|Trans4Mers on tour. From left to right: Julie Clark, TART Trails; Dan Sommerville, Michigan Environmental Council; Heather Seyfarth, Clean Energy Coalition; Hayley Roberts, Michigan Suburbs Alliance; and Liz Treutel, Transportation for Michigan.|
Yesterday, members of the Transportation for Michigan coalition visited Traverse City to kick off a two-day quest to travel around the state using only bikes, buses, and trains.
The group’s task: Travel from Traverse City to Detroit and document the highs and lows of Michigan’s public transportation system.
Dubbed the Michigan Transportation Odyssey, travelers started the day with a 10-mile trail and city bike tour led by Julie Clark from TART Trails. The tour began at the TART Trail along East Bay and ended at the Bay Area Transportation Authority’s downtown Transit Center.
Here are a few Tweets from the tour:
We are riding one of the first "trails with rails" in the Midwest! #MIOdyssey13— Trans4M (@T4Michigan) September 26, 2013
We're now on Boardman Lake Trail, which is what some might call insanely gorgeous pic.twitter.com/WGm76bRW6i— Hayley Roberts (@hayleyscomment) September 26, 2013
The bad design is part of crosstown bike route but has no bike infrastructure-a somewhat dubious connection in great system #MIOdyssey13— Trans4M (@T4Michigan) September 26, 2013
Last year, I was part of a group that traveled from Detroit Metro Airport to Traverse City using only buses and trains.
What we found was a bit strange: It took more than two hours to get from the Detroit Metro Airport to downtown Detroit without a car. Transit providers had a record level of customers, but still lacked the money to meet the rising demand. And, since Michigan’s rail and transit stations always seem to be located within walking distance from our state’s top microbreweries, there’s a strong connection between Michigan’s economic competitiveness, transit stations, and beer.
Today, Odyssey travelers are in Kalamazoo where they will board an Amtrak train to Ann Arbor on their way to Detroit.
Stay tuned for follow up blog posts on the Trans4M website to learn about the complete Odyssey experience.
James Bruckbauer is the Michigan Land Use Institute’s transportation policy specialist. Follow him on Twitter at @jimbruckb. Reach him at email@example.com. MLUI is a member of the broad, statewide Transportation for Michigan (Trans4M) coalition that is working to create a stronger Michigan through transportation policy reform.