Discuss Detroit Archives - Beginning January 2007 Could you walk to a bus in the suburbs before? Previous Next
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Miketoronto
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Username: Miketoronto

Post Number: 534
Registered: 07-2004
Posted on Tuesday, April 24, 2007 - 3:47 pm: Edit PostDelete PostMove Post (Moderator/Admin Only)

I was just wondering if there was a time when the majority of suburban Detroiter's could walk to a bus stop near their house, etc. And when the services were cut back?

I was surprised to just read that the MBTA in Boston basically decided in the late 60's, to cut suburban bus routes and just keep a skeletal bus service in the suburbs. So while most suburban residents could walk to a bus stop before say 1970. After that they no longer could, as only a small number of bus routes were kept.

I was just wondering if the same thing happened in Detroit? Or was SMART always a pretty skeletal service like now, with only a handfull of routes.

I wonder how many other American cities cut subruban bus service. The Boston article I read basically said that as the highways were built, the MBTA would just shut down bus lines in the suburbs the highway was built through, regardless of if the routes were used.

(Message edited by miketoronto on April 24, 2007)

(Message edited by miketoronto on April 24, 2007)
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Susanarosa
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Username: Susanarosa

Post Number: 1464
Registered: 11-2003
Posted on Tuesday, April 24, 2007 - 3:49 pm: Edit PostDelete PostMove Post (Moderator/Admin Only)

No matter where I've lived in the suburbs there was always a bus line no more than a few blocks away.
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Cambrian
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Username: Cambrian

Post Number: 1021
Registered: 08-2006
Posted on Tuesday, April 24, 2007 - 3:52 pm: Edit PostDelete PostMove Post (Moderator/Admin Only)

I can catch the Dequindre bus, 2 blocks from my house.
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Danindc
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Username: Danindc

Post Number: 2397
Registered: 10-2003
Posted on Tuesday, April 24, 2007 - 3:56 pm: Edit PostDelete PostMove Post (Moderator/Admin Only)

quote:

I was surprised to just read that the MBTA in Boston basically decided in the late 60's, to cut suburban bus routes and just keep a skeletal bus service in the suburbs. So while most suburban residents could walk to a bus stop before say 1970. After that they no longer could, as only a small number of bus routes were kept.



MBTA also operates a very extensive commuter rail system, though. Many of the bus routes eliminated may have been inefficient compared to the rail service. Inner suburbs like Cambridge and Newton still have extensive "T" bus service.

A website call Motown Transit has a somewhat interesting table, that illustrates (to a point) how far transit can be from suburban residents. Unfortunately, the data is not terribly processed. It would be interesting to see what the "average" walk to a bus stop is for the "average" resident of each locality.

http://www.hometown.aol.com/mo tranzit/page11.html
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Mackinaw
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Username: Mackinaw

Post Number: 2721
Registered: 02-2005
Posted on Tuesday, April 24, 2007 - 3:59 pm: Edit PostDelete PostMove Post (Moderator/Admin Only)

Three bus lines to downtown are within walking distance in Grosse Pointe.
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Focusonthed
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Username: Focusonthed

Post Number: 933
Registered: 02-2006
Posted on Tuesday, April 24, 2007 - 4:12 pm: Edit PostDelete PostMove Post (Moderator/Admin Only)

Bus service in Chicago's inner-ring suburbs is fairly plentiful (usually within 1 mile, sometimes every 4 blocks in denser suburbs or places that connect to rail routes, like Cicero). I don't really know what service frequency is like though.
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Detroitnerd
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Username: Detroitnerd

Post Number: 850
Registered: 07-2004
Posted on Tuesday, April 24, 2007 - 4:18 pm: Edit PostDelete PostMove Post (Moderator/Admin Only)

Personally, there was always a bus stop right around the corner from me. I think it's a combination of things, not just mass transit policy. For instance, as density falls in the metro area, and as people's ideas of "walking distance" become increasingly shorter, it's only natural.
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Detroitplanner
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Username: Detroitplanner

Post Number: 1217
Registered: 04-2006
Posted on Tuesday, April 24, 2007 - 4:20 pm: Edit PostDelete PostMove Post (Moderator/Admin Only)

Yes you could. Keep in mind that history has changed transit service. Separate companies used to run different lines until the late 60's when things were no longer profitable. The DSR had a much larger service (in terms of frequency and routes) than it (as DDOT) does today.

