M-1 Rail opens Penske Tech Center; first Qline cars will be in Detroit by fall | MLive.com

I’m ready for M1 Rail to be up and running so the city and region can talk about extending it up Woodward Avenue into Oakland County, or at least to 8 Mile.

M-1 Rail CEO Matt Cullen joined M-1 Board Chairman Roger Penske and state and city officials to open the 19,000-square-foot Penske Tech Center in Detroit’s North End neighborhood, where a little more information on the 3.3-mile rail loop was outlined.

Cullen said the Qline cars should be running on Woodward Avenue by spring 2017. That leaves a bit of cushion to the winter 2017 deadline the rail was bumped to last year.

Everything is on schedule, though, Cullen said.

Source: M-1 Rail opens Penske Tech Center; first Qline cars will be in Detroit by fall | MLive.com

Jail site for Detroit soccer stadium will cost a pretty penny, says county | MLive

Is a jail really what the city needs greeting incoming traffic at one of the main entryways to Downtown Detroit?

Answer: No

That’s what Detroit real estate mogul Dan Gilbert asked Wednesday.

Wayne County Executive Warren Evans said Gilbert and Detroit Pistons owner Tom Gores need to show Evans the money if he’s going to move the unfinished jail project, though.

Gilbert on Wednesday rolled out conceptual renderings and hype videos for a new soccer stadium — and team — in Downtown Detroit.

They want to build it right on Gratiot Avenue, at the site of the stagnant Wayne County Jail project that sits, charmlessly, across from the county courthouse near Greektown.

Source: Jail site for Detroit soccer stadium will cost a pretty penny, says county | MLive

I don’t know the full details of the funding, specifically how much public money would be poured into what is essentially a private endeavor, but Wayne County needs a serious reality check. Their jail is massively over budget and nowhere near completed.

This proposed new development project is basically a “get out of jail free” card, no pun intended. It’s the county’s fault the project failed so far. Getting 20 cents on the dollar, even in their financially strapped state, is better than they deserve. Plus, they’ll stop throwing money into the pit.

I don’t live in Wayne County; if I did, I’d be actively campaigning for the executive team’s ouster, starting with Evans.

I will put in the vote for the Detroit MSL franchise to be the Detroit Arsenal, obviously!

$21M Dequindre Cut connecting miles of land in Detroit opens Friday | MLive.com

Good stuff. I can’t wait to check it out!

The Dequindre Cut Greenway extension officially opens April 29.

The extension has been in the works since 2013, with the opening pushed back multiple times.

According to a release from Link Detroit, the $21-million project “connects 20 miles of continuous walking and biking paths linking Downtown, Midtown, Detroit Riverfront, Eastern Market and Hamtramck.”

Source: $21M Dequindre Cut connecting miles of land in Detroit opens Friday | MLive.com

Reunited Guns N' Roses confirms Detroit show, but date a mystery

In case you’re a fan or care …

The reunited Guns N’ Roses are planning to go on tour this summer, but haven’t announced exactly when.

… Detroit is on the list, along with 20 others, including Chicago, Pittsburgh and Toronto.

Not only have the dates not yet been announced, but we don’t know the venues.

Source: Reunited Guns N’ Roses confirms Detroit show, but date a mystery

More Road History

Roads fascinate me – their names, their histories, their stories – to the point that I’ll drop everything to read a tasty tidbit.

Imagine my joy when I read How Livonia Roads Got Their Names from the Detroit Free Press.

To quote from the article:

… the first mile of concrete road in the nation was laid in October 1909 on Woodward Avenue between 6 and 7 Mile roads in what was then Greenfield Township, just outside Detroit.

I did not know that area was Greenfield Township.

Middle Belt Road:

… officially became a road after 1910, when the County Road Commission began assigning names to major roads that went through the county … Intermittently, Middle Belt has been mistakenly signed as a one-word road, “Middlebelt.”

Henceforth I will always refer to Middle Belt, not Middlebelt.

Merriman Road:

… was given that name by the Romulus neighbors of Charles Merriman in 1858 … He died two years later, but his farm, which extended south from Michigan Avenue, remained in the family into the 1920s.

