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Detroit

The Takeaway

Detroit Celebrates Marche du Nain Rouge

Thursday, June 16, 2011

WDET Detroit Public Radio

Folklore has always played a role in the historical narrative of major cities, and Detroit is no exception. Here, residents who put stake in superstition believe in an evil spirit none as the Nain Rouge, or “the red dwarf of Detroit.” 

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The Takeaway

A New Boutique Wine Importer Brings World Taste to Detroit

Tuesday, June 14, 2011

WDET Detroit Public Radio

According to a 2010 study by Global Detroit, an economic development initiative, immigrants in southeastern Michigan are starting businesses at almost three times the rate of non-immigrants. Recent immigrant business ventures range from high-tech and manufacturing firms to restaurants and boutique import companies.  

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The Takeaway

Discovered Letters Inspire Readers at Troy Library

Tuesday, June 14, 2011

Forty years ago, E.B. White – the author of "Charlotte’s Web," "Stuart Little", and many other beloved children’s books – wrote a letter to the children of Troy, Michigan, at the request of a librarian in Troy’s new public library. "A library is a good place to go when you feel unhappy, for there, in a book, you may find encouragement and comfort. A library is a good place to go when you feel bewildered or undecided, for there, in a book, you may have your question answered." White was just one of the famous authors and public figures who responded to librarian Marguerite Hart’s request for letters to urge the children of Troy to read.

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The Takeaway

Welcome to the Hostel Detroit

Thursday, June 09, 2011

WDET Detroit Public Radio

The idea of “Hostel Detroit” started about a year back when Emily Doerr — a resident in the city’s Corktown neighborhood — says the interest in hosting a “couch surfer” grew to the point where she was considering putting up bunk beds in her condo to welcome even more out-of-towners. 

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The Takeaway

Changing the Narrative: What's the Best Way to Represent Detroit?

Wednesday, June 08, 2011

WDET

What are current outside perceptions of Detroit, and what can residents realistically do to alter these? Is it in the city’s interest to project an image of Detroit as a “blank canvas” or a place of “endless possibility"? Or is it preferable to present the city as a major metropolitan area with traditional opportunities, despite apparent problems? 

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The Takeaway

Muslim and Jewish Health Workers Unite to Help Working Poor at Interfaith Health Clinic

Monday, June 06, 2011

WDET Detroit Public Radio

Sheila Crutchfield hadn’t been feeling well in late 2010. So on a winter Sunday the Detroit native went on-line and looked for a local free health clinic to attend. She found one and headed in for a check-up. 

“They told me about my cholesterol and they took a history of me and now, I’m going to go see the doctor,” she said.

But it was more than just a routine check-up, Crutchfield didn’t know, but she was taking part in a first time event for both the Muslim and Jewish communities in Detroit’s metropolitan area.

 

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The Takeaway

Chevy Dealers Selling Volts, Taking Tax Rebate for Themselves

Friday, June 03, 2011

With gas prices on the rise, and energy policy in the headlines, both consumers and governments have reason to be happy about GM’s new hybrid, the Chevy Volt. The car is still in limited supply, and it’s pretty expensive — near $50,000. But for those who can get their hands on a brand new Chevy Volt, the government has added an incentive — a tax rebate of $7,500. However, as Mary Chapman writes in The New York Times "Wheels" blog, that deal may have been a little too sweet. Car dealers across the country have begun snatching up the rebate for themselves, and leaving their customers in the dust.

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Transportation Nation

Sales of Small Cars Boosting US Auto Industry, Boston's Transit Is Booming, Melbourne's Bike Share Is Not

Tuesday, May 31, 2011

Watching "Manhattanhenge" on East 42nd Street (photo by Kate Hinds)

Sales of small, fuel-efficient cars are revitalizing the American auto industry. (New York Times)

Meanwhile, Democrats try to use that industry's recovery as political leverage. (Wall Street Journal)

Is the Sacramento Kings' new arena putting a long-planned downtown transit center at risk? (Sacramento Bee)

A NY Times editorial lambastes NJ Governor Christie for withdrawing the state from a greenhouse gas emission reduction program. (Previous TN/WNYC coverage can be found here and here.)

