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Trainman
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Username: Trainman

Post Number: 684
Registered: 04-2006
Posted on Monday, April 28, 2008 - 10:55 pm: Edit PostDelete PostMove Post (Moderator/Admin Only)

The problem with mass transit funds in Michigan is that the 60k union jobs are gone and are not coming back. SEMCOG regional planners have yet to address this problem. Instead they want to tax southeast Michigan as if we still make this kind of money but the new jobs are paying 20k to 30K a year.

We need to lower transportation costs in southeast Michigan and get more industry investments first before mass transit taxes can effectively work.

Learn all the facts in DETROIT LINKS in the trainmans website.
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Sparty06
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Username: Sparty06

Post Number: 100
Registered: 03-2007
Posted on Monday, April 28, 2008 - 11:39 pm: Edit PostDelete PostMove Post (Moderator/Admin Only)

Trainman,
Interesting argument... it's almost a what came first... the chicken or the egg. I'm sure some would argue that mass transit will spur the type of urban growth (both commercial and residential) that will actually raise tax receipts and create jobs.
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Charlottepaul
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Username: Charlottepaul

Post Number: 2470
Registered: 10-2006
Posted on Tuesday, April 29, 2008 - 12:30 pm: Edit PostDelete PostMove Post (Moderator/Admin Only)

"We need to...get more industry investments first before mass transit taxes can effectively work."

Oh yeah, then why was improving public transit never a priority in past decades for Detroit? Are you saying that it is too late and that the metro area already missed the boat? There are a lot of private companies fronting the money for this Woodward route.
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Retroit
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Username: Retroit

Post Number: 23
Registered: 04-2008
Posted on Tuesday, April 29, 2008 - 4:44 pm: Edit PostDelete PostMove Post (Moderator/Admin Only)

Detroit doesn't have the "mass" for mass transit. Most cities with successful mass transit rail systems have population densities 2-5 times (some even higher) than Detroit. When are people going to actually drive through the streets of Detroit to see the desolation? Instead of spending money on mass transit studies, they should spend money on tearing down abandoned buildings and cleaning up vacant lots.
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Danindc
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Username: Danindc

Post Number: 4190
Registered: 10-2003
Posted on Tuesday, April 29, 2008 - 4:49 pm: Edit PostDelete PostMove Post (Moderator/Admin Only)

quote:

Detroit doesn't have the "mass" for mass transit. Most cities with successful mass transit rail systems have population densities 2-5 times (some even higher) than Detroit.



You mean like Houston, Charlotte, St. Louis, Denver, Phoenix, San Jose, Sacramento, San Diego, Los Angeles, Dallas, Baltimore, Minneapolis, and Cleveland?

Transit makes density possible. You don't have post-1910s Manhattan without the subway, but you have to start somewhere. I suppose creating more vacant lots is the answer, though, huh? Lord knows that demolition and property remediation is free.
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W_chicago
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Username: W_chicago

Post Number: 18
Registered: 01-2008
Posted on Tuesday, April 29, 2008 - 5:12 pm: Edit PostDelete PostMove Post (Moderator/Admin Only)

Many of the arguments against transit are classic "chicken or the egg" dilemmas. No we can never have transit in Detroit because the density is not high enough, and not enough public transit ridership. Perhaps, though, the reason density is low, and ridership is low, is because a lack of good transit. I would have to say the latter is the logical answer, but of course not the only answer, and does not necessarily discredit other answers such as racism, poverty, economic instability, etc.

But why will better transit = increased density and transit ridership? Because, currently our system is based entirely off one mode: bus. It is very hard to get around by bus alone. If we had hierarchy of modes of transit, with bus routes connecting with rail lines (subway, light-rail, etc), connecting to city centers, connecting to commuter rials and a regional systems. Having rail lines will INCREASE bus ridership, because it makes riding the bus wayyyy more effective. I

Imagine the Woodward line gets built, but I don't live in walking distance to it. I want to go Downtown. Right now I can take the bus all the way there, probably having to transfer one or more times. OR, I can connect to the Rail transit, and speed up my trip!

Currently, folks living in dense areas still have to rely on car (or slow bus service). Transit would benefit those living the the dense areas, but it will also facilitate more people living in dense areas(can you imagine NYC, DC, SF, etc without transit!). Not only will more people will see the benefits of living in walkable, transit-oriented areas, but also because the economic pressure to abandon the suburban lifestyle will grow, and incentives to live in the city will also grow.
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Detroitnerd
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Username: Detroitnerd

Post Number: 2247
Registered: 07-2004
Posted on Tuesday, April 29, 2008 - 5:19 pm: Edit PostDelete PostMove Post (Moderator/Admin Only)

Welcome to the forum, Retroit.

Re: Density. Think of it this way:

Until 1915, Detroit was a denser city. Streetcar lines fanned out into the country, and spokes of heavy development grew along them, with multistory apartment buildings, mixed-use storefronts, and crowds of people on the streets.

The advent of the automobile opened up huge sections of the city for development, fueled also by cheap fuel, cheap real estate, and cheap resources.

