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  1. #51

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    Quote Originally Posted by DetroitPlanner View Post
    Opening up new land for development is not the reason for the project. The reason is to look at ways to open up access for pedestrians while still allowing cars to access the tunnel and downtown offices.
    I don't expect you, DP, to be on board with this, but if you look at studies of boulevarding freeways across the United States, the great boon of all those transformations was that they opened up lots of land for redevelopment, and were very quickly redeveloped, and, in fact, have become some of the most desirable land.

    When I look at these plans, I see a definite effort to stack the deck against opening up land for development. I guess they figure they can offer all these plans for parks (renderings of motorways with lots and lots of parks is an old highway planner trick dating back to the 1940s; when you see parks, think parking lots instead). Like a parent trying to trick a child, they offer five options they want and one they don't, hoping the public will go for all those trees and parks and "vegetative slopes" (which may or may not appear).

    What's missing from this analysis -- and embedded in your reaction, DP -- is this central point: Transportation plans ARE development plans. The amount of land used, the mode chosen, the amount of land made available for development, the throughput, the amount of pollution, the ease in crossing -- all of these play a central role in what will be built there. To pretend otherwise while simply computing cars per minute and dressing it up with trees and grasses and bike lanes nobody's asking for -- well, that's how we got where we are, yes?

  2. #52

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    Quote Originally Posted by Detroitnerd View Post
    What's missing from this analysis -- and embedded in your reaction, DP -- is this central point: Transportation plans ARE development plans. The amount of land used, the mode chosen, the amount of land made available for development, the throughput, the amount of pollution, the ease in crossing -- all of these play a central role in what will be built there. To pretend otherwise while simply computing cars per minute and dressing it up with trees and grasses and bike lanes nobody's asking for -- well, that's how we got where we are, yes?
    Don't forget to make renderings of lots and lots of people and dogs. Maybe a kid carrying an ice cream cone and balloon across the rebuilt freeway, er, boulevard.

  3. #53

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    Quote Originally Posted by Khorasaurus View Post
    I still can't believe it was rebuilt and widened less than a decade ago.
    That was well over a decade ago. I want to say 1996 or 97?

  4. #54

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    Quote Originally Posted by mwilbert View Post
    I agree with this. I find it odd that apparently a lot of LP people don't see it this way--it seems obvious to me it would make living in LP that much more attractive, but I guess it isn't as obvious as I think it is.
    Let me educate you a little bit on the Lafayette Park perspective. Because it's hard to understand someone else's perspective until you walk a mile in his Birkenstocks.

    I-375 (the former Chrysler) sits between two urban renewal zones, one of which is large-scale commercial, one of which is mixed-density residential. The Chrysler, in fact, was what was necessary to make the Mies townhouses marketable (along with the Dequindre Cut) - the intent was to isolate a peaceful park-like neighborhood from a downtown to the west and a slum to the east. Hastings Street, which it replaced, was essentially a racial dividing line at all points in the 20th century (and before that was an urban/agricultural dividing line). So it's not like it was introducing new divisions that did not formerly exist (and in fact, the plan was that nothing pre-existing on either side was going to survive anyway). Nor was it some perversely situated West Side Highway or Embarcadero Freeway. The Chrysler was sited quite logically in its day - it was on the cheapest land available, on the edge of a downtown that was not under any pressure to expand, and between two areas that were being completely redone.* And in some ways, it's an operating assumption for the neighborhood.

    *I'm not saying that tearing out Hastings and Black Bottom was right - this is just to point out that 50 years after the Chrysler went in, there is no remaining logical connection between the two sides of the roadbed.

    As it stands now, the freeway is acoustically buffered, underground, and serves as a psychological barrier that inhibits people from wandering out of the CBD into a neighborhood that has close to zero pedestrian interest and due to planning restrictions, never will (are you going to walk from the CBD to a laundromat? A supermarket? Because that's about the entire extent of retail all the way to Indian Village on Lafayette). LP residents have zero trouble making their way into downtown on foot or bike because every through street is bridged with a ginormous 6 to 8 lane bridge. There is no connectivity problem, or at least any that can't be solved by buffering bike lanes. And LP people find it very convenient to drive to I-375, get on and go. So from their perspective, any of these projects means (a) more people wandering through the neighborhood, (b) more noise, (c) decreased convenience for people who don't work in their homes or within walking distance of home, and (d) a horrible access situation for the years it takes to execute any of these.