Development is following New England's future high-speed rail line. (AP via NECN)

Ridership on Boston's transit system climbed last month to its highest number since September 2008. (Boston Globe)

A mostly empty bus system in Central Indiana seems to indicate that until the state is prepared to invest in mass transit that will offer residents a viable alternative to their cars, even some of the most avid transit supporters will stay away. (Indianapolis Star)

Theories abound as to why Melbourne's year-old bike share program is underperforming -- maybe it's due to bad weather, the roads, or the relatively few (50) stations. (Sydney Morning Herald)

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In case you missed it on Transportation Nation:

--Panasonic moved to Newark to be near transit (link)

-- car-free Central Park not happening anytime soon (link)

-- a survey of pedestrians seeks to quantify why walkers walk (link)

-- a profile of the MTA board member engaged to Sir Paul McCartney (link)

-- NYC subway ridership is up (link)

-- DC tries to get a handle on excessively wordy Metro station names (link)

-- higher gas prices didn't deter Californians or Floridians from leaving town on Memorial Day

-- TN's Alex Goldmark talked about mapping bike ticketing on the BL Show (link)

-- why did NJ Governor Christie exit the 10-state cap-and-trade program? (link)

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The Takeaway

Urban Chic: Middle Eastern Designer Puts Detroit on the Fashion Map

Wednesday, May 25, 2011

WDET Detroit Public Radio

Detroit is recognized internationally as an automobile city and a music city — definitely not a fashion city. But that might be changing. Detroit designer Bassem Souwaidan has created a clothing line that has global distribution and is putting Detroit fashion into a category called urban chic.

Bassem Souwaidan spends most days overseeing his small but successful clothing line, Al Wissam. Many haven’t heard the name Al Wissam, but the brand is coveted in the world of Hip-Hop. Souwaidan’s designs sell at more than 120 outlets worldwide and his signature line of leather jackets have shown up on television award shows, in music videos and in magazines like Vibe.

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Transportation Nation

US DOT Announces $2 Billion for High Speed Rail

Monday, May 09, 2011

Here are the details from the U.S. DOT on the Florida money, and where it's going.  More soon.

"U. S. Transportation Secretary LaHood Announces $2 Billion for High-Speed Intercity Rail Projects to Grow Jobs, Boost U.S. Manufacturing and Transform Travel in America Unprecedented Investment in the Northeast Corridor, Expanded Service in the Midwest and New, State-of-the-Art Rail Equipment Top List of Rail Dollar Recipients

"WASHINGTON – U.S. Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood today announced $2 billion in high-speed rail awards providing an unprecedented investment to speed up trains in the Northeast Corridor, expand service in the Midwest and provide new, state-of-the-art locomotives and rail cars as part of the Administration’s plan to transform travel in America.

"Twenty-four states, the District of Columbia and Amtrak submitted nearly 100 applications, competing to be part of an historic investment that will create tens of thousands of jobs, improve mobility and stimulate American manufacturing.

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"Earlier this year, President Obama and I made a commitment to improve and expand America's transportation system, including the development of a modern, national high-speed rail network," said Vice President Biden. "And today, we’re announcing investments that will continue our progress toward making this vision a reality.  These projects will put thousands of Americans to work, save hundreds of thousands of hours for American travelers every year, and boost U.S. manufacturing by investing hundreds of millions of dollars in next-generation, American-made locomotives and railcars."

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Transportation Nation

Big LaHood Annoucement on High Speed Rail

Friday, May 06, 2011

(Andrea Bernstein, Transportation Nation) U.S. Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood is making a "major announcement" on high-speed rail on Monday in New York and Detroit, according to an advisory his office sent out today.  He'll be in NY's Penn Station and Detroit Station later in the day.

Yesterday, he told Transportation Nation on a conference call he'd be announcing where the $2.4 billion in money from the Florida project would be going.

Illinois officials have already announced they'll be getting some of the money.   New York, California, and Michigan, are among 24 states applying for the funds, as are Amtrak and Washington, DC.

New York's Mayor, Michael Blooomberg, has been pushing for funds for a Northeast Corridor High Speed Rail project.

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The Takeaway

Detroit: Reinventing the Smaller City

Thursday, March 24, 2011

According to the most recent Census data, the city of Detroit lost over 237,000 people over the past decade. Today, the Motor City has a population of only 713,777, making Detroit America’s 18th most populated city. The Census findings fit nicely into the narrative of Detroit as a modern-day ghost town. However, say argue that the city's blight is also an opportunity to build a new urban environment with opportunities to create a new local economy.

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Transportation Nation

TN Moving Stories: MTA May Halve LI Bus Service, LaHood Orders Air Traffic Controller Staffing Review, and Regional Bike Share Being Explored in Boston Area

Thursday, March 24, 2011

Columbus Avenue bike lane being installed last year (photo by Kate Hinds)

NYC deputy mayor Howard Wolfson goes on the Brian Lehrer Show this morning at around 10:25 (give or take a few minuites) to counter charges that the city has gone too far with its bike lane program.