After World War II, federal loans and subsidies expanded that tendency, starting a building bonanza of expressways, subdivisions, shopping centers and industrial facilities. A lot of this was fueled by individual and institutional decisions. But the factors it depended on was cheap raw materials and cheap resources, especially oil.

But things are changing. Oil is getting more expensive, which means it is less attractive to live in a large, expensive-to-heat house, where one must drive to shop, eat, dance, or work.

And those individual decisions are changing too. People, increasingly, are interested in living someplace that isn't TOO sleepy, where they can walk home from the bar at night and stroll to brunch in the morning. They actually LIKE walking, shopping on foot, Sunday bike outings instead of Sunday drives, and appreciate having everything in one place, as opposed to living in a broad-brush residential zone without a corner store.

Anyway, just because we have spent the last 100 years trying to destroy density and build a suburban paradise doesn't it'll always be that way. And that's why we must remember that it wasn't always that way. When they put in light rail along city streets in the late 19th century, it stimulated very dense development, skyscrapers downtown, apartment buildings and shopping districts along thoroughfares.

And it can happen again. Studies show that light rail generates more investment, more jobs and less pollution than any other urban redevelopment strategy. It drives density. Hang around on this forum long enough, and you'll see hard evidence that, even in sleepy, disinvested, depopulated places, light rail drives density where it's built. It has a proven multiplier effect. People want to live near light rail stops. In those areas, it will suddenly become profitable to do business. The abandoned buildings get redeveloped or rehabbed. The vacant lots get remediated and built upon. Private investment monies will do that work, not the state.

And, as the suburbs are filling up with For Sale signs and sitting vacant, this may be the best time to prove that another way of life is possible.

But here's the catch: All we have to do is come up with the first few hundred million dollars.
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Retroit
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Username: Retroit

Post Number: 25
Registered: 04-2008
Posted on Tuesday, April 29, 2008 - 7:08 pm: Edit PostDelete PostMove Post (Moderator/Admin Only)

You can't build a rail transit system in the middle of nowhere and expect that a metropolis will magically arise and that people will flock to live there because of the great rail transit system. Rail transit makes sense when all other forms of transportation are not able to accomodate the MASSive number of people that live there. I'm not Anti-Mass-Transit, I'm just Anti-Massless-Transit. And yes, I do think that tearing down boarded up homes and burned out buildings to create vacant lots on which to build new homes and buildings is the answer.
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Detroitnerd
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Username: Detroitnerd

Post Number: 2252
Registered: 07-2004
Posted on Tuesday, April 29, 2008 - 7:19 pm: Edit PostDelete PostMove Post (Moderator/Admin Only)

Haha. Have it your way, Retroit. You're not anti-mass-transit. Riiiiggghhhtt. ;)
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Living_in_the_d
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Username: Living_in_the_d

Post Number: 187
Registered: 01-2008
Posted on Tuesday, April 29, 2008 - 7:41 pm: Edit PostDelete PostMove Post (Moderator/Admin Only)

Yeah, Long Live D.D.O.T.
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Retroit
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Username: Retroit

Post Number: 27
Registered: 04-2008
Posted on Tuesday, April 29, 2008 - 10:24 pm: Edit PostDelete PostMove Post (Moderator/Admin Only)

Well, at least I'm not too stubborn to admit I was wrong!

CITIES and DENSITIES (residents/sq mi)
Los Angeles 8,205
Baltimore 8,058
Detroit 6,856
Minneapolis 6,722
Cleveland 6,167
St. Louis 5,716
San Jose 5,216
Sacramento 4,711
San diego 3,872
Denver 3,797
Houston 3,701
Dallas 3,605
Phoenix 2,938
Charlotte 2,516

I'm shocked!

DetroitYES Rocks!
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Professorscott
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Username: Professorscott

Post Number: 1242
Registered: 12-2006
Posted on Tuesday, April 29, 2008 - 10:58 pm: Edit PostDelete PostMove Post (Moderator/Admin Only)

Retroit, the existing bus transit systems experience overcrowding regularly on several lines. Ride the DDOT Woodward or Seven Mile bus at 7:00 in the morning, or the SMART Gratiot bus outbound between 3 p.m. and 7 p.m. for instance. And these are buses that come every 10 or 15 minutes.

In the areas of the region that have good density and places to get to, people have been flocking to the buses since gasoline started its climb. SMART's 2007 ridership was, I believe, the highest since 1982 (when it was still SEMTA).

So there are corridors where some form of rail transit makes sense. As Detroitnerd says, all we have to do is come up with some cash. Denver, a much smaller (population-wise) region, is in the middle of a $4.7 billion with a B transit upgrade. So I think we can do something :-)

By the way our $49.50 regional bus pass is a massive bargain - the national norm for big-city regions is $75 to $90. Buy now while still cheap. That $4.30 diesel has to come home to roost for the bus systems at some point. Most CVS stores in and near Detroit sell the pass, Banner on Schaefer at, what, Lyndon sells it, and www.smartbus.org sells it online.
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Ray
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Username: Ray

Post Number: 1125
Registered: 06-2004
Posted on Tuesday, April 29, 2008 - 11:20 pm: Edit PostDelete PostMove Post (Moderator/Admin Only)

Hmmm... I 'm smiling dreaming of $10 per gallon gas and the end of the automobile's reign of terror.