    Various configurations of this project also threaten to make some existing problems worse.

    - Rivard (a 25 mph residential street) is routinely used as a bypass by GM people who want to go from the Ren Cen to Gratiot or vice versa (so as to skip 375-75-94). People in LP have a justifiable fear that if the 375 traffic is impeded that frustrated motorists will cut through the neighborhood.

    - Rivard and Antietam are used as game-day parking, where Lions fans (and sometimes Tigers fans) trash the street and have their cars broken into (going on the 48207 loss history).

    - Access to LP would be cut off for years by one of MDOTs slow-moving projects (I-96 anyone? It didn't even take 9 months to build it in the first place). How do you get home if you're coming south on I-75? Better yet, how would you do that on a game day? At least on a game day presently, you can go a couple exits down on 375 and swing back. It would also involve years of cutting off pedestrian and bike access. And if you somehow thing that more bike access improves property values (compared to today), then you are compelled to accept the conclusion that removing it altogether would degrade property values.

    People in LP could be sold on the project if it had a real benefit (big time development, transit systems, etc.). But these plans promise none of those things. Many of them promise to put many more traffic lanes at LP's doorstep. And the fact that it offends someone's 1990s planning sensibilities (versus someone's 1950s planning sensibilities) is not very compelling when there is little concrete in the way of positives and many potential negatives.

    HB

  5. #55

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    Quote Originally Posted by Detroitnerd View Post
    What's missing from this analysis -- and embedded in your reaction, DP -- is this central point: Transportation plans ARE development plans. The amount of land used, the mode chosen, the amount of land made available for development, the throughput, the amount of pollution, the ease in crossing -- all of these play a central role in what will be built there. To pretend otherwise while simply computing cars per minute and dressing it up with trees and grasses and bike lanes nobody's asking for -- well, that's how we got where we are, yes?
    Right now the study is in its preferences phase. This phase comes after meeting with the public to discuss current conditions and see if there is a shared vision. http://www.degc.org/data/uploads/I-3...rt%20FINAL.pdf

    I-375 had a varied comments, particularly from nearby residents.

    Analysis comes later; no sense in analyzing something the public won't like. Here ya go http://www.planning.dot.gov/publicinvolvement/pi_documents/4c-g.asp
    Last edited by DetroitPlanner; June-10-14 at 10:45 PM.

  6. #56

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    I am not sure which plan I prefer, but I must say if the SEMCOG plans are as advertised in terms of design and cost, I am much more open to change than I had been before.

    I do like the idea of reintegrating the area into the normal street grid, with added greenspace, bike lanes, etc. My only real concern is that whatever is done should not make for significantly longer commutes or traffic bottlenecks. Downtown needs to be as nice as possible, but it will always be a destination for many. Making it harder or more time consuming to get into or out of of downtown would hurt the long-term office market just as it is rebounding. So, if the traffic can be successfully addressed (and dismissing traffic concerns with an urban hubris is not addressing it), then perhaps a real reimagination would be good thing.

  7. #57

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    Quote Originally Posted by MikeyinBrooklyn View Post
    So, if the traffic can be successfully addressed (and dismissing traffic concerns with an urban hubris is not addressing it), then perhaps a real reimagination would be good thing.
    Yup. As I'm sure you know given your experience with New York City, having all those events in Manhattan meant lots of traffic. And New York City ably did everything in its power to ensure smooth-flowing traffic everywhere. Today, instead of clogged streets and cars moving at a crawl, all day long Manhattan is the very picture of smoothly flowing traffic, ensuring more people come in to spend their money. Wouldn't it be awful if New York hadn't done this, and instead traffic was hobbled all day, depriving the city of all that spending power? Imagine some car-hating junta, which forbade cars from, say, Times Square. That would really be awful. So glad that never happened.

    Oh, wait. Everything I just said isn't true. How about that?

  8. #58

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    Dnerd, I am not sure if your response was making a point or just being sarcastic. On the assumption you were arguing that New York's traffic woes have not inhibited it's growth and activity, you would be correct. If Detroit had 8 million residents and 4 million daily visitors, North America's most pervasive transit system, and singular financial, commercial, media, cultural and shopping destinations, then ease of flow into and out of downtown would certainly be much less an issue. We aren't quite there yet, though, in my opinion.