That part of Merriman Road and surrounding farms were acquired for what since has become [DTW] … Merriman continues south from there.

The article contains many tidbits about the major and minor thoroughfares. I provide just a taste. Read the whole article for all the details.

Road Work Blues

I’m not sure who in the Michigan Department of Transportation (MDOT) or the Road Commission for Oakland Country (RCOC) decides that late October is a good time for beginning road work. I’m also not sure who decides how they’ll handle lane closures or sign the work.

And I’m not sure who is actually doing the construction as there were no signs, no trucks, and no workers working.

Whomever they are, they need training.

Case in point: the Woodward Ave/Main St./Washington Ave./I-696 work. There are multiple bad decisions and lack of planning mistakes here.

  1. From Washington Ave to southbound Woodward, two left turn lanes immediately become one after the turn with no warning signage.
  2. From Main St./I-696 westbound access to southbound Woodward, the same issue as above in a different spot.
  3. From eastbound I-696 access to northbound Woodward, the same issue.
  4. I suspect that there are other pain points based on the almost 60 minutes it took me to travel 0.25 miles.

Meanwhile we’re expecting our first snowfall, so this week makes a questionable candidate for road resurfacing.

Have you run into this fine bit of road work? Where are your commute pain points?

Eat It Detroit: [NEWS BITES] Introducing Ferndale Restaurant Week + FestivALE

Fall is a time for food. We can officially ditch the summer diets and stop worrying about having a “bikini body” (or, for some of us, just continue going on with business as usual but with the relief that comes from knowing we can hide all our rolls under bulky sweaters and snazzy leather jackets) and stuff our faces with the unparalleled bounty of fall foods. Pumpkins and apples and Bambis and Thumpers and doughnuts and pie and all the other rich, fattening, flavorful comfort foods we deny ourselves when it’s 90 degrees outside if for no other reason than the fact that it’s 90 degrees outside.

via Eat It Detroit: [NEWS BITES] Introducing Ferndale Restaurant Week + FestivALE.

Belle Isle leased to state in agreement to turn Detroit island into 102nd state park | MLive.com

Belle Isle is on its way to becoming a state park, the governor’s office announced Tuesday.

The state released a copy of a signed agreement leasing the Detroit-owned island park to the state for 30 years rent-free with the promise of up $10-20 million in state investment over the next three years.

State officials said the deal would save Detroit at least $4 million a year. City officials last year when the move was first proposed estimated as much as $6 million in annual savings.

via Belle Isle leased to state in agreement to turn Detroit island into 102nd state park | MLive.com.

I think it is a long overdue change. Belle Isle is a gem and the City can’t maintain it any more.

Max Scherzer Named Game 1 Starter For Tigers Against Athletics In ALDS

Max Scherzer will start Detroit’s AL division series opener Friday night at Oakland, with star Justin Verlander following in Game 2.

Scherzer (21-3) was baseball’s lone 20-game winner this year and started for the American League in the All-Star game, but manager Jim Leyland’s choice for the opener had not been clear. Verlander was the 2011 AL MVP and has been one of the top pitchers in the game over the last few seasons.

via Max Scherzer Named Game 1 Starter For Tigers Against Athletics In ALDS.

Of course Scherzer would be the Game 1 starter. He earned it.

Cobo has the belle of the ballrooms

Cobo Center’s 40,000-square-foot ballroom is finally open and what a ballroom it is.

It can seat the entire population of Grosse Pointe Shores for dinner – 2,250 people. It has more theater-style seating at 3,500 than the theater that hosts the Academy Awards. If people are standing the ballroom can fit 4,500, the same number of people who can fit into the Copacabana in New York City.

So just how big is the new ballroom? It’s 264 feet long, 164 feet wide and 40 feet tall, with a total interior volume of 1.9 million cubic feet. If it were water tight, it could hold more than 14 million gallons of water or nearly enough to fill the Shamu Stadium water tank at SeaWorld in San Diego three times. It has 40,000 square feet of floor space, including pre-function areas.

via Cobo has the belle of the ballrooms.