The question for Detroit: Ten dollar per gallon gas, if it happens, will lead to density and mass transit, which like Jesus and motherhood are intrinsically good.

But, $10 gas will also mop up the pitiful remanants of our domestic auto industry, which will put a huge drag on the local economy.

The question is, on balance will the city of Detroit proper benefit?

My guess is yes. There's enough critical mass in Southeast Michigan to survive further auto contraction and that Detroit will prosper with a much larger share of a much smaller region.
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Danindc
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Username: Danindc

Post Number: 4192
Registered: 10-2003
Posted on Wednesday, April 30, 2008 - 10:46 am: Edit PostDelete PostMove Post (Moderator/Admin Only)

Retroit, don't forget Salt Lake.

Regardless, city-wide density is irrelevant when planning a rail transit line. Density along the corridor is the factor that needs to be considered. And where the density doesn't yet exist, it needs to be planned for via the city's master plan and zoning regulations.
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Detroitnerd
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Username: Detroitnerd

Post Number: 2256
Registered: 07-2004
Posted on Wednesday, April 30, 2008 - 11:06 am: Edit PostDelete PostMove Post (Moderator/Admin Only)

For years in Detroit, density was the enemy. But, over the last decade, we've seen that sprawl is only reshuffling the population that the region already has, so that the same amount of people consume more concrete, oil, rubber, water, steel, glass and natural gas.

For the last ten years we've been pouring our monies into these development strategies that encourage profligate consumption, mono-modal transit, environmental devastation, loss of farmland, anomie, road rage, insurance gouging, redlining, etc. And it isn't drawing more people to the region.

What light rail does is it offers incentives for people to settle more densely. This results in less consumption, more transportation options, less pollution, smart growth and more. And light rail, IMHO, wouldn't only reshuffle people closer to the urban core, it would fight the brain drain. No longer would young professionals whisk themselves off to other cities after graduation, as they could have the benefits of urban density right here.

Our environments are the products of our decisions over time. For the last 50-odd years, the trends have been clear: Urban disinvestment, subsidies for freeways and suburbs, code and zoning regulations that favor low-density, car-only development, converting light rail to bus-only service, falling railroad subsidies, etc. That's why we've been left with what we have. To argue that that's why reversing those strategies won't work doesn't really make sense.

By that token, what was the point of rebuilding Hiroshima, Nagasaki, Dresden or Moscow? At the end of World War II, those cities were decimated. Guided by Detroit-style reasoning, those cities should have been left as they were. After all, there weren't enough people there to support anything whatsoever, right?
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Johnlodge
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Username: Johnlodge

Post Number: 6426
Registered: 10-2003
Posted on Wednesday, April 30, 2008 - 11:08 am: Edit PostDelete PostMove Post (Moderator/Admin Only)

I'm seeing more and more people at the SMART stops. And those people seem to be more diverse in their socio-economics than they used to be. Sign of the times, I think.
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El_jimbo
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Username: El_jimbo

Post Number: 658
Registered: 12-2006
Posted on Wednesday, April 30, 2008 - 11:11 am: Edit PostDelete PostMove Post (Moderator/Admin Only)

John Lodge,

Surburban and exurban living is becoming harder and harder for families to justify. The price of their fuel, heat, water, electricity, and food are skyrocketing on a yearly basis. In the coming years, if gas prices continue to climb, there might be a total collapse of exurban and out ring suburban communities.
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Johnlodge
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Username: Johnlodge

Post Number: 6427
Registered: 10-2003
Posted on Wednesday, April 30, 2008 - 11:14 am: Edit PostDelete PostMove Post (Moderator/Admin Only)

El_jimbo,

I hear what you're saying there. However, don't underestimate the magnitude of Metro Detroit's sprawl. The jobs are not all packed in the core of the area, they have also spread out all over the place. Just something to consider.
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Sciencefair
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Username: Sciencefair

Post Number: 87
Registered: 10-2007
Posted on Wednesday, April 30, 2008 - 11:37 am: Edit PostDelete PostMove Post (Moderator/Admin Only)

I work in the CBD and I see a lot more people in my office riding SMART. Mostly because of gas prices. When it becomes an economic advantage to take mass transit, people begin to sacrifice the convenience of the personal automobile. Imagine if mass transit became even more convenient around here. The possibilities!
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El_jimbo
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Username: El_jimbo

Post Number: 659
Registered: 12-2006
Posted on Wednesday, April 30, 2008 - 11:50 am: Edit PostDelete PostMove Post (Moderator/Admin Only)

John Lodge,

I should clarify. I'm not necessarily saying everyone is going to flock to Detroit. However, while jobs are spread around the area, there are only a few areas with density of employment. I think that people will cluster around areas like Detroit, Southfield, Troy, etc. However, Detroit, if transit is put in place, could be the more attractive destination to locate your business.

