Sven Gustafson – Daily Detroit What To Know And Where To Go In Metro Detroit Wed, 22 Nov 2017 19:19:53 +0000 en-US hourly 1 Semi-Protected Bike lanes Appear On Pinecrest In Ferndale, Oak Park To Get “Road Diet” Tue, 03 Oct 2017 00:56:15 +0000 The repaving of Pinecrest, which closed the north-south connector street between Nine Mile Road and Pleasant Ridge for most of the summer, has brought an additional benefit besides smoother pavement: semi-protected bike lanes.

The bike lanes run curbside on both sides of the street between Nine Mile and West Oakridge Street. They’re separated from traffic lanes by double lines painted on the pavement, with cluster of three posts near every intersection.

They add to a growing network of bike lanes and sharrows in the city, including on Livernois Avenue and Hilton Road.

A rendering of a proposed linear park concept on West Nine Mile in Oak Park.

In other news, plans are in the works to add buffered bike lanes, surface paint, medians and protected cross-walks on West Nine Mile Road as part of a “road diet” between Pinecrest and Coolidge in Oak Park. The project is essentially a joint project with Oak Park, which is expected to take the lead, and made possible via a federal Transportation Alternatives Program grant. Ferndale’s City Council approved its $127,717 local-match portion in July.

Oak Park appears to be weighing several different options for the project, including various configurations for angled parking, off-street pedestrian trails and a linear park concept for the south side of Nine Mile, where homes are set back from road and separated by wide grassy areas. It would also decrease traffic lanes from four to three.

When completed, likely in 2018, bicyclists would be able to travel from Coolidge in Oak Park all the way to the Hazel Park border using designated bike lanes or sharrows.

Editor’s Note: Daily Detroit and the 8 Wood Blog have a content sharing agreement, and this is reproduced with the permission of the author. Sven is also the host of our Daily Detroit Happy Hour Podcast. Check it out on Apple Podcasts.

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Allow Me To Freak Out About $400K Homes In My Old Detroit Neighborhood Mon, 18 Sep 2017 00:15:35 +0000 I last spent time in Woodbridge Farms, my old neighborhood, last fall, when I joined some coworkers to plant trees with crews from the Greening of Detroit. And I wrote about what I saw and how it illustrated the dramatic and jarring ways that Detroit is changing.

But nothing quite prepared me for this.

A developer team is working with the city to invest around $6 million to build up to 27 houses in the historic neighborhood, which began in the early 1870s. All good. But here’s the kicker, via Crain’s Detroit Business:

The single-family homes would be market value, with prices to be determined, but likely in the $350,000-$400,000 range, (one of the developers, Douglass) Diggs said. They would be 1,800-square-foot three-bedroom homes with a private backyard, deck and two-car garage. (Emphases mine.)

This is frankly astounding.

The issue

Some of the commenters on the Crain’s piece raise the valid point that these are homes that will be marketed presumably to families in a city whose public and charter schools are in crisis, and that’s true. But I’m thinking about what it does to the neighborhood as a whole.

An old mansion on Lincoln Street in Woodbridge Farms. | Creative Commons via

I lived in Woodbridge Farms from 2002 to 2005, during the Kwame Kilpatrick era. There were flickers of revitalization sprinkled around pockets of the city, but nothing like what we’re seeing now.

Woodbridge Farms (I didn’t know anyone who referred to it that way; we mostly just called it Woodbridge) was populated by eccentrics — reclusive Cass Corridor artists and hippies, gay couples living in perennial fixer-uppers, an anarchist collective that hosted performance art and punk bands, business owners and low-income folks who lived in apartment buildings or old homes subdivided into apartments. There was a church across the street where I remember listening to the pastor shouting out his sermon each Sunday. That describes pretty much the whole street. Yes, it was sparsely populated, with plenty of vacant lots. There was crime, and it occasionally got bad, but people looked out for each other.

It was decidedly not upscale back then, and I loved it. I loved the weirdness and the characters, the sense of possibility. The old houses and the community feel. I could wander down the block, gather wood dumped on a vacant lot and burn it in our backyard chiminea fireplace. The people down the street had a pet peacock and hosted giant Academy Awards night celebrations each year. I grew enormous sunflowers and vegetables in our backyard and made many a summer dinner from them.

