One of the things the RTA does, beyond the big plan for transit we’ve talked about, is help coordinate the existing suburban and city systems of SMART and DDOT.

Two areas that have been identified as high demand for bus service, where more express service down the roads could make an impact, is the Woodward and the Gratiot corridors.

The Regional Transit Authority (RTA) will be hosting several opportunities for public input to discuss express service along Woodward and Gratiot Avenues with limited stops with the goal of  greater connection between the city and the suburbs without the need to transfer.

Currently, except for a couple of peak times, you have to transfer buses at the city limits between suburban and city bus providers.

There will be two open house workshops will be held along the corridors, one on each route, allowing people to dig in to details about the faster service, ability to travel seamlessly between the city and the suburbs, and the span of service throughout the day and on weekends.

Attendees will have the opportunity to talk to planners and provide their feedback on the service as it is being drafted. The schedule for the workshops is below:

Wednesday, May 11, 11:00 a.m. – 2:00 p.m.
Roseville Public Library (Erin Auditorium), 29777 Gratiot Ave, Roseville

Thursday, May 12, 4:00 p.m. – 7:00 p.m.
U of M Detroit Center, 3663 Woodward Ave, Detroit

According to transit officials, the feedback from these workshops will be utilized to develop the service and prepare for formal public hearings.

Those will be an opportunity to hear comments on the new and expanded service.

The official public hearings will be held on the following dates:

Wednesday, May 25

St. James Church, 241 Pearson St, Ferndale from 12:00 p.m. – 2:00 p.m.
Matrix Center (Community Hall), 13560 E. McNichols, Detroit from 5:00 p.m. – 7:00 p.m.

How is this possible? Well, here’s where things get budgetarily nerdy.

This express service was a product of the reallocation of the state formula funding by the RTA in November of 2015. The approved allocation included expanded service along these two major regional corridors for a period of three years. The funding for this expansion will be drawn from a combination of local, state, and federal funds.

It’s good to see progress on coordination, even before the whole bigger plan gets rolled out.

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