DETROIT—Detroit’s M-1 Rail project certainly has its supporters, but the folks who’ll be marching up and down Woodward Avenue this coming week have some issues with the proposed streetcar system.
The North End Woodward Community Coalition, a Detroit-based transportation justice group, is organizing a week-long march called the “Jericho Journey” to draw attention to the impact that the 3.3 mile streetcar system and its construction will have on people in the city. Each day will focus on different issues related to the Woodward streetcar system, including how it will affect cyclists, bus riders, pedestrians and wheelchair users.
The group and its supporters will march for seven days -- from Sunday, Sept. 29 to Saturday Oct. 5 -- on Woodward between Bethune Street and the Detroit Amtrak station. Marchers will gather on 3 p.m. Sunday and 5 p.m. the other days.
The march’s name alludes to the biblical tale of Jericho, where an army of Israelites led by Joshua marched for seven days around the walled city of Jericho. On the final day, they trumpeted on ram’s horns and the walls of the city tumbled to the ground.
The coalition feels that the streetcar system will only serve “a small number of people and is indicative of the emerging two Detroits, one being developed at the expense of the other,” according to a release, and is calling for “the economic wall between them [to] come down.”
NEWCC is especially concerned about plans to put a maintenance station in Detroit’s North End neighborhood, which they say doesn’t allow for boarding by local residents. They’re seeking a community benefits agreement with the system’s developers.
“We have the largest residential base along the corridor, but yet no one is being picked up in the North End,” Rev. Joan Ross, a spokeswoman for the coalition told Mode Shift. “Development in Detroit … should be fair development with community involvement. … If not, it’s an illegitimate conversation.”
Earlier this month Ross went before City Council to ask for an ordinance that would require developers to hold public forums, meet regularly with residents affected by projects, hire local residents as well as limit rent and property tax increases. Her request received support from Council Members Joanne Watson and Brenda Jones.
To register for the march call 313-460-7076 or visit the Jericho Journey website.