The houses were beautiful, full of period architectural details and character, but often in serious need of TLC. None of them back then would have come anywhere close to fetching $350,000 on the market. Blight was always somewhere just down the street or around the corner.

These new homes, planned for the corner of Lincoln and Selden and between Selden and Brainard off Trumbull, look perfectly nice, judging from the renderings. They’ll certainly help boost property values for the existing residents. But at that price point, they’ll frankly usher in a different class of people to what has been a relatively stable but still rough-around-the-edges neighborhood.

I’m sure a list of recent home sales in the neighborhood would make these prices feel less shocking, and I know the neighborhood has seen a lot of changes since I left, many of them good. But it won’t be the same.

And so it begins, one neighborhood at a time.

Editor’s Note: This post originally appeared on the 8-Wood Blog. Sven is also the host of the Daily Detroit Happy Hour Podcast that you can find here on Apple Podcasts/iTunes.

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Plans For Monroe Block Suggest Density, Modernism Coming To Detroit Mon, 28 Aug 2017 21:19:39 +0000 There’s big downtown Detroit development news — and to no one’s surprise, Dan Gilbert is involved — as Bedrock Detroit plans an $800 million new mixed-use development anchored by a 35-story tower overlooking Campus Martius.

So far as I can tell from the renderings, plans for the Monroe Block project call for building two towers and other buildings on two irregularly shaped blocks bordered by Monroe Avenue, Bates and Randolph streets, and Cadillac Square.

The blocks today are mostly either surface parking lots or vacant sites of recent building demolitions.

Bedrock did not respond to messages seeking comment. The new plans update its earlier vision for the site and add 15 stories to the stepped glass office tower.

The company’s design renderings suggest that downtown Detroit is due for a significant infusion of eclectic, modern architecture that’s not out of line with what we’ve seen before from Gilbert and Bedrock.

That’s especially true when you consider Bedrock’s plans for the former J.L. Hudson’s site a few blocks away, where Bedrock wants to begin work later this year on Detroit’s tallest building along with a stunning mixed-use building fronting Woodward Avenue.

Today, downtown is dominated by grand prewar architecture, exemplified by buildings like the Penobscot and the Guardian.

Crain’s reports that floor sizes in the new office tower will range from 10,000 square feet to 45,000 near the ground floor in order to attract national tenants.

“The design, and I think this speaks to the strategy of the project, competes with Chicago and some of these larger-tier cities in that we are trying to provide a diversity of floor-plate sizes,” Jamie Witherspoon, Bedrock’s director of architecture, told Crain’s.

Here’s more, from John Gallagher at the Freep:

If the Hudson’s site tower will rank as Detroit’s tallest building, the new details available for the Monroe Block remain equally impressive: It will feature 810,000 square feet of new office space, 170,000 square feet of new retail space, 482 new residential apartments, at least 900 parking spaces — many of which will be built underground, and some 48,000 square feet of public plazas and “green” space. (…)

“What we’re doing from a public space standpoint within the development is going to be special,” said Dan Mullen, president of Gilbert’s Bedrock real estate arm. “It’s not just a big, tall building. It’s a big, tall building that interacts with street level and public spaces throughout.

“There’s going to be different pods and nods of great spaces to hang out and for people to get together.”

Renderings also suggest there’s a second flatiron-shaped tower devoted to residential use at 25 stories at the corner of Randolph and Monroe.

Construction on the Monroe Block would start early next year and be completed in early 2022. Architects on the project are Neumann-Smith of Detroit and Schmidt Hammer Lassen of Copenhagen, Denmark.

It’s believed that Gilbert may try to lump the Monroe Block project with his Hudson’s Site proposal for a $1.5 billion megaproject eligible for tax incentives under the MiThrive program passed recently in Lansing. The project still needs various city approvals before it can go forward.

It’s a good sign for a variety of reasons to see Detroit finally attracting plans to build up.

At a former job, I remember my boss looking out a 21st-floor window overlooking downtown and remarking that, absent a few buildings, the view is largely the same as it was in the 1920s.

Seems that won’t be true for much longer.

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New Protected Bike Lanes Taking Shape on Cass Avenue Fri, 25 Aug 2017 18:29:38 +0000 If you’ve been on Cass Avenue lately, you might’ve seen some kiosks being installed along the sidewalks in a few places. Or the smooth new blacktop road surface.