    For what it's worth (probably nothing), I have no desire for Detroit to look like New York. We are, and should remain, a very different city. Do I want more people, more downtown density, more shopping, etc in Detroit? Absolutely. But a full and vibrant Detroit will resemble a resuscitated Detroit, not a transplanted New York.

  9. #59

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    Quote Originally Posted by MikeyinBrooklyn View Post
    Dnerd, I am not sure if your response was making a point or just being sarcastic. On the assumption you were arguing that New York's traffic woes have not inhibited it's growth and activity, you would be correct. If Detroit had 8 million residents and 4 million daily visitors, North America's most pervasive transit system, and singular financial, commercial, media, cultural and shopping destinations, then ease of flow into and out of downtown would certainly be much less an issue. We aren't quite there yet, though, in my opinion.

    For what it's worth (probably nothing), I have no desire for Detroit to look like New York. We are, and should remain, a very different city. Do I want more people, more downtown density, more shopping, etc in Detroit? Absolutely. But a full and vibrant Detroit will resemble a resuscitated Detroit, not a transplanted New York.
    Sure I was being sarcastic. The eyeroll emoticon was a dead giveaway.

    Making downtowns safe for motor traffic has a terrible record vis-a-vis development and density. That's why cities are beginning to take steps to limit automotive traffic in congested areas. Of course, you need to have the pieces in place to facilitate that, including light rail, buses, commuter rail and bicycle infrastructure, but at least those amenities show good results for downtowns.

    Forum posters keep saying things like, "Detroit is different," or "Comparing Detroit to New York is apples to oranges."

    What I hear, though, is, "The status quo is just fine. We don't need to emulate strategies that work for cities the world over. Eventually, by doing the same thing, we'll receive different results"

    As Einstein said, that's the very definition of insanity.

  10. #60

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    Hey Huggybear... thanks for the great post about how eliminating the I375 freeway is of no benefit to Lafayette Park. I've been scratching my head trying to figure out how any of these plans could possibly help improve Lafayette Park! Like you, I haven't figured out how?? As you mentioned... the sunken freeway does NOT impede connectivity between Lafayette Park and downtown. And no one (and no plan) has convincingly said how it could.

  11. #61

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    Maybe I didn't read carefully enough, but I took Huggybear's post to mean LP residents understand and value I-375's status as moat separating LP from downtown.

  12. #62
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    Quote Originally Posted by Detroitnerd View Post
    I don't expect you, DP, to be on board with this, but if you look at studies of boulevarding freeways across the United States, the great boon of all those transformations was that they opened up lots of land for redevelopment, and were very quickly redeveloped, and, in fact, have become some of the most desirable land.
    The last thing Detroit needs is "more land". Raw land in Detroit is, for the most part, almost of no investment value, even right downtown, unless there are prospects of subsidies involved.

  13. #63

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    Quote Originally Posted by Gistok View Post
    Hey Huggybear... thanks for the great post about how eliminating the I375 freeway is of no benefit to Lafayette Park. I've been scratching my head trying to figure out how any of these plans could possibly help improve Lafayette Park! Like you, I haven't figured out how?? As you mentioned... the sunken freeway does NOT impede connectivity between Lafayette Park and downtown. And no one (and no plan) has convincingly said how it could.
    Playing devil's advocate as I often do, It could be argued that the grade separation that currently exists is better for pedestrians and bicyclists in terms of accessibility. After all, at grade intersections would require long stops at traffic lights in both directions. Most of the green time would go to the replacement road. Yes many bridges are signalized, but the traffic volumes are lower on the service drives hence shorting signal phases.

  14. #64

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    Quote Originally Posted by Detroitnerd View Post
    What I hear, though, is, "The status quo is just fine. We don't need to emulate strategies that work for cities the world over. Eventually, by doing the same thing, we'll receive different results"

    As Einstein said, that's the very definition of insanity.
    Interesting. Is this the reason why you are so against BRT-like transit? It has been successful nearly every time it has been implemented.

    Maybe you're just a grump that likes to complain about everything.

  15. #65

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    Quote Originally Posted by DetroitPlanner View Post
    Interesting. Is this the reason why you are so against BRT-like transit? It has been successful nearly every time it has been implemented.

    Maybe you're just a grump that likes to complain about everything.
    I am absolutely against BRT-like transit. Actual BRT might not be a bad idea, but BRT-like transit already has a name: buses.