Either way, the writing is on the wall for the Brownstown Twps, South Lyons, and Shelby Twps of the world.
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Charlottepaul
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Username: Charlottepaul

Post Number: 2471
Registered: 10-2006
Posted on Wednesday, April 30, 2008 - 1:24 pm: Edit PostDelete PostMove Post (Moderator/Admin Only)

"Ride the DDOT Woodward or Seven Mile bus at 7:00 in the morning, or the SMART Gratiot bus outbound between 3 p.m. and 7 p.m. for instance. And these are buses that come every 10 or 15 minutes."

That's certainly enough 'density' for federal funding for rail.
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Living_in_the_d
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Username: Living_in_the_d

Post Number: 199
Registered: 01-2008
Posted on Wednesday, April 30, 2008 - 8:24 pm: Edit PostDelete PostMove Post (Moderator/Admin Only)

Yeah, long Live D.D.O.T.
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Detroitstar
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Username: Detroitstar

Post Number: 1089
Registered: 01-2006
Posted on Wednesday, April 30, 2008 - 10:54 pm: Edit PostDelete PostMove Post (Moderator/Admin Only)

I have been riding ddot and SMART for quite a while but not regularly. I decided it it time to make my car option number 2.

one quick question... Is there a pass that works for both systems? I travel to the suburbs regularly and a single pass would be most convenient.
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Ggores
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Username: Ggores

Post Number: 65
Registered: 10-2007
Posted on Thursday, May 01, 2008 - 10:48 am: Edit PostDelete PostMove Post (Moderator/Admin Only)

I like what Homer Simpson said - "Tee hee hee hee... boy do I feel sorry for all those suckers on the freeway.... gas brake honk.. gas brake honk.. honk honk PUNCH! gas gas brake....."
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Living_in_the_d
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Username: Living_in_the_d

Post Number: 202
Registered: 01-2008
Posted on Thursday, May 01, 2008 - 10:54 am: Edit PostDelete PostMove Post (Moderator/Admin Only)

Yeah, There is a pass that takes care of both systems, weekly or monthly, available at D.D.O.T.'s main office in the D.
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Danny
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Username: Danny

Post Number: 7327
Registered: 02-2004
Posted on Thursday, May 01, 2008 - 10:59 am: Edit PostDelete PostMove Post (Moderator/Admin Only)

What all the rising gas prices. Public transit is the way to go.
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Ggores
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Username: Ggores

Post Number: 66
Registered: 10-2007
Posted on Thursday, May 01, 2008 - 11:21 am: Edit PostDelete PostMove Post (Moderator/Admin Only)

there is an office at industrial and harrison (by middlebelt/mich ave), they don't take plastic. it's about 50/60 bucks for a smart/ddot pass.
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Transitrider
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Username: Transitrider

Post Number: 57
Registered: 01-2007
Posted on Thursday, May 01, 2008 - 11:21 am: Edit PostDelete PostMove Post (Moderator/Admin Only)

DetroitStar - yes, it's the Regional Pass. $49.50, available at CVS in the city, the SMART office in the Buhl Building, everywhere else bus passes are sold, and online. Today is the perfect day to purchase your May pass. The regional (and biweekly passes if you know you'll be out of town for part of the month) passes are great because you never have to think about transfers. Currently they are designated by month, but DDOT and SMART are discussing a 31-day pass that expires 31 days after the first time it's used, which is how AATA and some other systems' passes work.

I thought this News editorial summed up a lot of things: this is a great first step, and it's understandable why it's just Detroit and DDOT at this stage, but let's get that regional authority rolling so that Phase 2 of Woodward can stop in at least Ferndale and RO, and the regional system can get up and running that includes Detroit to Ann Arbor commuter rail, WALLY, and the other lines to come:
http://detnews.com/apps/pbcs.d ll/article?AID=/20080428/OPINI ON01/804280329
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Transitrider
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Username: Transitrider

Post Number: 58
Registered: 01-2007
Posted on Thursday, May 01, 2008 - 11:31 am: Edit PostDelete PostMove Post (Moderator/Admin Only)

For those who missed the previous Open Houses and last week's Press Conference, there is another DTOGS Open House at WSU:

http://www.dtogs.com/

DTOGS Public Open Houses

Wednesday, May 7, 2008
11:00 AM - 1:00 PM
5:00 PM - 7:00 PM

Location:
Wayne State University - The Welcome Center
42 W. Warren (corner of Woodward) Detroit, MI 48202
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Danindc
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Username: Danindc

Post Number: 4220
Registered: 10-2003
Posted on Thursday, May 01, 2008 - 11:35 am: Edit PostDelete PostMove Post (Moderator/Admin Only)

Wow! What happened to the News editorial board? That was actually a well-thought out statement.

