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February 8th, 2010
BLUEPRINT AMERICA
The Next American System
[VIDEO] Beyond the Motor City

Blueprint America examines how Detroit, a symbol of America’s diminishing status in the world, may come to represent the future of transportation and progress in America.

Detroit is the crucible in which the nation’s ability to move toward a modern 21st century transportation infrastructure is put to the test. The documentary shows how investments in the past — beginning with the construction of canals in the 18th century — profoundly shaped Detroit’s physical layout, population growth and economic development. Before being dubbed the Motor City, Detroit was once home to the nation’s most extensive streetcar system. In fact, it was that vast network of streetcars that carried workers to the area’s many car factories. And it was the cars made in those factories that would soon displace the streetcars in Detroit — and in every major American city.

Detroit’s engineers went on to design the nation’s first urban freeways and inspired much of America’s 20th century transportation infrastructure system — from traffic signals to gas stations — that became the envy of the word.

But over the last 30 years, much of the world has moved on, choosing faster, cleaner, more modern transportation and leaving America — and Detroit — behind. Viewers are taken on a journey beyond Detroit’s blighted urban landscape to Spain, home to one of the world’s most modern and extensive transit systems; to California, where voters recently said yes to America’s first high speed rail system; and to Washington, where Congress will soon decide whether to finally push America’s transportation into the 21st century.

  • Ryan

    This is a topic of such vital importance, I can’t help but feel a little let down that this chance to explain the issue to the public was somewhat wasted with weak arguments and cheesy images. Several people voiced the “human interaction” angle in favor of public transit; I ride the train every day and rarely make eye contact with my fellow riders. Unless they do something to anger me. Then i make angry eye contact. There is a powerful argument to be made for efficient, accessible mass transit, but that is certainly not one.

  • John W.

    I understand your comment, as a daily transit user, and especially as one who glares at teenage rapscallions disrupting the already fragile peace of Boston’s trains. I grew up around Detroit, and now I’m gone and hoping so much for its rebirth as a vibrant people-oriented city. What you see as a weak argument is one that simply wasn’t explained properly. The “human interaction” angle is code. It doesn’t simply describe, say, Joe and Juanita talking about the Tigers (maybe it does a little). “Human interaction” is a phrase that stands for connectivity and, perhaps more importantly in Detroit, commerce. If Joe wants to meet Juanita for coffee and they live on opposite ends of the city, a quick train or bus ride makes it happen. That same ride puts money into the hands of local business owners who can operate that coffee shop or restaurant because people can move. And when people don’t need cars the air is cleaner without so much exhaust and tire dust, dense, cohesive neighborhood development is possible, and cities and states can use money to develop economies instead of highways like I-75.

  • Larry S

    I’m glad this program did not subscribe to the MYTH that the auto industry conspired to kill commuter rail and intercity passenger rail in the United States. As a matter of fact, Henry Ford located his Model T factory along Woodward Ave and his River Rouge Factory because they both had good access to the streetcar lines.

  • Ryan

    John: If you mean that people are more likely to meet for coffee due to easily accessible mass transit…I guess. But I don’t see why Joe and Juanita couldn’t just drive to meet one another for coffee with all the same benefits you just described (minus the exhaust). I think in the longer term the argument may hold, as the density that effective mass transit encourages leads to better communities. And more discussion of the Tigers.

    And Larry, maybe there was no explicit “let’s get those trains” memo passed around the Ford plant, but the combination of the auto industry and government action certainly made the result inevitable. I hail from St. Louis, second maybe only to Detroit in terms of tragic decline, and old photos of vibrant neighborhoods connected by street cars, neighborhoods that were sliced into pieces by the highway network that drained the city dry, are almost enough to bring tears to my eyes. I would never argue that it is the sole contributing factor, but I think that it is no coincidence that cities like New York and Boston with great public transit are thriving while car-based rust belt cities wither away.

  • Larry S

    An angle not covered in this story is the emergence bicycling within the city limits. With the depopulation of the city, many throughofares have become quiet and safe routes from one end of the city to another. Many bicycle clubs, many with a majority of their members from the suburbs, plan regular rides through the city of 30-60 miles total. The bike riding season culminates in September with the annual fundraising ride called the “Tour De Troit” which begins in Roosevelt Park, the shadow of Michigan Central Depot mentioned in this program. The fundraiser has raised close to $65,000 for a greenway or bicycle lane project in the Corktown neighborhood near the former site of Tiger Stadium. http://www.tour-de-troit.org/

    A lesson to be learned here is that planners should never dedicate so many resources to one form of transportation such as freeways and interstates. The results are disasterous as evident in block after block of empty lots in Detroit.

    Finally, the video shown during the credits of this program are of the 1.5 mile long Dequindre Cut greenway which opened to pedestrian and bicycle traffic last year. The Dequndre Cut is a former rail line that paralleled Woodward Ave and had commuter rail service to downtown until the early 1980s. If you look closely, a lane has been kept open in hopes of restoring commuter service someday.

  • James Simmons

    Nice job. American needs an industrial policy but job number one is to radically reform the US Congress and the Supreme Court.

  • Larry S

    Exactly, Ryan.

    There is a myth that originated from the early 1970s. SOmeone claimed that GM had conspired to buy up and then dismantle public transportation throughout the country. The myth was perpetuated by the 1988 movie “Who Framed Roger Rabbit?” The truth is that GM did acquire controlling interest in some privately-held buslines and mass transit companies in hopes of building a vertical monopoly. They wanted to be the only company building buses and streetcars and the only company supplying the lucrative replacement parts in the U.S. The plan fell apart.

    Contrary to popular belief, especially in Metro Detroit, there was never a meeting in an auto company boardroom, complete with lightning bolts outside and manical “boo-ha-ha-ha” laughs, to dismantle public transportation. The auto execs simply did not care; they were still selling more and more cars no matter what happened outside the auto factory walls.

  • John W.

