APTA Streetcar and
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Heritage Trolley Site
Hosted by the Seashore Trolley Museum
Detroit, MI

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Detroit, Michigan

With the Q-Line opening on May 12, 2017, The City of Detroit entered its third streetcar era. The first saw the development of a huge, traditional system starting in the late 19th century and extending until final abandonment in 1956.

Some 20 years later the second era started on a very small scale when the first new heritage trolley line in the country was established using small ex-Lisbon streetcars. After some years operation became sporadic and the line was dismantled in 2003 when no funds could be found for major maintenance. Click here for more on this operation.

Subsequently, after years of discussion about bringing rail transit back to the city (Detroit was the largest American city without urban rail.) in the form of modern streetcars, officials from private organizations, the city, the state, and the Federal government built a 3.3 mile-streetcar project, called M-1 Rail, along Woodward Avenue. The street was one of the busiest streetcar arteries of the first generation system, and now is the first stretch of streetcar operation since 1956.

Detroit M1 Streetcar

Facts about the Q-Line System

From Crain's Detroit Business site:

• The $137 million, 3.3-mile street-level line on Woodward Avenue stretches between Larned Street downtown to Chandler Street north of Grand Boulevard in New Center.

• The goal is to spur economic development along the route, reduce traffic downtown, ease pedestrian circulation during events, and ultimately connect to a possible line streching to the city limits and into the Detroit suburbs.

• The line runs in mixed traffic using the lane next to the parking lane, but in the center lane at both the north and south ends.

• Estimated annual passenger counts are 3 million people.

• Co-chairman of M1 Rail (the privately led consortium that developed the line) are Penske Corp. founder Roger Penske and Quicken Loans Inc. founder Dan Gilbert.

• The Kresge Foundation pledged $35.1 million to the project, and it gave an additional $3 million as a "backstop" grant. Additional funding commitments of $3 million came from Wayne State University, Quicken Loans, the Ilitch companies, Penske Corp., Compuware Corp., Chevrolet, Chrysler Group, Blue Cross Blue Shield of Michigan, the Detroit Medical Center, Henry Ford Health System, Wayne County government, the Ford Foundation and the W.K. Kellogg Foundation. The Hudson Webber Foundation has pledged $1 million.

• The Detroit Downtown Development Authority allocated $9 million for the project. A further $16 million came from federal New Market Tax Credits, which have to be renewed annually. The project will also draw a $22 million commercial loan.

• More about the project can be found at m-1rail.com.

Follow this link to an article about the role of philanthropy in the Q-Line project: Inside Philanthropy

Follow this link to an in-depth article about the potential economic benefit of Detroit's new streetcar: OK But Can't Save a City

The following news notes provide further coverage of Detroit's third generation streetcar development:


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