Wings Zamboni driver gone; New QLINE website; Unanswered Housing Commission questions
Plus marijuana updates; Anchor to re-re-open; and $100k for your Detroit business
Hey, it’s Jer. I’m in your inbox on a Wednesday evening as there’s a lot to get you up to speed on with what to know, where to go, and a little transit time in Detroit. As always, my analysis is in italics.
What to know…
» 🏒 The long-time Zamboni driver and operations manager for the Detroit Red Wings is out of a job. Al Sobotka is locally famous for his barbecue and octopus handling. There are more questions than answers right now about his sudden departure after more than half a century of service dating back to the old Olympia. [Freep] [DetNews]
» 🏚 The Detroit Housing Commission isn’t answering questions. The Villages at Parkside (built in the 1930s as Parkside Homes) are falling apart at East Warren and Conner. It seems to be a case of lack of oversight and privatization gone wrong. [Outlier]
» 💰 $100,000 is available for a brick and mortar business in Detroit, Hamtramck or Highland Park. I talked with the head of Hatch Detroit, Vittoria Katanski, as they’ve opened submissions for their latest contest. She shared thoughts on what’s changed locally since the program started more than a decade ago. [Daily Detroit Podcast] [Hatch Detroit]
» Highland Park wants to have their own high school again. For the last decade or so, children been going to Detroit Public Schools Community District. [Click On Detroit]
» Former Detroit Police Chief Ralph Godbee has left the race for the 13th Congressional seat, saying he does not want to split the black vote. It’s a busy field in an open district that now covers the Grosse Pointes, much of Detroit, Wyandotte and western Wayne cities like Taylor and Romulus. [Detroit Free Press]
» A challenge to the new redistricting maps was thrown out of court. The complaint was that the maps give too much advantage to Republicans. [Michigan Radio]
» Hazel Park joins Detroit and Ann Arbor in decriminalizing entheogenic pants and “magic” mushrooms as the concept gains momentum. [Bridge Michigan]
» $42 million was dispensed to local cities including Ferndale and Hazel Park through cannabis-related revenue sharing. [State of Michigan]
» Frustration is mounting with black and brown business owners in Detroit around the lack of a recreational marijuana licensing, as the medical business is “dying.” [Crain’s Detroit Business]
» 🚊 The QLINE will be free to ride for the rest of the year and get some enhancements. The free rides to encourage use are being paid for by the Penske Corporation and Kresge Foundation.
There is a new spiffy website with real-time updates as to when the streetcar will show up
Signal priority is coming at 26 intersections on Woodward (big deal, more on that in a second)
ICYMI, they installed Michigan’s first and only dedicated transit lane in front of Little Caesars Arena that serves both the QLINE and DDOT buses
My two cents: I’ve been screaming for signal priority since the QLINE launched. For the non-transit nerds, that means when a streetcar comes near a traffic light it’ll change in sync so the giant streetcar doesn’t have to stop and start every couple of blocks. This should decrease wait times and increase reliability. Also, I’m totally good with a transit-only or transit/rideshare lane in more places where it makes sense.
» The Detroit People Mover is getting ready to re-launch, but to keep rolling soon it’ll need $100 million in investment and new cars. It still uses the originals from 35 years ago. [Bridge Detroit]
» Macomb County commissioners are working to allow for individual cities to opt-out of SMART, the suburban bus system. The board of trustees of one of the tri-county area’s fastest growing communities, Macomb Township, seems to want out. [Macomb Daily]
Tough love: I personally am a transit supporter, but I can see the writing on the wall. If the Macomb County commission allows opt-outs (there’s other steps, too), I expect a mass exodus on mass transit from about I-696 out.
Where to go…
» On my radar is a new place by the Optimist Society, “Time Will Tell.” Between that, Kiesling, Oak and Reel, Supino, Freya, Yum Village and others… the New Center/Milwaukee Junction area is assembling a real bar and dining district. This place is at 6408 Woodward. I haven’t been yet but it’s on my very short list. The back of the bar has some huge local history (I thought I recognized it in pictures!) as it once was at Seven Brothers in Hamtramck. [Instagram]
» The Anchor Bar is re-re-opening. Although, ahem, “upscaled” from its original days as a downtown Detroit establishment where newspaper people chomped cigars and drank Three Feathers blended whiskey, there’s still bits of legend in there. It has a “reimagined” bar menu and will be ready ahead of opening day. It’s been open and closed and open and closed with everything happening *waves arms like Kermit the Frog at the world.* [Detroit News]
» Trap Vegan is open on the Avenue of Fashion. It’s a fast casual spot and notable as recently there have been a number of vegan closures, including Street Beet. [Metro Times]
» Hot Box Social is opening this summer in Hazel Park. It’s Michigan’s first cannabis consumption lounge. [Eater Detroit]
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