    Ryan, I think you’re missing the costs of driving that are rarely talked about. Cars beget more cars. More cars means more parking lots. More parking lots require more streets. More paved surface means more runoff, more heat-effect, less-friendly (read “safe”) sidewalks and pedestrian places, and wasteful construction of parking garages that are almost always underutilized (how often do you park on the top level?) This car-dependent build-out is something New Jersey knows a lot about, and it’s posed to become the first state to run out of available land (by 2025). On top of the build-out problem is another that mass transit infrastructure does not exacerbate in the way that car-specific infrastructure does–storm/rain water runoff. As far as I know, nearly every major American city opens the floodgates when it pours. While this prevents your basement from filling with raw sewage, and the basement of Joe and Juanita’s favorite cafe, that sewage is dumped into waterways. I’m pretty sure I don’t need to detail the post-rain condition of Detroit area lakes and rivers.
    On top of these points, 100+ people are killed every day by or in cars, almost always because of driver behavior. So Joe and Juanita can drive to the cafe if they want. But if that’s they way they’re forced to meet, they’ll drive whether they should or should not. Since no legislation/test currently exists that accurately and effectively keeps potentially dangerous drivers (people with many kinds of vision loss)from getting behind the wheel, chances are that they’ll choose to drive.
    There really are so many ways to improve urban/suburban mobility, and I’m all for any of them that help prevent more things like this http://www.m-bike.org/blog/2010/02/01/thank-the-driver-as-you-are-crossing-the-roadway/.

  • Liz

    I grew up and work in the Metro Detroit suburbs, cross through Detroit daily to commute and spend almost all of my free time in Detroit proper. I like how they end this documentary with Joe and Juanita. Honestly, I have never seen anything like this when writers/film makers help us imagine the future that is not cynically dystopian. I see the scenario also, as a message that public transportation can bring us together, since by design/practicality etc we have been driven apart (no pun intended) in the sense that getting together with friends who live across town is rarely truly prohibitive but more so a psychological constraint. Not to mention that driving is dangerous. So, come to think of it, if the filmmakers were to really go for it, they would mention the dangers of driving. Perhaps this fits with the ultimately upbeat tone of the piece and also perhaps also helping viewers imagine, per the high end tools Joe has to get across town, a future when technological advances might inhibit the fender bender or, even better, the fatal crash.

  • Paul Sichert

    Successful public trnsportation, while heavly susidized, is a result of a strong economic need. The most cost efficient mode is “rubber tired buses” for
    maxium flexibilty, not foreign light rail that goes
    no where. In major cities is usually takes 12 years
    for system implementation from start to finish. Or four mayors terms, two senators relection, six congessional terms etc. Brinmg in the pros from other’cities to tell us how to do it, they now we
    don’t. Thank yoi

  • Lynne

    I thought that this program was well done and informative. It is obvious that mass transit is desperately needed in all major big cities to give the workers a means to get to work, shop, etc. I was stunned that there is no public transit system for all of the city of Detroit. Even here, in Rochester NY, we have a reliable, affordable bus system. Unfortunately, I never saw past the interview with the woman discussing the riots in the 60’s because WXXI, our local public television station, cut the program at 10:57 pm. Very disappointing.

  • Mike P

    I too am happy the conspiracy theories were not the focus although Larry S. needs to watch “Taken for a Ride” at some point. 3.2 miles of rapid transit in our fair city is a next step albeit a small step away from the “People Mover”. Considering the price tag on stelth bombers and the like a national plan to upgrade infrastructure seems doable with the right national priorities. Will the auto industry shift gears and become a part of a new era of manufacturing that includes clean rail transportation or will we have to suck the last drop of oil out of our planet to make changes. There is no war between the freedom to drive a car and the pleasure to ride in one. Only in Detroit has the latter become a stigma. Enjoyed the Documentary, THANKS!

  • Darryl Alexander

    Refreshing to hear phrases like “the common good” and a “national vision” for transportation. And good to hear those phrases with Detroit as the backdrop. Detroit is a stand-in for all the challenges we collectively face and I hope we all can nurture the image of the “common good” to rise to the occasion.

  • Darryl Alexander

    Refreshing to hear phrases like “the common good” and a “national vision” for transportation. And good to hear those phrases with Detroit as the backdrop. Detroit is a stand-in for all the challenges we collectively face and I hope we all can nurture the image of the commons.

  • David

    I watched Blueprint from start to finish with great interest since I have worked my entire life in the Detroit area and the auto industry. As did my father, uncles, cousins and grandparents. I was quite disappointed in this presentation. It was more big government propaganda than accurate information. First of all, concrete and machines, in their different configurations don’t determine the relative success of a civilization. Success is determined by how public policy influences individual motivation. Miles is an likeable follow and a technologist. But new technology will not fix Detroit. Detroit was destroyed by failed welfare policy, treasonist foreign trade policy and destructive UAW contracts. The car is not villian, it is the single greatest contributor to our wonderful standard of living and unrivaled productivity. People will drive cars until the gas, natural gas, coal and uranium is gone. Hopefully humans will device a new power source at that time. Somehow this documentary suggests if only our FEDERAL government could provide a better long term plan to help the hopeless masses our fortunes could be reversed. Progressive dung. Detroit was the one the finest cities in the world from 1900 thru the 1950’s. Detroit almost won the 1964 Olympics. What happened in the 1960’s? Johnson’s war on prosperity and the welfare state. Then can free trade; yes, free like the proverbial free lunch. I am not anti-union; I grew up in a union househould. But the union has done a terrible disservice to working people in this state. When was the last time you saw a new manufacturing plant built in Michigan? I can’t remember. Usually when one of my friends find themselves in a deep hole, my first recommendation is to stop digging. But Detroit would never take this advice because I believe the political majority in Michigan like things just the way they are. I hate to be negitive but going forward, Detroit’s greatest contribution to the country and world, will be as a cautionary tale; from riches to rags.

  • MIarchitect

    Same old story I heard when I went to college in Southfield. We did a save Woodward Ave. project and nothing came from it.

    In Detroit each person has grand ideas, but it is much more difficult to get everyone to agree on what to do. This is the ultimate sign of independence and a place where no one gets along with their neigbors. Everything gets shot down and nothing ever gets done.

    As always, where will the money come from?

    One of the biggest problems with Detroit, Michigan, and the Federal Gov’ts is that everyone has the grand idea to build something and then when it is built no one sets aside any money to care for the infrastructure in the future.

    When I lived in Michigan and did projects in Detroit these were “Diamond in the Rough” projects and all the existing issues in Detroit eventually ate up all the grand ideas – ie. Woodward Ave, GM moving into the Rencen. Look at where GM is now – bankrupt!!! What a stupid idea!!!

    I remember reading articles about the Rencen in 1976 saying that this would change the city – it obviously did not. Even the Dallas Architect who designed the building stated a building would never change the Detroit people. In the end the Recen was hated by all of Detroit. Detroit is always looking for a scapegoat and that will never change.

    I do not live in Michigan any longer. Michigan has always reacted far too slowly to be effective.