They’re part of larger plans to bring protected bike lanes to the street, from West Grand Boulevard in the New Center all the way to Lafayette near the riverfront downtown.

Two kiosks have been installed — one in front of Old Main, on the Wayne State campus, and the other near the Rosa Parks Transit Center downtown.

One of the new Cass Avenue bike kiosks.

“It’s gonna count bikes riding in the bike lane and then it’s going to count warm bodies going on the sidewalk. And it’ll keep them both separate,” said Todd Scott, executive director of the Detroit Greenways Coalition, which advocated for the project.

Data from the kiosks will be uploaded to a server for analysis — and hopefully used to justify more of the same kind of projects around the city, Scott said.

Also included in the project are bike boxes — green-painted areas for bikes at the head of traffic lanes at traffic signals. They’re meant to provide bicyclists with a designated safe space and a chance to get ahead of vehicles at a red light.

The project is intertwined with $63 million in road improvement projects planned this year in the city. The Cass Avenue improvements stemmed from a $1 million federal grant allocated through the Michigan Department of Transportation to offset the lack of safe bike access along Woodward Avenue because of the QLINE tracks.

We’re not sure when the project will be completed. An MDOT spokeswoman forwarded me to Richard Doherty, an engineer with the Detroit Department of Public Works, who did not respond to phone and email messages. But the resurfacing portion of the project appears to be mostly done, along with some of the green-painted bike boxes.

You can see the original bid and scope of work for the work here. It calls for extending the bike lanes from West Grand Boulevard south to Congress. From there, they would go east to Washington Boulevard, then south to Jefferson, east to Bates and south to Atwater Street to connect with existing bike lanes near the RiverWalk at the Port Authority.

Back in May, we had Scott on as a guest on the Daily Detroit Happy Hour podcast. The whole episode is worth a listen, but here’s how he explained the Cass Ave. project:

“Initially the plan was to build buffered bike lanes as an alternative safe route to Woodward due to the QLINE, and we got some funding from MDOT to make that happen. But when the new (Detroit) planning director came online, he believes the minimum design standard is the protected bike lane, so they changed the design for Cass to be protected, which is why it’s taking longer than expected. We were hoping to get this done before the QLINE started. But it’s gonna be a great project. It is going to be a tight squeeze to get everything in there. They’re pushing some of the limits on some stuff. We’ve done some traffic counts of bikes on Cass. A couple of years ago we measured over 500 people in a 24-hour period, which is pretty significant. So we expect once the bike lanes go in we’re going to see even more people using Cass.”

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New Report Shows QLINE Service Improvements, Ridership On The Rise Fri, 28 Jul 2017 18:13:32 +0000 A new report from the parent organization of Detroit’s streetcar says that the new QLINE streetcar service is making improvements following several opening glitches, expected growing pains and complaints from riders.

M-1 Rail, the QLINE’s operating organization, has been working with the streetcar’s operator, Transdev North America, on service improvements for about a month now. Those have resulted in more riders, shorter waits and better coordination with traffic signals.

Ridership on the QLINE, which launched May 12, has increased from an average of 4,000 daily trips during the week of June 12 to 6,300 the week of July 17, the report says. That’s higher than the 5,000 daily trips officials have established as their target, though the streetcar has yet to begin charging for rides.

Thanks to a commitment from the Kresge Foundation announced last month, riders can continue to ride for free until Tuesday, Sept. 4.

Opening day crowds on the QLINE. Daily Detroit photo.

“Over the past month, we have improved QLINE service, putting more streetcars on the road, reducing wait times between vehicles and integrated rider feedback into our operational enhancement plan,” said M-1 RAIL CEO Matt Cullen. “Many more people have had the opportunity to experience the QLINE for the first time and Detroiters are beginning to integrate the streetcar system into their daily travel.”

