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E-M:/ URGENT cALL TO ACTION -MDOT Hearing on the fate of Downtown and the East RIverfront

Sorry for cross postings.

Please share the attached information ( both as a word doc and text only) as broadly as possible.  TRU would like to see a large turn-out at MDOT's public hearing about I-375 and East Riverfront Access.
If you keep an email list or relevant webpage, Please repost it. If you have access to concerned churches and other organizations, please see that a copy of this information gets to the right hands, and make a public announcement. The Fate of our Riverfront and Downtown affects everyone.  On this issue, we are all neighbors.

  A previous op-ed provides a good summary of TRU's concerns. http://www.freep.com/voices/columnists/ehand9_20000809.htm
 MDOT's project has changed very little since then.  If you have access to the media, get them to run a story. 

Transportation Riders United [TRU]
A coalition to improve Public Transportation in Metro Detroit
1150 Griswold Suite 2800
Detroit, MI 48226
fax 313.885.7883
kdkhands@voyager.net ; www.marp.org/tru.htm


MDOT is holding a pair of “public hearings” on the I-375 boondoggle this Wednesday, November 29, 2000. The first session is from 3:30 pm to 5:00 pm. The second session is 7:00pm to 8:30pm. The hearing is at Christ Church at 960 E. Jefferson, southeast corner of Jefferson and I-375, enter off Woodbridge street, one block south. Note that MDOT has not made it easy for downtown workers to leave work at 5:00pm and stop by the church on their way home. Transportation Riders United (TRU) needs your presence at this hearing to force an Environmental Impact Statement (EIS) on this project.

This project will shape the future of our riverfront and downtown for generations. Decisions being made are too important to compromise with third-rate, overbuilt solutions. Holistic alternatives are available: $100million is enough money to do an appropriate urban scale upgrade of the I-375 and Jefferson interchange, build new access roads for GM and implement commuter rail from Pontiac to Detroit. Silence on your part is a vote for the wasting of tax dollars, our cityscape and our urban environment.

The hearing will look like an “open house,” but a court reporter will be stationed someplace out-of-the-way to take testimony that will become part of the official record. It is extremely important that you provide your testimony to the court reporter, otherwise your input will not be considered as part of the official record. Written comments can be submitted to MDOT c/o Jose Lopez until Dec. 11, 2000, by email:
lopezjos@mdot.state,mi.us,  or fax 517.373.9255, but it is important that we have a large turnout of concerned citizens.

This is an opportunity to show the Federal Government that MDOT has not done its job in outlining the negative impacts that their proposed alternative will have on the human environment. The Federal Government can then demand that MDOT study this project in further detail and prepare a full Environmental Impact Statement (EIS). If MDOT is forced to prepare an EIS, MDOT will need to review the project more holistically, resulting is a solution that is better for everybody, including the City of Detroit, and General Motors.

As history, TRU asked MDOT to respond to a number of our concerns in relation to MDOT’s redesign of the I-375 and Jefferson Avenue access over a year ago. The proposed alternative produced by MDOT was unresponsive to our concerns about: the DEQUINDRE CUT, last rail access to downtown, the effect of the proposed CASINO DRIVEWAY on capacity needs for I-375, improving traffic flow to and from the Detroit-Windsor TUNNEL, the need for transit to be part of any solution and NON-MOTORIZED access for pedestrians and bicyclists.

TRU has reviewed the MDOT proposed alternative to be discussed at this hearing. We are concerned that neither the public nor GM nor the City is getting the access it deserves. Our assessment is that this suburban-style horseshoe-curve design :,
·       Is worse than any of the previous options,
·       Is the most expensive to build, thereby wasting taxpayer money,
·       Destroys all prospects for reestablishment of an attractive Commuter Rail service between Oakland County and downtown Detroit,
·       Is hostile to access needs of pedestrians, the handicapped and bicyclists
·       Is inefficient in that the “level of service” will rise from a projected “F” only to “D” after $100 million investment, and months of disruption due to construction
·       Is oblivious to the environmental justice concerns of the one third of Detroit households without auto access who will gain nothing from this boondoggle,
·       Is antagonistic to MDNR’s Tricentennial Riverfront Park and GM’s riverfront promenade only a block away,
·       Is incompatible with GM’s proposed riverfront residential and mixed-used development,
·       Misses the opportunity to reconnect St. Antoine from the University of Detroit Mercy urban campus to the Renaissance Center and the riverfront,
·       Severs Franklin Street, the delivery access to Ren Cen’s loading docks,
·       Fails to address Southeast Michigan’s precarious air quality attainment status by encouraging increased reliance on single occupancy automobile use,
·       Fails to study noise impacts and air quality impacts of increased traffic on the proposed park and residential development south of Jefferson.

MDOT has not done its job. It has:
o       Ignored the feasible alternative of reestablishing commuter rail from Oakland County to Downtown Detroit by segmenting consideration of I-75 and I-375 improvements into separate studies.
o       Scoped this study too narrowly by focusing only on pavement-based solutions to address relevant and essential issues of the interplay between I-375 access, the proposed Dequindre Cut Casino Driveway and overall downtown access issues.
o       Refused to seek a good faith multi-modal solution that balances needs for transit, pedestrian and bicycle access as well as automobiles.

TRU’s Preferred Alternative:
·       Is better, faster, cheaper!
·       Treat the question of downtown access holistically!
·       Establish a modern commuter rail service between Oakland County and the RenCen to reduce the traffic flow into downtown and along the I-75 corridor.
·       Terminate I-375 blocks north of Jefferson and allow it to emerge as surface streets that flow into the East Riverfront Area. Recovered real estate will be available for economic development and more parkland.
·       Improve bus service to downtown.
·       Market bus and commuter rail service to “choice” riders.
·       Integrate bus transfer and circulating functions into the Downtown Detroit Campus Martius project.

YOUR PRESENCE and Comments will make a DIFFERENCE!

Karen D. Kendrick-Hands
Air Policy Director,
East Michigan Environmental Action Council
Co-founder, Transportation Riders United
1067 Devonshire Road
Grosse Pointe Park, MI 48230
313.885.7588, fax 313.885.7883
Check out TRU's web page at http://www.marp.org/tru.htm
Try the Motranzit site, too - http://www.hometown.aol.com/motranzit
Also check out http://members.aol.com/wingsrgr8/DPM/ &
If you don't ask the right questions, you will never get to the right answers . . .