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Transportation Odyssey starts Wednesday

Detroit-GR-Traverse City voyage to highlight potential and challenges of state’s skeletal public transportation systems
Mar 19, 2012
Dozens of policy experts, elected officials, advocates and citizens will embark on a three-day Michigan Transportation Odyssey Wednesday starting in Detroit, snaking through West Michigan and concluding Friday in Traverse City.

The group, led by the Transportation for Michigan (Trans4M) coalition, will use seven distinct brands of public transportation, cover roughly 350 miles and take 56 hours. Media, advocates and residents are invited to join all or part of the adventure.

“The Odyssey highlights the many positive developments including enhanced speed passenger rail, voter-approved transportation improvements in Grand Rapids and momentum around a regional transit authority for Southeast Michigan,” said Tim Fischer of the Transportation for Michigan coalition. “It also calls attention to the need for coordination of public transportation in all areas of the state.”

Odyssey transportation modes will include Amtrak passenger trains; several bus services including Indian Trails, DDOT and SMART; bicycles; the Detroit People Mover; and old-fashioned bipedal power (walking).

"This gives our transportation experts a good first-hand look at how our cities and regions are connected by bus and rail,” said James Bruckbauer of the Michigan Land Use Institute. “We think it will be enlightening.”

Panel discussions, speakers and receptions will take place at various events along the route. Officials participating in part of the Odyssey include Birmingham Mayor Mark Nickita, Peter Rogoff of the Federal Transit Administration, Grand Rapids Mayor George Heartwell, and other local, state, county and chamber of commerce officials.

“The Odyssey is one of several creative ways that Trans4M is spotlighting the dialogue around transportation in Michigan,” said Hayley Roberts of the Michigan Suburbs Alliance. “By encouraging wide participation, collecting and sharing stories along the way, and interacting with followers in real time, we’re inviting everyone—not just those entrenched in transportation policy—to consider and comment on our state’'s transportation network.”

Wednesday evening’s speaker event in Birmingham is co-sponsored by Metromode. Thursday evening’s events are co-sponsored by Rapid Growth.

More information and guidance on how to participate is available:
• The full itinerary, on the Trans4M website.
• The coalition’s Facebook page
• On Twitter @t4michigan #miodyssey
Tim Fischer, Michigan Environmental Council: 734-255-9206
James Bruckbauer, Michigan Land Use Institute: 616-318-9632
Hayley Roberts, Michigan Suburbs Alliance: 866-960-8803 x714
RELATED TOPICS: transportation policy
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