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Transit Notes: Potholes, a possible Wayne/Washtenaw RTA option, transit stories

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Photo by Michelle and Chris Gerard

2018 has turned out to be a busy year for transit discussions in Detroit, although nothing has exactly happened yet. But there has been a lot of talk. We’re rounding up some of the important stories to pay attention to, including the one you might notice daily: the pothole situation.


The fluctuation of temperatures, along with the already poor condition of many of southeast Michigan’s roads, have turned many roadways into pothole obstacle courses. There are a few things you can do to either report them or get paid for damage to your vehicles.

The City of Detroit is encouraging residents and businesses to clear catch basins on streets to try to prevent flooding. The recent rains have left many potholes hard to see because of the high water. If you notice any particularly troublesome potholes, report them through the Improve Detroit app. More information can be found here.

Has a pothole caused damage to your vehicle? WDET reports on the ways you can get reimbursed for some or all of the repairs. Claims are organized by state, county, and city roads. In Detroit? You’ll need insurance, registration, a photo, and a notarized form. More information can be found here.

The Detroit Free Press reports that an additional $175 million in road funding could be passed in the Michigan legislature, which will make a busier-than-normal construction season in the state.

Regional Transit, or Wayne/Washtenaw Transit?

Last time we reported on the state of the RTA, the regional leaders didn’t seem to have any direction in mind. L. Brooks Patterson doubled down on that shortly after in his State of the County address for Oakland County, saying he would not support a regional transit proposal.

Since then, talks have intensified between Wayne and Washtenaw Counties, who both favor a regional transit plan. Will we see a limited plan pitched in November with a light rail and better bus systems between Detroit and Ann Arbor? It would be a start.

Tell us your stories!

Recently, we, along with some other media outlets, have started reporting on what it’s really like to ride transit here in metro Detroit.

  • Chad Livengood with Crain’s took the bus from Brightmoor to Novi, a city that opted out of the SMART bus system. How does that affect workers? (Hint: It turns a 20-minute car ride into 2 hour+ journey).
  • Matthew Piper told Model D about his six months without a car in Detroit, using his bike, MoGo, Lyft, Maven, the QLine, and DDOT.
  • We did a similar Q&A last year with transit advocate Trisha White on her two years of going car-free in the Motor City.
  • We also rode along in a Detroit taxi one busy Thursday morning. Instead of shuttling people back and forth to the airport, the rides largely were from low-wage workers who had limited options for getting to their jobs.

Curbed is currently looking for more stories from transit riders in Detroit (and around the country). Would you be willing to share your transit diary or do you know someone who could? Contact Urbanism Editor Alissa Walker by email at alissa at curbed dot com.