Here’s how the improvements are shaking out:

  • Round-trip rides have been reduced by 6 minutes due to operational improvements.
  • Average wait times between streetcars fell from more than 19 minutes to an average of 16:49 Monday to Saturday. They’re down 20 percent since the start of operations on May 12, and officials have said they’re targeting long-term wait times of 12 minutes during weekdays.
  • M-1 Rail increased streetcar operator staff from 17 to 21. M-1 says it plans to have 27 certified operators on staff when the QLINE begins charging riders in earnest, after Labor Day.
  • QLINE worked with city and state traffic engineers to improve traffic-signal timing at the intersections of Burroughs, Montcalm and at Campus Martius. At Congress, approaching streetcars now trigger a signal change.
  • Streetcars no longer stop at stations if no one is waiting and if no passengers have signaled for a stop.
  • Since launching in May, transit police have issued 30 tickets and towed seven cars that were obstructing the tracks.

Estimated wait times remain inconsistent, though M-1 officials insist the digital kiosk technology is improving. M-1 is working with technology partner Nextbus to make the arrival and streetcar location data more accurate and says the system is showing incremental improvements over six weeks of work.

“Improving the arrival prediction system is one of our top priorities as we prepare for revenue service,” said Paul Childs, M-1 Rail’s COO. “We appreciate the patience of our riders as we refine this technology and we expect to see a significant improvement in the data over the next six weeks.”

The QLINE begins charging for rides in Sept. 5. Rides will start at $1.50 for three hours of unlimited rides and $3 for a day pass.

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PODCAST: What’s Next For Downtown Detroit? We Talk With Eric Larson Of The DDP Tue, 25 Jul 2017 23:19:42 +0000

Downtown Detroit continues its remarkable transformation, with more and more foot traffic, construction sites sprouting like weeds and new businesses opening up on the reg.

On this episode of the Daily Detroit Happy Hour, we caught up with Eric Larson, CEO of the Downtown Detroit Partnership, for an update on what’s happening in downtown Detroit, how it’s evolved over time and what the future could look like for the rapidly growing central business district.

“We really have tried to use the downtown quite frankly as that case study,” Larson said. “If it works downtown, we really try and make sure it’s replicable in other areas. Not only in other areas of the city, but quite frankly a lot of the public space activation and placemaking activities that we’ve been doing now for over 20 years are being done all over the country and have become sort of the buzz approaches for continuing to turn around urban centers.”

Among the topics Larson touches on:

  • The DDP’s involvement in the Super Bowl XL in 2006 (around 5:30)
  • How the DDP works with agencies outside the downtown core (just after 8 minutes)
  • The 2016 Downtown Detroit Perceptions Report (around 12 minutes)
  • How downtown is whiter and more affluent than the city overall (around 17:30)
  • Transportation options, including MoGo, the low marks given to the bus systems and last year’s failed RTA transit millage (19:45)
  • The present and possible future of the QLINE (26 minutes)
  • How the new Spirit of Detroit Plaza represents a “civic space where people can congregate” (31:30)
  • How bike lanes will transform downtown (37 minutes)
  • Early results — and future plans — for the “mighty MoGo” bike share (41:45)
  • The future of downtown, vis a vis real estate and autonomous vehicles (46:00)

Friends, this is our longest podcast episode BY FAR, but frankly there was a lot to chew over. Give it a listen and you won’t be disappointed. As always, we welcome your feedback.

Listen to the episode above, or subscribe to us on Apple Podcasts, via Podcast Detroit or wherever fine podcasts are downloaded. There are also more on our website here.

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Car-Free Pedestrian Plazas Are Suddenly All The Rage In The Motor City Tue, 27 Jun 2017 02:41:12 +0000 Detroit, for decades a monument to the hegemony of the automobile, is increasingly ceding road real estate to pedestrian uses, most recently through the creation of outdoor public plazas.

Since spring, at least three pedestrian plazas have opened around town: the Gratiot-Randolph public plaza, a new plaza on Woodward between Jefferson and Larned, and now a pop-up pedestrian plaza in suburban Oak Park along Nine Mile Road.

Curbed Detroit, in a story about the new Woodward Avenue plaza, puts the new developments into perspective nicely:

Detroit hasn’t been known for being very pedestrian-friendly in the past. In fact, it was recently named one of the most dangerous cities for pedestrians in the country. In the last couple months, we’ve seen more mobility options in the Motor City including the QLINE and the MoGo Bike Share. An esplanade opened from Campus Martius to Larned last month, and now a large pedestrian plaza is open in front of the Spirit of Detroit statue on Woodward.

