Monday, February 26, 2018

Detroit: Not Good Enough Part Two


Everyone in this area right now is talking about the beyond-terrible condition of roads. I'll join in the griping.

Drive from Philadelphia-- a winning city in more ways than one-- on the Pennsylvania and Ohio turnpikes, and you know when you're back in Michigan. The condition of roads.

Does Michigan have the most decrepit highways, roads, and streets in the nation?

It's hard to imagine a state with worse ones. I've driven all over this country-- south, east, west-- and never encountered anything like it.

There's an epidemic of potholes throughout Metro Detroit. Not potholes. Craters. As if bombs were dropped.

We all know friends, relatives, acquaintances with ruined vehicles from hitting those monster holes, resulting in thousands of dollars in repairs. A Conspiracy Theorist would speculate it's a plot to keep road crews and auto repair shops continuously prosperous and occupied. The craters aren't good for anyone else.


Compound this with Michigan's auto insurance rates, highest in the nation. For residents of the city of Detroit in particular, running a vehicle is prohibitively expensive. Like paying rent. Own a car and you may as well live in it.


Then there's the bus system. I'm sure someone has asked the question before. They must have. But: WHY are there two bus lines in Metro Detroit?

Woeful inefficiency-- a holdover from the city/suburb divide which has destroyed prospects for everyone. And from the long-time racial divide in this town. Which everyone on all sides needs to get over as quickly as possible if we're all to move forward.

At the moment Detroit is attracting a modest number of go-getters from the east coast. From New York City most of all. On the east coast people don't need to own a car to get around. Many don't. They depend on public transportation. They're used to it-- subways, trains, trolleys, buses. This applies also to those who move here from Chicago.

IF Detroit's to move credibly forward-- to keep pace with other cities, and to begin to catch up to them-- it needs a workable regional transit system. NOW.
NEXT: Changing the Psychology.

Friday, February 23, 2018

Detroit: Not Good Enough


It's curious. There's been very little finger-pointing over Metro Detroit not winning the Amazon HQ2 bid-- not even making the top 20 cities. An embarrassment. What was experienced instead from media in this town was a giant sigh of relief that we were out of the running.

A loser mindset. A Detroit Lions mentality. "Boy, we almost made the playoffs this year. We almost won that game."

Fear of success. Change can be troubling.

Yeah, I know, Dan Gilbert, Mayor Duggan and Company tried to give away too much to a gigantic corporation.

Obviously not!

This area needs a sea change in attitude. It needs, frankly, to wake up. Metro Detroit has lost its best, most ambitious, most talented individuals the last several decades and is still losing them. It needs to give aggressive go-getters reasons to stay. Bids, plans, projects, hyperbole. Confidence and cockiness. Talking big. Creating an image of the future which investors and public alike can believe in and buy into.

It needs a winning attitude.

NEXT:  Transit and roads.