Long Island Bus may put the brakes on 27 of their 48 lines this summer because, according to MTA chairman Jay Walder, Nassau County is not paying enough toward the service's $134 million annual budget. Walder said 16,000 people may lose bus service and 200 workers will be laid off. (WNYC)

After two planes landed without being able to reach an air traffic controller at Reagan National Airport, DOT head Ray LaHood ordered an additional controller to staff the overnight shift (Washington Post) -- and a study of air traffic controller staffing at airports around the country. (AP via BusinessWeek)

Towns in the Boston area are exploring a regional bike share program. (Boston Globe)

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Accused of raiding local transit money, a Republican-led Minnesota House committee  dropped a provision from a major state transportation bill that would have shifted money from new rail projects to existing bus operations. (Minneapolis Star-Tribune)

The Queensboro Bridge will soon be known as the Ed Koch Bridge. (WNYC)

Vice President Joe Biden chastised Gov. Rick Scott in Tampa, saying he cost Florida thousands of jobs and cutting-edge infrastructure improvements by rejecting $2.4 billion in federal funding for high-speed rail. “Your governor, God bless him — I don’t know him — but I don’t get it,” Biden said at a private fundraising reception for Sen. Bill Nelson. (Miami Herald)

Changing Gear's Micki Maynard looks at Detroit's decline. "Sixty years ago...people in all parts of the city could walk to work, or take a streetcar or bus. Some of them chose to drive, because they earned enough to afford to vehicles they were making (something their parents and grandparents might not have been able to do)."

A day in the life of Manhattan parking court -- real life, in-person court, not the newfangled online court. (NY Times)

Top Transportation Nation stories we're following: The Central Park Conservancy is removing the confusing signs that led the NYPD to ticket nine cyclists improperly for speeding. What’s more, the NYPD took the unusual step of making house calls to apologize for the erroneous citations.  Speaking of Central Park: a NYC council member has introduced legislation that would ban cars from both Central and Prospect Parks. The attorney litigating the Prospect Park West bike lane lawsuit appeared on WNYC's Brian Lehrer Show. And: a new transportation advocacy group grows in Houston.

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Transportation Nation

TN Moving Stories: Decline in Auto Manufacturing Costs Detroit 25% of its Population, and Where Does Manhattan's West Side Really End?

Wednesday, March 23, 2011

Detroit viewed through a window on the People Mover (Gehad83/Flickr)

The Takeaway looks at how the disaster in Japan is affecting car manufacturing in the US.

And here's how the decline in car manufacturing is affecting the Motor City: New census numbers reveal that one in four Detroiters have moved out. "With 713,777 people, the city reached its lowest count in 100 years, though officials will contest it." (Detroit Free Press)

Seattle City Council is considering a one-year experiment to limit disabled parking in 14 blocks of downtown Seattle. The goal is to create more turnover of parking spaces and minimize disabled parking placard abuse. (Seattle Times)

North Carolina transportation officials announced an agreement that will free up $461 million in federal money to begin modernizing the state’s rail system. (Greensboro News & Record)

Confusion in Manhattan over exactly where the East Side begins and the West Side ends. (Or vice versa.) Surprise: the west side of Fifth Avenue is, technically, the West Side. Even if you're walking along Central Park. (NYT)

"Horrible" transit cuts (15% reduction in service, 29 bus lines eliminated) begin in Pittsburgh this Sunday. (Pittsburgh Post-Gazette)

A NYC councilwoman is introducing a bill today that would restrict vehicles from traveling along the main, 6-mile loop in Central Park and inside Brooklyn's Prospect Park. (NY Post)

The attorney handling the Prospect Park West bike lane lawsuit will be on the Brian Lehrer Show (WNYC) this morning.

Ray LaHood is in Honolulu to report on that city's transit expansion. (KHON)

Watch the NY MTA's monthly board meeting here, starting at 9:15am.

Top Transportation Nation stories we're following: Safety problems are widespread on New York's inter-city bus companies. New York's bridges receive their worst grade ever, and California's aren't too great, either. Airlines carried more passengers in 2010 than they did in 2009, but have yet to fully rebound from the recession. And transit riders love their technology -- at least until someone looks over their shoulder.

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Transportation Nation

Chrysler Winning Points for Selling Detroit in Super Bowl Ad

Monday, February 07, 2011

(Alex Goldmark, Transportation Nation) In Super Bowl XLV there were more car commercials than beer ads, most out of Detroit and many touting the eco-elements of new models. But the most noteworthy was the classy ad for the new Chrysler 200 featuring Eminem.

"Chrysler 200" was the top trending Google search this morning. Not bad for the new name of what used to be the Sebring, a car the Detroit Free Press called "arguably the most maligned vehicle to ever come out of Auburn Hills."

