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Just out of curiousity....I'm wondering what HF buses did the Detroit Department of Transportation used to own and operate before the massive order of D40LF's and Nova RTS's? Yes...forgot to mention...Flyer D40's with lifts?

Thanks in advance.

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Just out of curiousity....I'm wondering what HF buses did the Detroit Department of Transportation used to own and operate before the massive order of D40LF's and Nova RTS's? Yes...forgot to mention...Flyer D40's with lifts?

Thanks in advance.

GMC/TMC RTS's, GM/MCI Classics, and a small order of Neoplan AN460 artics.

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I never saw that site before. It's very well constructed. I wish they had more pics of the DSR mini fishbowl buses (30ft). That's the first I ever hear of them.

Those buses weren't the first 30' buses that DSR had. Prior to the baby Fishbowls, the DSR had a different fleet of minibuses which are pictured in the book City Transit Buses of the 20th Century.

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Ok well here's the article, and as with a lot of things around this area, I'm not believing it till I see it.

Light-rail line for Woodward?

Private funding for 3.4 mile loop

By Bill Shea

Details are beginning to emerge about a privately funded plan to build a $103 million light-rail commuter loop along 3.4 miles of Woodward Avenue in Detroit from Hart Plaza to Grand Boulevard.

It's unclear who authored the proposal, but Detroit Regional Mass Transit, run by John Hertel on behalf of the executives of Wayne, Oakland, and Macomb counties and Detroit Mayor Kwame Kilpatrick, is serving as the clearinghouse.

Hertel declined to comment. People with direct knowledge of the proposal say they've promised not to talk about it. Several said questions should be directed to Hertel. Gov. Jennifer Granholm's office acknowledged she is familiar with the effort.

A 2007 study obtained by Crain's Detroit Business called the "Woodward Transit Catalyst Project" outlines a $103 million light-rail line that stretches along 3.4 miles of Woodward and includes 12 stops near busy destinations such as Campus Martius Park, Wayne State University and the Detroit Medical Center. The study is believed to be the baseline for continued discussions among those involved with the plan, and may differ from a final proposal.

Private contributions and foundation grants would fund the system's construction, but no financial deals are believed to be imminent.

Key points in the study:

- Passengers would ride two-car streetcar-style trains powered by overhead electrical wires and running on steel rails embedded in the street and operated by a driver, the study shows. Each car could carry more than 150 people.

- Businesses and institutions along the route's stops — 23 stations, one on each side of the street and one at Hart Plaza — would be asked to buy branding rights for the stations, the study says. Branded stations would include themes, colors and logos of the buyer along with advertising.

- The route's annual operating costs are estimated at $4.2 million to $5.6 million, well beyond the $2.1 million the system is predicted to raise from tickets and advertising. It offered several options for subsidizing the system, including money from the city's general fund, a new tax or a tax-increment financing district.

It's unknown what discussions or changes have since been made to the study, which was conducted last year by the University of Detroit Mercy and Deloitte & Touche L.L.P.

The line potentially would be the first stage of a larger, regional transit system — something Hertel was hired to shepherd. The former general manager of the Michigan State Fairgrounds, Hertel's job at Detroit Regional Mass Transit is to develop a regional consensus on mass transit and drum up support.

The study estimates 1.8 million riders would use the line its first year and that number would grow to 3 million by the fifth year. Studies over the years indicate a need for mass transit to alleviate traffic congestion, parking issues and to spur economic development. For example, a 3.6-mile streetcar system in Portland, Ore., cost $89 million to build, and then generated $2.2 billion in investment within two blocks of the system over the following nine years, according to the study.

Local transportation insiders say they've heard of the transit plan and are keen to learn more.

"There have been rumblings for a while," said Megan Owens, executive director of Detroit-based Transportation Riders United, an organization aimed at improving and promoting transportation access and mobility in the Detroit area. "We'd have to see the details of it. We're excited to see transit investments in the region."

Owens voiced concern about a private plan competing with public efforts already under way, specifically the "Detroit Transit Options for Growth" study. That study, commissioned by the Detroit Department of Transportation, examines transit needs in the city and offers recommendations for mass-transit options and routes. The study, known as DTOG, is the required first step to secure federal money.

"We hope this is done in conjunction with other plans," Owens said. "Detroit has been working hard on DTOG."

Kilpatrick's interim press secretary, James Canning, said the mayor "is aware that there is a group of private individuals who have been in conversations about and working on a mass-transportation project.

"Kilpatrick wants them to be able to continue that process below radar," he said. The mayor doesn't want to jeopardize what they're working on by commenting prematurely, Canning said.

Major institutions and businesses along the proposed route include Detroit Medical Center, Wayne State University, Compuware Corp., Ilitch Holdings Inc., General Motors Corp. and others. Officials from those groups and businesses declined to comment, were unavailable or said they did not know about the project.

"I am unaware of any commitments to do a stop on our campus for rapid transit," said Harvey Hollins, vice president of government and community affairs at Wayne State. "With that said ... we would wholeheartedly welcome a stop on our campus and near our medical school campus."

Others expect to learn more soon.