    From what I saw in this video my opinion is is time to push the whole damn city into the Detroit River and start over. It’s time to stop playing minority politics, stop the complaining, looking for a government handout, and get on with life.

    Look at Michigan – no one wants to live there and people are leaving by the droves.

    Why would you put good money into a broken down hole in the ground?

  • Nick K

    Sorry, I have heard talk like this for years. Its just more talk. America has disintegrated into a nation that is all about a quick buck. For the last 30 years America has been on a slide downward. More countries are passing are living standard every year. Nothing is going to change, until we hit the bottom, and there is true radical change. Until then its going to be more talk, and a continuing slide to the bottom.

  • AJ

    I am seriously worried about America! I love my country & served it with honor in the US Air Force. However, we have been driven so far from each other and since the 80’s we have been told any spending on social programs or infrastructure is Communism. I agree with the comment made that we need to radically reform Congress & the US Supreme Court! We need term limits in the Senate so those going to Washington are going to get something done not start a career!
    The sad reality is with the recent SCOTUS decision to allow Corp. to spend money on elections as if they are a private citizen will just make the Corp. owned Congress that much harder to reform. I will not go into the other problems we have like religious driven politics that blind many to the real problems we face as a country!

  • Ansley

    I fear America is headed for dark times! We have been “driven” so far apart & since the 80’s have been told any spending on social programs or infrastructure is bad, is Communism! So, our ability as Americans to come together and spend for our future is DEAD! That is unless the Republicans spend money on the military or war then it is our patriotic duty to support such spending! (WHATEVER) Seriously, when the right wing in this country can take our country, our economic system & our secular government to the brink of total destruction and still have the ability to convince people of “Death Panels” & general lies about Health Care Reform it could be decades before this type of thinking takes a backseat to more pragmatic thinking about our future. Right now it seems more Americans honestly think outlawing abortion, preventing gay marriage and removing Evolution from public school science class are our most pressing problems. I could only imagine what America would be like if they do in fact get their way. Think about that…

    It is really sad watching America fall apart like it is when the solutions should be a point of coming together. I guess when China blows past us then folks might wake up…Or they will say we need to be more religious & the fall will continue. SAD!

    I truly hope I am wrong but it sure seems this is where we are headed!

  • ROBERT TRUMAN

    This program is basically an insult to intelligence. The photography is shamelessly slanted to the view that all of Detroit is a cesspool. It seriously puts forward the notion that the decline of public transit in the old City of Detroit explains the decline of the old City (it’s the other way around). And, most ludicrously, that rail transit, in the form of an LRT on a short portion of Woodward Avenue, will lead the “renaissance”.

    Detrot has had two post-riot rail investments foisted on it; the People Mover and the Washington Boulevard trolley. They both were failures. Detroit does not need another joke at its expense.

    Finally, the expenditure of one dollar of public money on this potential joke would be a travesty. Give the money to the guy from the Second Ebenezer Church who is actually doing something socially useful.

  • Liviu PS

    The transportation, in the way we know it today is heading towards troubling times, dominated by various shortages bottleneck the development of the new solutions, most of them tributary to old concepts and habits, but driving to turmoil and technological instability driving to high costs and unavailability.
    A useful system for our transportation needs must be in concert with the ecological and economical needs of the future. If we postpone too much, the transition may be rough, determined by immediate need, dominated by the improvisations of the moment, or if we make the right decisions at the right time it may be smooth, gradual, developing in harmony with the available surplus smartly directed to bring welfare.
    The new vehicle concept considers the future constrains imposed by battery materials, oil and electric energy availability and production capacity, electric grid power capability and will make transportation cheaper faster and more robust than the current system. It integrates various advanced concepts present in robotics, and space vehicles, bringing their cost lower, accessible to those in need.
    The vehicle may have features so that many variations are easily possible allowing the range, carrying capacity and an efficient transportation to be optimized. The transportation feature is a surrogate for the lack of battery capacity to cover the individual needs for transportation avoiding the need for large capital cost for large batteries and their maintenance. The vehicle may serve as backup power source during blackouts. An essential element considered in this development is the fact that the actual climate change may have catastrophic effects if the infrastructures are found to be unprepared and friable to the weather and nature elements aggression.
    The future constrains as fuel and battery materials shortages will increase the burden of transportation over the economy that may be cut in half while the performance factor may be doubled by the introduction of the novel concept.

  • Josh

    Yes there was a conspiracy to dismantle the streetcars in America. It is NOT a myth. It is fact well covered up by General Motors: The electric streetcar did not die a natural death: General Motors killed it. GM killed it by employing a host of anti-competitive devices which, like National City Lines, debased rail transit and promoted auto sales. For more read Internal Combustion: How government and corporations addicted the world to oil and derailed the alternatives” by Edwin Black.

  • Henry

    I can remember in the ’80s when I was in Germany for a few weeks my friend and I were in Stuttgart. One morning while sitting in a nearby cafe we decided to go to Frankfurt. We took a street car to the subway, the subway to the train station, express train to Frankfurt, subway to downtown Frankfurt. All with less than walking a half mile. We did some site seeing and got back to Stuttgart in time to catch the last subway back to the neighborhood where we were staying. True story…

  • james woods

    why bother saving detroit? If they want to make a city into a utopia they should start with a city with a higher population and one that has actually proven itself to have a good community and honest government.

  • Monte T.

    I don’t think it is a sin to envision an infrastructure that incorporates many different concepts, particularly when there is so much benefit to be realized. I live in a part of the country where you have a car or you die on the vine. Forty years ago I could stand along side any state or federal hi-way and wait, (sometimes for hours), and at least flag down a public bus, none of that is possible now, and the State has mandated so many liability laws and other regulations that taxi’s, limo’s, carpooling, buses, etc., etc. cannot afford licensing. However, 25 miles north of where I live many forms of mixed transportation exist in harmony, (cars, scooters, m/c, horse drawn, horse back, recumbant bike, conventional bike, and a number of experimental vehicles that are being developed privately, and walking). This a rural region with communities of 5000, to 250,000, it would be wonderful if these communities could be linked together with an infrastructure that allows a mix of user’s as I mentioned above that could link-up with a mass transit system that spans a number of different types, (taxi, bus, van, lt. rail, hi-speed rail, etc.) This would be without a doubt, a huge success for regional economies by stimulating small/medium business, increased lt. trucking, and a huge reduction in health care costs. The parks, causeways, and people friendly infrastructure would follow because of competition. The flow of this type of infrastructure is under 45MPH, and death’s due to accidents are rare, and the reward’s for the average citizen are increased due to more job’s that are fulfilling in other ways instead of fatigue,divorce, and suicide.