  16. #66

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    Quote Originally Posted by Bham1982 View Post
    The last thing Detroit needs is "more land". Raw land in Detroit is, for the most part, almost of no investment value, even right downtown, unless there are prospects of subsidies involved.
    Um, that's funny. I worked right where we're talking about creating new land and I've seen quite a lot of development over the last 10 years. The Blue Cross campus has been expanding by leaps and bounds. It built an 1,800-space, nine-story parking garage right next to the footprint we're talking about there. A new hotel has gone up for Greektown, and another huge parking garage. Dan Gilbert wanted to put in another hotel on the site of the fail jail, didn't he? Reducing the footprint of the freeway opens the way for more development because more land is created, yes, but also since the boulevard is easier to cross, it makes it easier for the development to spill over onto the near east side and the area around LP.

    As for subsidies, subsidies are always involved in development. You could argue that not one single building has been built without "subsidies."

  17. #67

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    Quote Originally Posted by Gistok View Post
    Hey Huggybear... thanks for the great post about how eliminating the I375 freeway is of no benefit to Lafayette Park. I've been scratching my head trying to figure out how any of these plans could possibly help improve Lafayette Park! Like you, I haven't figured out how?? As you mentioned... the sunken freeway does NOT impede connectivity between Lafayette Park and downtown. And no one (and no plan) has convincingly said how it could.
    Gistok, I think you'll find the state throwing in that "non-motorized" thing because it's bait likely to be swallowed by the naive.

    - All the through streets are bridged, and though people are irritated about the lighting and personal safety on those, those issues are not unique to bridges. An at-grade crossing would risk death by blown red light.

    Actually, if the state is so concerned about non-motorized stuff, why isn't it volunteering to re-bridge some of the streets whose decrepit bridges were removed for the Dequindre Cut?

    - LP has Rivard (a no-traffic-except-during-rush-hour road dead-ending in a welcome center, cafe, bike rental place, and high-volume garages) to the west and the Dequindre Cut to the east.

    - The state's new enfant terrible is not part of the master greenway plan (which uses the Dequindre Cut to connect to the water). In fact, the state's proposed bike trains can't connect to the main greenway.

    The non-motorized infrastructure is all there already, and I get the distinct sense that the state is using this buzzword to candy-coat a lower speed, lower-quality, and lower-cost road that takes the same volume, at lower speed, by using more lanes. Oh yeah, and because it's now a surface street, they can dump the maintenance on the City.

    HB

  18. #68

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    Honestly I haven't read all these messages or detail about this but this seems like a huge waste of money. Detroit doesn't need to free up more land and the roads in other areas of not just Detroit but the state are in major disrepair. This money needs to go to fix I fixing them or removing more blight.

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  19. #69

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    Quote Originally Posted by jerrytimes View Post
    Honestly I haven't read all these messages or detail about this but this seems like a huge waste of money. Detroit doesn't need to free up more land and the roads in other areas of not just Detroit but the state are in major disrepair. This money needs to go to fix I fixing them or removing more blight.

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    I-375 needs a full repair, whether or not it's rebuilt as is. It's crumbling. It just so happens that the street level alternatives are significantly less expensive, by almost 50%.

    I went to the 2pm public session yesterday, they also have alternatives for the I-75 interchange as well as W. Jefferson coming off of I-375. Lafayette Park residents are VERY vocal against any street level alternatives for I-375.
    Last edited by eliboyer; June-13-14 at 06:43 AM. Reason: mispelling

  20. #70

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    eliboyer, the statement about LP resident being very vocal against any street level alternatives is so true. I went around 6 and it was hard for me to talk to the MDOT reps there because the LP folks were giving them an earful. I personally really don't understand why they are so adamant against the street level alternatives. None of the street alternatives will divert traffic towards LP that isn't going there already. There concerns about increased traffic are somewhat a concern, but that might only be a problem during a major event downtown like the fireworks or during the auto show. I heard one lady talk about Tiger fans peeing in the area. She must have meant LIONS fans. I honestly can't see where this happens in their neighborhood, and if it does, it's a consequence of having the stadiums downtown, not a consequence of the freeway or any surface street replacing it.

    LP residents want to maintain their urban "oasis" but they fail to remember that they are in a city, not a country hamlet tucked deep in the woods. I would never live there for the precise reasons they like it there. They may claim its walkable, but walkable to what? If I lived in the Pavillion Apartments for example, it would take me over five minutes to get to anything substantial by foot, Eastern Market, Greektown, the RiverWalk, or the LP shopping plaza.