Spirit of Detroit Plaza

This new plaza, at the foot of Woodward Avenue, hosts food trucks and features tables with chairs, picnic benches, tree planters, pavement decorations and games such as horseshoes and cornhole. Live entertainment is planned two or three nights per week.

Along with the esplanade just north of it in the Woodward median, the plaza makes it easier for pedestrians to go between busy Campus Martius and Hart Plaza and the RiverWalk to the south.

This plaza has generated some controversy, with people objecting to closing one of downtown’s most recognizable intersections to vehicle traffic. City officials say they plan to evaluate the plaza after 90 days.

Gratiot Randolph Plaza

Near Greektown, the city this spring unveiled a $60,000, 13,000 square-foot plaza at Randolph Street near Gratiot on the site of what had been one of Detroit’s worst intersections (I should know — I got into an accident there once).

It’s a great idea, but so far, outside of a lively opening weekend replete with food trucks and crowds from the Tigers game, the plaza feels half-baked, uninviting and underutilized. There’s little to designate it visually as a pedestrian plaza, just a few isolated tables and lonely flowerpots surrounded by gray asphalt.

Hopefully there is more work to come to make it look like the plaza depicted in the rendering in the video above.

Oak Park Pop-Up Plaza

A dozen or so miles north in Oak Park, officials have created a pop-up park on Sherman Street at Nine Mile Road. According to the print publication Ferndale Friends, the pop-up is a pilot concept to test more far-reaching changes to Nine Mile, including shrinking it down to three lanes, installing dedicated bike lanes and making other changes to boost commercial businesses.

“The pocket park creates the vibrancy and streetscape setting that residents and visitors want,” Kimberly Marrone, Oak Park’s director of economic development and communications, told the publication. “It allows us to test different activities and amenities at the site and get feedback from residents and visitors.”

A friend of mine who lives in the neighborhood tells me the park has so far been popular, with family crowds during daylight hours and nighttime DJs spinning slightly less family-friendly tunes.

It’s nice to see Oak Park doing something to try and boost what has been a sad stretch of Nine Mile storefronts and add vibrancy and quality of life to one of its neighborhoods. Let’s hope it sticks.

Did I miss any other pedestrian plazas out there in Metro Detroit?

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Live It Up This Summer With These 8 Mixed Drinks With A Michigan Theme Mon, 12 Jun 2017 22:47:48 +0000 Recently, your crack Daily Detroit crew gathered together to unwind for a little house party. As the night wore on and the drinks flowed, the talk turned, as it does, from blogging strategy to cocktail recipes with a Michigan or Detroit theme.

I instantly thought of the “Nuge,” a perfectly trashy drank named after — and fully befitting the legacy of — Detroit’s own Ted Nugent. A friend of mine named Marc McFinn, the former singer of Ann Arbor punk band Mazinga, served it to me in a plastic cup at a mutual friend’s backyard gathering last year.

“I was unemployed around the same time weird ass flavored vodkas started hitting the market,” he explained. “A new world of possibilities opened up before me. Cheap cocktails that didn’t taste like rubbing alcohol.”

We’ll get to that one in due time. In the meantime, here are a bunch of Michigan- and Detroit-themed cocktails, lovingly curated by your Daily Detroit staff, just in time for hot weather and garden parties.

1. Michigan Mojito


While admittedly a bit labor-intensive, Mojitos are about as refreshing as summer cocktails get. Give them a jolt of color and tartness with the addition of fresh Michigan cherries.

3-4 fresh cherries
Mint leaves
2-3 lime wedges
1 ounce simple syrup (recipe), or more to taste
1-½ ounce rum
Club soda

Muddle the first three ingredients in the bottom of a highball glass or cocktail shaker, if you want to strain some of the mashed-up flotsam. In a highball, add rum, ice and top with soda and stir well. In a shaker, add rum, shake well, strain over ice, add soda and stir. Add simple syrup to taste, since it can be tricky to get the mix right.

2. The Hoover

Google Street View of Honest John’s
I’m borrowing this one straight from the bar menu of Honest?John’s as a tip of the hat to former owner John Thompson and his colorful life story. He renovated the old Cass Corridor bar where his mother once picked up Johns and moved his business there in 2002(?).

1 Miller High Life
1 shot of Kessler American blended whiskey

3. The Hummer

Any list of Michigan-themed cocktails must include The Hummer, the adult milkshake-cocktail that was invented at Bayview Yacht Club in 1968.