  • Tim Gooding

    To me, this is a snapshot of the global economy as a whole.
    In Detroit, the building of fast roads that was supposed to connect people ended up dividing them. Now the original resources are no longer available in their original quantities, the shape of Detriot is too expensive to maintain.
    Technology designed to bring us together creates societal shape that is in danger of driving us apart.
    This video has been linked to a site and blog exploring the larger issues: timgooding.com if anyone is interested.

  • pat

    Cities need more community gardens! Having small commercial farms (hopefully organic?) in abandoned urban areas is a wonderful idea for cities and for Detroit. Thanks for a thoughtful show PBS! I hope for the best for the creative people of Detroit.

  • Shaun

    As a recent ex-Detroiter, I can relate to the desire to see the city reborn, that’s not to say I share the optimism.
    Even if Detroit were to magically be granted a new and efficient public transit system, it wouldn’t change anything. It simply raises the question of the chicken or the egg. People won’t want to move back into the city until there is a reason (entertainment, jobs, culture, A GROCERY STORE, etc) and safety, and none of that will be present until people start to move back.

  • Sarah Green

    Positive inclusive ideas for our future

  • Ron

    It’s strange that many say the car is old technology and that we should convert to mass rail transit which has been around a lot longer. Cant we be more creative?
    hover/flying cars?..Star Trek type transporters? LOL
    why go back to rails? come on scientific community!
    Detroit needs a new futuristic industry to base itself there before it come back.. Next time we hope the city learns from past mistakes..
    from Highland Park, MI… In Los Angeles where individual vehicles will never die.

  • Mike P

    Monte T. raises some interesting facts and issues we all face as a Nation driven by Washington lobbyists representing international corporations and banks that would stoop to anything to keep us in fear and enslaved by debt. Not everyone can afford a car. Most of us don’t need a car to get around in an urban setting. All successful cosmopolitan centers offer a diversity of transportation options. As I stated earlier, Detroit is one of those places where riding public transportation is a stigma – It’s assumed something must be wrong with you. I have traveled enough of the globe to see we are on the wrong course. Attitudes need to change regarding the “common good”. Some of us need to “wake up and smell the manure!”, WE are the Federation, a Republic, a melting pot of cultures, a grand experiment who have certain rights etc. Slavery was supposed to have been emancipated a long time ago. Freedom to move around the city stimulates the economy. Building the infrastructure stimulates this freedom to move which. . . you get the picture. We all need to keep talking to work through the fears and propaganda designed to keep us from moving forward as a Great Nation.

  • Saurabh

    I have lived in Detroit and worked in Detroit Downtown and Dearborn This program was good but did not answer specific question on how to build economy. By just having local Detroit trains in Detroit City is not the solution when the population is scattered around Detroit metro area. The local train or subway connecting Troy, Rochester Hills, Ann Arbor, Novi, Northville, Farmington Hills, Wixom, Airport, and other city is what will revive the economy.

    I would say, there should be couple of metrolines as follows:
    1. Ann Arbor, Canton,, Airport, Dearborn, Detroit
    2. Rochester Hills, Troy, Dearborn, Detroit, Airport
    3. Lancing, Wixom, Novi, Farmington, Dearborn, Airport, Airport

    These kind of network (or better) will make boost Detroit’s economy. I know people in Chicago and NY live in suburb but they use these fast train to go an work.

  • BB

    The problem is operating costs. Build infrastructure, but have no way to operate it.

  • Tom A

    I had the opportunity to travel Europe while in college in the late 1980s and their train/subway systems are very good (as most of us know). I grew up in Metro Detroit. In 1997, WJR, the radiostation, had its regular Ask The Mayor segment. I called….and they put me through to Mayor Archer. I explained to him that a city will only thrive if it has effective, fairly cheap, and on-time mass transit, as my travels in Europe helped to teach me. I asked him what plans are in the works for Detroit to have a subway and trolley network. His answer – “None.” And he said nothing else and they took the next call.

  • Samuel Augustus Jennings

    The Promised Land

    My first trip out of the segregated south was in June, 1954. I was 9 years old and riding the segregated train to Detroit to meet my father and stepmother for the first time. The segregated “colored” coach was dropped at Cincinnati just across the Mason Dixon line for an integrated ride into the Motor City. After arriving at the Michigan Central Depot on that bright and crispy “rise ad shine” Sunday morning I entered the hushed sanctuary and stood in the warmth of the early morning light streaming through the tall windows fronting the station. Chatter and clatter bounced off the walls and floors transforming the massive waiting room into a hushed echo chamber. I looked up in awe at the vaulted cathedral ceiling, thinking “This is the Promised Land”.

    Streams of light flooded Michigan Central’s massive Detroit cathedral on that bright and early Sunday morning in June, 1954. Heels clicked, voices echoed and shadows danced around us as I met and hugged my father for the first time. We maneuvered through the huge crowd to the busy coffee shop where I saw my stepmother Chris sipping coffee.

    The first thing I noticed were white people sitting at the same counter next to Chris.

    Colored people could not sit at downtown lunch counters in Orlando, Florida and Kress even had separate “colored” and “white” drinking fountains.

    After picking up my checked trunk–which my father said was too large–we drove home in his immaculate two-tone Desoto.

    After Chris finished preparing the traditional Sunday morning breakfast–pancakes, eggs, and the best sausage patties in the world which came wrapped in cloth–we sat down and enjoyed our first meal together. Then I fell across the bed and cried myself to sleep. While unpacking Dad quipped I had too many clothes. This was the first sign of trouble brewing.

    “The Promised Land”

    Free at last?

    Michigan Central was fully integrated, with no “colored” waiting room. I could ride in the front of the bus and attend any movie theater I wanted…though my father warned that some restaurants didn’t want us.

    Chris and I boarded the Russell Street bus and sat down in front seats just like white people. I was excited to be headed to the big city bustling with skyscrapers, crowds and hope as the old GM bus shook, rattled, and rolled down pot-holed streets that ran through seedy neighborhoods and grungy skid row. After browsing for hours and taking my first escalater ride at Hudson’s Department store Chris treated me to my first hot fudge sundae – made with real hot caramel – at Sander’s soda fountain. (I’ve been hooked since.) I looked forward to this ritual every Monday – Chris’ day off from the beauty shop. (All the essential women in my life were hairdressers!) We always ended our shopping spree with a double feature at the cut-rate Family Theater where actresses like Susan Hayward, Lana Turner, and Rhonda Fleming lit up the screen. I wanted to see first run movies at the fabulous Fox and did once I quickly learned how to negotiate the Motor City by myself.

