“People should be able to survive and prosper”…Thoughts from Royal Oak

Trans4M’s second Community Forum last Thursday drew over 30 people, from Oakland County and beyond, to talk about reinventing Michigan’s transportation system at Royal Oak’s First United Methodist Church.

After putting the world on wheels, Michiganders are charting a new direction.

Temperatures outside the basement Fellowship Hall, volunteered for Trans4M’s use by longtime public transit advocate Reverend John Hice, stood in the upper 90s. But that didn’t stop Al Wolschleger of Lathrup Village from opting to reach the event by bicycle.

The hosts of the event – Transportation Riders United, MOSES, and the Michigan Suburbs Alliance – are in the thick of the fight for a regional transit authority in metro Detroit. That campaign was on the minds of many people in attendance. The Forum, however, asked participants to think beyond present vicissitudes to the principles that should guide transportation policy throughout the state.

If there was one unifying theme to the conversation, it was that the state needs a fundamentally new approach to transportation, a new logic as transformative as the internal combustion engines and limited-access freeways that Michigan pioneered in a previous era.

Reverend John Hice maps the gaps in metro Detroit’s transportation network.

Art Myatt of Pleasant Ridge may have said it best. “People should be able to survive and prosper,” he said, “without having to own a car.” Diminishing fossil fuel supplies, he pointed out, make that more pressing every day.

Many participants continued to tell the story of how difficult it is to get from one side of the state to another, especially in terms of tourism. One participant stated, “It is nearly impossible to travel throughout this state without an automobile.”

Many in southeast MI would like to visit cities along the Great Lakes, like Traverse City, Ludington, Petoskey, and Mackinaw; and many said don’t even try to get to the Upper Peninsula.

This Forum is the first set in southeast MI – three more Forums will take place in the area. We invite you to help us define that new transportation vision for Michigan as the Trans4M Community Forums continue!

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