Hey friends, it’s Jer.

Today has been a busy week around the Daily Detroit world. If you’re a member of our Patreon, then you already know why.

I felt it important to tell them first — fear not, I’ll share all the plans with everyone soon (and when they’re more complete). But I wanted to give our monthly members the heads up as their loyal support has been truly crucial to keeping the show and project going.

Before we get into the news, I want to thank Engineer Randy and Fletcher for their help this week. It’s been huge.

person playing poker
Photo by Michał Parzuchowski on Unsplash

» The Detroit casino strike is over. The five unions that make up the Detroit Casino Council announced today that they’ve reached a tentative agreement with MGM Grand Detroit, MotorCity Casino, and Hollywood Casino at Greektown after a 32-day strike. Specifics will be shared with workers before a ratification vote, but here are five points the union highlighted as wins:

  • The largest wage increases ever negotiated in the history of the Detroit casino industry

  • Protecting the healthcare standard that Detroit casino unions have built over two decades with no increased costs to employees

  • Reducing workloads in housekeeping and other classifications that have resulted from 1500 fewer workers post pandemic

  • Securing technology protections to guarantee advanced notification when new technology is introduced that impacts jobs, require training for new jobs created by technology, and provide health care and severance pay for workers who are laid off because of new technology

  • Improving retirement benefits after no increases in 8 years

» An improved rail route from Chicago through Detroit to Toronto is under consideration. A $44-million project to connect Amtrak and VIA Rail Canada services is on the drawing board. If the stars align — it’d begin in 2027, and would run from Chicago to Toronto with stops in Detroit, Windsor and some places in between.

Amtrak and VIA Rail would cover the costs, which include crossing and station improvements, as well as a joint border security facility. The Detroit platform would be in the Michigan Central Innovation district, but would not be at Michigan Central Station itself. Annual ridership in this initial report was forecasted to be north of 66,000.

VIA Rail says public discussion on this one is “premature.” [AM 800] [Trains]

That said, me and Norris Howard discussed the ins and outs of this proposal on the podcast.

» A pilot program for Bus Rapit Transit service in Detroit will start in 2024. East Jefferson was the first streetcar route, and it is also the home of a BRT pilot by the city. The plans shared during a public hearing earlier this week outline:

  • 10 minute daytime service on weekdays, 15 minutes on weekends
  • Bus stops would be consolidated to every quarter mile, speeding up service
  • The additional of bus islands with new shelters to help with better boarding, and they’ll create a barrier for a truly protected bike lane.

You can take a look at the improvements in the images above. You can learn more on this Documenters thread.

I think this is a great in-between step forward. Yes, the department is still dealing with a driver shortage; but these kinds of changes should have started years ago. Much of East Jefferson is going to see a number of streetscape improvements soon, so it’s better to start rolling this out now and build this into the design.

» Demolition in Dearborn. A former Ford office building — known as the Regent Court — is being demolished. The idea is for the 670,000-square-foot building, built in 1990, to be replaced by a mixed-use redevelopment with townhomes and commercial tenants. The estimated cost for the project is at least $50 million, and tax incentives will be sought. [Detroit News] [Crain’s Detroit]

» New senior housing opens in Detroit. The 60-unit building is on Woodward just south of Clairmount in the Piety Hill neighborhood. [Urbanize Detroit]

🎧 On the podcast

» What if Detroit had built a subway?  Detroit may have been a very different place if a dedicated subway, light rail or elevated system had been built at one of the many opportunities, all the way up to the 1970s.

I talk with the author of the "Lost Subways of North America," Jake Berman. The book covers our continent's aversion to mass transit. But it's not all doom and gloom - some cities are stepping forward, and Detroit and Metro Detroit can, too.

Book: https://press.uchicago.edu/ucp/books/book/chicago/L/bo206950010.html

» How we're dining and drinking in 2023: Author and journalist Mickey Lyons hops in to talk about some of the permanent changes since the pandemic in how we’re going out - and what to look for in a a good time.

» Were you a Boston Market fan? The chain has left Metro Detroit, and we learn that Friday host Devon O’Reilly is a big mac and cheese fan. We also get into some openings that are coming up, and discuss the I-375 project that may go back to the drawing board.

With that, I’m off to the Campus Martius tree lighting. It’s crazy to think there’s been 20 years of these, and I’ve been to most of them.

For an indicator of how cheesy I really am — the musical act I’m looking forward to most? Paul Russell, that guy who did that viral “Lil Boo Thang” song on TikTok, is performing tonight. If for some reason you’re catching this email with time to spare, here’s a link to all of tonight’s festivities.

Thanks for reading. Remember that you are somebody, and we’ll talk soon.


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