    Downtown was bustling with big movie houses with blinking neon marquees that dazzled me, large department stores like Hudson and Crowleys, name brand hotels like the book Cadillac and Stadler Hilton, a big underground public restroom in rand circus Park, and a host of small stores and shops. Colored folks had a hard time finding a place to pee in downtown Orlando. Tall skyscrapers like the 47-story Penobscot Building proved I had arrived.

    The sidewalk newsstand fronting Grand Circus Park had stacks of naughty little male “physique” magazines showing guys “wrestling” and laughing nearly nude or wearing only posing straps with strings that disappeared between the buttocks. I was fascinated and frustrated! A few years later, as I entered puberty, I began to steal the little pocket books, since I was not old enough to buy adult material. I hid my paper idols between the mattress and box spring.

    PCC streetcars ran up and down the middle of Woodward Avenue, which positively sparkled with energy. Canada was across the Detroit River where the stubby buildings of Windsor, Ontario stood. Wow! A foreign country! But it looked so small and unimportant compared to the Motor City. But Detroit was changing rapidly—and slowly declining.

    A Tale of Two Cities
    2006

    Windsor is clean, prospering, and safe while Detroit struggles to survive.

    Still there were few black clerks in downtown banks, hotels, theaters, and department stores. Aunt Martha, Otis’ wife, sold children’s shoes at the huge Hudson Department store, but she was damn near white, easily passing the brown paper bag color test.

  • Rodney M

    I think this was a well put together report on how a once thriving city and a nation can fail without a fully supported infrastructure within the United States. Based on some people comments I think there is a misinterpretation that the economic problem will be resolved only in Detroit. The report is showing Detroit as an example and that building a light rail within the city could reconnect it local surrounding communities by providing dependable efficient transportation, possible jobs and maybe business growth along the connection lines as it was in years past, before the evolution of highways which moved people away from a cities, especially a city such as Detroit or any city within Michigan as there is no mass transportation system.
    Also high speed rail would be a good idea to link the country as it will be greener and in some cases can transport more people at the same time than on a plane.

  • Samuel Augustus Jennings

    Department of Corrections: The classic downtown Detroit hotels during the 50’s were the Book Cadillac and the Statler Hilton on Washington Boulevard.

  • Samuel Augustus Jennings

    Tears came to my eyes as I watched this wonderful video which eloquently captures my hopes and dreams for public transit, high speed rail…and the resurrection of the Motor City. What a joy to learn others share my passion and vision for the “Promised Land”.

  • Jim Burks

    So the highest value use for 5,000 acres in Detroit is AGRICULTURE, traditionally the lowest value use. It’s taxed as the very lowest rate.

    Suspend your objections for a moment, and suppose goverment used their powers the Supreme Court granted in the Kelo case and declared those 5,000 acres ‘blighted’ (which they are), acquired them by eminent domain, and turned them over to a private developer. The developer would be permitted to build a new city within a city (call it New Grosse Pointe). High density housing, 10 homes per acre. High priced, minimum $500k. A gated and fenced community, so the homeowners would feel safe.

    That would be $25 Billion in investment. $25Bn. What would the tax revenues be on $25Bn? How much would they do with the rest of Detroit with that revenue?

    Also, with that density, someday public transit might be cost effective and possible.

    Yes, it doesn’t fit the current sensitivities. It doesn’t make an integrated, multicultural city, though it doesn’t have to be segregated by race or language to work – just by income.

    Some will say it’s going back to the 1920’s. But, that’s when Detroit was at its peak.

    The problem isn’t the infrastructure, it’s the people. The failure of public order in the 1960s (not stopping the riots) followed by school busing in the 1970s rocked the safety, security and sense of community in the middle class, and they moved out to the suburbs where they could have neighborhood schools, police that maintained order, and a comfortable lifestyle – things that were increasingly difficult in Detroit proper by 1970.

  • Vernon Cravens

    ?Can I purchase a DVD or VHS of “Blueprint America:Motor City”? Thanks :-)

  • Samuel Augustus Jennings

    Hey Vernon,

    I called and emailed PBS a few days ago about purchasing “Beyond the Motor City” DVD. It was suggested I contact the producer below. Good luck!

    Thirteen/WNET New York
    450 West 33rd Street
    New York, NY 10001
    Phone: (212) 560-1313
    Email: web@thirteen.org

  • Samuel Augustus Jennings

    Hi Samuel,

    Unfortunately, some PBS programs are not for sale. This is one of them. The reason: Blueprint America compared to some other big budget productions or well established shows, does not have the money to license the archive footage you saw in the documentary in order to sell the video.

    That said, you can watch it anytime day or night at http://www.pbs.org/wnet/blueprintamerica/reports/beyond-the-motor-city/video/939/

    Thanks.

    Tom
    Blueprint America

  • David

    It is undeniable that there was and continues to be a conspiracy against effective, modern public transport infrastructure funding in the US. There is a huge body of evidence documenting a near one hundred year-long complicity between the auto and tire industries, big oil, and their respective lobbyists to buy up and destroy fixed guided urban electric rail networks and convert them to bus operation (’bustitution’). The most unsavory and troubling part of all of this is that the collusion is largely based in racism and classism at the highest levels of industry and government.

    The heads of Ford and GM were both fascists – that is a known fact. Henry Ford wrote a book called ‘The International Jew’, and Alfred Sloan was decorated by the SS for his contributions to the Nazi war machine. Ford and Sloan, together with the self-hating Robert Moses, and a slew of nativist, largely southern, Evangelical, virulently anti-democratic political and religious leaders – had nothing but contempt for ethnic minorities and the enclaves they inhabited – then, as now. Said minorities formed the backbone of the manufacturing workforce. For many of us, they were our relatives and friends, and they lived and loved in vibrant, densely populated enclaves close to the city center. Within a short walk or a streetcar or subway ride, there were shops, theatres, cinemas, restaurants, pubs, and amusement parks.

    Many of us city dwellers have our roots in Africa, Asia, Mediterranean Europe or the Jewish diasporas, and our families settled in large cities together because it was more comfortable to do so. Our people wanted nothing more than to become cosmopolitan, modern Americans, but initially, everywhere they were held at bay – and arguably still are – by nativists and religious zealots who believed they had a direct line to God and all that was right. Through hard work and education and the arduous, multi-generational process of assimilation into the larger American society, we’ve come a long way, and we’ve helped build this country, Sadly we watched in bewilderment as our people were redlined and evicted from the neighborhoods they so loved in the fifties and sixties, and resettled further away (out of the way?). Electric, efficient streetcar networks were torn up right in front of our eyes.