I'd have to agree with them whole-heartedly. While we have pretty good transit in the DC area, it's completely uncoordinated, and the entire region suffers for it. For example, Virginia just won federal approval for the first phase of the Dulles Metro extension, but once complete in 2011, the additional traffic will bring the core of the system (in the District) to a grinding halt. We have a hodgepodge of transit systems that are beholden to their individual jurisdictions, and service isn't necessarily designed from a regional perspective. At least in the Detroit area, you don't have to worry about the complications that come from crossing state lines.
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Swingline
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Username: Swingline

Post Number: 1109
Registered: 11-2003
Posted on Thursday, May 01, 2008 - 12:15 pm: Edit PostDelete PostMove Post (Moderator/Admin Only)

Dan, isn't WMATA a joint DC/VA/MD entity that coordinates its operations? The Virginia and Maryland commuter rail systems are separate from WMATA, but so what? They are designed to mostly serve exurban customers. WMATA (Metro and buses) serve the rest, no? Just asking?
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Danindc
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Username: Danindc

Post Number: 4222
Registered: 10-2003
Posted on Thursday, May 01, 2008 - 1:15 pm: Edit PostDelete PostMove Post (Moderator/Admin Only)

^^^WMATA is a multi-jurisdictional venture between Virginia, Maryland, and the District. The way the WMATA Compact is worded, though, each jurisdiction is responsible for planning and construction within its own boundaries. Likewise, funding for these projects is up to each individual jurisdiction. In other words, if a new cross-town subway line needs to be built in DC (it does!), the District is responsible for planning and funding, even though it would benefit the entire system. You could see where this is a problem, compared to Maryland and Virginia, which have larger funding sources. WMATA legally doesn't have planning or bonding capacity for new work, and considering that Congress is a signatory to the Compact, you might imagine how difficult it would be to change this.

On the other hand, the suburban bus systems have done well to coordinate their service with the rail system. MARC and VRE commuter lines are operated by their respective states, which has somewhat limited their utility (there are no "through" trains at Union Station). As a whole, however, the regional transit network is broken into a whole bunch of fiefdoms that don't always have the same priorities.
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Royce
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Username: Royce

Post Number: 2618
Registered: 07-2004
Posted on Saturday, May 03, 2008 - 9:06 am: Edit PostDelete PostMove Post (Moderator/Admin Only)

I'm late to this discussion but I want to share these thoughts about a light rail. Firstly, a successful light rail system has to go beyond Detroit to make any sense of the dollars that will be spent to build it. A line from downtown Detroit to Pontiac and back would be the ideal line for the Woodward corridor.

Secondly, light rail should not be limited to the major streets. On several occasions I have driven along I-696, I-75, and I-96 and have observed that there is enough room on these freeways to have a light rail system travel down the far left lanes of these freeways. There is enough room between these lanes to put a pedestrian platform that mirrors the ones you see on the Dan Ryan Expressway in Chicago.

A light rail line along I-696 could travel from St.Clair Shores to Farmington. A light rail line along I-96 could travel from Livonia to Mexicantown. A light rail line along I-75 could travel from Pontiac to downtown Detroit. This line, however, would parallel a Woodward line, so having two would be redundant, but the line on I-75 might be less costly to build.

Lastly, is it necessary to have a Woodward line go down the middle of Woodward? It seems to me that having the rail track positioned in the second traffic lane from the curb would be more advantageous than having rail tracks go down the center of Woodward. For one thing, you wouldn't have to give up the left turn lanes or have the light rail cars stop for cars making left turns. Secondly, a track along the second traffic lane from the curb would allow for parking to still take place along Woodward where it currently occurs. Strategically placed bump-outs from the sidewalks near various intersections would indicate where passengers would board the rail cars.

Thirdly, a rail line in the second traffic lane from the curb would benefit Woodard Avenue north of Grand Boulevard. There, Woodward is only seven-lanes wide, not nine. As someone said very early in this thread, folks in Highland Park (and that part of Detroit) might not take kindly to having just one lane of traffic in each direction, or two lanes without parking, if you put a light rail system down the middle of Woodward.

Well, those are my thoughts about a light rail system here in Detroit. Again, for any light rail to be successful here in Detroit, the system has to go out to the suburbs, period.

(Message edited by royce on May 03, 2008)
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Sean_of_detroit
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Username: Sean_of_detroit

Post Number: 233
Registered: 03-2008
Posted on Saturday, May 03, 2008 - 9:36 am: Edit PostDelete PostMove Post (Moderator/Admin Only)

Good Post Royce. I couldn't have said it better myself
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Charlottepaul
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Username: Charlottepaul

Post Number: 2475
Registered: 10-2006
Posted on Saturday, May 03, 2008 - 12:52 pm: Edit PostDelete PostMove Post (Moderator/Admin Only)

Nothing wrong with more rail lines Royce, but the metro Detroit area has to start somewhere. No one is saying that the Woodard line wouldn't eventually be extended into Oakland County.

On another note, most people that ride light rail do not walk to it. Most either ride a bus that feeds the line, or commuters drive in to one of the many park and ride lots along the route.
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Parkguy
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Username: Parkguy

Post Number: 272
Registered: 04-2007
Posted on Saturday, May 03, 2008 - 1:48 pm: Edit PostDelete PostMove Post (Moderator/Admin Only)

I agree, Charlottepaul. We have to start somewhere! I liked the Free Press editorial last week-- use the privately committed money to extend the federally-funded (projected) system out to Royal Oak or Birmingham. That would do wonders, I think.

