Transportation Riders United (TRU), is a Detroit-based non-profit advocating better transportation access and mobility for "greater Detroit". Is Ann Arbor really part of "greater Detroit"? Well, if it was debatable before, the Ann Arbor Detroit Rapid Transit Study (AADRTS) is (extremely) slowly removing any doubts.
The recent update (PDF) from AADRTS has ruled out light rail as too expensive and is now focusing on Bus Rapid Transit (BRT) on Michigan Ave. and commuter rail on existing tracks. SEMCOG has some concern that the costs of the commuter rail will be too high and the ridership too low, and so seems to be leaning toward the BRT solution.
TRU voices concern over this opinion on their website:
The presentation gave no explanation for the ridership or cost estimates and SEMCOG does not currently plan to release an actual report. TRU has concerns about the estimates for commuter rail, which we believe is the best option. The cost estimates are 3-10 times higher than most cities and the ridership estimate is just 2,000 riders a day - below current daily People Mover ridership.
To encourage community participation on this important decision, TRU has organized a bunch of local meetings with experts. The Ann Arbor meeting is
Director Megan Owens will discuss regional transit issues, the proposed Ann Arbor-Detroit commuter train, and how to get involved. Invited guest Eli Cooper, Ann Arbor transportation program manager, will discuss Ann Arbor's efforts for rapid transit. There'll be Q&A and suggestions on next steps for people who care about and want to work on this issue. Please check out www.detroittransit.org for more information.
Carfree folks should make this issue, if not this meeting, a priority as it will certainly play a large role in shaping regional transit, and finally provide decent carfree access to Detroit.
(We had no idea it was possible to design a transit system with a lower ridership than the People Mover. Does this extra effort account for the dragging pace of this project?)