    The predicament of cities like Detroit is not lost on us. You name a city in the northeastern US which didn’t have it’s streetcar system dismantled and its ethnic enclaves ripped apart and bisected by expressways, effectively cutting people off and sequestering them, denying them access to and from areas inhabited by richer, more established Americans. (One city in upstate New York – Rochester – actually had a high-speed streetcar/subway network which served the entire city, including GM’s plant. Until it was ripped up and covered up. Now, it’s difficult to even locate where the stations once were, the urban environment has been so utterly disfigured by highways. The city, like Detroit, remains a monument to neglect and decay.)

    I live in suburban New York City, so I’m fortunate to be one of those Americans who still live close to my ancestors’ gateway to America. I live in New Jersey, and most of the time, do drive my car because I don’t need it. I live five minutes’ walk from a train station, and the train gets me into New York City in 25 minutes (that’s with one change of trains), to Philadelphia in 50 minutes, and to Boston in 3.5 hours. There are two bus lines running at the end of my street which connect to rail and light rail stations. (The bus lines were streetcar lines up until the late 30s (are you seeing a pattern here?). So I can get into downtown Newark in 25 minutes on a combination of bus and light rail, then into Manhattan in another 15 minutes via the PATH subway system or New Jersey Transit Commuter Rail. I along with 22 million other people in greater New York City have at our disposal numerous public transport alternatives which save us countless millions of dollars every day on gas, insurance, parking, and most importantly, time. Time for our families, our friends, and for ourselves.

    Here’s an interesting fact I discovered about New Yorkers and transit in Wikipedia’s entry on New York City:

    “Mass transit use in New York City is the highest in the United States, and gasoline consumption in the city is the same rate as the national average in the 1920s.[56] New York City’s high level of mass transit use saved 1.8 billion gallons of oil in 2006; New York saves half of all the oil saved by transit nationwide.[57] The city’s population density, low automobile use and high transit utility make it among the most energy efficient cities in the United States.[58] New York City’s greenhouse gas emissions are 7.1 metric tons per person compared with the national average of 24.5.[59] New Yorkers are collectively responsible for one percent of the nation’s greenhouse gas emissions[59] though they comprise 2.7% of the nation’s population. The average New Yorker consumes less than half the electricity used by a resident of San Francisco and nearly one-quarter the electricity consumed by a resident of Dallas.[60]”

    I believe New Yorkers, Bostonians, Philadelphians, Chicagoans and other Americans from transit-friendly cities would stand in solidarity with the people of Detroit as they assess their present future prospects in light of their current economic and social realities. I cannot accept the statements (above) that ‘the car is not villainous’, nor the qualification that the car is the ’single greatest contributor to our wonderful standard of living and unrivaled productivity’. I can’t accept those statements because I find them to be patently untrue. After a simple Internet search, I learnt that, based on historical NHTSA and FHWA data collected between the years 1899 and 2003, a whopping 3,240,140 of our fellow American citizens lost their lives in car accidents! When we factor in deaths resulting from the wars that the USA has instigated, aided and abetted since the discovery of oil in the Middle East, and the geopolitical games we play every day to keep the oil coming to us from the Tigris and Euphrates Valley, Azerbaijan, the Persian Gulf, the Red Sea, Suez Canal, and the horn of Africa, we Americans collectively have the blood of hundreds of millions of souls on our hands.

    I also disagree with the rosy assessment of the American standard of living proferred in David’s comments, above. Ours is actually undeniably now the lowest standard of living in the West, David. We have the most morbidly obese population in the world, an embarrassingly high infant mortality rate, 50,000,000 uninsured fellow citizens, the West’s most blighted cities, collapsing bridges, rusting factories and the most ignorant, stagnant, immature and, even in the wake of a post-September 11th world, the most-dangerously-unable-to-connect-the-dots population on Planet Earth. Most Americans are working harder for less than they ever did, and most cannot afford to go on vacation anymore.

    America never seems to have money for decent education, healthcare and modern, efficient public transit infrastructure, but when it’s come to whatever GM or Ford want, we’ve always pulled out all of the stops haven’t we? Imagine the quality of life each auto-owning American could have if they didn’t have to depend on their cars to be the do-all or end all every single day? How much less obese and civically-engaged our people would be if they could leave their cars at home and once again walk out their front doors, down the street, to a streetcar, bus stop or a train station?

    Sabotaging and wiping out electric rail transit in America has been all about the law of averages. It’s a putrid cauldron of influence-peddling, extortion, racketeering, racism and classism at the tops of many of the major automakers and oil companies in the US. It’s a legacy of the Post WWII, Red Scare, Cold War, John Birch/Ayn Rand anti-everything-socially-responsible-is-automatically-Communism world. These people and their corrupt, morally-reprehensible paradigm has crippled and all but destroyed public transport in most American cities. Electric streetcars – today’s Light Rail – were invented in the US. Cars were not. Calling light rail ‘European’ is both factually untrue and a cheap, nativist ploy to diminish the tremendously successful urban planning and policy of American cities with effective public transport at their core. The time is way overdue for America’s city dwellers to close the book on the past, rise from the ashes, reclaim their dignity and move boldly into the future. I salute the people of Detroit and the citizens of all American cities who, together, are reintroducing rational logistics where they were forcibly removed through hate and greed. Together, we are reinventing urban life, taking the best of the past and melding it with the best the present has to offer, with a view to a bright, viable, sustainable paradigm for the children of the future.