(Message edited by parkguy on May 03, 2008)
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Iheartthed
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Username: Iheartthed

Post Number: 3066
Registered: 04-2006
Posted on Saturday, May 03, 2008 - 2:01 pm: Edit PostDelete PostMove Post (Moderator/Admin Only)

quote:

I'm late to this discussion but I want to share these thoughts about a light rail. Firstly, a successful light rail system has to go beyond Detroit to make any sense of the dollars that will be spent to build it. A line from downtown Detroit to Pontiac and back would be the ideal line for the Woodward corridor.



That seems too long for a light rail line. They are estimating the time for a train to traverse between 8 Mile and downtown to be 30 minutes. That's an 8 mile trip.

A trip from downtown to Pontiac would be over 30 miles. So an end to end trip for that line would be at least 2 hours... in a best case scenario. Factor in that the longer the line coupled with more stops, the more prone to disruptions and delays and... so you pretty much don't have an efficient system anymore.

Pontiac and other suburbs/satellites would ideally be connected through a commuter rail system (like the Long Island Railroad).

Btw, I'm not a civil engineer but this is just my observation from seeing how other mass transit systems work.
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Dtowncitylover
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Username: Dtowncitylover

Post Number: 94
Registered: 02-2008
Posted on Saturday, May 03, 2008 - 2:11 pm: Edit PostDelete PostMove Post (Moderator/Admin Only)

Iheartthed, While in Chicago I decided, for fun, to ride the Blue Line for fun from the Loop to O'Hare Airport, where is ends, the ride to alone took nearly an hour to complete, so going back I wasted between 1 hr and half to 2 hrs. There's nothing wrong with a long line, it's just the way it goes sometimes. (Oh and it was a pretty boring ride, but the people watching is fun!) Thank you Royce for posting that, I whole heartedly concur!
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Warrenite84
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Username: Warrenite84

Post Number: 310
Registered: 01-2007
Posted on Saturday, May 03, 2008 - 2:25 pm: Edit PostDelete PostMove Post (Moderator/Admin Only)

The phased approach that is being taken works for me. This is just one small step in having a complete, comprehensive system for all of metro Detroit. Those who would chafe at the cost of a much larger first step, (whose support and votes we need), would be more likely to support this as it is. Once the general public sees that the LRT Line is well accepted, their apprehension to an expansion would be minimal, IMHO.
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Transitrider
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Username: Transitrider

Post Number: 60
Registered: 01-2007
Posted on Saturday, May 03, 2008 - 10:36 pm: Edit PostDelete PostMove Post (Moderator/Admin Only)

Royce, you bring up some good points, although there are some good reasons behind the current approach.

1. Past efforts like DARTA, the Coleman-Brooks subway and even SpeedLink failed because they were multi-jurisdictional and the region could not agree. Since DDOT is already an authorized transit agency, it makes sense for Phase 1 to stay within city limits. SMART can still connect suburban riders with a transfer at Fairgrounds, and help build the case for Phase 2 in to OC. (There's been debate here and elsewhere whether LR should go north of B'ham, as Pontiac might be better served with commuter rail. But 30 years from now, maybe we'll have both with LR as local and CR as express.) The Freep and News editorials both agree it's fine to start with Detroit-only as the ridership numbers are there, and let an eventual regional authority take over or coordinate. I think this is reasonable given the scope of this initial phase.

2 - SEMCOG's Transit Framework (which provides the starting points for DTOGS and the RTCC regional plan) includes some freeway corridors. It will be interesting to see how these are utilized in time. There seems to some debate generally as to whether rail within freeways is desirable, as it's not a pedestrian-oriented environment when you deboard. Chicago (Metra commuter rail, Blue Line heavy rail) and LA (Green Line, LR) seem to have mixed results. I think the key is having pedestrian-oriented destinations right there, coordinated transfers to buses, as well as park-and-ride structures. Or like in LA, the LR starts in a pedestrian-friendly environment but then hops on the freeway corridor for speed and distance and access to farther destinations (airport). Supposedly I-96 was spec'd for Metra-style trains in the middle, but the space was used for the express lanes (which are not very express during rush hours.)

3 - DTOGS considered inside and outside lanes, and on Woodward at least, the inside lanes made the most sense. For one, the stops are limited to every mile or so and moving fast, like an HOV lane. The LR will have signal prioritization, so it won't be held up by cars anywhere. There's still plenty of room for cars to turn left across the tracks at intersections, look at the street plans. In wider spots a large median can still exist, so I'm not sure where the rumor started earlier in this topic that this will eliminate Michigan Lefts. There are no MLs south of 7 Mile anyway, and farther north there's still room to just use the left-most lane. Thanks to I-75, Woodward has plenty of capacity for 2 lanes of LR with an occasional 3rd for platforms. But this does not preclude having it on outside lanes on other corridors using other modes (modern streetcar instead of LR, like Portland's MAX.) The TBD downtown alignment might also use outside lanes.