The ad works because it sells Detroit pride as much as it sells the revamped 200. A gritty baritone announcer apparently speaks for all Detroit intoning, "What does this city know about luxury. Huh? What does a town that's been to hell and back know about the finer things?"

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The Takeaway

The White Stripes Calls It Quits

Thursday, February 03, 2011

After more than 13 years, one of Detroit’s most beloved rock bands announced they are calling it quits. The White Stripes, which revived  garage rock, was made up of duo and divorced couple Jack and Meg White. (The two initially pretended to be brother and sister.) The band was known for their electric energy and raw sound. Kim LaCapria is a writer for The Inquistr, a pop culture and tech blog and a superfan. She explains why The White Stripes moved her.

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Transportation Nation

TN Moving Stories: TXDOT Head Resigns, Atlanta Eyes Unified System, and Detroit's Pothole Plague

Thursday, January 27, 2011

Texas Department of Transportation executive director Amadeo Saenz has resigned, just weeks after a hand-picked panel of advisors urged his bosses to make leadership changes at the highest levels. (Dallas Morning News)

A foot of snow KO's NYC's bus system. (WNYC)

Will Atlanta's fractured mass transit system finally become unified? "Local leaders...have asked the Legislature to form a regional mass transit agency to serve as an umbrella over the metro area’s various systems." (Atlanta Journal-Constitution)

Detroit is suffering from a plague of potholes, exacerbated by the weather -- and the budget. Video of a bumpy ride below. (Detroit Free Press)

Ray LaHood blogs about vehicle-to-vehicle communication: "intelligent cars talk to each other wirelessly, warning drivers of potential dangers."

NJ Senator Robert Menendez supports the concept of extending the Hudson-Bergen Light Rail into Staten Island, but he wants to hear specifics of the plan before committing to full support. (The Jersey Journal)

NJ Gov Christie would rather fight the feds than repay ARC money. (WNYC)

A Bronx-based trucking company paid $450,000 in parking tickets last year; the owner won't participate in the NYC Delivery Solutions parking program. "That program is like paying off the Mafia," he said. "It's saying, 'Here, Mr. Bloomberg, here's some money so I won't clog up the courts.'" (NY Daily News)

The Arizona Republic looks at the future of federal transportation funding, and concludes that proposals such as Mesa's light-rail extension and Tempe's streetcar are vulnerable and could be delayed.

Top Transportation Nation stories we're following:

Congestion pricing is percolating around NYC...again. (link)

The head of the NTSB says that when it comes to safety, we can pay now or pay later. But we will pay. (link)

Houston says howdy to the Nissan Leaf. (link)

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Transportation Nation

Toyota Recalls Could Have Lingering Effect On Consumers

Wednesday, January 26, 2011

(Detroit - Noah Ovshinsky, WDET) Toyota released its 2010 sales numbers this week. The company continues to be the top seller in the US market with almost 1.8 million units sold last year. But a closer look at the numbers reveals that sales are trending downward. Experts say recent recalls involving unintended acceleration are mostly to blame. And today's news of further recalls will likely haunt the company well into the future. (Listen to the audio here, or read the story below.)  Meanwhile, Toyota continues to struggle to attract younger drivers.

Toyota's concept vehicle, the FT-CH hybrid, which they unveiled at the 2011 Detroit Auto Show

The reason, at least partly, lies in what the drivers I interviewed had in common. Most are either middle-aged or have prior experience with Toyotas. Experts say these are the buyers that will return to Toyota. For the younger generation–it may be a harder sell.

Let’s be clear. Toyota is still a very popular brand in this country. The Camry remains the number one passenger car in the US. For most of the last two years, however, the company found itself in an unfamiliar place.

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The Takeaway

Detroit Auto Show: Hybrid Vs. Electric Cars

Wednesday, January 12, 2011

What cars — and trends — are making their debut at the 2011 Detroit Auto Show? Paul Eisenstein of The Detroit Bureau says that following a surprisingly strong year for the Big Three, things are looking good for American automakers at this year's show. Meanwhile, this was the first visit to the show by Toyota's CEO, who was in Detroit to promote the Prius. He admitted that his brand has faced a challenging year.

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Transportation Nation

Ford Plans To Add 7,000 Jobs To Its U.S. Workforce

Monday, January 10, 2011

(Detroit -- Jerome Vaughn, WDET) Ford Motor Company says it is adding 7,000 jobs to its workforce by the end of 2012. Ford President of the Americas Mark Fields made the announcement during the North American International Auto Show in Detroit on Monday.

“This year alone, Ford is adding nearly four thousand jobs at our U.S. plants. And we plan to add another 750 salaried jobs.” Fields says the Dearborn automaker plans to add another 2,500 additional manufacturing jobs in the U.S. next year.

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