I’ve made more of these as a bartender than I care to recall, frankly. Nothing puts you as deep in the weeds as an order of 20 of them. So there have definitely been times where I wanted to travel back in time and, uh, persuade its inventor, Mr. Jerome Adams, to go in a different direction.

Objectively speaking, it’s a fine enough drink to cap a nice dinner — just don’t order it if your bartender is really busy. Also, I use Myers dark rum to add richness, and because as a rum drinker, Bacardi is the most boring of rums.

1 1/2 ounce Myers’s dark rum
2 scoops vanilla ice cream

Blend until the blender hums.

4. The Nuge

Uncle Ted never drank this, I'm quite certain.
Uncle Ted never drank this, I’m quite certain.
From my friend, who invented it:

“When Pinnacle introduced its whipped cream flavor the rubber really hit the road. It was begging to be combined with Vernors. … The only moniker befitting this explosion of flavor was ‘The Nuge.’ In tribute to an era when Uncle Ted was famous for being a bitchin’ guitarist and the spokesman for Vernors. Sadly even people old enough to remember the 80s forgot about the Nuge/Vernors partnership.”

1-½ ounce whipped cream vodka

Pour over ice, preferably in a plastic cup or a Thermos.

Of course, Ted Nugent himself would probably not drink this. 

5. The Gnome Will Get You Home

This is simple, and was thought of at a local sports game watching the sportsing and the whiskey was rank. Just, terrible. It’s just dump Vernors in whatever horrible, cheap, bad-decision “bourbon” or whiskey to taste. It’s amazing at masking the flavor as it’s stronger than most other “ginger ales.”

1 Shot of terrible whiskey, add Vernors to taste

6. The Ambassador Bridge

Ambassador Bridge. Photo by Mark Goebel, Creative Commons license.
The idea behind this one is simple. Bridging countries through booze and pop.

Drink a bit out of a 20 oz bottle of Faygo Rock and Rye, then refill with Canadian Club. Carefully mix, enjoy.

7. Two James Sun

The most recent addition to the list, with the relaunch of Arctic Sun. Having gotten our hands on a bottle, we found it to be a flavor reminiscent of a sweet grapefruit. Vodka didn’t work great, but the Two James Gin cut the sweet down a bit and worked wonders.

1.5 ounces Two James Gin, 3 parts Arctic Sun

8. Tijuana Taxi


This one admittedly didn’t originate from any particular Michigan theme, except for the fact that I mixed many Tijuana Taxis when I worked as a bartender on Mackinac Island.

To make it properly Detroit-y, sub in Cabresto tequila (whose business operations are based in Detroit) and you’ve got all the justification you need.

This shot is essentially a Mexican coffee on speed. It hits you from a couple different angles and will definitely give you The Power. You’ll need an espresso machine or maybe some of those Starbucks espresso shot minicans to make it — if you go the latter route, I’d probably ease up on the coffee liqueur, since that stuff is already pretty sweet. Mix it all over ice in a shaker and strain into a tumbler.

1 shot espresso, chilled
¾ ounce tequila
¾ ounce coffee liqueur

Creative Commons photos via Kyle Adams and Max Sparber. Daily Detroit takes no responsibility for the outcomes of drinking said drinks and this post is for entertainment purposes only. Drink with conviction, but responsibly. 

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New Mural On 8 Mile To Be Created By Detroit Artist Ndubisi Okoye Mon, 12 Jun 2017 19:07:15 +0000 The Eight Mile Boulevard Association has chosen the artist whose winning design will become a mural on the wall of a vacant building near Livernois to kick off its Art on 8 program.

Ndubisi Okoye is a Detroit-based artist and illustrator who has done murals in Detroit for Our/Detroit Vodka building and a design-install project for the General Motors International Singapore Office Project. His work has appeared on HGTV.

The project is funded by a $5,800 grant from Mercedes Benz Financial Services.

“I’m not sure how much I can divulge about the art but it will be an ode to the history and culture of the city of Detroit and to the 8mile and Livernois area,” Ndubisi said in an email.

“I feel blessed to have another opportunity to create a piece of art in the city I’m from and I feel privileged to be a part of the Detroit Renaissance of art as well.”