Good points all around, be sure to check out next week's open house at WSU if you can. You can talk to the consultants in person (that's how I learned most of this, by asking similar questions.) Also, check out other cities' implementations. The only benefit of going last is that we can learn what works and what doesn't.
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Mwilbert
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Username: Mwilbert

Post Number: 214
Registered: 11-2007
Posted on Sunday, May 04, 2008 - 12:03 am: Edit PostDelete PostMove Post (Moderator/Admin Only)

You almost certainly use less net space by putting the two tracks next to each other, because you only need the most minimal clearance between the inbound and outbound trains. Even if you use a central platform at the stops, you don't need that space for most of the route. You would need more clearance around separate tracks, where the stuff on either side of the train isn't in as well-defined a location.

A central location also minimizes the interaction of traffic with the trains. If you put tracks in the second traffic lane from the curb, assuming you are doing that because you want parking along the edge, cars routinely have to change lanes across the tracks at random places. Crossing the tracks at an oblique angle is a pain--it can be slippery, and your tires can get redirected, and it provides lots more opportunities for accidents.
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Charlottepaul
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Username: Charlottepaul

Post Number: 2476
Registered: 10-2006
Posted on Sunday, May 04, 2008 - 5:40 pm: Edit PostDelete PostMove Post (Moderator/Admin Only)

On the other hand, buses always use the curb lane.

P.S. Charlotte's system (CATS) sold out of monthly passes for May! Transit is in demand.
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Dtowncitylover
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Username: Dtowncitylover

Post Number: 100
Registered: 02-2008
Posted on Tuesday, May 06, 2008 - 7:20 pm: Edit PostDelete PostMove Post (Moderator/Admin Only)

Why couldn't, now, that the tracks going up to Pontiac be used? Adding a third lane might ease AMTRAK/commericial/RT traffic. Or stopping AMTRAK at Detroit, then using such RT to get to RO, B-ham, and Pontiac, which then could add more stops such as in Ferndale and Bloomfield Hills. Royal Oak could even put two stops in. I also understand that RT is needed all over Metro Detroit, not just in those cities. Just a thought...
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Dtowncitylover
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Username: Dtowncitylover

Post Number: 101
Registered: 02-2008
Posted on Tuesday, May 06, 2008 - 7:21 pm: Edit PostDelete PostMove Post (Moderator/Admin Only)

...could also put in stops within Detroit.
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Professorscott
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Username: Professorscott

Post Number: 1257
Registered: 12-2006
Posted on Tuesday, May 06, 2008 - 8:00 pm: Edit PostDelete PostMove Post (Moderator/Admin Only)

Long term I think there is, among the various players, the thought of using the existing freight corridors for commuter rail of some type. The Ann Arbor - Airport - Detroit effort will teach us how to do it: what track corridor upgrades are necessary, how far apart to place stations, frequency of service, what to charge, how much the whole shebang costs, and so forth.
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Transitrider
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Username: Transitrider

Post Number: 61
Registered: 01-2007
Posted on Tuesday, May 06, 2008 - 9:57 pm: Edit PostDelete PostMove Post (Moderator/Admin Only)

Reminder:

For those who missed the previous Open Houses and last week's Press Conference, there is another DTOGS Open House at WSU:

http://www.dtogs.com/

DTOGS Public Open Houses

Wednesday, May 7, 2008
11:00 AM - 1:00 PM
5:00 PM - 7:00 PM

Location:
Wayne State University - The Welcome Center
42 W. Warren (corner of Woodward) Detroit, MI 48202
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Danindc
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Username: Danindc

Post Number: 4271
Registered: 10-2003
Posted on Wednesday, May 07, 2008 - 10:40 am: Edit PostDelete PostMove Post (Moderator/Admin Only)

To address the points made by Royce above:

While it may seem that the easiest and cheapest option would be to build a light rail line in a freeway median, there are fundamental flaws with this approach that more than negate the savings in initial capital outlay. If Detroit is going to build a light rail line, it must be implemented properly, or else not only will that line be doomed, but the future of any sort of transit in Detroit will be doomed as well.

1. Accessibility. If you build a line down the freeway median, it makes it pretty damn hard for a pedestrian to get there. Sure, it may look neat to see trains when you're driving along the freeway, but consider that passengers on Chicago's South Side Red Line need to walk a good 1/2 mile to get from the station to any sort of meaningful destination. Never mind destinations beyond.

Good accessibility is needed for those to access stations on foot, bike, and transferring from buses. This is not only important for ridership of the line, but to serve the necessary destinations and in turn generate that holy grail known as "pedestrian activity".

2. Development. Part of the reason cities are building light rail is to increase density of development, and create walkable neighborhoods. If you build in the middle of the freeway, you will see virtually no development.

