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Here's What Transit in Metro Detroit Could Look Like

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Airport service!

Gratiot in Eastern Market
Regional Transit Authority

We've been pretty excited to follow the progress around transit in metro Detroit. After a couple years of public input and meetings, the Regional Transit Authority of Southeast Michigan (RTA) revealed their Master Plan for coordinated transit in metro Detroit today.

It comes down to this: Detroit doesn't have a modern transit system and the region spends far less on transit than other metro areas around the country. With so much of our lives spread out throughout the region, we have few ways to get to where we need to go. Seniors and people with disabilities need clearer options. And if citizens are going to use public transit, it has to be safe. This plan addresses these concerns.

As we've discussed before, the plan would include Bus Rapid Transit along Woodward to Pontiac, Gratiot to Mount Clemens, Washtenaw Avenue between Ann Arbor and Ypsilanti, and Michigan Avenue from downtown Detroit to the airport.

Cross-county connections would run along many major roads, including Grand River, Van Dyke, 8 Mile, 9 Mile, and Greenfield.

The services also include a commuter express, an airport express, extended local service, and increased access called Mobility Management to help users understand their options.

To fund the $4.6 billion 20-year plan, in November, the RTA will ask for a 1.2 regional transit millage, which is a $1.20 property tax for every $1,000 of the assessed value of a home. It should come out to about $95 for the average home in Wayne, Oakland, Macomb, and Washtenaw Counties.

The executive summary can and should be read here.

According to the Detroit Free Press, the roll out could be lengthy and would look like this:

"RTA's proposed service implementation timeline


Express service on Woodward Ave and Gratiot Ave (Pre-BRT)

Paratransit / Mobility Management

Detroit-DTW Airport Express


8 Mile Rd Cross-County Connector

12 Mile Rd East Cross-County Connector

12 Mile Rd West Cross-County Connector

Grand River Ave Cross-County Connector

Greenfield Rd Cross-County Connector

Utica – Mt. Clemens Local Service

Ann Arbor - Canton Commuter Express

Ann Arbor - Livonia Commuter Express

Michigan Ave (Pre-BRT)


9 Mile Rd Cross-County Connector

Fort Rd / Eureka Rd Cross-County Connector

Van Dyke Rd Cross-County Connector

Middlebelt Rd Local Service

Ford Rd Local Service

I-75 Commuter Express

M-59 Commuter Express


15 Mile Rd Cross-County Connector

Jefferson Ave Cross-County Connector

Rochester Local Service

Northville – Southfield Local Service


Oakland – DTW Airport Express

Macomb – DTW Airport Express

Highland Rd / White Lake Local Service

Groesbeck Hwy Local Service

Plymouth Rd Cross-County Connector


Woodward Ave BRT

Detroit – Ann Arbor Regional Rail


Gratiot Ave BRT


M1-RAIL (RTA takeover of QLINE streetcar)


Michigan Ave BRT

Washtenaw Ave BRT"

The final plan will be approved by the RTA board in July.

What do you think, Curbed readers? Does this hit a lot of marks that we need for public transit in the area? Or is it missing something?