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Welcome to SEMCOG's Think Regional/Act Local blog! SEMCOG is the only organization in Southeast Michigan that brings together all governments to solve regional challenges and enhance the quality of life for the seven-county regions 4.7 million residents. With this regional perspective in mind, we work with member local governments to sustain our regions reputation as a great place to work, play, and do business.

 

Our panel of SEMCOG staff bloggers will post daily to this blog, discussing SEMCOG's data, federal and state legislative issues, and environmental and fiscal sustainability best practices for local governments all with the goal of creating a successful future for the region.

 

 

Think Regional/Act Local

M-1 Progress

(Efficiency, Public transportation, Transportation) Permanent link

 

August 11, 2014 - It has been quite a summer for large transportation projects in our region. First, there was the massive closing of the I-96 freeway from Telegraph to Newburgh. As the summer has progressed, so has this project. Now, in mid-August, it looks like the project is into the home stretch. Parts of the freeway in the west part of the corridor look to be nearing completion and you can envision the day in the near future when this freeway will be open for business.

 

A second large project has just begun – the reconstruction of Woodward Avenue from downtown to New Center as part of the M-1 Streetcar project. This is the first time Woodward has been reconstructed since it was originally built. Construction continues to progress as planned. In preparation for track installation, crews have removed pavement along Woodward from Campus Martius to Adams Street. To ensure accessibility to businesses during construction, walkways have been installed across Woodward Avenue.

 

M-1 Digger

 

As you can see from the picture, things seem to be progressing very nicely. While this project does not impact as many vehicles as the I-96 closure does, it does potentially impact the business community in downtown, commuters trying to get to work, and visitors to the Fox Theatre, Tiger games and Lions games. So far, so good. Things seem to be going smoothly. A road project and a transit capital project moving forward – when was the last time you could say that in our region?

 

 

Carmine Palombo
If you want to know what about anything related to transportation in Southeast Michigan, don’t miss Carmine Palombo's blog. Carmine has more than 30 years of experience in various phases of transportation planning at SEMCOG. He is responsible for administering SEMCOG’s transportation planning program, which includes the region’s long-range transportation plan and short-term transportation plan.

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Be SMART

(Legislation, Public transportation, Regionalism) Permanent link

 

August 4, 2014 -Tuesday, August 5 is a very important day. It is primary election day. There are many important decisions we have to make as citizens. Besides narrowing down the field of candidates for the election in November, there are several service issues on the ballot. One of the more important ones is the SMART millage.

 

SMART provides transit service in Macomb County and in parts of Wayne and Oakland. It provides essential transportation service to thousands of people every day taking people to work, school, medical appointments, and the grocery store. SMART has been working with fewer dollars for several years now and has done a great job of lowering their operating costs and running a very efficient service.

 

The SMART millage is currently 0.59 mills and they are proposing to raise it to 1 mill. The additional dollars will allow them to buy new busses which will increase their reliability and lower their maintenance costs. SMART may even be able to restore some of the service they were forced to cut as a result of declining revenue.

 

There has been lots of talk about some of the new, sexy transit capital projects like the M-1 Streetcar and bus rapid transit. Everyone wants to talk about these projects and no one is excited about improving the bus network. I can tell you that these more expensive, capital transit projects will fail if the basic bus networks provided by SMART and DDOT do not provide reliable transit service. You have a chance on Tuesday to not only improve SMART and provide service to thousands of people, but also help to ensure the success of the higher-level transit to come.

 

The choice is yours. Please vote for better transit. Vote in support of the SMART millage on August 5.

 

 

Carmine Palombo
If you want to know what about anything related to transportation in Southeast Michigan, don’t miss Carmine Palombo's blog. Carmine has more than 30 years of experience in various phases of transportation planning at SEMCOG. He is responsible for administering SEMCOG’s transportation planning program, which includes the region’s long-range transportation plan and short-term transportation plan.

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