One only needs to look at Northern Virginia's Orange Line Metro. The segment in Fairfax County runs in the median of I-66. As such, there has been very little development (until recently) within walking distance of stations, unless you count parking lots and garages for thousands of cars as "development". Furthermore, with the park-and-ride mode of access, this implies that the easiest way to get to the stations is...clogging the freeway! Arlington County, on the other hand, elected to steer its segment away from the freeway, and generally along Wilson Boulevard. The result has been billions of dollars of new development, population growth, and an increase in tax revenues. A former strip of used car lots and pawn shops now features apartments, condos, retail, and entertainment options of all sorts within a short walk of a subway station. Arlington now has a density far greater than most "big cities". Automobile traffic on the roadways paralleling the subway lines is 2 lanes in each direction, and very manageable.

Those are the big reasons. The manner of implementation depends on what you would want the rail line to do.
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Kid_dynamite
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Username: Kid_dynamite

Post Number: 538
Registered: 06-2007
Posted on Wednesday, May 07, 2008 - 10:58 am: Edit PostDelete PostMove Post (Moderator/Admin Only)

http://www.detnews.com/apps/pb cs.dll/article?AID=/20080507/B IZ/805070340

I like what Dan Gilbert says here.
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Dtowncitylover
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Username: Dtowncitylover

Post Number: 103
Registered: 02-2008
Posted on Wednesday, May 07, 2008 - 11:56 am: Edit PostDelete PostMove Post (Moderator/Admin Only)

What a great article, someone really wanting to change the false downtown image that suburbanites have. I hope with Book-Cadillac that more people will use the downtown area. But anyways...this thread is about mass transit.
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Kid_dynamite
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Username: Kid_dynamite

Post Number: 539
Registered: 06-2007
Posted on Wednesday, May 07, 2008 - 12:36 pm: Edit PostDelete PostMove Post (Moderator/Admin Only)

"But anyways...this thread is about mass transit."

No shit..read Dan Gilbert's comments.
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Dtowncitylover
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Username: Dtowncitylover

Post Number: 104
Registered: 02-2008
Posted on Wednesday, May 07, 2008 - 1:55 pm: Edit PostDelete PostMove Post (Moderator/Admin Only)

I know what you are talking about, I did read the article, I was getting off topic.
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Bob
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Username: Bob

Post Number: 1782
Registered: 11-2003
Posted on Wednesday, May 07, 2008 - 2:05 pm: Edit PostDelete PostMove Post (Moderator/Admin Only)

This is huge when you have so many important business leaders saying we need this, how do we make it work. People listen to them. That was the thing you didn't have with these previous plans, the movers and shakers saying we need this. This economic funk the state is in just might actually make people change things for the better around here, because we are in survival mode now.
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Gotdetroit
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Username: Gotdetroit

Post Number: 151
Registered: 12-2005
Posted on Wednesday, May 07, 2008 - 2:55 pm: Edit PostDelete PostMove Post (Moderator/Admin Only)

The reason you didn't have local business leaders getting hard behind the idea of mass transit in the past, is because the main local business leaders at the time were the heads of global auto companies.

(Message edited by gotdetroit on May 07, 2008)
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Burnsie
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Username: Burnsie

Post Number: 1383
Registered: 11-2003
Posted on Wednesday, May 07, 2008 - 5:26 pm: Edit PostDelete PostMove Post (Moderator/Admin Only)

Light rail in the medians? Um, if you're talking about freeways within the city of Detroit, the only median is a concrete wall. Another problem is that the grades on freeways would in many places be too steep for light rail. A single streetcar perhaps could handle them, but not more than one rail car coupled together.

As far as reducing the amount of lanes to accomodate rail traffic in the medians, that's probably a political non-starter.

The grade issue, above all, would be the most problematic and costly to overcome.

(Message edited by Burnsie on May 07, 2008)
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Charlottepaul
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Username: Charlottepaul

Post Number: 2484
Registered: 10-2006
Posted on Wednesday, May 07, 2008 - 8:37 pm: Edit PostDelete PostMove Post (Moderator/Admin Only)

"Another problem is that the grades on freeways would in many places be too steep for light rail."

I as well see that light rail on the freeway is not workable, but to clear up one point, light rail can go up a hill at least as steep as one a car can.
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Charlottepaul
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Username: Charlottepaul

Post Number: 2485
Registered: 10-2006
Posted on Wednesday, May 07, 2008 - 8:41 pm: Edit PostDelete PostMove Post (Moderator/Admin Only)

eg: up and down at the road crossings: http://www.flickr.com/photos/c arolinatim/2061011530/
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Mwilbert
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Username: Mwilbert

Post Number: 217
Registered: 11-2007
Posted on Wednesday, May 07, 2008 - 9:15 pm: Edit PostDelete PostMove Post (Moderator/Admin Only)

I think in general the freeways are stupid places to put the trains, but you could elevate them if you really felt the need--the advantage is that you could have platforms at appropriate overpasses and you wouldn't notice the normal blighting effect of elevated trains--you already have the blighting effect of the freeways!

Don't think you'd get much development effect though. It might be useful for expresses that didn't stop much.
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Rbdetsport
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Username: Rbdetsport

Post Number: 493
Registered: 11-2005
Posted on Wednesday, May 07, 2008 - 9:50 pm: Edit PostDelete PostMove Post (Moderator/Admin Only)

Did anyone go to the open house today?

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