"We're not in that group (of backers) right now, but I understand we're going to be meeting with John Hertel soon," said Dwight Angell, director of media relations at Henry Ford Health System. "We're definitely interested."

Paul Tait, executive director of Detroit-based Southeast Michigan Council of Governments, said he was "aware of some conversations of rail on Woodward" but declined to elaborate. He said the proposal could complement the Ann Arbor to Detroit commuter rail service that SEMCOG is exploring.

SEMCOG, a regional planning group, is negotiating with the three railroad companies — Norfolk Southern, Canadian National and Conrail — that co-own the rails between Chicago and Pontiac. Washington-based Amtrak would be hired to operate the line, which would have a stop at Detroit's New Center Station on Woodward Avenue — and potentially would tie into the proposed light-rail line.

"There are few single initiatives that can so palpably energize Southeast Michigan's urban core as a modern, efficient light-rail system that serves Detroit's cultural corridor and connects New Center to the Riverfront," Granholm said in an e-mailed statement to Crain's. "I am tremendously excited by the degree of local and regional collaboration that has occurred and gratified by the level of commitment so many major stakeholders have expressed thus far. (The Michigan Department of Transportation) and my administration are committed to assisting in every way possible. The progress made thus far is a very encouraging sign for the entire region."

Michael Solaka, president of the New Center Council, said the system's design is key to the project's success.

"If designed properly, it will completely transform the pedestrian experience throughout the downtown, which I think is the single biggest cultural experience we are trying to work on," he said. "If you do mass transit, regardless of what style, if it's designed properly at street level it will increase pedestrian activity between the stops and at the merchants at the stops."

And if the line is successful, it could be the catalyst to getting consensus on a regional system.

"If it creates commerce from the river through Midtown to New Center, I believe that other communities both in the city and outside the community might see that a regional thinking on this isn't so bad," Solaka said. "But you've got to start somewhere."

Bill Shea: (313) 446-1626, bshea@crain.com

Reporters Robert Ankeny, Sherri Begin and Amy Lane contributed to this story.

Riding the rails

The study "Woodward Transit Catalyst Project" describes the plan for a light-rail commuter loop along Woodward Avenue. Here are the highlights:

Cost: $103 million.

Length: 3.4 miles with 23 stations.

Vehicles: Two streetcar-style trains powered by overhead electrical wires.

Operating costs: Estimated between $4.2 million and $5.6 million.

Funding: Ticket sales, advertising, money from businesses near stations, and possibly from the city's general fund or a new tax.

So my question is what streetcars or LRVs would qualify for "Each car could carry more than 150 people." That might bring a lot of answers but I'm just curious.

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So my question is what streetcars or LRVs would qualify for "Each car could carry more than 150 people." That might bring a lot of answers but I'm just curious.

Lots. Edmonton's U2's have a capacity of around 150 in crush conditions. Most other cars around 80' long would.

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Don't hold your breath. Anything I see that says SEMCOG and Detroit in the same report is bound to flop.

For what it's worth, this isn't a new idea by any means - the People Mover was supposed to go to Woodward Ave, where an light rail line would then serve the Woodward corridor. That was in '83. I don't expect anything to change these days...

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On the other side, if the light rail line is built, maybe they could borrow the Detroit PCC from the Michigan Transit Museum for the opening and/or have a turning loop so the car could run on the line. Plus once it has been reguaged, they could do the same with the Michigan Transit Museum's other PCC: Ex Toronto 4601.

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On the other side, if the light rail line is built, maybe they could borrow the Detroit PCC from the Michigan Transit Museum for the opening and/or have a turning loop so the car could run on the line. Plus once it has been reguaged, they could do the same with the Michigan Transit Museum's other PCC: Ex Toronto 4601.

Lol. Not in a million years.

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And just like I said before for this area of Windsor and Detroit, don't believe it will happen until you see if beginning service or under contruction.

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Ok so it looks like things just might push forward with this. Right now theyre getting bike racks on DDOT buses(apparently they already have them, just need to put them on). The plan IS to have LRT in Detroit in the near future.

Wednesday, July 16, 2008

Detroit

Light rail proposal moves forward

The Detroit News

Plans for a light rail system in Detroit progressed this week when a regional planning group green-lighted the proposed development.

Officials with the Southeast Michigan Council of Governments approved a Detroit Department of Transportation plan to construct and operate light rail service on Woodward Avenue between downtown and Eight Mile.

"This is an important step toward the establishment of a reliable rail transportation system that will assist Detroiters in getting to and from their destinations," Mayor Kwame Kilpatrick said in a statement. "This approval of DDOT's rail project will also multiply economical opportunities for business growth."

SEMCOG representatives could not be reached for comment Tuesday.

According to SEMCOG, the proposed line is expected to be the first in a regional plan that includes rapid transit in three counties and would "serve as a distributor and feeder" to an Ann Arbor-to-Detroit commuter rail line the council is studying.