    Also, I hear them complain about if you remove the freeway, they won't have quick access to the freeway. If I-375 ends south of Gratiot and becomes a surface street, it will still have an access route to the freeway portion, just not at Larned. They'll have to drive a little further north to catch the freeway just south of Gratiot. The Lafayette and Monroe intersections will continue to have stop lights. So, they have to wait maybe two additional minutes to get to the freeway. Really? (Yeah, I know that's funny coming from me).

    The NIMBY mentality among LP residents is in full force and that's too bad. The changes to that corridor, regardless of alternatives, except keeping the status quo, can be more positive than negative. Staying in our comfort zones is safe, but sometimes change is good. I think in this case it will be.
    Last edited by royce; June-13-14 at 07:51 AM.

  21. #71

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    Quote Originally Posted by royce View Post
    eliboyer, the statement about LP resident being very vocal against any street level alternatives is so true. I went around 6 and it was hard for me to talk to the MDOT reps there because the LP folks were giving them an earful. I personally really don't understand why they are so adamant against the street level alternatives. None of the street alternatives will divert traffic towards LP that isn't going there already. There concerns about increased traffic are somewhat a concern, but that might only be a problem during a major event downtown like the fireworks or during the auto show. I heard one lady talk about Tiger fans peeing in the area. She must have meant LIONS fans. I honestly can't see where this happens in their neighborhood, and if it does, it's a consequence of having the stadiums downtown, not a consequence of the freeway or any surface street replacing it.

    LP residents want to maintain their urban "oasis" but they fail to remember that they are in a city, not a country hamlet tucked deep in the woods. I would never live there for the precise reasons they like it there. They may claim its walkable, but walkable to what? If I lived in the Pavillion Apartments for example, it would take me over five minutes to get to anything substantial by foot, Eastern Market, Greektown, the RiverWalk, or the LP shopping plaza.

    Also, I hear them complain about if you remove the freeway, they won't have quick access to the freeway. If I-375 ends south of Gratiot and becomes a surface street, it will still have an access route to the freeway portion, just not at Larned. They'll have to drive a little further north to catch the freeway just south of Gratiot. The Lafayette and Monroe intersections will continue to have stop lights. So, they have to wait maybe two additional minutes to get to the freeway. Really? (Yeah, I know that's funny coming from me).

    The NIMBY mentality among LP residents is in full force and that's too bad. The changes to that corridor, regardless of alternatives, except keeping the status quo, can be more positive than negative. Staying in our comfort zones is safe, but sometimes change is good. I think in this case it will be.

    I have to wonder how much of this NIMBYism is a response to years of conditioning by MDOT's Propaganda Department, i.e. "freeways reduce congestion, walking is dangerous", etc.

  22. #72

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    I think it is ironic when I hear all of you complain about what the people who live around there want as opposed to what you have been spoon-fed by the activists who really have an ulterior motive.

    You complain MDOT never listens and has their heads up their butts then you complain about what those in the neighborhood want. Can't have it both ways.
    Last edited by DetroitPlanner; June-13-14 at 11:47 AM.

  23. #73

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    Quote Originally Posted by DetroitPlanner View Post
    I think it is ironic when I hear all of you complain about what the people who live around there want as opposed to what you have been spoon-fed by the activists who really have an ulterior motive.
    And just who are these "activists" and what is their ulterior motive?

    From my personal perspective, I've never been to a city where I thought, "Gosh, your freeways are so terrific!"

  24. #74

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    Quote Originally Posted by Detroitnerd View Post
    Maybe I didn't read carefully enough, but I took Huggybear's post to mean LP residents understand and value I-375's status as moat separating LP from downtown.
    I wouldn't go that far, as I'm sure that there are multiple reasons, but it is sort of true. I think I understand the dichotomy now. The LP folks who oppose this seem to be looking at it as keeping bad things out, whereas I see it as making them more connected to good things, but if you think of I-375 as being a valuable buffer, of course you would want to keep it. Assuming downtown continues to improve and expand, they may change their minds, but by then it may be too late for this project.

  25. #75

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    Quote Originally Posted by ghettopalmetto View Post
    And just who are these "activists" and what is their ulterior motive?
    I guess the emperor can't see he is naked.

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