The State of the Region’s Transit: Improving, with Hope for Much More!

Thank you to everyone who came out to TRU’s big State of the Region’s Transit 2018 Annual Meeting! Over 150 people came together on Wednesday, January 31 to discuss The State of Transit.

Extra special thanks to our speakers for sharing their perspective and to our sponsors and contributors who made the event possible!

The State of Transit

Six leaders in our region’s transit shared their perspective on the #StateofTransit, as well as their agencies progress in 2017 and plans for 2018 (video of many presentations are available on Facebook):

Executive Warren Evans reaffirms his commitment to regional transit
  • Wayne County Executive Warren Evans:
    • “Transit is an investment in all of us. Even the parts you might not, personally, use helps to build the region and that benefits all of us. “
    • “I’m optimistic about transit on 2018 ballot, we’re working on it every, must get it done for the region to reach its full potential.”
    • “Since the ‘70s we’ve been letting the politics stop us from moving forward and at some point you can’t just wait for the political wind, sometimes you’ve got to blow yourself.”
  • TRU Executive Director Megan Owens
  • RTA Board Chair Paul Hillegonds:
    • “We are not going to be able to put it on ballot” without a consensus among four major leaders. “Municipal leaders need to hear from you” if you want transit to happen here
    • Transit agencies are working together on universal fare card, but funding is needed

      Robert Cramer outlines SMART improvements
  • SMART Deputy General Manager Robert Cramer
    • Accomplishments – 80 new buses on the road, art in smart program, FAST bus system with limited stops Gratiot, Michigan Ave
    • Coming in the next year: 40 new buses, new shelters, adjustments to new FAST buses, service to Amazon warehouses among changes
  • DDOT Interim Director Angelica Jones:
    • 2017 accomplishments include improving 26 routes, adding 20 new buses, retiring older buses, adding express routes and 24 hour routes
  • Detroit Director of Mobility Innovation Mark de la Vernge (apologies for poor sound quality)
    • “Large vehicles are the most efficient way to move people” says de la Vernge in response to idea Uber / Lyft could replace need for transit
  • Moderated by Chuck Stokes of WXYZ TV
    • talking of using transit in Cleveland as a kid. “We took it for granted”

2018 Regional Transit Awards

Sommer Woods discusses importance of community involvement

We were also honored to present the 2018 Regional Transit Awards to several amazing people and projects that did great things to advance transit:

  • Forward Motion Award for Most Effective Public Servant: Barry Murray
    • For years of dedicated work to develop the John D Dingell Transit Center and to otherwise enhance transit and mobility in Dearborn and throughout the region
  • Exemplary Innovation Award: SMART’s new FAST service
    • For substantial improvements in the frequency of cross-county express service on the region’s busiest corridors
  • Transit Employee of the Year: Sommer Woods
    • For dedicated work to expand public engagement in transit planning, to incorporate Detroiters into the transit workforce, and to make the M-1 Rail QLINE the best service it can be.
  • Transit Activist of the Year: David Gifford
    • For self-driven transit promotion and creativity and dedication to increase transit ridership on RefleX and throughout the region

      Transit Activist of the Year Dave Gifford joins TRUs Board

Welcoming New Board Members

Paid TRU members also voted to welcome two returning and five new members to TRU’s Board of Directors:

  • Returning for a second 3-year term:
    • Paul Lippens, an urban planner from Ypsilanti
    • Nauman Syed, a Bloomfield Hills developer
  • New:
    • Will Barlow, a lifelong Detroiter working in IT
    • David Gifford, a Warren social media activist
    • Tzvi Raviv, an entrepreneur and investor from Farmington Hills
    • Pamela Taylor, Bedrock Mobility Project Manager from Detroit
    • Elizabeth Tintinalli, Detroit Realtor, from Grosse Pointe

Appreciating Outgoing Board Members

We also thanked three outgoing members of TRU’s Board of Directors:

  • Kelly Logan, outgoing Board President, who received a special Decade of Service Regional Transit Award
  • Meagan Costea, outgoing Board Secretary, who both kept TRU organized and designed all our beautiful invitations, letterhead, and more
  • David Kuziemko, outgoing Board Treasurer, a very diligent and hardworking advocate for better transit

Whew! Quite a packed evening!

Special Thanks to Our Sponsors!

This event and all of TRU’s work cannot be accomplished without our generous sponsors. Please join us in thanking them for their leadership in Detroit area transit:Greektown Casino-HotelROSSETTI

  • Brookville

  • McKenna 

  • Liz in Detroit
  • Northern Trust

  • TechTown Detroit
  • Anderson, Eckstein and Westrick, Inc.
  • Hall, Render, Killian, Health & Lyman
  • Indian Trails / Michigan Flyer
  • Yong Basile Hanlon & MacFarlane, P.C.

Get More Involved

TRU Director Megan Owens concluded by noting that this is not the end, but only the beginning of the next chapter in transit advocacy, inviting everyone to get more involved: