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Transportation Nation

TN MOVING STORIES: Detroit Slashes More Bus Service, Alexandria To Join Capital Bikeshare, NJ Transit Customers Unhappy

Thursday, October 13, 2011

Top stories on TN:

NY's governor is zeroing in on a "surprising" choice to run the MTA. (Link)

A new website maps crashes at NYC intersections. (Link)

An infrastructure bank will likely return as a political weapon. (Link)

GM to bicyclists: We're sorry we offended you. (Link)

Detroit bus (photo by Matt Picio via Flickr)

Detroit has cut a third of its bus service over the last five years; now suburban bus lines are facing "colossal cuts." (Detroit Free Press)

Alexandria's City Council voted unanimously to join Capital Bikeshare. (Washington Post)

NJ Transit customers gave the agency the lowest rating ever for "handling of service disruptions." (The Star-Ledger)

An Amtrak train blew a red signal and crashed into another train in Oakland, injuring 16. (AP via San Francisco Chronicle)

Today's Brian Lehrer Show: car sharing and rental cars. Discuss. (WNYC)

 

 

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The Takeaway

One Woman's Quest: Re-imagine Detroit's Public Education System

Wednesday, October 12, 2011

If Michigan legislators have their way, the state could soon be home to some of the most permissive charter school regulations in the nation.

Michigan, and Detroit in particular, is widely seen as one of the epicenters for a number of experimental school reforms. The recently introduced legislation aiming to relax the cap on charter school growth, follows a move, earlier this year, that essentially placed the worst performing schools in the Detroit Public School system into a separate district. The city and the state have been rallying to overcome U.S. Secretary of Education Arne Duncan’s declaration, last year, that DPS was “arguably the worst urban school district in the country.’’

But in the push to implement sweeping school reform, some veteran educators say Detroit and the state may be missing an opportunity to make student and classroom-centered changes.

 

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The Takeaway

The Creative Class: How Detroit and Berlin Have Drawn Revitalizing Artists

Saturday, October 08, 2011

Detroit and Berlin both know something about abandoned buildings. After the fall of the wall when the former east opened up, parts of Berlin looked a lot like Detroit today, where scores of buildings stood unclaimed, their purpose unclear. While officials worked on a city’s future, Germans like Dimitri Hegemann, relished in exploring the relics of Berlin’s industrial past. 

"We were very curious...so when I could go in… I was curious like a young boy," he says. "What is this building? Oh, it’s empty? Let’s look inside. And this happened 1,000 times. We just invaded. This was, you must understand, the frame of these days. The atmosphere was burning. It was an amazing situation." 

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Soundcheck

The (Crappy) Week In Review

Friday, October 07, 2011

Neither of this week's big stories was a happy one.

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The Takeaway

Berlin: 'Poor But Sexy,' Detroit: 'Empty But Sexy'

Wednesday, October 05, 2011

WDET's Martina Guzman spent six weeks in the German city of Berlin, exploring a long-recognized but underreported connection between that former manufacturing giant and the Motor City. In this post, which you can hear from the radio here, she gives a first-person account of visiting Berlin and talking with several people that recognize the connection between the two cities, especially their diminished but still "sexy" industrial prowess. 

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Soundcheck

Soundcheck Smackdown: Gotham vs. Motown

Monday, October 03, 2011

The ballfield isn’t the only place where New York and Detroit are facing off. Today: The music of the two metropolises go head to head in a city versus city Soundcheck Smackdown. Plus: Singer-songwriter and composer Tori Amos explores traditional melodies and untraditional themes in her classical album debut, a song cycle called Night of Hunters. She performs live in the studio.

The Takeaway

Former Governor Jennifer Granholm on America's Economic Future

Thursday, September 22, 2011

Jennifer Granholm was the governor of Michigan from 2002 to 2010. Those eight years were some of the most turbulent in the history of the state. Governor Granholm led Michigan through a number of factory shut-downs, a serious recession with skyrocketing unemployment, and, of course, the auto bailout in 2008. Governor Granolm and her husband, Dan Mulhern, describe these challenges and much more in their new book, "A Governor’s Story: The Fight for Jobs and America's Economic Future."

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The Takeaway

GM and UAW Reach New Agreement

Wednesday, September 21, 2011

General Motors and the United Auto Workers union have released the details of their tentative new four year agreement, which was reached on Tuesday. The deal will close the salary gap between workers in the two-tier wage system that is in place at GM and the two other Detroit automakers. Paul Eisenstein, publisher of The Detroit Bureau, has the latest on the deal.

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The Takeaway

Detroit Design Festival Tries to Move Beyond Drawing Creatives

Monday, September 19, 2011

The push to re-imagine Detroit as a national Mecca for creative entrepreneurs takes another leap  forward, starting September 21, with the new Detroit Design Festival, eight days and nights of crowd-sourcing ideas, talents and urban solutions.. The city has been making global headlines of late for its ability to draw young artists from all over the country and from every genre on the promise of cheap real estate and rich creative opportunity. This festival marks the first major showcase of creative Detroit and the potential local and relocating artists have to transform one of America’s anchor rust belt cities.

 

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The Takeaway

The Two-Tier Wage System: Fairness vs. Employment

Wednesday, September 14, 2011

Four years ago, the United Auto Workers Union allowed the three Detroit auto makers to put in place a two-tier system for paying employees, which allowed them to continue to functioning and stay in business as they struggled to stay afloat. New hires were given a salary around $14 an hour, while their tier-one counterparts were making almost double that. The system has helped increase employment in Detroit and kept the auto giants from tanking, but many people say it's unfair.