  • Bogdan M

    The film about mass transportation was interesting. When I travled around Ukraine I used trains, Metro, buses, vans and taxis. Implementing mass transportation will not bring back the manufacturing that went overses due to hostile tack overs by Wall Street Bankers. Oh, Obama rasied over 700 million dollars in campaign donations from many bankers. It was the blue collar worker who sent in millions to his campaign. We currently buy about 600 billion dollars worth of goods from China. Sunbeam, Geral Electri, Black & Decker and many other plants are located in China. If we have a plan to bring back manufacturing to America, then I could see the practically of mass transportation. In is only a pipe dream to think its going to happen. It the economy stupid (OBama)and not politician crisis like global warming, swine flue and health care

  • Keny

    Agreed. We as Americans need to be Progressive and not Regressive in our thinking about the current, crumbling infrastructure that surrounds us. Sure, there is more to this story. But, we must be patient, enduring, caring and open minded enough to listen to ALL of them. Then, and only then, can we return to being the United States of America, and not just a figment, or fragment of what is left…

  • Mike

    This video did a great job highlighting various concerns with regards to planning and transportation which are currently emerging all over North America. The fact is early planners seemed to be heading in the right direction then we took a side step into the realm of the automobile. We put all of our eggs in the car basket and started to plan accordingly. Once gleaming downtowns, all over North America, with prominent street car lines were dismantled and adjusted to suit the needs of cars. We had to make room for the growing number of car traffic and thus, parking. This video did a great job illustrating the social and economic sides of the coin when it comes to sustainability and transit.

    Ultimately, I do think its sad how there has been very little progress made in North America when it comes to creating an integrated multi-modal transit model. People should be encouraged to car-share, bike, walk, hop on a street car, etc. As a society we need to stop bickering about this issue and realize that it is relevant. Yes, COST is an issue but it is no more an issue now than it was over a century ago when the first trans-continental railways were built. Or when the continents super-highways were constructed. As a society, as nations, we have lost the capacity to go after big picture; it is far to easy to interject with negativity about why certain things wont work instead of truly working together to forge something that will. We need to stop clinging onto the ways of the past and evolve into a future that is more sustainable, diverse, and people-oriented.

  • Ben

    While I don’t believe light rail to be a magic bullet for Detroit, I don’t think it will hurt it either. Transit agencies need to change their funding structure so that people can levy to have their services increased.

  • Jay

    David said it all wonderfully, and there is one point that I would like to illustrate with personal anecdote. He claimed that by giving up one’s car, one will become more “civically-engaged”. I live in Albany, NY. While we don’t have the streetcars and incredible transportation that we used to have (We had the nation’s first chartered railroad. In the program above, when the map is being shown of railroad development in the US, you’ll notice that the first railroads were in New York State. The most northerly track was the first, about 2 blocks from where I work.), ours is relatively comprehensive compared to most places. In October I sold my car when I moved in with my partner, to a dense neighborhood with scarce parking. In January, I totaled my partner’s car. A few days later, we made the decision not to invest in another one, but to simply go without.

    The results have been incredible. We are much more involved in the community than we used to be. We notice all of the small details. Our carbon footprint as relates to transportation is virtually 0 (the buses we take would be running anyway). Our overall quality of life has increased dramatically, and we didn’t even drive much before my accident, as I rode the bus and he walked to work. We never have to worry about finding a parking spot late at night, tickets, tolls, etc.

    The best part? We save about $300-400 every month by eliminating our car payment, insurance, gas and maintenance. He gets a free 5-day unlimited swiper from work and I get 6 of our most commonly used buses for free. We buy a 10-trip swiper each about twice a month, which adds up to $26 per person. My family lives in Vermont, and to visit them we must rent a car, adding another $80-100 every other month or so. Even without the free bus trips that we get from work, we would spend about $120 between the two of us each month, which would still be a $200-300 monthly savings. As it is now, we save $3600-$4800 each year by eliminating that expense.

  • deborah barnes

    Wow,
    (ref David and intent) the highway blighting of minority neighborhoods establishes the precedence for the waste companies going after communities that are in black and/or hispanic communities to erect their incinerators and dig their landfill sites. (From the Ground Up, Cole and Foster) This furthers the argument against exploitative, abusive capitalism (ref Josh and electric kill plots0 that is detrimental to the whole, as we now know how toxic these practices are and eventually the commons of the planet (air, water, soil ) are being destroyed and this is (all) species relevant.

    Like anything growing out of control (cancerous cells) it will kill itself by killing its ecosystems (host body) Sure it is short term profit for a few but ultimately they too are part of the whole.. BP oil spill is an example of this shallow, narrow perspective and we will all pay the price .

    The sustainable concept is a good way to see connections and develop new definitions of progress and as all is process hopefully we can forgive the ignorant and move on. Disabling the power is the biggest problem as some of the worst offenders have most of the capital. Theories on developing sustainable economics, BALLE, permaculture type credit unions etc are some possibilities to develop small innovative, vital ren companies that can maintain diversity. If it works for the ecosystems health, then diversity might be a good pattern for economics to follow.
    Urban agriculture good if ORGANIC the Corp Ag Co. didn’t say so could be another toxic old school plan… however other indy green growers should have access. Give tax breaks, co-op funding for innovators to squat on the vacant sites. With a plan to turn something into worth in 5 years or so. Urban pioneers wanted!

  • http://www.yourothersite.com Andrew A. Sailer

    This is getting a bit more subjective, but I much prefer the Zune Marketplace. The interface is colorful, has more flair, and some cool features like ‘Mixview’ that let you quickly see related albums, songs, or other users related to what you’re listening to. Clicking on one of those will center on that item, and another set of “neighbors” will come into view, allowing you to navigate around exploring by similar artists, songs, or users. Speaking of users, the Zune “Social” is also great fun, letting you find others with shared tastes and becoming friends with them. You then can listen to a playlist created based on an amalgamation of what all your friends are listening to, which is also enjoyable. Those concerned with privacy will be relieved to know you can prevent the public from seeing your personal listening habits if you so choose.

  • barnet

    It is very bad to learn about the fire incident. I hope in future the US will improve its transportation system…

  • Mike

    Interested Video. Mass transit and communities seem to be needed in a big way right now, especially in these decaying cities. Hopefully a lesson learned that we don’t continue to repeat. I live just across the river from Detroit in Windsor Ontario and I’d love to see that city continue to rebuild itself. The areas around the stadiums and casinos seem to be doing better.

  • jewelry watch

    It is undeniable that there was and continues to be a conspiracy against effective, modern public transport infrastructure funding in the US. There is a huge body of evidence documenting a near one hundred year-long complicity between the auto and tire industries, big oil, and their respective lobbyists to buy up and destroy fixed guided urban electric rail networks and convert them to bus operation (’bustitution’). The most unsavory and troubling part of all of this is that the collusion is largely based in racism and classism at the highest levels of industry and government.