If you go back in time even further, you would have been able to use a network of interurban rails and buses that would get you around the midwest very cheaply (though slowly).
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Detroitnerd
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Username: Detroitnerd

Post Number: 851
Registered: 07-2004
Posted on Tuesday, April 24, 2007 - 4:26 pm: Edit PostDelete PostMove Post (Moderator/Admin Only)

DP: Are you sure about those different companies? I thought transit companies were all united under DSR in the 1920s.
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Eric_w
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Username: Eric_w

Post Number: 140
Registered: 02-2007
Posted on Tuesday, April 24, 2007 - 4:51 pm: Edit PostDelete PostMove Post (Moderator/Admin Only)

Yes,certain DSR buses used to run outside the city limits years ago. You'd pay a nickel for an extra zone. There used to be a bus line called Great Lakes than did some service beyond the city too long ago.
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Jt1
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Username: Jt1

Post Number: 8911
Registered: 10-2003
Posted on Tuesday, April 24, 2007 - 5:02 pm: Edit PostDelete PostMove Post (Moderator/Admin Only)

If you have feet you can walk to a bus stop. Is there a distance limitation that you had in mind.

SMART also transports bikes which is nice.
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Scs100
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Username: Scs100

Post Number: 917
Registered: 12-2006
Posted on Tuesday, April 24, 2007 - 5:04 pm: Edit PostDelete PostMove Post (Moderator/Admin Only)

I walk four blocks on weekends for the bus, and two early on weekdays if I need to. Not that bad in Grosse Pointe.
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Detroitplanner
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Username: Detroitplanner

Post Number: 1218
Registered: 04-2006
Posted on Tuesday, April 24, 2007 - 5:11 pm: Edit PostDelete PostMove Post (Moderator/Admin Only)

Here is a source (not a good one, but hey thats google for ya):

http://hometown.aol.com/chirai lfan/dsmhist.html
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Bearinabox
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Username: Bearinabox

Post Number: 173
Registered: 04-2006
Posted on Tuesday, April 24, 2007 - 5:34 pm: Edit PostDelete PostMove Post (Moderator/Admin Only)

Coverage in southeast Oakland (except in Lathrup Village) is pretty extensive, as is coverage along Lake St. Clair, but Warren could definitely add a few routes. Bus lines become very sparse north of 15 Mile and west of Telegraph, but that's to be expected.
If I were in charge of SMART, though, I'd be mainly concerned with making all the buses run on time, so the schedules mean something and you're not rolling the dice every time you try to catch a bus. When the buses they have are dependable, then they can look at adding more routes.
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Professorscott
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Username: Professorscott

Post Number: 297
Registered: 12-2006
Posted on Wednesday, April 25, 2007 - 1:56 am: Edit PostDelete PostMove Post (Moderator/Admin Only)

The bigger problems are speed and frequency of service IMHO. Let's say you're in Royal Oak, in a suburban neighborhood, perhaps near 13 and Crooks. Your job is to take transit to the airport. You need to be there at 2:00 on a Wednesday to catch your 3:30 plane.

Let me know what time you'd need to leave and how much time you'd spend dealing with transit... then let me know if you'd be likely to try to do it that way.

That's one example; there are thousands more. Real cities have real transit.
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Thnk2mch
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Username: Thnk2mch

Post Number: 883
Registered: 02-2006
Posted on Wednesday, April 25, 2007 - 9:11 am: Edit PostDelete PostMove Post (Moderator/Admin Only)

The two closest bus stops to my house, when SMART was in Livonia was:

Two miles to the south.
or
One and three quarters miles to the northwest.
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Swiburn
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Username: Swiburn

Post Number: 109
Registered: 07-2006
Posted on Wednesday, April 25, 2007 - 10:17 am: Edit PostDelete PostMove Post (Moderator/Admin Only)

I walked two blocks to the Woodward line and went downtown on that. Then you could connect with the tunnel buses to Canada and go to either the CNR station or just downtown Windsor. And of course you could take suburban buses to places like Allen Park, etc.
I could also take the northbound Woodward-Royal Oak bus and get off at the Grand Trunk station and go to Durand.
It was so great for a junior high kid to get on the bus on Saturday and go to the Detroit Art Institute all by myself!
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Jerome81
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Username: Jerome81

Post Number: 1383
Registered: 11-2003
Posted on Thursday, April 26, 2007 - 1:12 am: Edit PostDelete PostMove Post (Moderator/Admin Only)

Agreed about getting to the airport. You can't get to the CBD from DTW in what, under 2 hours?

Nobody's gonna use that. And of course they're not going to build anything because "nobody would use it".

So around and around we go.

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