Okoye works as art director for Southfield-based advertising agency Doner. He is a graduate of Cass Technical High School and the College for Creative Studies who hails from Raleigh, N.C.

On his website, he describes his approach to art like so:

“The linear, circular, geometric, and organic symbols and patterns represent an improvised rhythm throughout my work that is very musical. They are a visual jazz that gives excitement, interest, and spontaneity to the person or place being captured. My subject matter is drawn from people, places, and social issues in the Black and Christian communities. I believe these people and subject matters can give a unique story of how I see the world.”

Volunteers will help install the mural under Okoye’s direction at the building site, 7115 W. Eight Mile Road, on June 20.

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Detroit’s New Bike Share Opened Today. Is MoGo For You? Wed, 24 May 2017 01:08:50 +0000 Daily Detroit stopped by the New Center today for the launch of the new MoGo Detroit bike sharing system. It opens with 43 bikes and 430 stations spread across a wide swath of the city, from Clark Park in southwest Detroit, to the New Center, out to West Village on the east side.

One of us got to ride a MoGo bike back to one of the downtown stations. The three-speed bikes are sturdy, built to take a beating and have a remarkably smooth ride.

Seeing as how Detroiters are still trying to wrap their heads around QLine, the new streetcar that launched earlier this month, we thought we’d offer this handy user’s guide for whether MoGo is right for you.

City Residents:

If you live in the 7.2: Got your own bike? Then MoGo may have limited appeal or functionality for you. Unless a friend comes to town. Or a relative. Or you’re out on the town sans wheels, and you need to go somewhere else. The nice thing about bike sharing is, you don’t have to commit to it — until you want to commit to it. In that way, it’s like the ultimate friend with benefits.

If you live in other neighborhoods: Admittedly, MoGo’s coverage of Detroit’s neighborhoods is fairly limited from the opening bike bell. But MoGo officials make it clear that they want to expand the system outward to cover more neighborhoods.

That will obviously depend on demand for the service and healthy ridership. And it is probably unrealistic to expect that MoGo will one day blanket all of the city’s 139 square miles, from Brightmoor to East English Village.

If you’re a tourist:

We have a feeling that it’s this group — well-traveled visitors from cities where bike sharing is already well-established, understood and integrated with public transit — that will be among the system’s most enthusiastic early adopters. Because if you’re coming to town for, say, the Movement electronic music festival, and you want to explore, or get away from the crowds, or go eat tacos in Southwest Detroit, then MoGo is your friend.

If you’re an office worker:

Poor thing. Vibes ~~~~~~~~

But seriously: Want to go lunch but it’s too far to walk? Don’t feel like driving? Have a meeting uptown? Need to grab some groceries from Eastern Market’s Tuesday market? You see where we’re going with this?

If you’re a suburbanite:

Why not? Beats strapping your bike to the back of the car if you don’t have a permanent bike rack attached.

If you’re a QLINE rider:

According to the map we first-reported, MoGo stations are located as far east as West Village and west as Clark Park. That’s a nice bit of extra real estate you can reach from the Woodward corridor.

Do I need spandex? 

Bike sharing isn’t something that requires you to don spandex and a helmet and travel at speeds attainable only by people who spend their weekends hunched over their handlebars furiously pedaling remote country roads.

It’s meant to be a “last mile” solution, something that takes 30 minutes or less and gets you from point A to point B and back again.

And Detroit, in many ways, is a city best experienced by bike.

So if you’re leaving the DIA and want to go to dinner but don’t feel like fighting for a new parking space? Hop on a MoGo bike instead.

How much does it cost? How you’re charged for this thing is a little confusing, but here’s how it works.

Prices assume you’ll have the bike out for no more than 30 minutes and start out at $8 for a daily pass, which offers an unlimited number of 30-minute trips over 24 hours. Remember that unlike a rental car, you don’t have to return a MoGo bike to the station where you checked it out.

Monthly passes are just $18, while annual passes are $80, with discounts available for seniors over age 65 and qualifying low-income users.

A pair of mobile apps are also available to purchase passes or view inventories of available bikes at your local stations.

Pro tip: Don’t leave the bike anywhere but securely locked at a MoGo station. Printed on the handlebars of each bike is a notice that the fee for stolen or missing bikes is $1,200. Ouch!

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