"I am pleased that DDOT is moving in the right direction on the Woodward Avenue Light Rail Transit (LRT) initiative by putting the customer first, as gas prices continue to soar," said Lovevett Williams, interim director of DDOT, in a statement. "

The Woodward line would follow an eight-mile stretch from the Michigan State Fairgrounds near Eight Mile to downtown Detroit, feature stops at 13 to 15 stations and carry about 22,200 daily riders, SEMCOG said.

Building costs are estimated at $371 million. Federal funds are expected to cover more than half the project's cost.

An environmental impact statement is being drafted, and pending final designs and application to a Federal Transit Administration program, construction is not expected to begin until 2011, according to SEMCOG.

"The Woodward Avenue LRT project will stimulate community and economic development in southeast Michigan," U.S. Rep. Carolyn Cheeks Kilpatrick said in a statement.

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I'm sure some of you know by now(I know Mr. Linsky is on of them) that DDOT will have their 2009 order coming in soon. They ordered 104 buses this year from both Gillig and New Flyer. 54 buses are from Gillig, and the other 50 are from New Flyer. 4 are Gillig Hybrid(old look with the square headlights), 50 are the Gillig Low floor, and 50 are D40LF or D40LFR(no word yet on which). These will be the 1st gillig buses in DDOT's fleet. The suburban system for Detroit(SMART) already has (I think)around 250-260 Gillig low floors as their entire fleet(40ft, 35ft, and 30ft). It'll be nice to see these new buses here after they go into service. The first hybrid is supposed to arrive in September.

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I'm sure some of you know by now(I know Mr. Linsky is on of them) that DDOT will have their 2009 order coming in soon. They ordered 104 buses this year from both Gillig and New Flyer. 54 buses are from Gillig, and the other 50 are from New Flyer. 4 are Gillig Hybrid(old look with the square headlights), 50 are the Gillig Low floor, and 50 are D40LF or D40LFR(no word yet on which). These will be the 1st gillig buses in DDOT's fleet. The suburban system for Detroit(SMART) already has (I think)around 250-260 Gillig low floors as their entire fleet(40ft, 35ft, and 30ft). It'll be nice to see these new buses here after they go into service. The first hybrid is supposed to arrive in September.

Guess they'll start killing off the old RTS buses? They look like their in really rough shape.

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Guess they'll start killing off the old RTS buses? They look like their in really rough shape.

The '92s are basically all gone; the '95s are mostly pulled. The 2000-2001 models, although abused, will be around for some time, IINM.

I'd sincerely doubt the D40LFs will be D40LFRs - if they're not springing for the 'BRT' treatment on the Gilligs, DDOT won't for the New Flyers, especially when it can boost the parts commonality with its existing fleet of Flyers.

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Good luck with those Gilligs, cause in no time they will be falling apart.

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I'm sure some of you know by now(I know Mr. Linsky is on of them) that DDOT will have their 2009 order coming in soon. They ordered 104 buses this year from both Gillig and New Flyer. 54 buses are from Gillig, and the other 50 are from New Flyer. 4 are Gillig Hybrid(old look with the square headlights), 50 are the Gillig Low floor, and 50 are D40LF or D40LFR(no word yet on which). These will be the 1st gillig buses in DDOT's fleet. The suburban system for Detroit(SMART) already has (I think)around 250-260 Gillig low floors as their entire fleet(40ft, 35ft, and 30ft). It'll be nice to see these new buses here after they go into service. The first hybrid is supposed to arrive in September.

I wonder why they're going with two manufacturers...

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Today on my way back from Chicago, about two hours from detroit, I saw 3 RTS buses going (towards Chicago) on flatbeds in really rough shape. One had an open engine cover, one was missing side panels. Were these freshly retired?

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If they were 3200-3500 series, then yes. By more D40LFs, albeit without blacked-out window frames or roof-mounted A/C. As predicted, they are NOT D40LFRs.

If they were the later Novas with the Sutrak roof A/C, then no, not yet.

A more unusual sighting I had was a DDOT Classic running on an overpass above I-94 just outside of the Rouge Complex. Bizarre. Have no idea what number it was or anything, but I'm told there was (for some reason) a Classic hanging out at one DDOT facility recently. Weird.

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I'll most likely be in the Detriot area in a couple weeks. I'm arriving into Windsor shortly after 4:00 pm on a VIA train. I would like to ride the Detriot People mover before making my way to the Amtrak station for 9:25 pm. Does anyone know the fastest way from where Transit Windsor's tunnel bus arrives in Detriot to the People mover and from the People mover to the Amtrak station?

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I'll most likely be in the Detriot area in a couple weeks. I'm arriving into Windsor shortly after 4:00 pm on a VIA train. I would like to ride the Detriot People mover before making my way to the Amtrak station for 9:25 pm. Does anyone know the fastest way from where Transit Windsor's tunnel bus arrives in Detriot to the People mover and from the People mover to the Amtrak station?

You like to live dangerously don't you !?

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Saw on the Detroit news last night (Saturday) that half of the DDOT operators scheduled to work that day called in sick or didn't show up as part of a informal protest against management. This occured because whenever a member of the DDOT passes away, DDOT always sends a coach to the funeral to show support. A operator passed away recently and the DDOT didn't sent a coach. Drivers think management is turning on them.

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