    The heads of Ford and GM were both fascists – that is a known fact. Henry Ford wrote a book called ‘The International Jew’, and Alfred Sloan was decorated by the SS for his contributions to the Nazi war machine. Ford and Sloan, together with the self-hating Robert Moses, and a slew of nativist, largely southern, Evangelical, virulently anti-democratic political and religious leaders – had nothing but contempt for ethnic minorities and the enclaves they inhabited – then, as now. Said minorities formed the backbone of the manufacturing workforce. For many of us, they were our relatives and friends, and they lived and loved in vibrant, densely populated enclaves close to the city center. Within a short walk or a streetcar or subway ride, there were shops, theatres, cinemas, restaurants, pubs, and amusement parks.

    Many of us city dwellers have our roots in Africa, Asia, Mediterranean Europe or the Jewish diasporas, and our families settled in large cities together because it was more comfortable to do so. Our people wanted nothing more than to become cosmopolitan, modern Americans, but initially, everywhere they were held at bay – and arguably still are – by nativists and religious zealots who believed they had a direct line to God and all that was right. Through hard work and education and the arduous, multi-generational process of assimilation into the larger American society, we’ve come a long way, and we’ve helped build this country, Sadly we watched in bewilderment as our people were redlined and evicted from the neighborhoods they so loved in the fifties and sixties, and resettled further away (out of the way?). Electric, efficient streetcar networks were torn up right in front of our eyes.

    The predicament of cities like Detroit is not lost on us. You name a city in the northeastern US which didn’t have it’s streetcar system dismantled and its ethnic enclaves ripped apart and bisected by expressways, effectively cutting people off and sequestering them, denying them access to and from areas inhabited by richer, more established Americans. (One city in upstate New York – Rochester – actually had a high-speed streetcar/subway network which served the entire city, including GM’s plant. Until it was ripped up and covered up. Now, it’s difficult to even locate where the stations once were, the urban environment has been so utterly disfigured by highways. The city, like Detroit, remains a monument to neglect and decay.)

    I live in suburban New York City, so I’m fortunate to be one of those Americans who still live close to my ancestors’ gateway to America. I live in New Jersey, and most of the time, do drive my car because I don’t need it. I live five minutes’ walk from a train station, and the train gets me into New York City in 25 minutes (that’s with one change of trains), to Philadelphia in 50 minutes, and to Boston in 3.5 hours. There are two bus lines running at the end of my street which connect to rail and light rail stations. (The bus lines were streetcar lines up until the late 30s (are you seeing a pattern here?). So I can get into downtown Newark in 25 minutes on a combination of bus and light rail, then into Manhattan in another 15 minutes via the PATH subway system or New Jersey Transit Commuter Rail. I along with 22 million other people in greater New York City have at our disposal numerous public transport alternatives which save us countless millions of dollars every day on gas, insurance, parking, and most importantly, time. Time for our families, our friends, and for ourselves.

    Here’s an interesting fact I discovered about New Yorkers and transit in Wikipedia’s entry on New York City:

    “Mass transit use in New York City is the highest in the United States, and gasoline consumption in the city is the same rate as the national average in the 1920s.[56] New York City’s high level of mass transit use saved 1.8 billion gallons of oil in 2006; New York saves half of all the oil saved by transit nationwide.[57] The city’s population density, low automobile use and high transit utility make it among the most energy efficient cities in the United States.[58] New York City’s greenhouse gas emissions are 7.1 metric tons per person compared with the national average of 24.5.[59] New Yorkers are collectively responsible for one percent of the nation’s greenhouse gas emissions[59] though they comprise 2.7% of the nation’s population. The average New Yorker consumes less than half the electricity used by a resident of San Francisco and nearly one-quarter the electricity consumed by a resident of Dallas.[60]”

    I believe New Yorkers, Bostonians, Philadelphians, Chicagoans and other Americans from transit-friendly cities would stand in solidarity with the people of Detroit as they assess their present future prospects in light of their current economic and social realities. I cannot accept the statements (above) that ‘the car is not villainous’, nor the qualification that the car is the ’single greatest contributor to our wonderful standard of living and unrivaled productivity’. I can’t accept those statements because I find them to be patently untrue. After a simple Internet search, I learnt that, based on historical NHTSA and FHWA data collected between the years 1899 and 2003, a whopping 3,240,140 of our fellow American citizens lost their lives in car accidents! When we factor in deaths resulting from the wars that the USA has instigated, aided and abetted since the discovery of oil in the Middle East, and the geopolitical games we play every day to keep the oil coming to us from the Tigris and Euphrates Valley, Azerbaijan, the Persian Gulf, the Red Sea, Suez Canal, and the horn of Africa, we Americans collectively have the blood of hundreds of millions of souls on our hands.

    I also disagree with the rosy assessment of the American standard of living proferred in David’s comments, above. Ours is actually undeniably now the lowest standard of living in the West, David. We have the most morbidly obese population in the world, an embarrassingly high infant mortality rate, 50,000,000 uninsured fellow citizens, the West’s most blighted cities, collapsing bridges, rusting factories and the most ignorant, stagnant, immature and, even in the wake of a post-September 11th world, the most-dangerously-unable-to-connect-the-dots population on Planet Earth. Most Americans are working harder for less than they ever did, and most cannot afford to go on vacation anymore.

    America never seems to have money for decent education, healthcare and modern, efficient public transit infrastructure, but when it’s come to whatever GM or Ford want, we’ve always pulled out all of the stops haven’t we? Imagine the quality of life each auto-owning American could have if they didn’t have to depend on their cars to be the do-all or end all every single day? How much less obese and civically-engaged our people would be if they could leave their cars at home and once again walk out their front doors, down the street, to a streetcar, bus stop or a train station?

    Sabotaging and wiping out electric rail transit in America has been all about the law of averages. It’s a putrid cauldron of influence-peddling, extortion, racketeering, racism and classism at the tops of many of the major automakers and oil companies in the US. It’s a legacy of the Post WWII, Red Scare, Cold War, John Birch/Ayn Rand anti-everything-socially-responsible-is-automatically-Communism world. These people and their corrupt, morally-reprehensible paradigm has crippled and all but destroyed public transport in most American cities. Electric streetcars – today’s Light Rail – were invented in the US. Cars were not. Calling light rail ‘European’ is both factually untrue and a cheap, nativist ploy to diminish the tremendously successful urban planning and policy of American cities with effective public transport at their core. The time is way overdue for America’s city dwellers to close the book on the past, rise from the ashes, reclaim their dignity and move boldly into the future. I salute the people of Detroit and the citizens of all American cities who, together, are reintroducing rational logistics where they were forcibly removed through hate and greed. Together, we are reinventing urban life, taking the best of the past and melding it with the best the present has to offer, with a view to a bright, viable, sustainable paradigm for the children of the future.

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