Skyscrapers, international bridges, artificial beaches, bike paths, greenways, parks, a professional multisport arena and streetcars are just some examples of recent developments in Detroit and what Detroit Free Press reporter John Gallagher calls “a jump of revitalization after 50 years of despair.”
Gallagher gave a presentation to Wayne State students in the Schaver Music Hall on Sept. 15, where he analyzed the different projects being worked on by the city of Detroit and other private businessmen, including Dan Gilbert and the Ilitch family.
Gallagher praised much of the work being done, but also presented criticism on certain aspects of some projects and provided his opinion on what can be done to better the city.
One of the new, inexpensive advancements include moveable furniture around the downtown area. Gallagher said the furniture is more than just a place to sit. It gives the city a more comfortable feel and improves personal relations in the community.
Along with inexpensive development, there are also some very pricy projects.
The QLINE—which took about 10 years to plan—opened in May 2017. The $137 million electric streetcar travels across 3 miles of Woodward Avenue.
“Detroit is pretty bad at mass transit, probably one of the worst across big cities in America,” said Gallagher. “There a lot of reasons for Detroit’s failing transit system: not knowing who should pay for it, how to build it, city-urban antagonism and racism. White folks don’t want to live with black folks and that has led to failure to do anything about mass transit.”
Although Gallagher said he likes the QLINE, he said he would like to see more be done about mass transit here in Detroit.
David Jackowicz, WSU junior and music technology major said, “The QLINE is limited, I want to see a mode of transportation that is usable for more people.”
Gallagher said he was fond of the MoGo bike sharing initiative, which also began in May 2017. He cited issues about short time limits and MoGo being used more as a “bike rental program than a bike sharing program.” However, he said he sees people often using MoGo bikes on the many bike lanes Detroit has to offer.
“I plan on bringing my bike out here and trying out these new bike lanes (Gallagher) talked about today,” said James Stanulet, a WSU junior and music technology major. “I see myself living in Detroit if I find a job here after college. The development here is definitely positive and I’m proud that Detroit’s growing.”
Much of the development going on in Detroit is happening near WSU’s campus. Gallagher said the improvements will impact students on a daily basis.
“The city is nicer and more pleasant. There are a lot more places to cycle, eat, get coffee and live, and I think that should translate to a spike in applications [at WSU],” said Gallagher.
“Learning about the developments made me want to live on campus much more,” said Jackowicz. “I think everything that is being done is positive, but there isn’t much going on in the neighborhoods which is something I hope changes.”