadequacies.

The city is run by people who are either unwilling or unable to confront the financial and social issues that are driving the city into oblivion. People are still leaving in droves. Furthermore, the city as a whole continues to become less and less dense as the population continues to flee in droves.

If you could get people back into the city, resulting in an increase in density, you might have a need for light rail and good, sound mass transit. If you could get the kids to learn in the schools, educated people to live in the city, and businesses that want to operate within the city limits, transit beyond the auto would likely follow.

Instead, the only reasons most people have to go to Detroit are to go downtown/New Center/WSU. Most of the other neighborhoods in the city are in bloody shambles. People are still leaving the city in droves, newer abandoned neighborhoods are surfacing constantly, and the crime and social ills of the city are so bad that the inner-ring suburbs are stretched to the brink to prevent the plague from spilling over into their communities.

Get the density and the tax-base rolling. Then the transit will follow.

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I'm convinced that if Detroit weren't the most substandard major city in the United States, functional mass transit would exist and Detroit would be known for its hybrid of transit options to get you from point A to point B.

The area already has an extensive freeway network connecting the hub city (Detroit) to its surrounding metropolitan area. It's quite a beautiful thing, really, when traffic is moving smoothly. And, generally speaking, congestion here is a lot better than in other metropolitan areas.

Instead, we live with the city of Detroit and its several inadequacies.

The city is run by people who are either unwilling or unable to confront the financial and social issues that are driving the city into oblivion. People are still leaving in droves. Furthermore, the city as a whole continues to become less and less dense as the population continues to flee in droves.

If you could get people back into the city, resulting in an increase in density, you might have a need for light rail and good, sound mass transit. If you could get the kids to learn in the schools, educated people to live in the city, and businesses that want to operate within the city limits, transit beyond the auto would likely follow.

Instead, the only reasons most people have to go to Detroit are to go downtown/New Center/WSU. Most of the other neighborhoods in the city are in bloody shambles. People are still leaving the city in droves, newer abandoned neighborhoods are surfacing constantly, and the crime and social ills of the city are so bad that the inner-ring suburbs are stretched to the brink to prevent the plague from spilling over into their communities.

Get the density and the tax-base rolling. Then the transit will follow.

I'm not disagreeing with anything you say....but....

Getting the population back into Detroit isn't as simple as getting jobs there any longer. Other "newer" areas have that luxury, Detroit doesn't. I drive down to Columbus for work from time to time and always note to myself how when I see the "Detroit City Limits" on I-75, I can immediately look around and see run down houses. When I drive into Columbus on business 23, when you see the "Columbus City Limits" sign I feel like i'm up in Rochester Hills or Novi.

There are some companies that have decided they are going to push jobs down to Detroit. Rock Financial, BCBS, and Compuserve to name a few. I do believe there needs to be incentive for folks thinking about relocating for the perks of their job to know that it might be easy for folks to easily come visit them and vice versa.

Like it was mentioned above, the main reason for mass transit is to transport folks for jobs, but there will have to be some subsidy with mass transit early on to get to that point. That's why I think this is by far the best option due to how cost efficient it is.

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In a Google search on LTR profitability, I read that the only two rail transit systems known to realize a profit were Tokyo and Osaka. Since no links or evidence were supporting the article, I didn't link it.

I don't doubt the Tokaido line between Tokyo and Osaka is profitable. IIRC, something like 100 million passengers ride that stretch per annum, and the population of Japan is roughly 130 million. There is enough demand there that bullet trains leave Tokyo and Osaka stations headed for the other every 5 to 10 minutes from 6 AM to 10 PM daily -> about 100 trains going each way each day -> roughly 70,000 total routes per year, and the trains are pretty full.

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The only thought I would like to add to the discussion about what the evolving urban model will be over the next 30 years is that I cannot envision Detroit being at the leading edge of that evolution. Detroit currently neither has the money to pull it off nor the appeal to attract a dynamic leader who is going to fight the necessary political fights to see it happen, and I have my doubts either will change enough in that time frame. So I don't think the idea that Detroit might or should adopt light rail in the near future because it will usher new said urban renewal is practical on its face.

This isn't to say I don't think Detroit will evolve, I suspect it will, but only after other muncipalities show the way.

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