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The Takeaway

Detroit Fashion Collective: Keeping Fashionistas in The Great Lakes State

Friday, September 02, 2011

Independent local fashion designer Adriana Pavon has a vision that could one day do for fashion made in Detroit, what Berry Gordy once did with Hitsville USA, Motown's precursor. Yes, Pavon, 35, really believes her Detroit Fashion Collective, a new incubation, production and showroom space for designers and fashion creatives, could eventually be just that big of a hit.

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It's A Free Country ®

House Races to Watch: Mich. Dems Swap Districts to Up Re-election Odds

Friday, September 02, 2011

In a move that may help them stay in office despite radical reformulations of their districts by the Republicans that control the state redistricting process, Detroit Democrats Hansen Clarke and John Conyers are expected to swap districts in the race for reelection in 2012.

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The Takeaway

Education Week: One Public School's Experiences in Detroit

Friday, September 02, 2011

The Takeaway has been focusing on education this week, as students have been heading back to school across the country. Today, a look at one school, Detroit's Catherine Ferguson Academy. With a $327 million deficit and huge cuts in funding and employment, the public school system in Detroit has entered worrisome times. Catherine Ferguson Academy, a unique school that caters specifically to young mothers and pregnant teenagers, was almost closed as a result of the deficit, but students, teachers, politicians, and advocates rallied to save it.

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The Takeaway

Philip Levine Named as New Poet Laureate

Monday, August 15, 2011

Last week, the Library of Congress named Philip Levine as the next poet laureate, succeeding W.S. Merwin. Previous writers who were awarded that title include Robert Frost, Billy Collins, and Maxine Kumin. Levine was once an auto plant worker in Detroit, and that city became the basis for many of his poems. Levine joins us from his home in Fresno, California and talks about his reputation as a working class poet. 

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The Takeaway

How US Cities are Reacting to the Debt Crisis

Monday, August 01, 2011

The nation's debt crisis has all eyes on the politicians on Capitol Hill. But we wanted to know how the debt crisis is playing out in different cities across the country — what local fears and concerns are, and what people have to say about what's happening in the District of Columbia. We headed to Denver, Colo., Detroit, Mich., and Miami, Fla. to hear what people have to say about the current debt crisis.

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The Takeaway

Auto Contract Negotiations Begin

Wednesday, July 27, 2011

Contract negotiations between Chrysler and the United Auto Workers Union kicked off on Monday, as the industry fights to stay competitive with foreign automakers. Fellow "Big Three" companies General Motors and Ford will also begin negotiations with the UAW later this week. Will the parties involved be able to reconcile their demands and reach a suitable agreement before contracts expire in mid-September? Paul Eisenstein, publisher of The Detroit Bureau, has been following the negotiations.

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The Takeaway

Motown's Leaders Want You to Make It 'Hometown'

Tuesday, July 26, 2011

Motown, the city that set the world on wheels, now wants the world to consider calling it home. 

“Immigrants: come.  You’re welcome here.’’  That’s the message at the heart of a new effort by policy leaders to roll out a global welcome mat to immigrants, particularly foreign-born students. 

They paint a picture of a future Detroit where some of the more than 31,000 currently vacant homes are returned to stability by immigrants, foreign-born students and entrepreneurs with business acumen strong enough to help reverse the economic decline.   Immigration, leaders say, equals solutions.

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Transportation Nation

TN MOVING STORIES: Privatizing Amtrak Could Violate Constitution, First All-Electric Vehicle Car Share Will Debut in San Diego, and Airport Lounges for Everyone

Thursday, July 14, 2011

Amtrak's Acela train (photo by Kate Hinds)

Privatizing Amtrak could violate a clause in the Fifth Amendment. (The Hill)

Detroit's Mayor and the City Council are at odds over which agency will supervise the city's light rail project. (Detroit Free Press)

Airport lounges for everyone...who want to pay a small fee. (Wall Street Journal)

The country's first all-electric-vehicle car sharing program will debut in San Diego later this year. (San Diego Union-Tribune)

Toronto's city council voted to remove a bike lane. (Toronto Star)

The head of the New York City Council's transportation committee wants regular reviews of the city's Bike Master Plan. (NY1)

NYC's chief digital officer will be on today's Brian Lehrer Show to talk about the MTA's transit app development contest. (WNYC)

Today is Railroad Day on Capitol Hill -- rail lobbyists unite! (Progressive Railroading)

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The Takeaway

In Detroit it's Hip to be Square (Dancing)

Monday, June 27, 2011

In Detroit over the weekend it was hip to be square dancing. That’s because the city played host to the 60th National Square Dance Convention. Square dance has historically appealed to the middle American sensibilities, but in Detroit—where the pastime is enjoying a resurgence—the city’s predominantly African-American population can often be found on the dance floor. 

 

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The Takeaway

Measuring the Labor Market in Detroit

Friday, June 17, 2011

WDET Detroit Public Radio

If you go by the numbers, it would seem that things are looking up for Michigan’s engineers and other professionals. According to the Michigan Department of Labor and Economic Development, the automotive sector added jobs between December 2009 and the end of 2010. Although the overall number of jobs is still much lower than pre-recession numbers, graphs suggest that the gap between “supply” and “demand” is getting significantly smaller. 

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