MOSES & RTA mapping sessions build support for transit in Detroit

Posted by: Gordon on 9/26/2015

With a little help from MOSES, a Detroit Regional Transportation master plan is starting to take shape.

More than 100 faith and community leaders turned out over the summer to community mapping meetings with Regional Transit Authority  Director Michael Ford and his staff.

Residents discussed where they go and how they get there, with drivers sharing what might get them to use public transportation and riders evaluating the strengths and challenges of the current system. They rolled up their sleeves to look at maps and brainstorm the best ways to strengthen regional transit.

MOSES facilitated the community mapping sessions this summer with both drivers and transit users. Organizers say that this process is about welcoming and partnering with Ford, previously the head of Ann Arbor public transit. They also gathered in and educated new supporters for regional transit work. Down the road, they are looking to a nonpartisan initiative likely to appear on the ballot in November 2016 to raise funds for public transportation in the region.

The RTA was created in 2012 after years of MOSES’ advocacy. The body has been gathering speed slowly in the past year and a half, hiring Ford about 18 months ago and announcing plans in May for regional transit lines into surrounding counties and service to and from Detroit’s airport. 

“This is an equity issue,” a MOSES leader said. “In our public transportation system, the people with less access are the residents in poor communities of color. From the policy standpoint, getting our voice into the planning process through the mapping sessions and seeing the plan itself will meet the needs of the region is huge.” 

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